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No on SB 5899: Payday loans don't solve crisis, they create one …


(March 13, 2015) – Remember two years ago, when the Republican-controlled Washington State Senate brought our state to the brink of a government shutdown?

The Senate had a list of ideological policy bills upon which they demanded House action before they would agree to an operating budget. After two overtime sessions, cooler heads finally prevailed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a deal just hours before the budget cycle ended on July 1, prompting The (Everett) Herald to editorialize, “Ideology and partisanship, especially in the Senate, supplanted pragmatism.”

Good times… good times.

One of those 2013 ideological policy bills is back in 2015, and the more solidly Republican-controlled Senate just sent it to the House. It’s SB 5899, which would relax consumer protections against short-term high-interest payday loans that push low-income working families deeper and deeper into debt. The bill would replace the state’s limited payday loans with “installment loans” that would allow up to a year’s worth of interest and fees.

Washington’s current law limits payday loans to $700 per loan and no more than eight loans per year. Borrowers are charged a $95 fee and typically must pay it off in two weeks. Under SB 5899, a $700 loan would cost borrowers up to a total of $1,195 in principal, interest and fees if paid off in six months, and up to a total of $1,579 if it took a full year.

Organized labor and other advocates for low-income working families have joined anti-poverty and consumer groups in opposing SB 5899. Why? Because payday loans don’t solve a financial crisis, they create one. Borrowers often must take a second loan to pay off the first, and so on, leading to a spiral of debt that sucks them dry.

It also harms the economy.

A 2013 study by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that the national burden of repaying payday loans in 2011 led to $774 million in lost consumer spending, the loss of more than 14,000 jobs, and an increase in Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The study found that each dollar of interest paid to payday lenders subtracted $1.94 from the economy due to reduced household spending, while only adding $1.70 to payday lending establishments. It’s an anti-multiplier effect. For every dollar of interest paid in payday loan interest, the economy lost a quarter.

Remember last fall’s election, when voters were demanding greater access to short-term high-interest loans? Neither do we.

The 2015 legislative session was supposed to focus on last fall’s big campaign issues: funding basic education and transportation, addressing income inequality, and making sure our tax dollars (and tax incentives) are efficiently spent. How did promoting payday lending get in there again?

It began last fall, all right. But it didn’t come from the public, it came from Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree.

Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times wrote an explosive story last week outing Moneytree as leading the full-court lobbying press to relax payday lending laws. He reports that the effort began last fall when the company and its executives, who traditionally direct their political contributions to Republicans, “sought to strengthen ties with Democrats, boosting donations to Democratic legislator campaigns in last fall’s elections, and quietly employing a well-connected Seattle public-affairs firm that includes the political fundraiser for Gov. Jay Inslee and other top Democrats.”

On Tuesday, a heroic effort was made by most of the Senate’s Democratic minority caucus to stop SB 5899 or amend it to lower the interest and fees payday lenders can charge. But those efforts were thwarted, and after a passionate debate that lasted more than two hours, the bill passed the Senate, 30-18, with Democratic Sens. Brian Hatfield, Steve Hobbs, Karen Keiser, Marko Liias, and Kevin Ranker joining all Republicans (except Sen. Kirk Pearson) in voting “yes.”

Now it heads over to the House, where its companion bill died without a floor vote after Wednesday’s cutoff deadline. The question is, given Moneytree’s… outreach… to Democrats, will it again die in their House? Will it again become embroiled in end-game budget negotiations to try to force its passage?

We hope not.

We agree with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who sent a letter to legislators opposing the bill, saying our state’s payday-lending system includes important safeguards for consumers “and does not need to be overhauled.”

We also agree with The (Tacoma) News Tribune, which wrote that payday lenders’ efforts to pass SB 5899 “have nothing to do with helping poor people and everything to do with their bottom line. Lawmakers should see this legislation for what it is and reject it. If it passes, Gov. Jay Inslee should veto it.”

The Stand is the news service of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.


Global Cash Access Reports 2014 Fourth Quarter Revenue of $152.1 Million and Adjusted EBITDA of $24.0 Million

LAS VEGAS, March 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Cash Access Holdings, Inc. (GCA) (“GCA” or the “Company”) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2014. On December 19, 2014, GCA completed the acquisition of Multimedia Games Holding Company, Inc. (“Multimedia Games”), creating a diversified organization dedicated to providing integrated payments solutions, video and mechanical reel gaming content and technology solutions, as well as compliance and efficiency software. Unless otherwise noted, all results for the 2014 fourth quarter and full year referenced below include 13 days of operations from Multimedia Games.

Three Months Ended Three Months Ended
December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013
(in millions, except for per share amounts)

Revenue $152.1 $140.5

Operating income (1) $0.4 $11.2

Net (Loss) Income (1) ($5.7) $5.7

Net (Loss) Income per Diluted Share (1) ($0.09) $0.08

Diluted Shares Outstanding 66.4 67.4

Adjusted EBITDA (2) $24.0 $17.1

Cash Earnings (3) $15.6 $13.0

Cash Earnings Per Share (“Cash EPS”) (4) $0.23 $0.19

(1) Operating income, Net Loss and Net Loss per Diluted Share for the three months ended December 31, 2014 includes $10.0 million of acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments and a $3.1 million asset impairment charge. (2) Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating income plus depreciation and amortization, non-cash compensation, asset impairment charge, accretion of contract rights, acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments. (3) Cash Earnings is defined as net income plus non-cash compensation, deferred income tax, amortization, asset impairment charge, accretion of contract rights, acquisition costs, purchase accounting adjustments and write-off of deferred loan fees. (4) Cash Earnings Per Share (“Cash EPS”) is defined as Cash Earnings divided by the weighted average number of diluted shares of common stock outstanding.

