Borrowing – Fast Paths http://fastpaths.com/ Thu, 30 Sep 2021 12:27:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://fastpaths.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default.png Borrowing – Fast Paths http://fastpaths.com/ 32 32 How To Work With A Student Loan Ombudsman https://fastpaths.com/how-to-work-with-a-student-loan-ombudsman/ https://fastpaths.com/how-to-work-with-a-student-loan-ombudsman/#respond Wed, 19 May 2021 06:22:56 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/?p=632 Contacting your student loan lender is usually the first step in resolving an issue. But what if it gets you nowhere? Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received about 5,800 student loan complaints, and 65% of them related to dealing with lenders or loan servicers. Sometimes you need to call in some extra help. […]]]>

Contacting your student loan lender is usually the first step in resolving an issue. But what if it gets you nowhere? Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received about 5,800 student loan complaints, and 65% of them related to dealing with lenders or loan servicers.

Sometimes you need to call in some extra help. That’s where a student loan ombudsman comes in. Here’s what they do and how they can help you handle your loan issues.

What Is a Student Loan Ombudsman?

At Oak Park Financial a student loan ombudsman is an independent and confidential resource that helps you with student loans and sometimes federal financial aid concerns.

The ombudsman can help you:

• Resolve disputes. If you’re struggling with student loan balances, interest rates and payments or Pell Grant disbursements, you can reach out to the ombudsman for help. They can explain how interest rates and charges work and answer questions about how student loans work.

• Review collections. If you’ve missed payments for long enough, your loan might be in default. If your original loan servicer has sold or assigned your loan to a collections agency, an ombudsman can detail what that means for your repayment plan.

• Explain repayment options. If you’re looking into consolidation, deferment, forbearance, cancellation or discharge, an ombudsman can look over your loans to see what you’re eligible for.

While an ombudsman serves as an informal resource for federal aid and loan help, they shouldn’t be your first stop. The ombudsman should be one of your last stops—after your student loan servicer or lender—when it comes to handling your loans.

Types of Student Loan Ombudsmen

There isn’t one ombudsman that rules them all. There are dozens of different types that exist based on your needs. For instance, there are ombudsmen in banks, hospitals, universities and other agencies. For student loan ombudsmen, you may look into:

• Federal Student Aid. The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group handles disputes for federal student aid, including loans and grant programs.

• Private lenders. Many lenders have their own ombudsmen that serve to settle student loan issues. Most banks, credit unions and online lenders should have these departments, but they might not be easily accessible. Do an online search, like “your lender + ombudsman,” to find them.

• State agencies. Some states have their own ombudsperson that serves in a state-level capacity, rather than institutional. Each state classifies them differently, whether it’s within the Department of Consumer Credit Protection or Office of Financial Services. Since there’s no universal state agency that houses the student loan ombudsman, you might need to do a bit of digging. You may also have luck looking into student loan ombudsman services through your state Attorney General’s office.

• Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB has its own private student loan ombudsman. Through its “Submit a Complaint” service, the CFPB handles both federal and private student loan disputes.

How to Work With an Ombudsman on a Student Loan Complaint

Reaching out to an ombudsman isn’t your first step—it’s usually one of your last. You can expect the process to go something like this:

1. Get Your Records in Order

The ombudsman is going to ask you questions about your account information and dispute. Make sure you have detailed records to share with the ombudsman before you get started. This will save you a lot of time when the process starts. This might also be the point where you realize you’re not ready to reach out to an ombudsperson yet.

2. Keep Detailed Accounts

Take notes of every interaction with your loan servicer, ombudsman or anyone else related to your student loans, including the time, date, customer representative’s name and the nature of your interaction. Good records will only help your case. Make sure your messaging is consistent. If your story changes, you might not get your problem resolved the way you hope to.

3. Complete Necessary Forms

Depending on your needs, each ombudsman might have a different process for filing disputes and complaints. For instance, before you file with the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group, there’s a checklist to complete. It outlines your dispute, what you’ve done to resolve the problem, your evidence and any contact you’ve made with your servicer.

This form helps you determine if you’re ready to contact the ombudsman or you need a little more time to work it out with your lender.

4. Stay Updated

If you’ve submitted a complaint or dispute to an ombudsman, they’ll be able to tell you how to work through your issue going forward. Sometimes it gets resolved on a phone call. Sometimes they’ll provide the next steps. Depending on your needs, make sure to stay in communication until the dispute is resolved.

What to Expect When Seeking Outside Help with Student Loan Issues

Reaching out to your lender to problem-solve is a great first step, but that doesn’t mean your issue will get fixed right away, or at all.

An ombudsman is a good neutral resource for fixing your student loan concerns. But that doesn’t mean your concerns will get resolved. Ombudspeople don’t have the capacity to process loan changes or requests for deferment, forbearance or forgiveness. All those are handled through your loan servicer. An ombudsman isn’t your advocate; they don’t work for you. They work for a fair and just process.

But they will help you sort out loan discrepancies and help you find other resources for your student loan problems. While they can’t enroll you in a new repayment plan, they can point you in the right direction of how to make those changes. Sometimes, it may seem like your lender does not have your best interest in mind. Talking with an ombudsman gives you an independent way to figure out your student loan options.

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My boyfriend doesn’t like my kids, and more advice from Dear Prudence. https://fastpaths.com/my-boyfriend-doesnt-like-my-kids-and-more-advice-from-dear-prudence/ https://fastpaths.com/my-boyfriend-doesnt-like-my-kids-and-more-advice-from-dear-prudence/#respond Wed, 19 May 2021 03:52:55 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/?p=488 Dear Prudence is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat. Danny Lavery: More problems in search of a solution today. Let’s chat! Q. My boyfriend doesn’t like my kids: I’m a single mom of two (6 and 8), and my boyfriend of a year and a half opened […]]]>

Dear Prudence is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat.

Danny Lavery: More problems in search of a solution today. Let’s chat!

Q. My boyfriend doesn’t like my kids: I’m a single mom of two (6 and 8), and my boyfriend of a year and a half opened up to me that he thinks I have great kids, but he doesn’t enjoy spending time with them. He’s great with them and does things with us out of love for me. We were about to move in together until he told me this. I’m glad he told me, but now I’m hesitant. Is this normal? If we were to continue, is this a relationship bound for resentment and failure?

A: It may very well be normal to not like someone else’s kids, but I don’t think “normal” is an important framework here. “Is it a good idea to move in with a man who told me he doesn’t like spending time with my kids?” is the question to ask yourself, and it seems pretty clear that the answer is “Hell no.” I’m glad he told you before you moved in together, and I don’t fault him for not liking children, but this should immediately and drastically affect your plans. Don’t move in with him! It will be hard for your kids, because kids are pretty good at intuiting when an adult finds them tolerable at best and doesn’t really want them around. It will be hard for him, living with a couple of kids he doesn’t especially like but who still need to be raised and cared for pretty much 24/7. And it will be hard for you, feeling at odds.

