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Fintechs Draw Increasing Attention in Social Media Banking Chats – The Financial Brand

Posted: October 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm

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Subscribe Now Get The Financial Brand Newsletter for FREE - Sign Up Now Using special software to comb through social media discussions, researchers at The Economist find that traditional banks enjoy solid reputations for trustworthiness, safety and being, well boring. By contrast challenger banks and fintechs get cast in a sketchier light, but consumers crave the financial empowerment features that their accounts offer.

By Steve Cocheo, Executive Editor at The Financial Brand

The good news out of the social media world for traditional banks is that people see them as trustworthy providers of many services and substantial perks.

Unfortunately, thats also a great description of a grandparent.

Fintechs, on the other hand, are seen as a concern when it comes to security and privacy, but they are seen as offering financial empowerment, and besides, they are cool.

Thats on the other end of the popularity scale from grandma and grandpa, and kind of like that exciting friend from high school you wouldnt trust with your credit card.

Digital and traditional banks are engaged in a fierce battle for customers, states a white paper from The Economist Intelligence Unit. Key to this battle between old and new is whether innovators can scale up and broaden their appeal faster than incumbents can innovate.

In research sponsored by Temenos, the Economist Intelligence Unit developed a natural language processing model that read and digested over ten million online conversations in English about finance and banking appearing on the social platform Reddit from 2013 to present. (Most were from people in the U.S. and the U.K.)

Reddit was used as a proxy for all social media conversations about personal finance because its structure best matched the way the research units software worked. (The first chart included below shows the 2018-2020 portion of that analysis.) Reddit, symbolized by an stylized icon of an alien with a single antenna and red-orange circles for eyes, is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website founded in 2005. It is organized around communities of interest and members can vote entries up or down, which affects placement in the community as well as potential appearance on the front page. ranks it #9 of social platforms in its list of 77 social media sites that marketers should know. It has 1.9 billion monthly visitors, versus #1 Facebook, which has 2.6 billion.

The research was conducted to take a reading on consumer attitudes towards the new players versus the traditional ones before more of the challengers develop primary banking relationships with consumers, according to Alexa Guenoun, Temenos President of the Americas, Global Head of Partners and Member of the Executive Committee.

( sponsored content )

Broadly, the research found that the specifics of traditional institutions usual lineup of products and services doesnt get discussed much in the social platform conversations.

They have basically become commodities and people dont talk about commodities, explains Guenoun. They tend to discuss what they can accomplish with the commodities the car they are going to buy with a car loan, rather than the car loan itself. In a sense, predictions that banking products will become embedded in other transactions may already be a reality in many consumers minds.

The most popular topic for consumers discussing the offerings of traditional banks is credit cards, but often it is not the basic card functions themselves but the loyalty programs that the issuers offer. These made up nearly one out of four social conversations concerning banks, far ahead of many more basic matters.

Here traditional banks benefit from their age and experience, having built up significant loyalty with customers (whose perks accumulate over the years), and leveraging the reputation and reliability needed to strike commercial partnerships with companies in sectors like air travel and hospitality, the report states.

During the COVID-19 period some credit card brands pivoted travel and other loyalty perk programs towards more practical and immediate incentives to fit the times. Its conceivable challenger banks could bring much more personalization and adaptation to the efforts. Some have already started offering points programs.

The second-ranking topic that people discussed in regard to traditional banks was safety. Many researchers have found that online safety is a key concern for consumers these days and people discuss it on social when something in the news brings it back to mind.

While customers of traditional banks talk about safety, the study found that theres a degree of confidence in the traditional players that consumers dont yet have in many of the challenger banks.

Concerns about safety, security and privacy occurred twice as often in regard to challengers as about traditional institutions, as shown in the third pair of bars in the chart above. Many prominent challenger banks have slipped up on security and reliability, including through service outages and glitches, the report notes.

Clearly they are going to have to address the security issue soon because consumers are showing that it is a concern, says Guenoun.