Ram V. Chary, President and Chief Executive Officer of GCA, commented, “The completion of the acquisition of Multimedia Games in December has resulted in the combination of differentiated, industry-leading solutions offered by both GCA and Multimedia Games, which enables us to present a unique new value proposition to casino operators. We intend to leverage our slot gaming entertainment, payments and compliance solutions to bring enhanced offerings to market that provide excellent returns on our customers’ capital investments in gaming technology. In the short time since acquiring Multimedia Games, we have made measurable progress on integrating our two organizations and are tracking to our objectives.”

Fourth Quarter 2014 Results Overview (includes 13 days of operations of Multimedia Games)

Revenues increased $11.6 million, or 8% compared to the same period last year, to $152.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. Fourth quarter 2014 revenue includes $7.4 million from Multimedia Games and a $4.2 million, or 3%, increase in legacy GCA revenue. Operating income, inclusive of a $9.7 million impact for acquisition costs, $0.3 million for purchase accounting adjustments, and an asset impairment charge of $3.1 million, was $0.4 million in the 2014 fourth quarter compared to operating income of $11.2 million for the 2013 fourth quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased $6.9 million, or 40%, to $24.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $17.1 million in the same period last year. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA includes $4.0 million from Multimedia Games.

GCA recorded a loss from operations before income tax provision of $7.5 million compared to income from operations before income tax provision of $9.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. Diluted loss per share from continuing operations was $0.09 compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.08 for the 2013 fourth quarter. Cash EPS increased to $0.23 for the fourth quarter of 2014 from Cash EPS of $0.19 in the prior-year period. Excluding the operations of Multimedia Games, Cash EPS was $0.24 for the quarter.

Randy Taylor, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, commented, “Since completing our acquisition of Multimedia Games less than three months ago, we have been focused on our integration initiatives. As of December 31, 2014, we have eliminated approximately $10.9 million on an annual run rate basis from our overall cost structure and we expect to achieve our targeted annual run rate of $24 million in cost synergies by calendar year end. As part of our integration plans, later this year we intend to consolidate all of our manufacturing operations which will significantly enhance manufacturing efficiencies and reduce costs. Looking forward, our plan continues to focus on the deployment of cash to reduce leverage.”

Multimedia Games Full Quarter Comparative Results

The information set forth in the table below presents standalone historical data for Multimedia Games related to the three months ended December 31, 2014 (inclusive of the 79 days prior to the acquisition by GCA on December 19, 2014) and December 31, 2013. The information set forth in the table below should be read in conjunction with the historical financial statements of Multimedia Games that are incorporated by reference in the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K/A filed with the SEC on February 27, 2015.

Three Months Ended Three Months Ended
December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013
(in millions, except for unit amounts and prices)

Revenue $48.0 $59.2

Operating (loss) income (1) ($7.4) $15.0

Adjusted EBITDA (2) $22.8 $29.2

Units Sold (3) 537 1,375

Average Sales Price (ASP) $16,318 $17,366 Domestic Participation Installed Units:(4)

Average 13,157 12,520 Quarter End 13,287 12,657

(1) Operating (loss) income for the three months ended December 31, 2014 includes $13.4 million of acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments. (2) Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating income plus depreciation and amortization, non-cash compensation, accretion of contract rights, acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments. (3) Unit sales in the three month period ended December 31, 2013, included the sale of 499 units to a single customer in Alabama, of which 221 units were previously on a revenue share arrangement. (4) The installed base (quarter-end) and installed base (average) for the three months ended December 31, 2014, reflect the temporary removal from the installed base of 123 units at a customer’s facility in Oklahoma as the facility is undergoing a renovation. The units were initially removed from the installed base on October 1, 2014.

On a pro-forma basis, as if the acquisition of Multimedia Games was completed on January 1, 2014, the combined company would have reported full year 2014 revenue of $792.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $186.9 million and 2014 fourth quarter revenue of $192.7 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $42.7 million.

2015 Outlook

Reflecting the current operating and competitive environment, GCA estimates Adjusted EBITDA of between $218 million and $228 million in 2015 based on following key assumptions:

Single digit revenue growth in our Payments business; Double-digit revenue growth in our Games business; Double-digit increase in research and development costs related to the Games business; Depreciation and amortization of $130 million to $135 million driven by our purchase price allocation for Multimedia Games, which significantly increased amortizable intangible assets; Cap-ex in the range of $60 million to $70 million, including contract rights; and, Interest expense of approximately $95 million exclusive of amortization of debt issuance costs.