That doesn’t mean you have to break up immediately—or necessarily at all!—or that the time he does spend with your kids is necessarily fraudulent or worthless. Maybe in a few years you’ll be in a different position; maybe you’ll decide this is too serious an incompatibility and end up splitting anyway. But living together is a serious commitment that will affect your kids’ daily lives, and you shouldn’t move ahead with this plan now that you’ve learned this.

How to Get Advice From Prudie:

• Send questions for publication here. (Questions may be edited.)

• Join the live chat Mondays at noon. Submit your questions and comments here before or during the discussion.

• Call the voicemail of the Dear Prudence podcast at 401-371-DEAR (3327) to hear your question answered on a future episode of the show.

Q. Estranged brother wants to un-estrange: Last year, my brother announced to my parents and my sister that he no longer wanted anything to do with any of us. My brother was formally diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder after years of narcotics and alcohol addiction and a suicide attempt. He said his reason for wanting to cut ties is that he is angry with us for making him quit opioids—he was handling them fine. The date he chose to announce his estrangement was the anniversary of our other brother’s death; he died when he was 10 from cancer, and the date is always a tender one for us. It felt clear he chose the date for maximal pain for our parents. Then, a year later, just this week, he sent us all an email saying that he feels like we don’t love him or care about him at all, and wants us all to do family therapy with him.

I love my brother. I wish him only the best, and I’m really glad that the therapy he has been working through has been helpful. However, I have come to realize that I like being estranged from him. He is mean, manipulative, and the things he did to me, my family, and my kids while in his addiction are not things I’m ready to revisit. I’m worried I might say something unkind and I don’t want to hurt him or cause him any setbacks. I replied to his email saying that I’m happy he is doing well, that I love him and I wish him the best, but I’m not interested in going to therapy with him. He responded saying that if I loved him, I would do what he wants, which is family therapy. This feels like the manipulation I’m used to from him, and I don’t want to respond. Am I being cruel? What’s the best way to protect myself without hurting him?

A: There’s an important distinction to be drawn here, I think, between cruelty and noncompliance. You can take your brother’s feelings seriously without committing to doing whatever he wants you to do on demand. “If you don’t commit to going to family therapy with me after we haven’t spoken in a year, it’s an indicator that you don’t really love me” is not a solid foundation for trying to repair your relationship. Nor does it sound like your brother is ready to hear about how his behavior might have affected you in the past, or to treat therapy as a two-way street.

Saying no to his request might feel painful because you wish it were possible to relieve some of his pain, or to relate to one another differently, but it is not cruel to say “I can’t try to rebuild our relationship under these conditions, where you unilaterally decide when and whether to speak to me, then tell me I don’t really love you unless I agree to therapy right away.” That might feel sad, painful, or like a new kind of loss, but it doesn’t rise to the level of cruelty. You’re choosing not to oblige to your brother’s wants because you believe it would likely lead to further alienation and hostility. That strikes me as both a prudent and painful position to take—but keep in mind that the pain already exists. You’re not creating it by saying no; you’re merely acknowledging it’s already there. Avoiding a path where you’re likely to say something hurtful in anger is a good choice, as is refraining from trying to rebuild a relationship with someone you don’t believe is prepared to maintain their own “side of the street,” so to speak.

None of this means you have to resign yourself to never speaking to your brother again; it’s possible that some day in the future, you might reconnect under different conditions. Nor does it mean you have to choose your pain over his, dismiss his experience wholesale, or think of yourself as solely harmed by him and never having caused pain yourself. But wishing him the best and enjoying your own peaceful existence is not cruel, and I think you’re right not to respond, painful though it may feel.

Q. No good deed: Since the pandemic, we’ve been having more items delivered to our home. I know delivery drivers are subject to difficult working conditions, so I created a treat box filled with water and snacks that I set on our porch. I also left a couple cash tips around Christmas when we got a lot of deliveries, some very heavy. We’ve received a couple thank-you notes from drivers, and they use the treat box frequently.

However, our recent meal-service delivery driver wrote “My birthday is 4/24. Happy Saturday! Thanks for the treats.” I feel he’s put us in a very awkward position. If I provide a gift, then I’ll be setting an expectation for other drivers to receive the same. If I do nothing or decline his request, then I fear that I may suddenly start losing packages or receiving damaged items. The note was written on the box in Sharpie, so I can’t pretend I just didn’t see it either. What’s my best course of action here?

A: I think it’s a stretch to assume your driver is going to start “losing” your packages (which would probably jeopardize his own job) if you don’t buy him a birthday present. Everyone who’s participated in your informal arrangement seems to have behaved appropriately for the past year, so you have good reason to think they’ll continue doing so, even if all you do is say “happy birthday” should you happen to run into that particular delivery driver on the 24th.

If you would like to leave something special for him that day, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift, nor do you have to commit to buying birthday presents for everyone who drops a package on your front doorstep. It’s a little strange that he left you a note about his birthday, but it doesn’t place you under a new obligation, and I don’t think you need to take it as a threat. Based on the dynamic you’ve described here, it seems likelier that he simply appreciates your consideration and wants to occasionally leave a friendly note of his own.

Q. Expiration date: I’m currently in the second romantic relationship of my life, and like my first relationship, it has a mutually agreed-upon expiration date. This isn’t due to dysfunction or self-sabotage, but rather a combination of me being something of a planner and the many life changes in one’s early 20s. The arrangement is working really well for both of us—it allows us to treasure the time we have together without making any ill-fated long-term commitments.

However, I’ve noticed that people who aren’t in this relationship get really upset about the idea of expiration dates. It feels like every time I’ve brought it up, people are quick to start suggesting scenarios in which my partner and I don’t have to break up and instead live happily ever after together. I find this really frustrating! Is there anything I can say to assure people this isn’t a tragedy and make them more comfortable with the idea that I can be happy in a relationship that I know won’t last forever?

A: I can appreciate why your friends might feel slightly at a loss, since it’s a little unusual to announce “My partner and I are very happy together, and we’ll be breaking up on Labor Day 2023.” To that end, if you’re bringing it up often or repeatedly, especially to people whose input you’re not interested in hearing, I think it might be best to drop the topic for now and treat it as a “need-to-know” conversation. When you two do eventually break up, and your friends need to know about it, you can discuss it in greater detail then. That doesn’t mean you have to keep completely silent on the subject, of course, nor that you should apologize for having brought it up in the first place, just that it’s probably the easiest way to avoid further discussion. Beyond that, if you want to simultaneously reassure and preempt your friends, go with something like this: “I realize this might sound a little unusual, but we both feel really good about this, and don’t see it as a problem to be solved. I don’t want any suggestions about how we might avoid breaking up in the future, so I’d appreciate it if you stopped offering them.”

