Remain Software ALM Tool Gets CA Plex Interface

Remain Software ALM Tool Gets CA Plex Interface

Published: February 11, 2015

by Dan Burger

Independent development environments such as CA Plex have their own model-based and pattern-driven development techniques to modernize legacy IBM midrange applications as they run across multiple platforms as well as move them to the Web and to SOA environments. And as IBM i shops take on modernization projects, change management software is integral to the process. As an example, Remain Software that is announcing its application lifecycle management software, TD/OMS, has a new interface for CA Plex users.

The integration is the result of cooperation with Stella Tools, a CA Plex open source initiative.

The way the two tools work together is very simple, says George Jeffcock, the founder of Stella Tools. After the assignment of a task, programmers are able to select objects via their object browser and by the right context menu invoke a CA Plex generated window palette. This window palette can filter and/or gather the objects before dragging and dropping the objects onto the desired task within a version of TD/OMS work management tree.

This allows CA Plex developers to connect CA Plex objects to TD/OMS tasks within the CA Plex IDE. The same is true for IBM i developers working in the Rational development environment (RDi).The connection is a simple drag and drop process. The TD/OMS interface with CA Plex is not i specific. It also is applicable in Java, J2EE, and Windows .NET/Azure environments. Jeffcock estimates 95 percent of the Stella Tools downloads have been to IBM i shops.

Wim Jongman, the CTO and managing director at Remain Software, praised Stella Tools its work on the interface. The way it blends in with the main tool is fantastic. Stella Tools knowledge of CA Plex is beyond compare.

Resurs Bank, a Swedish bank specializing in consumer credits and unsecured loans, recently chose TD/OMS because of the support for both CA Plex and native IBM i developers. RDi integration and the deployment of Microsoft windows objects were top priorities for the bank.

Fredrik Wingren, software development team leader at Resurs Bank, described the benefits that TD/OMS has brought to the development process as stepping into the 21st century.

Keeping track of multiple projects with changing business priorities created a plethora of libraries with ongoing development. The change management process has eliminated issues regarding the same programs showing up with different statuses in the development libraries and also provided answers to questions such as: Did we move the function to test, or not? And, have all functions/tables been moved to test?

The process of moving objects between environments cost time, both in manual movements and in scripting and copying objects, Wingren says in an email to IT Jungle. We are a small team (IBM i development) and the native functions are big and not that many, which probably prevented two developers from working on the same native RPG code. The Plex developer on the other hand, had more issues. The model is too big not to run into conflicts. The objects werent locked, which resulted in objects released with incomplete code.

TD/OMS solved our issues. The ease of drag and drop between TD/OMS and CA Plex, makes development time shorter and the loss of functions moved have disappeared. Since we check in/out our objects, there are no conflicts.

Hans Beverwijk, a consultant at Remain Software, explained this from the change management perspective.

TD/OMS will gather the components to be distributed by putting the IBM i components in an IBM i library and the non IBM i components on the IFS in a folder. The components are packaged (the IBM i components in a SAVF and the non IBM i components in a ZIP file) and distributed with the TD/OMS communication software (over TCP/IP), he writes.

On the receiving end, the components are restored and the TD/OMS transfer process is kicked off. The transfer process will use the TD/OMS definitions to determine where to place the components and the fallback mechanism ensures that no components are replaced when a problem occurs. Progress is reported back to the TD/OMS installation on the sending machine so there is a central point showing the distribution progress information, according to Beverwijk.

RELATED STORIES

Software Change Management Designed For Small IBM i Shops

Remain Software Improves ALM Workflow, Readies Multi-Platform Capabilities

Dutch Vendor Targets American ALM Market with SoCal Partner

Remain Teams with Original to Combine Testing and Change Management

Can Pharrell, Bono and other Davos regulars really change the world?

Last year, Bono, a Davos regular, brazenly told a panel on corporate disclosure chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, “Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis.”

But beyond the headlines, what does the meet-up really achieve?

A lot more than you might think, according to a new study by Markus Giesler, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, and Ela Veresiu, a visiting doctoral student at York.