Investor Conference Call and Webcast

The Company will host an investor conference call to discuss its fourth quarter and full year 2014 results today at 5:00 p.m. ET. The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing (888) 656-7430 or for international callers by dialing (913) 981-5582. A replay will be available at 8:00 p.m. ET and can be accessed by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517 for international callers; the pin number is 9117092. The replay will be available until March 17, 2015. The call will be webcast live from the Company’s website at under the Investor Relations section.

Non-GAAP Financial Information

In order to enhance investor understanding of the underlying trends in our business and to provide for better comparability between periods in different years, we are providing in this press release EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Cash Earnings and Cash EPS on a supplemental basis. We define EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; Adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA adjusted for non-cash compensation expense, asset impairment charge, accretion of contract rights, acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments; Cash Earnings as net income plus non-cash compensation, deferred income tax, amortization, asset impairment charge, accretion of contract rights, acquisition costs, purchase accounting adjustments and write-off of deferred loan fees; and Cash EPS as Cash Earnings divided by our diluted weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding. We present Adjusted EBITDA and Cash EPS as we use this information to manage our business and consider these measures to be supplemental to our operating performance. We also make certain compensation decisions based, in part, on our operating performance, as measured by Adjusted EBITDA; and our credit facility, senior secured notes and senior unsecured notes require us to comply with a consolidated secured leverage ratio that include performance metrics substantially similar to Adjusted EBITDA. Reconciliations between GAAP measures and non-GAAP measures and between actual results and adjusted results are provided at the end of this press release. EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Cash Earnings and Cash EPS are not measures of financial performance under United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”). Accordingly, they should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for, and should be read in conjunction with, our net income, operating income, basic or diluted earnings per share or cash flow data prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements included in this press release, other than statements that are purely historical, are forward-looking statements. Words such as “believes,” “intends,” “expects,” “plan,” “estimate” and similar expressions also identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, without limitation, our estimates of 2015 Adjusted EBITDA and the assumptions and factors upon which it is based.

These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or assumed, including but not limited to the following: our ability to replace revenue associated with terminated contracts; margin degradation from contract renewals; our ability to introduce new products and services; our ability to execute on mergers, acquisitions and/or strategic alliances, including our ability to integrate Multimedia Games; gaming establishment and patron preferences; our ability to successfully complete the conversion of our third-party processor; our ability to comply with the Europay, MasterCard and Visa global standard for cards equipped with computer chips (“EMV”); national and international economic conditions; changes in gaming regulatory, card association and statutory requirements; regulatory and licensing difficulties; competitive pressures; operational limitations; gaming market contraction; changes to tax laws; uncertainty of litigation outcomes; interest rate fluctuations; inaccuracies in underlying operating assumptions; unanticipated expenses or capital needs; technological obsolescence; and employee turnover. If any of these assumptions prove to be incorrect, the results contemplated by the forward-looking statements regarding our future results of operations are unlikely to be realized.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are subject to additional risks and uncertainties set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, our Annual Report filed on Form 10-K on March 11, 2014, and subsequent periodic reports and are based on information available to us on the date hereof. We do not intend, and assume no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

About GCA

GCA is dedicated to providing integrated gaming payments solutions, video and mechanical reel gaming content and technology solutions, as well as compliance and efficiency software. The Company’s Payments business provides: (a) access to cash at gaming facilities via Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) cash withdrawals, credit card cash access transactions, point-of-sale (“POS”) debit card transactions, and check verification and warranty services; (b) fully integrated gaming industry kiosks that provide cash access and related services; (c) products and services that improve credit decision making, automate cashier operations and enhance patron marketing activities for gaming establishments; (d) compliance, audit and data solutions; and, (e) online payment processing solutions for gaming operators in States that offer intra-state, Internet-based gaming and lottery activities. The Company’s Games business, under the Multimedia Games brand, provides: (a) comprehensive content, electronic gaming units and systems for Native American and commercial casinos, including the award-winning TournEvent(R) slot tournament solution; and, (b) the central determinant system for the video lottery terminals (“VLTs”) installed at racetracks in the State of New York. More information is available at GCA’s website at

(In thousands, except earnings per share amounts)

Year Ended December 31,
2014 2013 2012

Revenues $ 593,053 $ 582,444 $ 584,486

Costs and expenses

Cost of revenues (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) 440,071 439,794 436,059 Operating expenses 95,452 76,562 75,806 Research and Development 804 — — Depreciation 8,745 7,350 6,843 Amortization 14,199 9,588 9,796

Total costs and expenses 559,271 533,294 528,504

Operating income 33,782 49,150 55,982

Other expenses

Interest expense, net of interest income 10,756 10,265 15,519 Loss on extinguishment of debt 2,725 — —

Total other expenses 13,481 10,265 15,519

Income from operations before tax 20,301 38,885 40,463

Income tax provision 8,161 14,487 14,774

Net income 12,140 24,398 25,689

Foreign currency translation (1,258) 269 218

Comprehensive income $ 10,882 $ 24,667 $ 25,907

Earnings per share

Basic $ 0.18 $ 0.37 $ 0.39 Diluted $ 0.18 $ 0.36 $ 0.38

Weighted average common shares outstanding

Basic 65,780 66,014 65,933 Diluted 66,863 67,205 67,337

(In thousands)