Q. Is my boyfriend still in love with his ex? I’ve been with my boyfriend for about two years and things are pretty good. One of the things that has always bothered me, though, is his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. They are like best friends and message each other multiple times a day, every single day. I’m friends with all my exes, so I like that they have a good relationship, but sometimes it seems that they would be better off together. They have way more things in common and “get” each other. I get lost (and bored …) sometimes when he talks about things he’s really into, but I know she’s into the same things and would love to be involved in those conversations. When they got together, they moved way too fast and moved in together almost immediately, and they were both going through depressions and didn’t have a good relationship. But they’ve both changed and grown since then (about three years ago), and maybe if they got together this time, things would be different or better? When I’ve brought this up (in a genuinely curious, not accusatory or insecure, way), my boyfriend insists that they’re not interested in each other that way anymore. But seriously, this guy would drop everything and do pretty much anything she asked him to at any time. His behavior toward me also changes when she’s around. He’s more accommodating to her feelings than mine, and I’ve felt left out sometimes and more like a friend than a girlfriend.

I love the man but I’m not really in love with him. It’s been more of a companionate (yet very fun!) relationship, but I truly think they would be a much better match and think he’s just not being honest with himself or me. I’m wondering if I should ask his best guy friend, who is also really good friends with this woman, if he thinks they’re delaying the inevitable and are meant to be together. What do you think I should do?

A: I think you should probably break up with your boyfriend! I’m not sure what information you might be able to wrest from your boyfriend’s best guy friend that you don’t already have, especially since you’d just be asking for his subjective impression of what he thinks might happen in the future. The salient point in your letter is not whether your boyfriend might ever formally get back together with his ex, but that you’re “not really in love with him.” You also tend to get bored when he talks about his interests and you’re uncomfortable with the way he prioritizes his relationship with his erstwhile ex. Those are excellent reasons to pursue an amicable, friendly breakup, and you don’t need to make sure he “admits” to himself that he really wants to be with her in order for you to move on. Maybe he will end up dating her again someday! Maybe he simply wants to be close friends with her, and his next girlfriend will be fine with their relationship; maybe his next girlfriend will find their relationship irritating and will decide to break up with him over it. Let whoever that next girlfriend may be solve her own problems. You just have to worry about yours. You have sufficient reason to end this relationship right now, not in a fit of pique or because you think he’s a bad person, but because you’ve reached the end of the road and spend a lot of time thinking how much better off he’d be dating someone who isn’t you.

Q. How do I get my parents to recognize my needs? I’m 33, formally unemployed, and living at home for the past four years since I lost my job. I was a history and English teacher until I decided it was no longer financially a good idea, and decided not to pursue it after my contract was non-renewed. I am looking at a career change into something more financially rewarding, and I have started an online 1920s–1970s vintage clothing business. I am responsible for every part of the business, and it is a lot to strategize, plan, and get done.

I am grateful to be able to live at home while I do this, but my parents don’t seem to understand that I have obligations and financial needs. They constantly demand that I do things for them at the last minute, and get angry if I don’t. These are the types of things they could easily ask somebody else to help out with, yet they don’t appear to be making any real effort to do so. Attempts at setting boundaries have led to them verbally attacking me. The kicker is I have a brother who has been living at home since he was 18, and is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoins. But he simply does not seem to get the same verbal attacks when he refuses to do things.

A: The double standard between you and your brother sounds genuinely frustrating, and I don’t wonder that you chafe at your parents’ habit of not discussing their expectations in advance, instead frequently making last-minute requests and getting upset when you’re working on something of your own. But you have relatively little leverage in this situation, and I think your best strategy in the long run will be moving out and getting a place of your own.

To that end, you say that you’ve started an online vintage clothing business in the hopes that it would be more financially rewarding than teaching, but you don’t say whether you’re anywhere near being able to live independently and support yourself on the strength of that income. It’s not clear whether you’ve been working on this business for the last four years or whether it’s a more recent venture, but if it’s not getting you close to being able to schedule a move-out date, it might be time to look for work that will get you there, so you don’t have to spend the next four years in a similar position.

In the meantime, since you won’t be able to move out next week even if you managed to score a full-time job tomorrow, look for ways to make things as easy as possible for yourself. Yes, your brother gets away with things that you can’t—but it seems unlikely that you’re going to be able to convince your parents to start treating him differently after years or even decades, so focus your energy on husbanding your own time rather than trying to intervene in how your parents treat him. If even simple requests like “Can we set aside some time on Sunday to talk about what you need help with this week? That will help me arrange my own work schedule so I’m available when you need me” are met with verbal attacks, it might be that these frequent interruptions are the rent your parents are charging you instead of money. Sometimes paying money ends up being easier in the long run, so at that point, you might want to prioritize finding a job with more reliable income and put your vintage clothing business on hold, or at least demote it to a side gig until you’re in a better place.

Q. Skipping out on a bachelorette weekend: A friend of mine is getting married this fall and asked me to be a bridesmaid. I was ecstatic. I love weddings and I know hers is going to be fun. I got laid off a couple months ago and am having trouble getting approved for unemployment. Money is tight, and I may have to borrow money from my mother to be in the wedding. I’m fine with that—weddings are one of the few things I am willing to spend money on because I love them so much. Normally, I wouldn’t borrow money for something like this, but after this year, I’m willing to do so.

The only problem is, the bride wants a bachelorette weekend on a lake instead of a pub crawl because of COVID. I don’t think I can afford this. What’s more, I really just don’t want to go. I have health issues that leave me tired for most of the day, and I don’t have the energy to do all the activities she wants. Is it appropriate to not do the weekend? I could maybe spend one of the afternoons or evenings there, but I just don’t think I can financially swing an entire weekend.

A: Of course it’s appropriate! Agreeing to be a bridesmaid does not mean you just signed a contract to take out loans on vacations you can’t afford. If a bride wants to go above and beyond the traditional bachelorette party evening and turn it into a full weekend or longer trip, that’s lovely—but she must also be flexible and understanding if not everyone in her bridal party has the time or money to do the same. Just tell her it’s not in your budget. Only offer to come out for one evening if you really think you can do so without coming up short on rent, and have a great time at the wedding.

Q. Re: My boyfriend doesn’t like my kids: Your kids do not deserve this and do not have a say. Don’t push this onto them, please.

A: I think that’s the right perspective here. Moving in with a partner when your kids are that young is a big commitment! If the balance is working right now, where he sees them on occasion and can muster up the energy to be warm/friendly/attentive, then by all means keep seeing each other. But living with kids that young is such an investment in their care and upbringing, and I just don’t think it would be good for them. It probably wouldn’t be much fun for the adults either, but that’s secondary.

Q. Re: Estranged brother wants to un-estrange: Therapist here. I think some way of coming to terms with his destructive behavior (both personally and to his/your family of origin) would be helpful for all of you, but I wouldn’t go to family therapy without a clear indication that he is in individual therapy, has been for a while, and this is something that his therapist thinks is a good idea. The way he chose to announce his estrangement was unnecessarily cruel, and in addition to all of the other work he has to do to acknowledge his responsibility in all of this, he needs to reassure everyone that any shared therapy would not just be a venue for him to continue to be cruel and destructive.