“People often say what happens in Davos stays in Davos,” says Dr. Giesler. But the forum has had a profound impact on redefining and reshaping societal problems, he says.

Take global warming as an example. The World Economic Forum was instrumental in shifting the discourse about how to reduce rising global temperatures away from corporations and governments to individual consumers and the choices they make, such the kind of light bulbs they use or the cars they drive. These are important factors but they ignore the legal and regulatory mechanisms also required to affect change, the study argues.

“In the end what we want is a combination of things,” Dr. Giesler says. “A responsible consumer but also responsible corporations and governments that are accountable for having to solve these problems.”

Dr. Giesler and his co-author spent eight years attending the forum and analyzing its annual reports, white papers and case studies. They also interviewed forum participants. The study found that the discussions taking place at Davos went on to affect policies and decision-making at the United Nations and other international institutions.

Another change that Dr. Giesler has noticed in the years he has attended the meeting is the close relationship that has developed between the World Economic Forum and the media, so much so that journalists covering the event have become almost a public relations arm for the forum, he says. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to find critical coverage.”

That, too, has an impact, he argues. To demonstrate his point he jokingly adds that his mother has always looked askance at his professional accomplishments until the day he called her from Davos – then she was impressed. “One conclusion from our research is that we as citizens should be more critical toward what these institutions do and how they impact our lives,” says Dr. Giesler.

The study was published in the October of 2014 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Does microcredit help or hurt the world’s poor?

Participants at the most recent World Economic Forum meeting included Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi-born economist who pioneered the use of microcredit as a means of alleviating poverty in developing countries. He has won many accolades for his work including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. The number of microcredit borrowers has surged in recent years, reaching more than 205 million by 2010.

The idea is that providing small, unsecured loans to individuals who would otherwise be denied access to credit allows them to start a business and improve their financial well-being. Yet, the practice remains controversial and many academic researchers and media reports have raised questions about the impact of microcredit lending. Some have even claimed that it amounts to little more than loansharking given the high interest rates that the loans can carry.

There are other implications, too. The loans are often made to groups of individuals. Those who fail to repay the loans can come under intense social pressures and can lose face within their communities, explains Nina Rosenbusch, professor of policy at the Laurier School of Business and Economics in Waterloo, Ont. There have been reports of some borrowers taking their own lives after failing to repay loans.

To assess the benefits of microcredit loans, Dr. Rosenbusch and her colleagues reviewed the findings of 90 previous studies. The analysis concluded it had mixed results.

“What we found is that it really helps people improve their financial well-being,” she says.

The loans give borrowers the means to start their own businesses in places where there are few alternative jobs available. Microcredit also has a profound effect on the empowerment of women by providing them with the ability to contribute to their families’ finances. “They get more of a voice and that’s very important,” says Dr. Rosenbusch.

However, microcredit doesn’t solve all problems. The study found that microcredit lending had just a marginal effect on improving health and nutrition levels and on educational attainment. In some cases, it many even have an adverse effect as parents may be tempted to take their children out of school to work in the family business, Dr. Rosenbusch explains.

Still, microcredit lending shouldn’t be done away with, she argues. “It’s definitely a good measure but it needs to be supplemented with other things,” especially when it comes to health and education, she says.

The article is available online  and is expected to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Business Venturing.

Social media efforts prove good for a firm’s bottom line

The marketing arms of many companies have embraced Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. But do these efforts help a firm’s bottom line?

Yes, according to a new study by a group of researchers at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal. The four researchers – Sunghun Chung, Animesh Animesh, Kunsoo Han and Alain Pinsonneault – analyzed data from the Facebook pages of 63 publicly-traded South Korean firms from 2010 through 2012.

The study found that the firms’ social media efforts had a positive impact on their financial performance. The volume of messages a firm posted was less important than the quality of the information and responsiveness to customers’ messages. “Thus, social media managers need to focus on delivering useful, richer information and actively responding to consumer comments,” the authors write. “Merely providing a large amount of uninformative messages is not an effective strategy.”

Managers should also tailor their social media strategies to drive traffic to the company’s website, the study recommends.