Year Ended December 31, Selected Balance Sheet Information: 2014 2013 Current assets

Cash and cash equivalents
$ 89,095 $ 114,254 Settlement receivables
43,288 38,265

Current liabilities

Settlement liabilities
119,157 145,022 Current portion of long-term debt
10,000 1,030

Non-current liabilities

Long-term debt, less current portion and original issue discount
1,178,787 101,970

Total stockholders’ equity 231,473 218,604

Year Ended December 31, Selected Cash Flows Information: 2014 2013 2012
Cash flows from investing activities

Acquisitions, net of cash acquired $ (1,072,819) $ — $ — Capital expenditures (18,021) (13,900) (12,786)

Cash flows from financing activities

Proceeds from long-term debt 1,200,000 — —


Three months ended December 31, Twelve months ended December 31,
December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013 December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013 Reconciliation of net income to cash earnings (amounts in thousands, except earnings per share amounts)

Net (loss) income $ (5,749) $ 5,704 $ 12,140 $ 24,398 Equity compensation expense 1,343 1,376 8,876 5,078 Deferred income tax (1,941) 3,308 6,613 13,643 Amortization 5,723 2,614 14,199 9,588 Asset Impairment 3,129 — 3,129 — Accretion of contract rights 301 — 301 — Acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments 10,041 — 10,995 — Write-off of deferred loan fees 2,725 — 2,725 —

Cash earnings $ 15,572 $ 13,002 $ 58,978 $ 52,707

Diluted weighted average number of common shares outstanding 66,397 67,394 66,863 67,205

Diluted cash earnings per share (“Cash EPS”) $ 0.23 $ 0.19 $ 0.88 $ 0.78

Reconciliation of operating income to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

Operating income $ 376 $ 11,196 $ 33,782 $ 49,150 Plus: depreciation and amortization 8,766 4,543 22,944 16,938

EBITDA $ 9,142 $ 15,739 $ 56,726 $ 66,088
Equity compensation expense 1,343 1,376 8,876 5,078 Asset Impairment 3,129 — 3,129 — Accretion of contract rights 301 — 301 — Acquisition costs and purchase accounting adjustments 10,041 — 10,995 —

Adjusted EBITDA $ 23,956 $ 17,115 $ 80,027 $ 71,166


2015 Guidance Range1
Low High

Reconciliation of projected operating income to projected EBITDA and projected Adjusted EBITDA

Projected operating income $ 79,800 $ 89,800 Plus: projected depreciation and projected amortization 133,700 133,700

Projected EBITDA $ 213,500 $ 223,500

Projected equity compensation expense 9,200 9,200 Projected accretion of contract rights 9,700 9,700 Projected non-recurring litigation settlement (14,400) (14,400)

Projected Adjusted EBITDA $ 218,000 $ 228,000


1. All figures presented are projected estimates for the year ending December 31, 2015.

(unaudited for other data)
(amounts in thousands, unless otherwise noted)

For the Year Ended December 31,
2014 2013 2012


Cash advance $ 233,950 $ 231,134 $ 227,517 ATM 281,469 286,049 303,159 Check services 21,118 21,611 25,401 Games 7,406 — — Other 49,110 43,650 28,409 Corporate — — — Total revenues $ 593,053 $ 582,444 $ 584,486

Operating income

Cash advance $ 63,565 $ 60,977 $ 63,785 ATM 24,934 25,347 32,333 Check services 10,812 12,365 13,930 Games 2,151 — — Other 22,107 19,631 14,457 Corporate (89,787) (69,170) (68,523) Total operating income $ 33,782 $ 49,150 $ 55,982

For the Year Ended December 31,
2014 2013 2012

Other data

Aggregate dollar amount processed (in billions)

Cash advance $ 5.0 $ 4.9 $ 4.8 ATM $ 12.7 $ 12.9 $ 13.6 Check warranty $ 1.1 $ 1.1 $ 1.2 Number of transactions completed (in millions)

Cash advance 8.8 8.8 9.0 ATM 65.0 66.2 72.3 Check warranty 3.6 3.7 4.3 View photo.FinanceInvestment & Company InformationOperating income Contact: Investor Relations
(702) 262-5068
Richard Land, James Leahy
212-835-8500 or

Refinancing your mortgage to pay down a pricey business loan

Dear Your Business Credit,
We have a business loan that was taken out when our business was doing well. With the new economy, our business is doing about a fourth of what it was. The loan is at $40,000 and a high interest rate. We have refinanced our home at a much lower interest rate and have taken out cash to clear our business debt and credit cards. Since our bank has made a lot of dollars on our business loan, I would like to know how to reduce what we pay every month with a cash payout. Is this a possibility? Thanks. — Jim

Dear Jim,
It’s smart to do your homework in a situation like this.

When I ran your question past Jeffrey M. Stibel, chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility, which issues credit scores for businesses, he said that if you made a personal guarantee on the loan, then using your home equity line to pay down the business line could make sense. “Home equity lines are relatively affordable, lower risk since there is no personal guarantee, and — in this particular case — may be a good way to subsidize the business while it gets back on solid footing,” he said.