A: I think that’s useful, and I also think that it would still be fine for the letter writer to decide they’d rather have a peaceful distance from their brother, even if he was able to provide that reassurance. But I agree that reappearing after a year and demanding everyone “prove” their love by going to therapy with him right off the bat does not bode well.

Discuss this column on our Facebook page!

Classic Prudie

Q. Complicated family issues: My husband was estranged from his parents for many years. He reached out to them when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. They didn’t have enough time to discuss and resolve their past, but they were at peace with each other when he died. Now my husband’s parents wish to keep in touch with me and my toddler-age son, as he is the only link they have to their only child.

The problem is that my son is not my husband’s biological child. I had an affair, the biological father dumped me upon realizing I was pregnant, and my husband (to cut the complicated story short) decided to raise the baby as his own. He didn’t legally adopt our son—we simply put his name on the birth certificate and that was that—or tell anybody other than our marriage therapist. It was a painful, regretful, and humiliating episode of my life and I do not wish to tell even my own parents. But I feel incredibly guilty whenever my in-laws talk to me about how grateful they are to have a grandchild to remember their son, or make comparisons between my son and my husband when he was at a similar age. I feel like I need to come clean with them before they develop a strong attachment to him. They are already talking about changing their will to include their “grandson.” What should I do?

Now available in your podcast player: the audiobook edition of Danny M. Lavery’s latest book, Something That May Shock and Discredit YouGet it from Slate. 

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Brokerage reports closing more than $ 277 million in land and construction loans last year https://fastpaths.com/brokerage-reports-closing-more-than-277-million-in-land-and-construction-loans-last-year/ https://fastpaths.com/brokerage-reports-closing-more-than-277-million-in-land-and-construction-loans-last-year/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:38:28 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/brokerage-reports-closing-more-than-277-million-in-land-and-construction-loans-last-year/ “At the onset of the pandemic, many lenders took a ‘wait and see’ approach and some cut funding altogether,” the company said. “[But] At the height of the foreclosure, from May to June 2020, Dorr Capital closed more than $ 126 million in deals. Being able to navigate business prudently during this pandemic and uncertain […]]]>

“At the onset of the pandemic, many lenders took a ‘wait and see’ approach and some cut funding altogether,” the company said. “[But] At the height of the foreclosure, from May to June 2020, Dorr Capital closed more than $ 126 million in deals. Being able to navigate business prudently during this pandemic and uncertain economic conditions, Dorr Capital has solidified its position as a reliable, adaptable and results-oriented lender over the past year. “

Commenting on this achievement, Riccardo Plati, Managing Partner of Dorr Capital, said it is “always encouraging when borrowers can see the benefits of well-structured loans that create a ‘win-win’ scenario for borrower and lender. “

Meanwhile, Brian Dorr, chairman of Dorr Capital, said the achievement “pushed us to a new level of execution excellence” amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Our team has lived up to and exceeded expectations during this pandemic,” said Dorr. “We are a results-driven company. Last year we had the opportunity to truly prove that we operate with integrity as a company. “

Looking ahead, Dorr said the company is optimistic that the real estate market will remain strong and the economy will start to recover.

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Safety tops list as jury trials resume in Michigan after coronavirus shutdown https://fastpaths.com/safety-tops-list-as-jury-trials-resume-in-michigan-after-coronavirus-shutdown/ https://fastpaths.com/safety-tops-list-as-jury-trials-resume-in-michigan-after-coronavirus-shutdown/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:38:16 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/safety-tops-list-as-jury-trials-resume-in-michigan-after-coronavirus-shutdown/ KALAMAZOO, MI – It has been six months since the doors of Michigan courthouses were closed to the public. Some legal proceedings continued virtually in the midst of the pandemic, such as indictments, probable cause conferences, preliminary hearings, settlement conferences, motion hearings and even some convictions. But jury trials have been suspended due to state […]]]>

KALAMAZOO, MI – It has been six months since the doors of Michigan courthouses were closed to the public.

Some legal proceedings continued virtually in the midst of the pandemic, such as indictments, probable cause conferences, preliminary hearings, settlement conferences, motion hearings and even some convictions. But jury trials have been suspended due to state restrictions on COVID-19.

As the restrictions slowly began to lift, the state’s county district and circuit courts have been busy preparing for the return of trials to their mostly empty courthouses.

A few, like Kalamazoo County District Court and Barry County Circuit Court, have tried it.

In one of the first lower Michigan cases to be heard since the start of the pandemic, Barry County prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt tried a two-week double homicide case in early August.

“It was a really big deal,” said Nakfoor Pratt. “We had 45 witnesses, 90 exhibits, 35 counts in total and 120 potential jurors.”

To achieve this, she said, jury selection took place at the Barry County Expo Center. And once the case started at the county courthouse, jurors were spread six feet apart, where citizens normally sat to observe instead of using the jurors’ gallery. closer.

Jurors also used the largest space to deliberate. When the exhibits were shown, they were shown on courtroom television instead of being shown to jurors, Nakfoor Pratt said.

Restrictions prevented members of the public – with the exception of a few family members of the victims – from attending the trial. As a result, the case and numerous other court proceedings across the state this summer have been broadcast on YouTube. This method of keeping the court public has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, Nakfoor Pratt said.

Among the downsides, she said, is that anyone can see the trial. While she is wholeheartedly in favor of courtrooms being open to all members of the public, she said a double homicide trial – with graphic evidence shown – wasn’t something that she would invite her 10-year-old to see.

“I would prefer that a code be given to those who ask for it specifically for a case,” said Nakfoor Pratt, adding that there is also a concern for people who register public proceedings online that this would not be. authorized in court.

To show creativity

Barry County is not alone in using alternate locations for jury selection.

Bay County judges have reached an agreement with DoubleTree by Hilton of Bay City to conduct jury selection in the hotel’s ballroom, which can safely accommodate more than 90 people.

The first jury selection trial is scheduled to begin in Bay County the week of September 22, Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran told MLive.

Related: Ballroom jury selected from new plans to resume trials in Saginaw and Bay counties

In Saginaw County, where trials have yet to resume, proceedings will also take place off-site at The Dow Events Center, Circuit Chief Justice Darnell Jackson said.

“We want the courts to be creative,” said John Nevin, director of communications at the Michigan Supreme Court. “The bottom line is that these jury trials must go ahead; that’s how our justice system works.

“Even though there aren’t many – maybe 3,000 a year out of 3 million proceedings – the fact that there can be a trial is what drives a lot of the decision-making. It is therefore important to know that there could still be a trial.

Nevin said the state ran a pilot project in late April / early May with prosecutors and judges from across the state, in which they conducted a mock trial entirely remotely. As part of it, they enlisted around 60 people to follow the proceedings and serve as an advisory group, he said.

“There was a lot of concern, but the process was really constructive and helped define how this is going to work,” Nevin said. “It’s going to be a little different in each county.