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While theres more trust in the traditional players, when it comes to financial empowerment, that is, taking control of ones money life, banks hardly come into the picture, as the second chart shows.

Guenoun says this goes back to the issue of banking services being seen as commodities.

While community banks may bring some of this to consumers through personal contact and confidences, Guenoun says that bigger banks have to learn how to get into their customers lives.

Right now, except for the very wealthy, she suggests, larger traditional banks give an impression of arms-length attitude.

They are essentially saying, Im giving you a card, Im giving you a checking account, Im giving you a mortgage and now youre on your own, Guenoun explains. And thats why people are disengaging. They want something more interesting and they want their provider to be more involved they want guidance. Thats why they are turning to challenger banks and fintechs.

What the social monitoring indicates is that the providers that offer the tools and then help people use them to achieve their financial goals are the ones that get discussed.

While traditional banks both large and small have been introducing financial management apps at an increasing pace many of them described in articles appearing on The Financial Brand, the fact that the fintechs and challenger banks seem to resonate more with consumers on social suggests that more aggressive marketing may be in order.

Guenoun notes, too, that as more fintechs and challenger banks obtain charters Varo Money becoming Varo Bank is one example, and in late October 2020 SoFi received approval from the Comptrollers Office for a full-service national bank charter the line between the two industries will blur. (Varo is a Temenos customer.)

She points out that Varo Bank straddles both worlds. Through the new charter and federal deposit insurance it has taken on the trustworthiness of traditional banks. And yet it continues to retain the appeal of financial empowerment that was the hallmark of Varo Money, its predecessor.

They are certainly trying to mix both, says Guenoun, and they are clearly targeting a younger population. And I think these are the ones who are going to thrive in the next few years.

This article was originally published on October 29, 2020. All content 2020 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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Fintechs Draw Increasing Attention in Social Media Banking Chats - The Financial Brand

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:56 pm

Women talking, addressing toughest issues they face at Triangle Tech X conference – WRAL Tech Wire

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK Thought leaders from across the Triangle and beyond are gathering virtually to discuss issues confronting women in these days of COVID-19 and beyond at the second Triangle Tech X conference.

Maureen McQueen, senior vice president, Global Services & Operations of MetLife, which is helping put on the event, talked with WRAL TechWire about the event and the issues being discussed. More than 50 speakers are participating.

World Economic Forum graphic

Its clear that while progress has been made in some areas like people, culture and content production, women still face challenges with advancing in technical areas like cloud computing, data and artificial intelligence. Theres a combination of challenges to work through, ranging from higher education in STEM fields, management practices that may not be as inclusive, and recruitment strategies that need to be evaluated. MetLife employs more than 2,500 employees in North Carolina itself, and weve seen first-hand the impact women in STEM roles have.

The challenges are where the opportunities lie, to bridge the gap in tomorrows workforce. Todays leaders have the chance to develop a more focused agenda, that will not only increase the current talent pool but also the pipeline, from what women can access and pursue in terms of their education, to holding more C-suite and Board positions around the world.

Maureen McQueen

Earlier this year, MetLife became the first US-based insurer to sign the United Nations Womens Empowerment Principles, a series of commitments created by U.N. Women and the U.N. Global Compact to promote gender equity in the workplace and society. While progress has been made, we know that theres still more work to do. Im exciting to be a part of MetLife and its journey to create change that will truly have an impact on society and the economy at large.

MetLifes second annual Triangle Tech X event is important because its an opportunity to bring together top executives and thought leaders to focus on commitment to bring equity to all and diversify the workforce. It is a call to action to bridge a critical gap in the workforce and our economy. Its exciting to be a part of this event and I look forward to the ideas and actions being shared over the three days.

We want to come away from this event with solutions and concrete actions to break down the barriers and obstacles women face in their careers, particularly those in STEM roles. Creating and strengthening the support systems and tools for women to advance their participation and leadership in tomorrows jobs is imperative. Acting on this with purpose, transparency and measurable objectives is a key objective of the event.