It could also help you avert the damage to your personal credit that you could potentially suffer if you can’t pay the business loan. “Business credit that is backed personally risks a personal bankruptcy,” he says.

Nat Wasserstein, a crisis manager with Lindenwood Associates in Upper Nyack, NewYork, and New York City, also agreed that refinancing your debt using your home equity line of credit could give you some breathing room. However, he says there’s a downside to tapping your home equity: “You’ll encumber personal assets for business,” he says. What happens if your business fails? You may end up with no way to bring in income and find yourself falling behind on your mortgage, which puts your house at risk.

I assume that when you say your business is doing a fourth of what it was, you are referring to sales. If that’s the case, you may have what Wasserstein calls an “upside down” balance sheet. You could have too much debt relative to the sales you’re taking in. That’s because you took out the loan at a time when you had four times more revenue.

In a scenario like this, Wasserstein recommends that entrepreneurs look for ways to get rid of the debt entirely and not just stretch it out. In an ideal scenario, you’d figure out a way to bring in a lot more money, so you could retire the loan by paying it off. That might mean coming up with a new product or service more profitable than what you are selling now — something you may need to do, anyway, if sales are a quarter of what they once were. Many businesses have had to reinvent themselves in a more digital and global economy, and brainstorming with your business advisors and mentors or a few fellow entrepreneurs that you trust could pay off. Taking a second job for a while may also help you build momentum in paying down the loan.

If those full-payback options are not possible, it’s worth considering another option: a “workout” or restructuring of the debt with your bank. Essentially, you need to alert the bank that you no longer have enough revenue to support the loan payments. This may enable you to negotiate an arrangement in which the bank forgives part of the debt so you can improve the balance sheet of your business.

Why would a bank do this? A lender would rather that you keep the business open so you can pay back some of the debt than see you go out of business, he explains. If you close your doors, the bank will likely have to liquidate the business, and will probably walk away with less money than if you keep working and make loan payments. “It’s a risk management issue for the bank,” Wasserstein says.

However, this is not easy to orchestrate if it looks like you have some other means to pay the debt. “A bank workout when a business is doing that poorly is unlikely if the individual can afford to pay the loan as is,” says Stibel. Given that the loan is for $40,000 and not, say, $1 million, the bank may not buy an argument that you can’t come up with the money somehow.

Anyone looking to do a workout would need a turnaround professional to make a strong financial case to the bank that you cannot generate the necessary sales to pay down the loan, Wasserstein says. Once the bank has that information, it is under an obligation to write down the loan, he says. “They have no choice,” he says. “They can’t lie to bank regulators when evidence is being presented to them that a loan is no good.” Once a bank writes down the loan, it is a lot easier to forgive, he says.

If you want to go this route, don’t just walk into your bank and try to negotiate the terms yourself. This is a complex negotiation, and you need a financial professional with experience in restructuring a business on your side, says Wasserstein.

As in many areas of financial services, some professionals in this area are more reputable than others. He suggests talking to a well-respected attorney in your community who handles business bankruptcies to see if he or she can recommend a good turnaround professional. The Turnaround Management Association, a nonprofit group with more than 9,000 members, is another potential source.

Having interviewed several entrepreneurs who have gone through a workout with a bank over the years, I can tell you that it was extremely stressful for many of them. The bank may play hardball. But in some cases, it may be worth enduring if you emerge with a much lower debt burden and can save your business. Good luck — and please check back in and let me know how you’re doing.

See related: Finding a free bankruptcy lawyer for business, consumer debt, If your company fails, your credit card rate can rise, Repayment, settlement, bankruptcy: Facing debt from failed business

Refinancing your mortgage to pay down a pricey business loanNo 2-in-1 card for tax-exempt organizationsDangers of putting business expenses on a personal cardFinanceDebt […]

Police: "Fit" thief sported surgical mask, scrubs to rob business


Houston police are asking for the public’s help to find a man they say donned a surgical mask, scrubs and a black baseball cap to rob a cash loan business at gunpoint in southwest Houston last December.

Police say the man walked into a cash loan business in the 8300 block of W. Bellfort around 11:45am on December 30, 2014, and held the clerk at gunpoint.

He escaped with money from the register.

Police say the suspect is a black male in his early 20’s. He approximately 5’6″-5’8″ tall and has a “fit” build.

If you have any information about this crime, or any other felony crime, please call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477). You may be eligible for a cash reward.

Map My News […]

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Tailor home loan rates

FALLING interest rates are causing a surge of activity as Mount Isa area residents are looking for ways to save more money on their home loan, says Yellow Brick Road Mount Isa branch principal Steve Williams.

The Reserve Bank kept the cash rate on hold in March following a significant rate cut in February, dropping the rate to a historic low of 2.25 per cent.

Mr Williams said his branch was urging Mount Isa residents to look beyond the cuts and pay attention to where their rate fitted in comparison to the rest of the market. ‘‘Getting an interest rate that’s among the most competitive on the market is one of the best ways to make your financial goals and dreams a reality.”