“The only part that seemed feasible (from a distance) was the jury selection.”

While no court Nevin is aware of has looked to remote jury selection, he has heard of everything from high school gyms and auditoriums to places like the Barry County Expo Center being used as alternatives.

The need for creativity doesn’t end with courtroom setup and jury selection, Nakfoor Pratt said.

During the recent trial she continued, she said, jurors had an entire half-hallway marked out for their use outside the courtroom, as well as access to their own rooms. bath.

In addition to separating jurors during breaks, the hallway also proved useful, she said, when motions needed to be brought before the judge. As the courtroom seats served as the jury’s deliberation room, jurors had to be sent out into the hallway for motions to be presented, she said.

“You have to be careful with COVID for sure,” she said. “But when you have a CSC, a homicide, a theft, you really have to do it in person.”

Van Buren County Prosecutor Michael Bedford has said that while he understands COVID-19 concerns among potential jurors – for a multitude of reasons, these more serious cases shouldn’t wait too long before d ‘to be judged.

One of those reasons, he said, is that there are a lot of dangerous people in prison while the trials start.

“Barry County has already proven it can be done,” Bedford said. “We have to move them forward. “

Alleviate concerns

To help alleviate coronavirus concerns for jurors, lawyers and others, courts statewide are enforcing social distancing, using plexiglass partitions and requiring masks to be worn.

Kalamazoo County held its first district court trial last week, but is waiting until the first week of October to begin circuit court proceedings, Kalamazoo County District Attorney Jeff Getting said. .

“We’ve given this a lot of thought,” Getting said. “We make sure to do this in a way that takes into account all the necessary public safety precautions to be able to have the necessary number of people in the courtroom.”

District trials only require a jury of six and usually take place in less than a day, while criminal cases require juries of 12 and last for several days.

In preparation for some of the larger trials, Getting said, not only will larger courtrooms be used, but these trials will also be scheduled at times when there will be fewer people in the courthouse for others. procedures.

The only people who will be allowed into the courtroom, he said, will be lawyers, jurors, the judge, court staff, witnesses and the accused. The proceedings, as they were with other types of hearings during the pandemic, will continue to be streamed online.

The jury summons have already been sent to Kalamazoo County. But anyone receiving the summons who is concerned about their health, is immunocompromised, or lives with someone who has an opportunity to contact the court and explain their situation.

While Michigan courts are not required to do so, Nevin said, Kalamazoo County 8th District and 9th Circuit courts have said their jury services department is ready to grant apologies and postponements to potential jurors.

“Throughout our planning process, our top priority has been, and will continue to be, ensuring the health and safety of jurors, judges, parties, witnesses, lawyers and court staff, in courthouses, ”a joint press release from the two Kalamazoo courts said.

To promote safety, Kalamazoo County Courts are reducing the number of jurors summoned to appear, staggering reporting deadlines, and moving jurors between waiting areas and courtrooms with seamless entry and exit. contact, the statement said.

Disposable seat covers will also be provided in jury waiting areas and daily COVID-19 screenings will be performed. Social distancing floor markings will be placed throughout the courthouse, as will hand sanitizing stations. The furniture is also reorganized in all areas to allow social distancing.

“It takes a lot of coordination,” said Nakfoor Pratt. “Everyone just needs to be ready to listen and be open to new ideas because I just can’t see going back to the old way just yet. “

Virtual visualization

Although jury trials did not take place virtually – with the exception of online streams for viewers – there was no shortage of online hours recorded by courts on other proceedings, Nevin said. .

State courts have now passed one million hours of online hearings since the end of March, according to a press release from the State Court Administrative Office on September 17. Statewide, nearly 1,000 judges and other court officials use state-provided Zoom licenses. Administrative office of the Court.

“I firmly believe that the more people have access to court proceedings, records and case data, the more they have confidence in our justice system and are willing to abide by court orders,” said Bridget M. McCormack, Judge Chief of the State of Michigan.

“Getting 1,000,000 hearing hours in less than six months is nothing short of remarkable. At the same time, we build trust by ensuring that these procedures can be seen by the public. “

The Michigan State Supreme Court has also launched a virtual courtroom directory that allows the public to click on a map to find their court and watch. Courts are required to either stream the proceedings live on YouTube or post a video of these proceedings immediately after the event.

Since its launch in May, the directory has been used by the public more than 80,000 times, and trial court YouTube pages have more than 30,000 subscribers, the statement said.

“The system continued to function,” Getting said. “We continued to authorize cases and negotiate resolutions, register convictions and sentences. Everything except hardships. And we are ready to launch them.

Also on MLive:

Michigan pandemic deaths several thousand higher than official figures

Jury trials resume in Genesee County with COVID-19 security measures in place

19 companies penalized by more than $ 50,000 for “serious” COVID-19 security breaches

Two former Lakeside Academy employees face trial over death of teenager

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Suspected thieves arrested with fake police equipment, drugs and stolen goods after chase https://fastpaths.com/suspected-thieves-arrested-with-fake-police-equipment-drugs-and-stolen-goods-after-chase/ https://fastpaths.com/suspected-thieves-arrested-with-fake-police-equipment-drugs-and-stolen-goods-after-chase/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:38:04 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/suspected-thieves-arrested-with-fake-police-equipment-drugs-and-stolen-goods-after-chase/ WYANDOTTE, MI – A pair of suspected thieves were arrested with fake police gear including a badge, drugs and thousands of dollars in stolen goods in what started as a routine traffic stop, reports FOX 2 Detroit. A Wyandotte police officer who attempted to stop a vehicle after it failed to yield or pulled over […]]]>

WYANDOTTE, MI – A pair of suspected thieves were arrested with fake police gear including a badge, drugs and thousands of dollars in stolen goods in what started as a routine traffic stop, reports FOX 2 Detroit.

A Wyandotte police officer who attempted to stop a vehicle after it failed to yield or pulled over when exiting a parking lot had more than expected after a chase that led to arrests and an investigation, according to the report. The evidence seized includes handcuffs, a police badge, methamphetamine, cocaine, purses, lottery tickets, diabetes test strips, a set of hooks, and a BB gun designed to look like to a handgun, police said.

At around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2, an officer saw a vehicle leaving a CVS parking lot without giving in or stopping, police said. The so-called routine traffic check turned into a chase that ended in a neighborhood where the two suspects got out of the vehicle and took off on foot.

The driver was pulled over a few blocks from the abandoned vehicle, police said. The passenger was arrested after officers surrounded his hiding place in a tree or bush.

The suspects remain in custody as the investigation continues and await charges, police said. They are both convicted felons with rap sheets that include charges of car hijacking and guns.