In the insurance sector, technology is critical enabler of the business, presenting us with an opportunity to break down barriers for current and future female talent. As Michel Khalaf, CEO & president of MetLife, has stated, empowering women is a key element of our business strategy.

As we want Triangle Tech X to be a premier technology conference, we were thoughtful in inviting speakers and companies from areas that have a voice in this important journey. Our speakers are from the technology sector, academia, charitable organizations & community service, with the majority based in the Triangle Park region.

As the host of the event, MetLifes leaders made a huge commitment to join Triangle Tech X to not only share our companys commitments to gender equity but collaborate with other leaders to hold each other and ourselves accountable to this commitment and progress. We are thrilled to have MetLifes female executive group and Board of Directors sharing their experiences and insights during the sessions.

Our event speakers are living this cause daily, be it through creating jobs, building awareness or providing the necessary support to women already in or entering the workforce.

It is a bitter-sweet moment. Having the event take place in-person would have increased the chance for those personal connections, which are important. However, that approach would have limited us to hosting 200-300 people. Through the virtual format, we were able to expand our outreach to many more participants and attendees, with virtual chats, online Q&A, and social media discussions.

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Women talking, addressing toughest issues they face at Triangle Tech X conference - WRAL Tech Wire

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:56 pm

First payroll system with financial wellbeing and banking capabilities launches today – ResponseSource

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PayCaptain launches to radically improve the payroll process It helps employees understand and control their earnings via an app Employers can support employees to take control of their finances to achieve greater financial resilience It supports employer brand and value proposition enabling new and innovative pay and reward strategies Yapster, the workplace messaging app, goes live this month

London, 27 October 2020. A new payroll app called PayCaptain has been launched to put employees in control of their pay including tools and guidance for financial wellness.

PayCaptain, which has been piloted since the summer, also helps employers innovate with the latest technology and banking. It combines payroll, banking and wellness tools, allowing employers to support and empower their employees to take control of their finances to achieve greater financial wellbeing. It enables companies to be more strategic and creative in rewarding and paying their employees.

Yapster, the workplace messaging app, goes live this month with PayCaptain. Rob Liddiard, CEO of Yapster, said: "We're excited by PayCaptain's vision to turn pay from a functional, routine process into a driver of empowerment and engagement. PayCaptain will run as a Yapplication within our own app, so that soon all Yapster users will be able to plan income and spending, work with PayCaptains banking services and get financial guidance easily".

PayCaptain supports employees in a unique way. It has a personalised education feature to build financial resilience as well as smart AI chatbots to guide employees about their payslip. Any queries that cant be helped by AI are seamlessly transferred to a company-branded payroll team. An employees earnings can be split between multiple bank accounts, perhaps to cover savings, bills and day to day living. PayCaptain Personal and Savings Accounts can also be opened from the app and company-branded Visa debit cards can be issued. It has a Money Planning Tool to plan income and spending in one place, plus employees can access accrued earnings for free with a pre-planned automatic weekly advance of up to 200 a week.

For employers, PayCaptain has compliance and resilience at its core. It combines payroll, banking capabilities and wellness tools, allowing employers to support and empower their employees to take control of their finances. It embraces open banking, modern messaging and faster payments removing the need for BACS. PayCaptain is an automated payroll process and outsourced payroll bureau service which can replace or enhance legacy payroll and payment processing systems. It allows the complete payroll process to be on brand and aligned with company values.

Simon Bocca, CEO and Founder of PayCaptain, explained:

PayCaptain has been developed with the latest technologies to radically improve the payroll process for employers and employees. It puts employees in control of their pay which supports financial wellbeing and reduces the negative effects of financial stress in the workplace. Almost eight in ten UK employees take their money worries to work, affecting their performance, according to the Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index so its no surprise that the negative effects of financial stress can impact the employer too.

Payroll is such an important part of peoples lives, yet employers and employees have been using the same payroll mechanics for years. Legacy technology isnt good enough for todays needs. We want to give people control over the money they earn, creating a way for payroll to be on-company brand and in line with their values, just like so many other elements of the employee experience.