The findings were presented at the International Conference on Information Systems held in Auckland, New Zealand, in December of 2014.

Rosanna Tamburri can reached at tamburrirosanna@gmail.com

Mardi Gras krewes are subject of woman’s book

One of Rosary ONeills fondest Mardi Gras memories is getting up extemely early on Fat Tuesday and camping out on the front lawn of her aunts house on St. Charles Avenue while waiting for the parades to start.

There was always lots of excitement while we waited for the parade, ONeill said. My heart would surge when I heard the bands coming. Then there were all of these wonderful, colorful beads flying off the floats. And when we needed a break we would stop and eat red beans and rice and crayfish. It is still a wonderful memory for me.

As she grew older, ONeill recalled going to Carnival balls at the Municipal Auditorium with her father.

The decorations at the balls were always so beautiful, ONeill said. It was a world of beauty for me. As a young woman, I became intrigued by the Carnival krewes and what makes Mardi Gras in New Orleans so unique.

ONeills fascination and interest in Carnival and Mardi Gras continued to grow and more than 30 years ago, while working on her doctor of philosophy degree at the University of California at Los Angeles, she chose to write her thesis about the history and development of Carnival krewes.

Last year, ONeill, a freelance author, playwright and screenwriter, wrote New Orleans Carnival Krewes: The History, Spirit and Secrets of Mardi Gras. The book was published by The History Press.

ONeill, who divides her time between New York City and New Orleans, where she still has an apartment in the French Quarter, talked about her book Jan. 29 at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie,

ONeill interviewed more than 50 people connected with the Carnival krewes and researched more than 300 sources as she gathered information for her book.

ONeill detailed how the Carnival krewes began with Comus in 1857 followed by Rex in 1872 and moved rapidly to the 21st Century and the proliferation of krewes and parades all over metro New Orleans.

ONeill also included some juicy tidbits about the secrets of the various krewes such as who is included and excluded for membership, how someone is invited to join a krewe and what makes a Carnival man.

Even though she spends a portion of her time in New York City, ONeill is quick to acknowledge that New Orleans is home for me.

In New Orleans, we know how to celebrate life, ONeill said. And Carnival is a time when we celebrate life and our families. New Orleans is such a joyful place. We know how to enjoy ourselves and have fun.

Financial Peace

St. Augustines Episcopal Church, 3414 Haring Road, Metairie will hold a series of Financial Peace University classes beginning Feb. 24 and continuing weekly through April 21.

The class will include video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities. Financial Peace University presents biblical and practical ways to help people eliminate debt and manage their money while spending and saving wisely.

The classes will he held at 6:30 in Byrd Hall at the church. For information contact Mary Emmons at mary-emmons@att.net or call the church office at 504.887.4801.

Top student

Congratulations to Morgan Wilson of Metairie who has been named to the Deans Honor Roll at Oklahoma City University. Congratulations also to Caroline Suzanne Kaufman who has been named to the deans list at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

Fish fry

St. Matthews United Methodist Church, 6017 Camphor St., Metairie, will hold a fish fry Feb. 20 from 4:30 to 7 pm Dine-in and take out are both available. Tickets are adults $8 and children $4. Plates include fried catfish, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob, cole slaw, bread, dessert and a drink. Proceeds will help finance the churchs annual summer vacation Bible school. For information call 504.888.1155.

Earl Hodges writes about people and events in the heart of Metairie. He can be contacted at earlhodges@msn.com.

AFRC class teaches Airmen how to get out of debt

by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert
42d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

2/6/2015-MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.–The Airman and Family Readiness Center offers Paying off holiday debt class to teach Airmen how to efficiently pay off debts that accumulate during the holiday season.

The class focuses on holiday debt because this is when most Airmen find themselves spending outside their budgets. Most spend hundreds of dollars on gifts alone, not to mention the amount of money spent on traveling, said Twanfran Jackson, AFC®, the centers financial readiness consultant.

America is a consumption-based society, so were pressured to spend even when we cant afford it, said Twanfran Jackson. Companies and corporations spend billions of dollars in advertisements during the holidays, and they make it seem like its your right of passage to receive lavish gifts.