Steve Williams’ top 10 tips to spend less on your loan and more on your dreams

1. Have a plan: You should plan to own your home as fast as possible, and therefore pay as little interest as possible.

2. Pay attention to the rate: Stay up to date with what the market value is on rates. Consider a $450,000 loan over 25 years. If you had a 4.95 per cent mortgage and refinanced at 4.39 per cent – your repayments would decrease by $147 a month, saving you over $55,000 in interest over the life of your loan.

3. Be prepared to refinance: To save on a mortgage, you must be prepared to go to a lender with a lower interest rate than your current one.

4. Understand the loan term: Shorter loan terms usually mean you pay less interest and pay the debt faster. Let’s say you have a $450,000 mortgage at 4.39 per cent, and you opt for a 25-year loan rather than a 30-year: you’d save $68,100 in interest alone.

5. Repayment frequency is key: The higher the frequency of payment, the slower the interest accrues and the faster you pay off the mortgage. If you pay half the monthly repayment amount fortnightly, rather than monthly, or a quarter of the monthly payment weekly, you end up saving the equivalent of an extra month’s payment each year. Consider an average mortgage of around $450,000 and a 30-year term at 4.39 per cent. You’d save around four years and four months off your loan term and more than $60,000 in interest.

6. Put windfalls into your home loan: Tax refunds, Medicare rebates and work bonuses should go into the home loan, cutting interest and speeding repayment.

7.Have the right loan: Ensure your mortgage allows you to put in lump sum amounts. Many fixed rate loans don’t allow this. If you’re offered an offset mortgage that lets you put your income directly into the loan, make sure this suits you.

8.Do it early: Increasing your repayments and putting in lump sums is most effective when you do it early in the term of the loan.

9. Know your fees: The headline repayment figure in your mortgage agreement is not the only number you should look at. Lenders charge different fees, so be cognisant of any incidentals that may not be captured in the comparison rate.

10. Beware of interest only: Don’t select an interest-only loan if you want to repay it quickly. Always opt for principal plus interest. When borrowers ‘‘set and forget’’ their mortgage, they usually pay too much interest and have the debt longer than they should.


The Payday Loan Rule Changes That Only Payday Lenders Want …

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Follow the money: payday lenders gave significant campaign money to legislators who are now trying to undo Washington State’s landmark payday lending reforms.dcwcreations /

Washington State passed some of the strongest payday lending reforms in the nation in 2009. But now a group of lawmakers want to scrap those reforms in favor of a proposal backed by Moneytree, a local payday lender.

The rule changes they’re going after limit the size and frequency of payday loans and provide a free installment plan option to help borrowers who can’t pay back their loan when it’s due.

According to data from the Department of Financial Institutions, these reforms hit payday lenders hard. In fact, before the reforms took effect, payday loans were available at 603 locations across Washington and lenders were making more than $1.3 billion in loans per year. Last year, there were only 173 locations and it was a $331 million industry.

Now, a proposal, sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, and Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, would replace the payday loan system in Washington with a “small consumer installment loan” system that would clear the way for lenders like Moneytree to start offering 6-month to 12-month loans with effective interest rates up to 213 percent.

The proposed law would also increase the maximum size of a loan from $700 to $1,000 and remove the current eight-loan cap, effectively removing the circuit breaker keeping borrowers from getting trapped in a debt cycle.

What’s more, instead of the easy-to-understand fee payday loans we have now, the new loans would have a much more complex fee structure consisting of an amortized 15 percent origination fee, a 7.5 percent monthly maintenance fee, and a 36 percent annual interest rate.

It is incomprehensible, after years of working on payday reforms that finally worked in Washington, that lawmakers would throw out that law and replace it with one created by Moneytree.” says Bruce Neas, an attorney with Columbia Legal Services, a group that provides legal assistance to low-income clients.

Proponents say the new system could save borrowers money. And they’re right, technically, since interest and fees accrue over the life of the loan. However, a loan would need to be paid off in around five weeks or less for that to pencil out—and that seems highly unlikely. In Colorado, which has a similar installment loan product, the average loan is carried for 99 days. What’s more, according the National Consumer Law Center, “loan flipping” in Colorado has led to borrowers averaging 333 days in debt per year, or about 10.9 months.

While numerous consumer advocates have spoken out against the proposal—along with payday loan reform hawks like Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, and even the state’s Attorney General—few have voiced support for it. In fact, in recent committee hearings on the proposal, only four people testified in favor of it:

Dennis Bassford, CEO of Moneytree;

Dennis Schaul, CEO of the payday lending trade organization known as the Consumer Financial Services Association of America;

Rep. Larry Springer, prime House sponsor of the proposal and recipient of $2,850 in campaign contributions from Moneytree executives;

Sen. Marko Liias, prime Senate sponsor of the proposal and recipient of $3,800 in campaign contributions from Moneytree executives.

Springer and Liias aren’t the only state legislators Moneytree executives backed with campaign contributions, though. In the past two years, executives with Moneytree have contributed $95,100 to Washington State Legislature races.

At least 65 percent of the money went to Republicans and the Majority Coalition Caucus. Which is expected, since Republicans have been loyal supporters of Moneytree in the past. When a similar proposal was brought to the Senate floor two years ago, only one Republican voted against it.