Stuart Hall, non-executive director of both PayCaptain and The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, said:

PayCaptain is breaking the payroll trend, introducing new ideas and ways forward that havent been seen before. It not only means employers can simply keep up with legislative changes, it will elevate the payroll process. Indeed, it means payroll people can help the financial wellbeing of employees too. Payroll professionals have been looking for new processes for years and PayCaptain is ready to challenge the market.

PayCaptain means the experience of paying people and getting paid has dramatically improved.

For more information, go to or email Follow PayCaptain on Twitter @PayCaptain, or LinkedIn


For media enquiries, please contact Kay Phelps, or call 07710 043244.

About PayCaptain

PayCaptain has been created to make payroll better. It combines payroll, banking and wellness tools, allowing employers to support and empower their employees to take control of their finances to achieve greater financial wellbeing.

Payroll with PayCaptain: Transforms the experience of being paid for employees Helps payroll professionals to add greater value to their company with smart and intuitive technology Enables employers to ensure payroll is on brand and aligned with company values.

PayCaptains aim is to improve the financial resilience of the nation and reduce the negative effects of financial stress in the workplace. It is setup to be a B Corporation and everything it does aims to deliver positive outcomes for customers and their employees.

PayCaptain works with some of the UKs best financial advisory services to provide support alongside PayCaptain generated personal finance guidance.

PayCaptain is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as an EMD Agent of PayrNet. We provide payment services, facilitate business transactions and currency exchanges. Money held in PayCaptain accounts are safeguarded with regulated credit institutions in the UK in accordance with e-money regulations and all card transactions are processed by the Visa network and are protected by Visa Scheme rules.

Simon Bocca former COO and founding team member of global Hospitality HR & Payroll Technology company, Fourth.

Stuart Hall is a company director with 45 years experience in Payroll and HR. He joined the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals board of directors in 2017.

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First payroll system with financial wellbeing and banking capabilities launches today - ResponseSource

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:56 pm

House of Reps determined to resolve ASUU issues and empower youths – Gbajabiamila – Nairametrics

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The Speaker of Nigerias House of Representatives, FemiGbajabiamila,has expressed the readiness of the House of Representatives to resolve the strike issues of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and empower Nigerian youths.

Thisstatementwas made by the Speaker during a meeting in his office, with a group of young lawmakers under the aegisof Young Parliamentarians Forum of the National Assembly.

READ: Update: Buhari seeks power to freeze accounts, clamp down on money launderers

READ: ASUU strike may be called off soon Dr. Chris Ngige

The Speaker reiterated that some of the demands of the youth following the #EndSARS protests would be addressed constitutionally, as part of the decision was to reform the Police, in a quest to accommodate a better and more reformed Police.

On youth empowerment, the Speaker said a lot still needs to be done, he explained further that no Nigerian government has done more than what the present administration has done.

READ: Ebonyi State Government proscribes ASUU, other unions in the state university

Speaker of the House of Representatives, while speaking on the determination of the House Representatives on youth empowerment, said,

All of us, every segment of the government, especially the House of Representatives, before the protests took the initiative, debated motions and took far-reaching decisions on the floor. We gave ourselves 30 days, and since then, weve been working night and day, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

READ: #EndSARS: Governor Uzodimma approves N2bn for youth empowerment after talks with protesters

We thought the best way to go about it is to amend the Police Service Commission Act and that has been done, and the report has been concluded. Soon, it will be published and be on the floor.

We are determined to resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) matter, and if we can resolve two out of three issues, I think we would have gone a long way to help the lecturers who are on strike.

READ: CBN reveals framework for the N75 billion Youth Investment Fund

Theres a bill on vocational education, I think from the 8th Assembly that was even my bill. Well pick it up again and pass it to you (Young Parliamentarians Group) to polish it up and add it to whatever ideas you have.