During the holidays, parents must balance the need to buy everything on their childs wish list with how much they can actually afford to spend.

What people buy for their children doesnt determine what kind of parent they are, said Jackson. Parents sometimes get misguided that whats best for their child means whatever their child wants.

Ultimately, overspending during the holidays can cause problems for the rest of the year. The class not only teaches Airmen how to dig themselves out of debt, but how to avoid the debt trap altogether.

Many people struggle with trying to eliminate debt, or they just concede and stay in the rat race, said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Gambrel, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment inspector, who attended the class. This class offers some proven methods that have helped people to get out of debt in an effective manner.

The class teaches and encourages the power pay method, also known as snowballing, for paying off bills. The method works by putting extra money aside and concentrating it toward paying off one debt at a time, said Jackson.

The first step to the power pay method is to decide the amount of additional money that can be set aside to pay off bills. This amount can be as low as $10, as high as $100, or whatever works best with the individuals budget. The extra money is then added to the minimum monthly payment of a bill until it is paid off. Once the debt is paid off, the money, to include the minimum payment and additional money, is then added to the minimum payment of the next debt on the list. This goes on until every bill is paid off, she said.

The key to avoiding debt is planning ahead.

Jackson advises Airmen to make a list for every expense during the holidays — everything from wrapping paper and decorations to plane tickets and gifts. The expenses are then added up, and the total cost is divided by how many months are left before the holidays. The resulting figure is the amount of money to save each month in advanced.

Managing your money is a 365-day endeavor, said Jackson. You shouldnt turn it off after a particular time of the year. In order to be successful, income management has to be an intentional effort every day.

To learn more about the Paying off holiday debt class, or other classes available to Airmen, contact the AFRC at 953-2353.

First Trust Advisors L.P. Announces Portfolio Manager Conference Call for …

WHEATON, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Trust Advisors LP (“FTA”) announced today that its Leveraged
Finance Investment Team, portfolio manager for the First Trust Senior
Floating Rate Income Fund II (NYSE: FCT) (the “Fund”), intends to host a
conference call on Thursday, February 19, 2015,
at 4:15 PM Eastern Time. The purpose of the call is to hear
the Fund’s portfolio management team provide an update for the Fund.

— Dial-in Number: (866) 865-6631; International (706) 679-1727; and
Passcode # 71573983. Please call 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled
start of the teleconference.

— Telephone Replay: (855) 859-2056; International (404) 537-3406; and
Passcode # 71573983. The replay will be available after the call until
11:59 PM Eastern Time on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

The Fund is a diversified, closed-end fund that seeks to provide
investors with a high level of current income consistent with capital
preservation. The Fund pursues its objective by investing in a
professionally managed portfolio of interests in senior secured floating
rate corporate loans (“Senior Loans”). The Fund invests in below
investment grade Senior Loans. This involves the risk that borrowers may
default on obligations, or that lenders may have difficulty liquidating
the collateral securing the loans, or difficulty enforcing their rights
under the terms of the Senior Loans. Senior loans are subject to credit
risk and the potential for non-payment of scheduled principal or
interest payments, which may result in a reduction of the Fund’s net
asset value (“NAV”). The Fund utilizes leverage. The use of leverage for
investment purposes increases both investment opportunity and investment
risk. In the event of a default on one or more loans or other
interest-bearing instruments held by the Fund, the use of leverage can
magnify the effect of any losses.

First Trust Advisors LP, the Fund’s investment advisor, along with its
affiliate, First Trust Portfolios LP, are privately-held companies
which provide a variety of investment services, including asset
management and financial advisory services, with collective assets under
management or supervision of approximately $106 billion as of January
30, 2015, through unit investment trusts, exchange-traded funds,
closed-end funds, mutual funds and separate managed accounts.

If you have questions about the Fund that you would like answered on the
call, please email your questions to cefquestions@ftadvisors.com
in advance of the call and refer to FCT, by Tuesday, February 17, 2015,
6:00 PM Eastern Time.