More telling is where the remaining money went. Of the $33,150 Moneytree gave to Democrats, $20,500 went to 11 of the 16 Democratic House sponsors of the proposal and $5,700 went to two of the four Democratic Senate sponsors.

Both the Senate and House versions of the proposal have cleared their first major hurdles by moving out of the policy committees. The bills are now up for consideration in their respective chamber’s Rules Committee. The Senate version appears to be the one most likely to move to a floor vote first, since the Republican Majority Coalition Caucus controls the Senate.

Regardless of which bill moves first, payday lenders undoubtedly want to see it happen soon.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established by Congress in response to the Great Recession, is poised to release their initial draft of regulations for payday lenders. Although the agency’s deliberations are private, it is widely believed the rules will crack down on the number and size of loans payday lenders can make.

Those rules may well affect Moneytree and other payday lenders Washington.

In the likely chance they do, payday lenders could see their profits shrink. Unless, that is, Washington scraps its current system in favor of one carefully crafted by payday lenders looking to avoid federal regulators.


A Student Loan Repayment Trick That Can Save You Money

It’s common knowledge you can save money by paying off loans and other debts quickly or ahead of schedule. You can also save money by making monthly payments as planned, if you put in a little extra effort and do the math.

The trick? You can change your repayment period to an extended plan (for example, a 25-year instead of a 10-year repayment period) but continue to pay the amount required to be debt-free within 10 years and request the extra payment go toward the principal balance. The amount you overpay reduces the interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan. Here’s where the extra effort is necessary: You should frequently follow up with your loan servicer and check your statements to make sure the extra payment is applied as you instructed.

Perhaps you’ve heard of this tactic — it’s particularly common among homeowners with mortgages — and wondered if it’s something you could do. A Reddit user recently posted about the strategy, saying, “Am I crazy, or can I actually save money by using the extended payment plan for federal loans?”

Not crazy. It’s a smart plan, you just need to make sure you know what you’re doing.

“That post is completely on target,” said Mitch Weiss, a finance professor at the University of Hartford. He frequently writes about student loan issues for and has written about this strategy as a good way to save money but also give yourself flexibility. “You can always fall back on that lower payment when you need it. Managing your cash flow is in your hands, then.”

In the post, the redditor provided a good example. He pays $636 each month on a 10-year repayment plan, and the required monthly payment would drop to $333 a month for a 25-year repayment plan. By continuing to pay $636 a month, the extra money would go toward the principal balance on the loan with the highest interest rate (he checked with his loan servicer, and that’s its policy — you’ll want to check with your own servicer to confirm if this is its policy as well). In the event he can’t afford the $636 some months, he can fall back on the lower required payment, rather than having to go the servicer and explain the hardship and try and work something out (or make a partial payment and get hit with late fees or skip a payment and get a delinquency on his credit report).

The redditor said he used a loan calculator and found that he’d pay off his debt two months faster and save more than $1,000 in interest that the loan would have accrued under the 10-year plan.

“Am I missing something here, or is this a no-risk way of saving $1,100 and 2 months? I mean it gives emergency flexibility AND saves me money?” he wrote.

As dozens of people replied (and Weiss confirmed), the math is correct, but when it comes to student loans, you need to be careful.

“It’s all about execution, and the way that you ensure execution is that you have your directions in writing and you follow up,” Weiss said. Tell your servicer exactly what you want them to do with that extra payment (put it toward the principal balance, and if there are multiple loans, the principal balance of the loan with the highest rate), and make sure they do it. Otherwise, they may take the extra payment as a future payment and just not charge you again until the prepaid amount runs out.

Another Reddit commenter said it took emailing his or her servicer every 48 hours for almost two months to make sure the servicer applied the payment as instructed. Weiss said he’s heard and read about that complaint a lot.

“It was a very constructive string of comments,” Weiss said. “I think this demonstrates how serious an issue this is for so many people and how so many people are taking this so seriously.”

As you pay down your student loans (no matter your strategy), it can help to keep an eye on your credit reports for any inaccuracies or problems that could drag down your credit score. You can get a free credit report summary, updated every 30 days on, to track your progress as you get out of debt.

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Free Loan-Repayment Processing Helps Microfinance Nonprofit Grameen America Increase Macro Impact on Women

SUNNYVALE, CA and LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwired – March 04, 2015) – Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization that helps women in poverty start and expand small businesses, and PayNearMe, the electronic cash transaction network, today announced implementation of PayNearMe as a free new loan repayment option for Grameen America’s borrowers.

After a successful launch in Charlotte, North Carolina, the organization will now roll out the electronic cash transaction network in branches across the country beginning with Oakland, California and Brooklyn, New York.

Many of Grameen’s 43,000 members use their loans to start sole-proprietor businesses such as jewelry resale and nail design, which allows them to support their families while also giving them a flexible schedule to take care of their children. The majority of these businesses operate in cash. Using PayNearMe, borrowers are able to repay their loans using cash at their local 7-Eleven store.

“This innovative partnership is a remarkable advancement for our program that benefits our borrowers and staff alike,” said Andrea Jung, Grameen America’s president and CEO. “PayNearMe has made the payment collection process easier and more efficient. PayNearMe’s cutting-edge technology allows us to expand opportunities and extend access to financial services to thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs from New York to California.”