While speaking on the giant strides by the current administration in terms of youth empowerment, the Speaker said,

I make bold to say that no government, in Nigerian history from inception, and I stand to be corrected, has put in as much in youth empowerment as this present government.

READ:CBN offers corps members loans for a 7-year tenor

Facts dont lie, a government that has devoted N500bn to youth empowerment every year. Theres Trader Moni, N-Power, and several others they are all there. This government has done a lot about youth empowerment and is ready to do more. We can never be bereft of ideas.

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House of Reps determined to resolve ASUU issues and empower youths - Gbajabiamila - Nairametrics

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:56 pm

What’s in a Word? Housing Policy and the Shifting Sands of Empowerment – Non Profit News – Nonprofit Quarterly

Posted: September 10, 2020 at 7:54 pm

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Empower, Jesper Sehested,

September 8, 2020; Washington Post

Writing in the Washington Post, Gillet Gardner Rosenblith, whose doctoral thesis traces the history of public housing policy, highlights the shifting meaning of the word empowerment, showing how a term once used by tenants to claim rights of self-governance has, over time, come to mean being subjected to the market.

This shift is not just of academic interest. In fact, its a contributing factor to the nations current housing crisis. As Rosenblith observes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order to stave off evictions for most renters through the end of the year came about due to tenant advocacy groups calls for eviction moratoriums, even if the measure fails to address the need for rent reliefin a sense, just delaying a potential eviction wave for a few months.

More fundamentally, Rosenblith writes, The order does nothing to address the root cause of this eviction crisisa half-century of federal retrenchment from providing low-income housing and the rejection of traditional multifamily public housing as a viable and effectual anti-poverty program.

What led to the push for tenant empowerment in the first place? As Rosenblith explains, Public housing always had flaws. Its placement often worsened racial and economic segregation, separating low-income, disproportionately African American tenant families from centers of economic and political activity, public transportation, jobs, and more.

What public housing residents were calling for in the late 1960s was fully funded public housing in which residents played a decisive role in decision-making, rents stayed affordable, and the housing itself would be augmented by initiatives designed to help people out of poverty including job training, day cares, health centers, and more.

This may seem a pipedream. Yet for a brief moment, it appeared possible. As NPQ noted a couple of years ago, back in 1968, Congress did not just pass the Fair Housing Act. It also passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, which funded housing with a goal of producing six million units of affordable housing in 10 years; by 1970, the federal government was getting close to that 600,000 units a year goal, producing 366,100 units and rehabilitating another 79,700.

And then, funding quickly disappeared, and with its absence came a shift in the language of empowerment. What once meant tenant power and community control became, as Rosenblith puts it, the empowerment of individual tenants, often couched in narratives of personal responsibility or self-sufficiency.

The shift, she notes, was perfectly bipartisanand extended beyond housing to education, healthcare, and welfare policies.

Occasionally, Rosenblith notes, some sought to meld old and new forms of empowerment. One notable example was Jack Kemp, who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary for President George H.W. Bush. Kemp promoted demonstration projects involving resident management and resident ownership of their units. But, Rosenblith points out, when tenants assumed primary responsibility of day-to-day management duties over their housing, they did so without access to or power over the federal funds allocated to their housing authority. Accordingly, tenant management groups often struggled to effectively implement their vision for management.

By the mid-1990s, Rosenblith writes, a strong bipartisan consensus for empowerment was evident, but the term had become completely divorced from its original intention of promoting significant structural reform and providing adequate resources to help lift Americans from poverty. The budget for public housing, she notes, was cut by $17 billion during President Bill Clintons administration.

It gets worse. Under Clinton, the war on drugs had a public housing corollary. The One Strike Act, notes Rosenblith, claimed to empowergot to love that wordthe good tenants by evicting the bad. But it often led to whole families, including good tenants, losing their housing.

Bottom line: in the name of empowerment, federal housing policy made a mockery of the term.