READ MORE:

Cass County man confessed to killing 64-year-old Kalamazoo man out of jealousy, police say

Man was shot in the neck while inside a vehicle in Flint

Detroit offers mental health services to firefighters after 2 drunk driving accidents

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ECB to discuss new round of bank lending soon, Praet says https://fastpaths.com/ecb-to-discuss-new-round-of-bank-lending-soon-praet-says/ https://fastpaths.com/ecb-to-discuss-new-round-of-bank-lending-soon-praet-says/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:46 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/ecb-to-discuss-new-round-of-bank-lending-soon-praet-says/ FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will soon discuss new multi-year loans to banks, its chief economist said on Wednesday, but hinted that a new credit cycle might not be as generous as a previous facility. Peter Praet, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), speaks during an interview with […]]]>

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will soon discuss new multi-year loans to banks, its chief economist said on Wednesday, but hinted that a new credit cycle might not be as generous as a previous facility.

Peter Praet, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), speaks during an interview with Reuters in Frankfurt, Germany, March 14, 2018. REUTERS / Ralph Orlowski

Banks, especially in Italy and Spain, face a cliff as the ECB’s targeted long-term refinancing operation of 739 billion euros ($ 839.13 billion) nears repayment dates in 2020-2021.

Peter Praet’s comments suggest that a new TLTRO cycle will be discussed at the next ECB meeting on March 7. But a decision, especially on loan terms, may have to wait.

“The discussion will come to the Board of Governors very soon,” Praet said at a conference in Frankfurt. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be making decisions … then.”

The latest TLTRO was offered at a zero percent interest rate. Banks could even earn up to 0.4% on the money they borrowed from the ECB if they passed it on to businesses and households.

Praet said discussing the parameters of any new loan was “a complicated thing, as it depends on how much stimulus you want to provide or not.”

Providing a key argument for lending, Praet argued that banks, which already suffer from low profitability, could cut credit to the real economy amid the recent downturn.

This has yet to happen, but new long-term financing would provide an insurance policy, especially as the uncertainty begins to trickle down to businesses.

Sources told Reuters last year that the ECB is considering offering the TLTRO at a floating rather than a fixed rate and is also considering a shorter term.

The reduction in duration from the current four years and the proposed amount are some of the other options that analysts have speculated on.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Tom Sims, written by Francesco Canepa, editing by Larry King

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Kenyans have no moral authority to criticize government spending, Mutahi Ngunyi ▷ Tuko.co.ke https://fastpaths.com/kenyans-have-no-moral-authority-to-criticize-government-spending-mutahi-ngunyi-%e2%96%b7-tuko-co-ke/ https://fastpaths.com/kenyans-have-no-moral-authority-to-criticize-government-spending-mutahi-ngunyi-%e2%96%b7-tuko-co-ke/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:26 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/kenyans-have-no-moral-authority-to-criticize-government-spending-mutahi-ngunyi-%e2%96%b7-tuko-co-ke/ – Mutahi Ngunyi defended the massive borrowing of the Jubilee administration and insisted that the loans were good for the development of the nation – Political analyst said Kenyans have an appetite for borrowing if statistics from Safaricom’s Fuliza service are something to do – His remarks came after IMF approved KSh 255 billion loan […]]]>

– Mutahi Ngunyi defended the massive borrowing of the Jubilee administration and insisted that the loans were good for the development of the nation

– Political analyst said Kenyans have an appetite for borrowing if statistics from Safaricom’s Fuliza service are something to do

– His remarks came after IMF approved KSh 255 billion loan to Kenya, sparking public outrage

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Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi mocked Kenyans for criticizing the government’s spending and borrowing spree amid high taxes and declining economic fortunes.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the new IMF lending facility was part of the government’s fiscal strategy to move away from commercial lending. Photo: Ukur Yatani.
Source: Facebook

The controversial Current Affairs commentator defended the Jubilee administration’s massive borrowing and insisted the loans were good for the nation’s development.

Ngunyi said Kenyans in general have an appetite for borrowing based on statistics from Safaricom’s Fuliza service.

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Read also

Kenya to borrow additional KSh 780 billion in Eurobonds amid rising public debt

“By Christmas, Kenyans will have borrowed twice what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lends us. And they will have borrowed it from a single source: Fuliza. If you add SACCOs, shylocks, MFIs, and chamas (forget the banks), they’ll have borrowed billions of billions. Are they stupid? No. They know borrowing is good, ”Ngunyi tweeted.

Ngunyi’s remarks came after the IMF approved a KSh 255 billion financing loan to Kenya.

The international lender said the loan would help the country support the response to COVID-19 and address an urgent need to reduce urgent debt vulnerabilities.

Petition launched to cancel IMF loan

A worried Kenyan, Jefferson Murrey, has since started a petition to the Washington-based financial institution to cancel the debt.

In his argument, Murrey said previous loans to the government of Kenya had not been used with caution and had often resulted in corruption scandals.

“At the moment, Kenyans are suffocating under the heavy burden of taxation, with the cost of basic goods such as fuel skyrocketing, and nothing to show for previous loans,” lamented Murrey.

Read also

Ezekiel Mutua says most Kenyans are corrupt and only get the chance to steal

More than 200,000 citizens signed the petition asking the IMF to withdraw the loan despite vigorous defense of the chessboard.

Kenya’s growing debt

According to statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya, the country’s public debt stood at KSh 7.2 trillion in November 2020.

Domestic debt was estimated at KSh 3.4 trillion, while external debt was KSh 3.7 trillion.

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Despite the outcry over rising debt levels, the government plans to borrow an additional KSh 780 billion in Eurobonds before President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term ends.

According to a borrowing plan submitted to the IMF by the National Treasury, Kenya plans to borrow KSh 528 billion in the form of concessional loans with long grace periods.

On the other hand, KSh 253 billion would be commercial loans with high interest rates and a short term repayment period.

Do you have a groundbreaking story that you would like us to publish? Please contact us via news@tuko.co.ke or WhatsApp: 0732482690. Contact Tuko.co.ke instantly.

Source: Tuko

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Weichert Financial Services chooses Snapdocs to tailor digital closing experience for settlement partners and borrowers https://fastpaths.com/weichert-financial-services-chooses-snapdocs-to-tailor-digital-closing-experience-for-settlement-partners-and-borrowers/ https://fastpaths.com/weichert-financial-services-chooses-snapdocs-to-tailor-digital-closing-experience-for-settlement-partners-and-borrowers/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:44 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/weichert-financial-services-chooses-snapdocs-to-tailor-digital-closing-experience-for-settlement-partners-and-borrowers/ Weichert Takes Early Adopter Position by Leveraging Leading Snapdocs Platform to Streamline and Standardize Closeout Process SAN FRANCISCO (PRWEB) April 07, 2021 Snapdocs, provider of the mortgage industry’s leading digital closing solution, today announced that Weichert Financial Services has selected Snapdocs to create a single, scalable process with its settlement partners. Weichert Financial chose Snapdocs’ […]]]>

Weichert Takes Early Adopter Position by Leveraging Leading Snapdocs Platform to Streamline and Standardize Closeout Process

SAN FRANCISCO (PRWEB) April 07, 2021

Snapdocs, provider of the mortgage industry’s leading digital closing solution, today announced that Weichert Financial Services has selected Snapdocs to create a single, scalable process with its settlement partners. Weichert Financial chose Snapdocs’ digital closing platform to streamline and standardize their process to close more loans, at lower cost, while delivering the simple and intuitive digital experience borrowers have come to expect.