Past performance is no assurance of future results. Investment return
and principal value of an investment in the Fund will fluctuate. Shares,
when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Principal Risk Factors: The Fund is subject to various risks, including:
Credit Risk, Senior Loan Risk, Lower Grade Debt Instruments Risk,
Interest Rate Risk, Discount From or Premium to Net Asset Value Risk,
Leverage Risk, , Limited Secondary Market for Senior Loans, Unsecured
Loans and Subordinated Loans, Illiquid Securities, Non-US Securities,
Management Risk, Strategic Transactions, Reinvestment Risk, Prepayment
Risk, Inflation Risk, Regulatory Changes, Market Event risk,
anti-Takeover Provisions.

The Senior Loans in which the Fund invests are generally rated below
investment grade by one or more rating agencies and are considered to be
“high-yield” securities. High-yield securities should be considered
speculative as their low ratings indicate a quality of less than
investment grade, and therefore carry an increased risk of default as
compared to investment grade issues. Because high-yield securities are
generally subordinated obligations and are perceived by investors to be
riskier than higher rated securities, their prices tend to fluctuate
more than higher rated securities and are affected by short-term credit
developments to a greater degree. High-yield securities are subject to
greater market fluctuations and risk of loss than securities with higher
investment ratings. A reduction in an issuer’s creditworthiness may
result in the bankruptcy of an issuer or the default by an issuer on the
interest and principal payments. The market for high-yield securities is
smaller and less liquid than that for investment grade securities.

The risks of investing in the Fund are spelled out in the prospectus,
shareholder reports, and other regulatory filings.

The Fund’s daily New York Stock Exchange closing price and daily net
asset value, as well as other information are available at www.ftportfolios.com
or by calling 1-800-988-5891.

Side Streets: Tiny house enthusiasts will be living large in Colorado Springs

Tiny houses are coming to Colorado Springs, and they are going to be big.

Tiny houses represent a nationwide movement of people seeking to simplify their lives, eliminate debt and become more mobile. Theyre abandoning traditional homes and neighborhoods and opting for miniature-scale houses on trailers or ones built out of cargo containers or train cabooses.

After Davos: Lessons for Impact and Social Investors

By Marta Maretich

The World Economic Forum has come and gone, leaving the Davos snow more than a little trampled. Now that 2,500+ of the world’s most powerful people have flown home in somewhat fewer (it seems) than 1,700 private jets, what do we know about what’s coming in 2015? And, more specifically, what lessons did the Forum hold for impact and social investors?

Impact and social investing are part of the global economic reality, so the larger trends identified at Davos will be felt in our sector, too. Quantitative easing in the Eurozone, the unpredictable fallout from the Grexit, the slowdown in growth in China and India, its surge in the US, will all shape the world economic outlook for 2015 and will inevitably have their effects on the social sphere. And yet it was interesting to notice certain issues — some of our own favorite topics — were more prominent on the agenda than they have been in previous years.

Climate change

The financial crisis pushed climate change off the agenda; the presence of Al Gore as the opening act at Davos seems to indicate that it’s now back on. The former US Vice President (and his musical friend, Pharrell Williams) were on hand to drive home, once again, the message that we need to act fast to avert disaster. This can’t have been news to the delegates at Davos, all of whom have heard Gore’s arguments before and yet have presided over the increase in the use of fossil fuels we’ve seen in recent years.

Among those in the know, the real indicator that things are changing was the advocacy of Lord Stern, Tony Blair’s climate change adviser.  At Davos, he argued cogently that fossil fuel is not, as it long appeared, cheap anymore, and that alternatives are now getting cheaper. Governments don’t have to make a tradeoff between growth and preventing climate change, he said, and his argument seems to be gaining traction in the world of business. It’s one that impact and sustainable investors have long understood, of course, but the mainstreaming of sustainability should bring new opportunities for impact investors and climate-friendly social enterprises alike, especially when it comes to collaborating with business and government.