As Rosenblith concludes, Instead of listening to public housing tenants, politicians made top-down determinations about what was good for them. The result was a far cry from what the tenant power movement had envisioned: the federal government retreated from providing safe, affordable housing, leaving more low-income families at the mercy of private rental companies and landlords.Steve Dubb

What's in a Word? Housing Policy and the Shifting Sands of Empowerment - Non Profit News - Nonprofit Quarterly

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

One in 10 U.S. Adults Say They Have Been Victims of Identity Theft Since the COVID-19 Pandemic Began – Yahoo Finance

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Survey from TransUnions public sector business finds expectations are high for government agencies to provide secure yet convenient experiences

CHICAGO, Sept. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than eight in 10 U.S. adults (83%) are concerned about having their identity stolen and the level of distress of this crime occurring has increased for nearly one-third (32%) of Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More alarmingly, since the onset of the pandemic, 10% of U.S. adults report being a victim of identity theft. The findings are part of a new survey conducted by the public sector business of TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) released today during the FedID 2020 virtual conference.

The survey of 2,108 U.S. adults on August 11, 2020, also observed types of fraud that are impacting both government agencies and consumers. Unemployment benefits and tax return fraud, among others, are challenging for government agencies because consumers have high expectations concerning the security of their accounts.

More than 43% of survey respondents said both security and convenience are equally important to them when accessing their government accounts. Approximately 26% said security is more important and 22% had convenience as being more essential.

As federal and state government agencies support millions of consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, its apparent that fraudsters are gaining access to accounts and funds that are meant to help individuals in need, said Jonathan McDonald, executive vice president of TransUnions public sector business unit. During these difficult times, its critical for government agencies to provide secure, friction-right experiences to ensure citizens are equipped to safely access their accounts or much-needed benefits.

Government fraud impacting youngest generations most

Besides the respondents who said they were a victim of identity theft, 11% said they were not sure if they have or have not been a victim of identity theft. Gen Z (born 1995 or after) topped all generations with almost 16% stating theyve been an ID theft victim. Gen Z also reported the highest propensity of government accounts being taken over by someone else (15%) compared to 7% for all generations.

While 7% of respondents said theyve been a victim of unemployment benefits fraud in 2020, the youngest generations once again faced the greatest challenges. More than 16% of Gen Z respondents said theyve been a victim of unemployment benefits fraud followed by Millennials (born 1980 to 1994) at 8%. The vast majority of respondents who have been a victim of unemployment benefits fraud have not resolved the problem.

Furthermore, a small percentage of respondents have either had their 2019 tax return fraudulently filed (7%) or had their stimulus check stolen (6%). However, Gen Z once again was an outlier with 13% having tax returns fraudulently filed and 12% having stimulus checks stolen.

Our findings make it abundantly clear that the youngest adults are being targeted most by fraudsters. This is also one of the most vulnerable populations with many just beginning their careers. At the same time, these individuals also are tech savvy with the most substantive online profiles, and thats why its critical for government agencies to provide secure, yet convenient opportunities for this population to confirm their identity accurately, concluded McDonald.

TransUnions public sector business supports federal, state and local agencies by providing mission-critical solutions to improve citizen safety, manage compliance and boost services for constituents. TransUnions fraud solutions unite both consumer and device identities to detect threats across markets, fusing traditional data science with machine learning to provide businesses and government agencies with unique insights about consumer transactions.

To access more information about the public sector survey, please click here.

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)

TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.

A leading presence in more than 30 countries across five continents, TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people.

One in 10 U.S. Adults Say They Have Been Victims of Identity Theft Since the COVID-19 Pandemic Began - Yahoo Finance

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Empowerment in audit – Accounting Today

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How many of you got into auditing because you love filling out forms? Consider for a moment: The staff who stay are the ones who acquiesce to filling out endless checklists, but those who want to broaden their perspective and depth of knowledge about the client and the industry leave. Scary, isnt it?

We need to set up our firms to keep those who know what the bottom line was on their last audit, and especially those who know how their client makes money. We need to keep the people who will move us from audit and accounting to assurance and advisory.