Homebuyers are increasingly looking for a streamlined mortgage process that cuts down on paperwork and speeds up the time to close. The typical real estate closing can have up to 100 documents involved at different stages of the transaction.

“Our goal was to create a hybrid loan offer that would reduce the number of documents from 100 to around 20 at the time of closing,” explained Eric Declercq, president of Weichert Financial Services. “Thanks to Snapdocs’ state-of-the-art digital fence platform, we can now ask clients to sign various documents earlier in the process, dramatically reducing the stress of final closing. Technology provides a better and more responsive experience for our clients and a streamlined process for lenders. “

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the pace of changing customer demand has accelerated, further amplifying the benefits of digital closings. Weichert was already working with Snapdocs to provide a digital lockdown environment for his customers when the pandemic hit. As a result, Weichert is well positioned as a driver and early adopter of hybrid and fully digital fencing.

“Weichert has always taken the initiative to leverage technology to produce a superior experience that we

refer to the All Under One RoofSM customer experience. The shift to a fully digital fence experience is on track and will grow exponentially in 2021 and beyond, ”said Declercq. “We are delighted to be working with Snapdocs on this ambitious effort. “

Snapdocs powers millions of mortgage closings a year. Its digital closing platform will allow Weichert Financial Services and its settlement partners, in particular the Weichert Title Group, to modernize, streamline and improve the mortgage closing process for each participant. By coordinating every part on a single platform, leveraging AI to automate manual tasks, and delivering a modern digital borrower experience, Weichert Financial Services will close more loans, at lower costs, while increasing quickly and significantly its activity and market share within a short timeframe. growing sector.

“Now is the time for digital transformation in real estate and mortgages,” said Aaron King, Founder and CEO of Snapdocs. “Weichert Financial Services has recognized the value of digital fencing for some time, and this value has become particularly apparent over the past year. Customers like Weichert are already seeing operational efficiencies and better experiences for customer referrals from digital fencing, which allows them to clearly differentiate us from our competition. We are excited to partner with Weichert as they move towards a standardized digital closing process.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the purchase of electronic mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased significantly in the first six months of 2020. The FHFA reported that electronic mortgages accounted for 4, 25% of all mortgage purchases for a family made by the two agencies in the first half of the year, representing $ 38.8 billion in mortgages. This represents an increase of 66% compared to 2018.

“All signs point to this demand continuing to increase as customers move beyond COVID to appreciate the benefits of speed and simplicity, and more mortgage service providers are following suit. de Weichert and offer hybrid and fully digital loan packages, ”Declercq said.

###

About Snapdocs

Founded in 2013, Snapdocs is the leading digital closing platform for the mortgage industry. With its patented AI technology and connected platform, Snapdocs is on a mission to perfect mortgage fencing for everyone. Powering millions of fences a year, Snapdocs is leading the charge to modernize, streamline and improve the mortgage process for lenders, borrowers and settlement. Snapdocs is the only solution proven to create a unique and scalable process for every fence. Every day, more than 130,000 mortgage professionals trust Snapdocs to automate manual work and digitize the paper-based processes that plague the industry. Snapdocs is a growing San Francisco-based real estate technology company backed by Silicon Valley venture capital funds, such as Sequoia, F-Prime Capital, Y Combinator, Founders Fund, and SV Angel. To learn more, please visit https://snapdocs.com.

About the Weichert family of companies

Since 1969, Weichert has grown from a simple real estate office to one of the nation’s leading providers of homeownership services by putting clients first. A family of 18 full-service real estate companies, Weichert provides an integrated real estate, mortgage, insurance and title settlement solution – under the All Under One Roof ℠ brand – to simplify the shopping experience of ‘a home for buyers and sellers. Weichert relies on its client website, http://www.weichert.com, one of the nation’s most visited real estate websites, to help families and individuals realize their dream of homeownership. through quick and easy access to listing information and services from its real estate professionals nationwide. Like other family-owned and operated businesses, Weichert enjoys greater public trust according to several national surveys. For more information about Weichert Financial Services, or to find out more about the real estate-related financial products and services it offers, visit http://www.weichertfinancialservices.com or call 800-829-2274.

For the original version on PRWeb, visit: https://www.prweb.com/releases/weichert_financial_services_chooses_snapdocs_to_scale_digital_closing_experience_for_settlement_partners_borrowers/prweb17851554.htm

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Treasury proposes to print more money to solve Kenya debt crisis https://fastpaths.com/treasury-proposes-to-print-more-money-to-solve-kenya-debt-crisis/ https://fastpaths.com/treasury-proposes-to-print-more-money-to-solve-kenya-debt-crisis/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:42 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/treasury-proposes-to-print-more-money-to-solve-kenya-debt-crisis/ Kenya has supported pressure from the International Monetary Fund to increase limits on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in a bid to resolve the country’s debt crisis. This will allow the country to print more cash for circulation – without diluting the local currency. The proposal was made on Thursday April 1 at a conference of […]]]>

Kenya has supported pressure from the International Monetary Fund to increase limits on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in a bid to resolve the country’s debt crisis. This will allow the country to print more cash for circulation – without diluting the local currency.

The proposal was made on Thursday April 1 at a conference of African finance, planning and development ministers with the World Bank and the IMF.

“We propose strengthening the limits of access to IMF facilities by reallocating existing SDRs and allocating new SDRs, including strengthening the IMF’s rapid disbursement through the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and (rapid financing instrument (IFR) and short-term liquidity lines, “proposed Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

Developed countries have printed billions to stimulate businesses and offer citizens stimulus checks, while developing countries have been reluctant to avoid depreciating their currencies.

Kenyan currency banknotes.

To file

Negotiations are underway to determine whether countries can use part of the SDR reallocations to pay interest on their international bonds, which would allow them to preserve their fiscal position without defaulting.

SDRs were introduced by the IMF in the 1970s after the collapse of the Breton Woods system. The IMF allocates them in the form of a reserve asset, similar to foreign currency reserves held by central banks. The value of an SDR is fixed at a basket of five major currencies: the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese yuan, the Japanese yen and the British pound in order of the fixed amount of each currency in the basket.

Kenya received a suspension of debt service from January to the end of June by the Paris Club of international creditors after filing a request to suspend debt service on a loan of Ksh 69 billion.

A week later, China suspended the country’s debt. The government owes China more than Ksh725 billion in bilateral debt, with the country’s total debt set to exceed Ksh10 trillion.

On March 18, IMF leaders approved a $ 2.4 billion (Ksh 263 billion) loan that Kenya was waiting for to help economic recovery.

The loan was issued under a combined arrangement under the Extended Financing Facility and the Extended Credit Facility, which the IMF says is low-cost financing. The IMF said Kenya was on the path to economic recovery, thus justifying the approval of the loan.