By eliminating the need to count, collect and deposit cash repayments, Grameen staff gain 40 minutes each day that they can spend with borrowers, providing financial education and facilitating problem-solving for the borrowers’ businesses. Using PayNearMe streamlines Grameen’s accounting processes while enhancing financial controls and efficiencies, which will allow the organization to build capacity to reach 150,000 women by 2018.

“We no longer stress about the amount of cash we are carrying to the bank, and the borrowers feel safer not having to congregate in one place every week with large chunks of cash,” said Ursula Lalone, Grameen’s Charlotte, North Carolina center manager. “With PayNearMe, we don’t have to count and collect cash. It’s a huge advantage to focus our meetings on helping the women invest, save and grow their businesses.”

Most of the 7,800 participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it easy and convenient for borrowers with even the most complex schedules to stay on top of their loan repayments.

To make a payment, a borrower simply walks into the 7-Eleven, hands the cashier their PayNearMe payment code and the cash payment. Additionally, if they choose to pick up some groceries while they are in the store, they can pay for everything in one easy transaction.

“Grameen America is living proof that the term ‘micro’ is relative,” said Danny Shader, PayNearMe’s founder and CEO. “A microloan to one person can make a macro impact on another. We’re proud to support Grameen’s work by offering this payment option at no cost to the borrowers. Everyone should have a right to pay the way they are paid, without having to jump through hoops.”

About PayNearMe
PayNearMe is the electronic cash transaction network that enables consumers to pay rent and utility bills, repay loans, buy tickets, make online purchases and do much more with cash. Consumers can conveniently make payments on their own schedule and in their own neighborhood in less than a minute at one of over 17,000 trusted locations, including 7-Eleven® and Family Dollar® stores across the United States. For more information, please visit:

About Grameen America
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. Grameen America offers microloans, training and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested over $230 million in more than 43,000 women. Started in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded across New York City and in Indianapolis, IN, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles, CA, San Jose, CA, Austin, TX, Union City, NJ, San Juan, PR and Boston, MA. Learn more at

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Sunesis Announces Amendment to Loan Agreement

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SNSS) today announced the signing of an amendment to its loan and security agreement (the “Loan Agreement”) with Oxford Finance LLC, Silicon Valley Bank, and Horizon Technology Finance Corporation (collectively, “the Lenders”).

The amendment, effective February 27, 2015, creates an interest-only period from March 1, 2015 through February 1, 2016 on the remainder of Sunesis’ loan balance. Principal payments will resume March 1, 2016. In consideration for the amendment, Sunesis will issue the Lenders warrants to purchase an aggregate of 61,467 shares of Sunesis common stock at an exercise price of $2.22 per share. Additionally, the final payment will be deferred by 12 months to the fourth quarter of 2016, and will be increased from 3.75% to 4.65% of the total loan amount, a difference of $225,000. Sunesis entered into the $25 million Loan Agreement with the Lenders in October 2011.

“This amendment to our loan facility provides us with additional financial flexibility to execute our corporate strategy, including the potential submission in 2015 of U.S. and European filings for regulatory approval of vosaroxin in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia,” said Eric Bjerkholt, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Sunesis. “We believe that this loan amendment, together with our current cash position, provide us with the resources to fund operations through the first quarter of 2016.”

About Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

Sunesis is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of new oncology therapeutics for the potential treatment of solid and hematologic cancers. Sunesis has built a highly experienced cancer drug development organization committed to advancing its lead product candidate, vosaroxin, in multiple indications to improve the lives of people with cancer.

For additional information on Sunesis, please visit

SUNESIS and the logos are trademarks of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to Sunesis’ overall strategy, the preliminary analysis, assessment and conclusions of the results of the VALOR trial and Sunesis’ other clinical trials, the efficacy and commercial potential of vosaroxin, and the sufficiency of Sunesis’ cash resources and the use of the proceeds under the loan facility with Oxford Finance LLC, Horizon Technology Finance Corporation and Silicon Valley Bank. Words such as “believe,” “expect,” “potential,” “provide,” “through,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Sunesis’ current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Sunesis’ actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, risks related to Sunesis’ need for substantial additional funding to complete the development and commercialization of QINPREZO, risks related to Sunesis’ ability to raise the capital that it believes to be accessible and is required to fully finance the development and commercialization of QINPREZO, the risk that Sunesis’ development activities for QINPREZO could be otherwise halted or significantly delayed for various reasons, the risk that Sunesis’ clinical studies for QINPREZO may not demonstrate safety or efficacy or lead to regulatory approval, the risk that data to date and trends may not be predictive of future data or results, risks related to the conduct of Sunesis’ clinical trials, and the risk that Sunesis’ clinical studies for vosaroxin may not lead to regulatory approval. These and other risk factors are discussed under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in Sunesis’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, and Sunesis’ other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Sunesis’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014. Sunesis expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Sunesis’ expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.

View photo.FinanceBusinessSunesis Pharmaceuticals Contact: Investor and Media Inquiries:
David Pitts
Argot Partners
Eric Bjerkholt
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Inc.