Alternative energy

Related to the issue of climate change is that of energy, another hot topic at Davos. The energy landscape is changing, partly because of the wider acceptance of the reality of climate change, but also because alternative energy sources are coming into their own. A plunge in oil prices, due in large part to the availability of cheap gas from fracking, is driving oil-producing nations to re-examine their strategies, diversify their activities and rethink their futures. It’s also fanning the flames of the divestiture movement, which is gaining ground as the value of fossil fuel stocks, for so long the central pillars of many portfolios, continues to fall.

For impact and social investors, this shift in focus will help in two ways. First, the exit of capital from fossil fuels could spur a renewed wave of investment in existing forms of alternative energy such as wind, solar and hydrogen, and in energy efficient technologies, all areas where impact investing has a track record. Second, turning away from fossil fuels will require more investment into developing new alternative sources of energy. Investment in energy Ramp;D and in companies rolling out alternative energy solutions to new markets will be attractive opportunities for social investors.

Inequality

The specter of Thomas Piketty was found haunting many of the sessions at Davos. The French economist’s landmark tome, Capital in the 21st Century, has sparked wide-ranging debate about the nature and role of capital in our times. (Check out this four-paragraph summary of Pikettys Capital in the Economist.) One of its impacts is to highlight the growing problem of wealth inequality, an important theme threading through many discussions at WEF15.

Different delegates working in different contexts and sectors interpreted inequality in a number of ways. Piketty is mainly concerned with the current dynamic that sees wealth in societies moving inexorably in one direction — upwards — and accumulating in the hands of fewer and fewer people at the top (such as those attending the Davos conference, for instance). Other kinds of inequality, however, were on the agenda, including the disparity between rich and poor nations, and among different groups, for example women and marginalized groups, within societies.

For impact and social investors, investments aimed at reducing inequality of all kinds are already part of the landscape and can take a number of forms. Affordable loans for college students, edutech that brings learning to those who need it, and provision of healthcare for girls and women are all examples of investments that can help reduce inequality.

Technology also has a role to play. Sheryl Sandberg, when asked by Arianna Huffington, opined that more technology, specifically access to the Internet, and, less specifically, “more data” would bring more equality to the world. Social investments that extend tech to the tech-poor are already on the cards, but more work, targeted specifically on easing inequality, is needed from our sector.

Corruption and crime

In a recent blog, we showed why the impact and social investing sector should be putting its weight behind the growing global movement to fight corruption.  At Davos, corruption and crime were prominent on the agenda, an indication that the movement is now hitting the mainstream thanks to the efforts of campaigners like Global Witness.

The connection between corruption, poverty and the health of markets is becoming clearer, as is the role of the business community in tackling this scourge. These topics and others were addressed in a number of sessions and an issue briefing at the WEF. Impact and social investors should keep abreast of how this discussion develops and, in keeping with their commitment to ethics, adopt anti-corruption strategies wherever possible.

Changes to the way the world invests

The delegates at Davos showed a new level of interest in the way capital markets are changing, and this has implications for the impact and social investing movements. This change-consciousness was evident in this year’s sessions, many of which acknowledged, in different ways, a new mood and attitude toward investing in  mainstream markets.

Yet it can be seen most clearly in the future projects funded by the WEF for next year. Projects on accelerating capital markets in emerging economies and direct investment by institutional investors, for example, point to trends in the markets that could be important for impact investors. Meanwhile, Phase III of the Mainstreaming Impact project has been cleared to move forward, led by Abigail Noble. If the excellent work coming out of this project so far is any indication, this will give us even more data to work with and deepen our understanding of the developments in our own corner of the financial world.

An insight into the things to come?

The World Economic Forum provides a fascinating snapshot of the forces that shape our global economy and thus determine the fate of billions — billions of people, that is, not only dollars. It gives us a fleeting glimpse of the individuals making the decisions and the merest hint of how things will go in the year to come. For our emerging sector, it’s vital to tune in to the lessons of Davos and learn what we can, especially if our aim is to one day become the mainstream that Davos represents.

And yet, in another sense, Davos may be less relevant to us than it first appears. As a guage of the status quo — what is now — nothing compares to it. But as a guage of what will be, it falls short. Piketty reminds us all that economics is, after all, not a hard science like mathematics, but a social science with historical underpinnings. Looking at the past is very helpful for understanding the present, as he ably proves. However it doesn’t necessarily help us predict the future with perfect certainty.