“Kenya’s economy is now accelerating after the shock of COVID-19, but the pandemic has left a deep imprint on the country’s fiscal and debt situation,” the IMF statement read.

According to the director general of the Office of Public Debt Management, Haron Sirima, the government plans to use part of the new loan to offset its previous borrowing in Eurobonds already due. The new loan is in addition to Kenya’s current debt of Ksh7.3 trillion.

The fourth Eurobond loan brings the total to Ksh 734 billion, Kenya’s Eurobond stock. Kenya is also seeking Ksh10 billion from the World Bank to help it procure the next Covid-19 vaccines.

According to the 2021 Fiscal Policy Statement (PBO), the cheaper loans the government was targeting had run out, pushing the country to seek external trade finance.

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Twitter

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Vaccination or no vaccination: Baystate doctors develop aid to help pregnant women make this choice https://fastpaths.com/vaccination-or-no-vaccination-baystate-doctors-develop-aid-to-help-pregnant-women-make-this-choice/ https://fastpaths.com/vaccination-or-no-vaccination-baystate-doctors-develop-aid-to-help-pregnant-women-make-this-choice/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:40 +0000 https://fastpaths.com/vaccination-or-no-vaccination-baystate-doctors-develop-aid-to-help-pregnant-women-make-this-choice/ A team of doctors from Baystate Medical Center have come together to dispel myths and develop a guide called Decision Support for Pregnant Women Who May Receive the COVID Vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of two vaccines to fight COVID-19, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which have […]]]>

A team of doctors from Baystate Medical Center have come together to dispel myths and develop a guide called Decision Support for Pregnant Women Who May Receive the COVID Vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of two vaccines to fight COVID-19, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which have received emergency clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

More than 30,000 people have participated in Moderna’s clinical trials and approximately 44,000 in those of Pfizer-BioNTech. However, none were pregnant, and data on the response of pregnant women to vaccines is still being collected during the first round of healthcare workers’ vaccinations.

A recent poll conducted by USA Today and the University of Suffolk between December 19 and 20 found that nearly half of those polled would be ready to take a federally approved vaccine as soon as possible, 32% said they wanted wait and 20% would refuse. The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters and has margins of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Baystate’s emergency medicine doctor and emergency department vice president of research, told MassLive that the mere fact that the COVID vaccine was developed quickly should not be of concern.

A key consideration for the speed at which this vaccine has been developed and approved for use is the funding, money has been poured into the race for a COVID vaccine, setting aside the usual financial woes that pharmaceutical companies face. In addition, the demand and urgency are high.

“So let me clear it up,” a December 9 Facebook post said. “Forty years of research and no HIV vaccine. At least 100 years of research and no cancer vaccine. Ongoing research and no cold vaccine. Now, in less than a year, there is a vaccine for COVID-19. No, I think I’ll pass this blow.

The post was reported on the social media platform and “independent fact-checkers said this information lacked context and could mislead people.”

(Alison Montemagni / Baystate Medical Center)

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which was approved by the FDA on December 11 as part of emergency use authorization is a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA, also known as mRNA. This form of vaccine has been studied for decades. MRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19, say CDC, FDA and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to name a few.

Division of Infectious Disease Specialist at Baystate Medical Center Amanda Westlake explained that the mRNA vaccine contains a genetic code that produces a viral protein. Once injected, a person’s muscles will translate the code into a viral protein that mimics the coronavirus and gives the body’s immune system a chance to adapt and prepare for the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

Other mRNA vaccines have already been studied with viruses such as influenza, Zika and rabies. As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 became available, scientists were able to design the mRNA instructions for cells to build the protein in an mRNA vaccine.

Schoenfeld went further by explaining that comparing the coronavirus with epidemics like AIDS is not helpful. She said people infected with the HIV / AIDS virus may go undiagnosed for years.

In the United States, more than one million people are living with HIV and more than 700,000 people with AIDS have died since the start of the epidemic. Between 2010 and 2015, 15% of the population did not know they were infected with HIV, according to the CDC.

“But when there is a disease as widespread as COVID, you can do a vaccine trial much faster,” Schoenfeld said. “The other thing everyone should remember is that they are always collecting data, so they will have more data to present as the months go by and the CDC is collecting data on all of us who have received it. . “

Covid vaccine

Baystate Medical Center began COVID vaccinations on December 16. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

On Wednesday, the CDC reported that just over a million vaccines have been administered in the United States and, although more people are receiving the vaccine, more data is being collected, according to Schoenfeld.

“Everyone who has received a vaccine has had the opportunity to provide their own data to the CDC,” Schoenfeld told MassLive. “That is to say [for] both pregnant and non-pregnant women.

“For me and baby number three,” Baystate emergency doctor Lauren M. Westafer wrote on her bandage after receiving her vaccination Dec. 18.

Westafer is one of more than 330,000 healthcare workers in the United States who the CDC believes to be pregnant or postpartum and able to receive a vaccine and is also part of the team that developed the decision support . She also enrolled in the CDC study

“I was personally attacked for my decision because people think that in the absence of data it is proof of [the vaccine being unsafe]”said Westafer who received his vaccine.

She later added in the interview with MassLive that she thinks part of the problem with people not understanding the vaccine is the lack of understanding and “real questions” about its effects.

“It’s not motivated by real concerns,” Westafer exclaimed to MassLive. “People have a preconceived political or religious doctrine or idea and it has nothing to do with science.”

Westafer is still in the first trimester of her pregnancy and admitted that most women usually don’t announce until the second because of the risk of miscarriage. But she wanted to take the leap of the announcement while being vaccinated.

She has noticed that there are many other women who fit in with her and who would be worried about whether or not they should get the vaccine. Wanting to be transparent about her motivation and the things that would have changed her decision, she posted on her social media.

She pointed out that 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester and her concern is that these women are blaming themselves or relating to whether or not they took the vaccine if it was offered.

Covid vaccine

Dr Amanda Westlake is an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Medical Center. She has been working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic since March and is now 20 weeks pregnant. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

“A woman who ends up having a miscarriage should not blame herself and should also recognize that this is a common result of early pregnancy and not necessarily vaccine-related,” Schoenfeld stressed.

This is exactly the point of decision support that Schoenfeld reaffirmed. Although there is a lot of evidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in non-pregnant people aged 16 and over, there is very little evidence in pregnant women. Right now, it’s really on a case-by-case basis.

For this reason, a decision aid has been produced at Baystate by a team of doctors to define women’s options during their pregnancy and whether the vaccine is for them.

The leaflet presents two options: vaccination or no vaccination.

“There is no wrong answer [and] both options are reasonable, ”Schoenfeld told MassLive. “Although as a doctor in the emergency department, I want everyone to receive the vaccine, due to the lack of evidence, it is reasonable for pregnant women to decide not to receive it or to decide to do so. . But they should make that decision with as much information as possible.

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