We have so much untapped potential in our firms to move the audit into the future, but we cant access that without a culture of empowerment. Empowerment is one of the five attributes of a framework for audit leadership weve observed in successful firms over the years. The other attributes are relevance, business-mindedness, quality, and innovation.

Empowerment means that teams feel like they have ownership over the outcome, outputs and the process of what they are doing. They need to feel its OK to try doing things differently and even to make a mistake and learn from it. The quality of everyones work improves when they have the confidence to present new ideas, and to push back when they think theres a better way to do something. And empowerment delivers results especially when it is partnered with owned accountability.

Empowered teams are engaged

Theres an old story of an architect and two stone masons. The architect asked the first stone mason what he was doing. The mason said, Every day is the same. I cut heavy blocks and put them in place to build a wall. The architect saw another stone mason who was doing the same work as the first one, but this one was visibly more animated. The architect asked him the same question, and this one said, Im building a cathedral! Isnt that wonderful?

Our culture of filling out checklists means audit firms are filled with people building walls, not cathedrals, hardly an empowered group. But an empowered team is all-in. Theyre engaged. Theyre looking for ways to add value with each audit and believe its their right and responsibility to do so. Theyre not afraid to innovate, and theyre actively thinking about ways to help the bottom line for their clients. They see and own the end game: protection of the public interest, successful clients and a healthy firm.

In the current COVID-19 environment, engagement might seem like a luxury, when some audit firms are needing to lay people off just to survive another day. But according to a recent meta-analysis of global business data performed by Gallup, engagement is even more important in times of crisis. According to Gallups analysis, which covered both the 2001 and the 2008 recessions, Business units are at an increased advantage and more resilient than their peers if employee engagement is strong. And they are at an increased disadvantage and less resilient if employee engagement is weak during a recession.

So what should leaders do to create that advantage? Heres a hint we dont just point the team at piles of stone and walk away, assuming it will become the cathedral.

Four connections you need

Leaders and managers need to set the stage and be present and available along the way to enable empowered team members who are connected to their work in four distinct ways:

Without these four connections, you have a disconnected group of people who will be ready to join another firm for a higher paycheck. Why not, when most every firm has the same checklist mentality of building an endless wall? You can make your firm attractive to the great auditors when youre building a cathedral.

A culture of empowerment

Building a culture of empowerment doesnt require investment in expensive training. You can build it with small changes, but those small changes make a powerful impact:

Leave audit in a better place

Audit is rapidly becoming a commodity, and there are rumors that blockchain will make audit obsolete. But we honestly believe it's not too late.

There is so much potential in the talents of our people at every level in the firm that the power of all of us working together can make a huge positive difference for the future of A&A. When we empower our people to play all in and we guide them to understand that audit is more than a forms-filling exercise, we can move the profession to a place where team members want to learn, grow, stay, help their clients be successful, and to eventually lead the firm.

To get there, right now we have to work to make audit relevant to our clients. An attitude of business-mindedness means were protecting the interests of our firm and looking for ways to help our clients be more successful. Striving for first time right means quality isnt something measured by the number of checklists and isnt something that we hope quality control will fix at the end. We need to embrace innovation as not just adding more technology, but looking for different ways to do things, and doing different things. And lastly, we need to empower our people to apply their curiosity and intellect to take A & A into the future.

If we do all of that, the future of audit will be better than the present.

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Empowerment in audit - Accounting Today

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

India to empower citizens with control over use of personal data – Business Standard

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Niti Aayog seeks suggestions and comments on Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA), which aims to empower individuals with control over how their personal data is used and shared

Topics Niti Aayog|data protection

Peerzada Abrar | Bengaluru Last Updated at September 4, 2020 23:18 IST

The government is all set to launch a Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) that will let citizens have control over how their data is used or shared while ensuring privacy. The framework aims to be a public-private effort for a new and improved data governance approach, and policy think tank NITI Aayog has already sought suggestions on the DEPA draft document before October 1.