For many, Davos is already the past. The future, if committed impact and social investors have their way, could be very, very different.

Image courtesy of the World Economic Forum 

About the author: Marta Maretich writes about impact, sustainable and social investing for Maximpact.com, a deal listing portal and information hub for the new finance sector. She is Chief Editor of the Maximpact blog.

About Maximpact: Maximpact is a free global portal for the social, impact and sustainability sectors. It operates as a secure web-based listing service that allows sustainability, philanthropy and CSR professionals, as well as entrepreneurs, intermediaries, and funds to share information about initiatives and impact investment deals, online. For more information on the platform or to review latest impact projects visit: www.maximpact.com. This article first appeared on Maximpact’s blog.

Like this blog? Follow us on Twitter.


#x25BC;#x25BC;#x25BC; 1 Comment #x25BC;#x25BC;#x25BC;

Borrowers warned about new peer-to-peer lenders

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) says the peer-to-peer lending market is open to new players, but has warned consumers to “beware the hype”.

COBA chief executive Mark Degotardi said customer-owned banks, building societies and credit unions remain the tried-and-tested model for matching consumers who want to borrow and lend.

“New kids on the block in the P2P lending market like Society One and RateSetter bring the promise of competition and choice for consumers, and that is always welcome,” he said.

“Consumers should always shop around, and if they have a good look at the personal loans market, they will see that the best value for borrowers comes from customer-owned banking institutions.”

According to Canstar’s annual review of personal loans, six out of the six five-star ratings for the secured personal loans category were awarded to customer-owned institutions.

Furthermore, eight out of the nine five-star ratings for the unsecured loans category were awarded to customer-owned institutions.

“What sets us apart from listed banks and other shareholder-owned businesses, such as these new P2P players, is that we’re owned by our customers, and that makes all the difference,” Mr Degotardi said.

The warning comes after Mortgage Business reported that a new peer-to-peer lending platform, ThinCats, has seen 134 lenders and finance brokers register since its launch in December last year.

 

Louisiana lawmakers looking to spare higher education in budget cuts

LAFAYETTE, La. –

With a budget shortfall looming, some state officials are looking down the road for ways to spare higher education after Gov. Bobby Jindal has proposed ways to close a $103 million mid-year deficit.

One Lafayette lawmaker has come up with his own idea.

State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, is proposing the state stops all new construction projects in an effort to spare higher education, a move that he estimates would save about $60 million and eliminate debt.

Were just going to drive the family car for one more year before we trade it in and get a new one, Robideaux said. All critical projects will continue along in the capital outlay process, but new projects well just hold off for this one year.

Among Jindals proposals: Shrinking health care services, trimming transportation spending and closing three historic sites.The cuts are proposed to also help balance next years budget.

Current oil prices are part of the reason the state is facing a $1.6 billion shortfall, and now some state lawmakers are concerned more cuts could be on the way for higher education.

State Treasurer John Kennedy supports Robideauxs plan, saying he thinks the state has been over-spending on construction in the past.

Weve got to prioritize our construction, Kennedy said. Look, if you go look at the capital outlay bill, theres some things in there that we shouldnt be building.

Both officials said millions of dollars are on the line and this move is important for the states future.

Im going to tell you what the future of this state is. Its not the price of oil. Though thats important. Its not the unemployment rate. Its not who the governor is. Its not who the politicians are. The future of this state is education, Kennedy said.

Senate leaders are skeptical at best.

The only way to approach this years budget is to put everything on the table, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said. The decline in oil prices gives us much less revenue to work with and requires us to consider all available options for balancing the budget.

Side Streets: Tiny house enthusiasts to be living large in Colorado Springs

Tiny houses are coming to Colorado Springs, and they are going to be big.
Tiny houses represent a nationwide movement of people seeking to simplify their lives, eliminate debt and become more mobile. Theyre abandoning traditional homes and neighborhoods and opting for miniature-scale houses…