The on-ground implementation of the framework is set to launch this year. Nandan Nilekani, Aadhaar architect, and Infosys co-founder, in a Tweet on Friday said: The DEPA draft is out ...

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India to empower citizens with control over use of personal data - Business Standard

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Girls on the Run initiates fall season programs with accommodations for health and safety guidelines – LebTown

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4 min read184 views and 17 shares Posted September 10, 2020

Girls on the Run of Lancaster and Lebanon counties (GOTR) have organized a plan to set in motion a revamped version of their fall season programs.

Read More: Girls on the Run is helping local students learn life lessons through physical activity

The GOTR staff and volunteer coaches have included necessary changes to the programs to be able to still provide girls in third to eighth grades with ways to take care of their physical and emotional health during the COVID-19 era. GOTR is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic may have placed additional stress on many childrens lives.

Several of the revisions that have been made to both the GOTR (third to fifth grades) and Heart and Sole (sixth to eighth grades) programs include smaller team sizes for limited physical exposure, a program duration shortened from ten weeks to eight weeks for a later start date, and increased flexibility regarding the times and days of practices.

GOTR has made several modifications to the program to ensure the health and safety of coaches and participants, said Carrie Johnson, Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Lancaster and Lebanon. By following current COVID-19 guidelines, GOTR is confident girls will be able to join a team and experience the much-needed positive encouragement from their peers and trained coaches. Serving girls and meeting their social, emotional, and physical needs are so important to their futures, especially during this time when it is needed most.

The two choices for the fall 2020 programs are in-person/virtual hybrid teams or virtual-only teams. For in-person/virtual hybrid teams, locations such as parks, community centers, churches, and schools will be used as meeting places for social distancing purposes. The teams will meet two times per week and can choose to meet up to four times per week. The team sizes have been minimized to only six to twelve girls per team with two coaches. There will be 16 GOTR lessons during the season.

Read More: Girls on the Run launches GOTR at Home

Virtual only teams give participants the chance to meet virtually through video conferencing. Both school-based virtual teams and open enrollment virtual teams are offered. The teams will be limited to 12 girls per team with two coaches and will meet twice a week for eight weeks. The meetings will last 45 minutes and will include games referring to the lesson, team discussions, activities in the Girl Journal, and physical activity.

Each participant will receive their own bag to carry a Girl Journal for the practices, as well as hand sanitizer, markers and pens.

In the event of unexpected or planned closures, GOTR will be able to quickly shift in-person program to virtual practices, Johnson said. Coaches will be provided with specific resources, training, and support to prepare them to seamlessly deliver the program virtually. With alternative and flexible programming now available, we continue the GOTR commitment to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.

This years fall virtual 5K is presented by Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster. The 5K will take place on Nov. 20, 21, and 22, and will involve both smaller events in-person and virtually. For more information on the race and to register for the 5K, click here.

Registration is now open for the fall programs and the season starts on Monday, Sept. 21. To register, click here.

In addition to the fall programs this year, GOTR plans to offer a free virtual screening and post-viewing dialogue of the 2017 documentary, Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.

Angst is a film that focuses on what its like to have anxiety and the struggles that go along with the symptoms of it in everyday life. Angst presents interviews with young people who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety and what their personal experiences entail. The film also includes an interview with the famous athlete, Michael Phelps.

This film and subsequent panel is for everyone, we all have some level of anxiety in our lives and can learn so much from this documentary, Johnson said. The film helps normalize the conversation and gives us a platform for talking about our own personal experiences with anxiety. At GOTR we provide a safe space for girls to connect emotionally, socially and physically.

The 56 minute screening will be available from Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 11 at 11:30 p.m. On Oct. 8 from 7:00 p.m to 8:45 p.m., a screening will take place and afterward there will be a virtual dialogue with psychologists and experts.

With the limitations the pandemic has put on gathering and thus, meeting in-person with many of our girls, we feel strongly that providing the platform for conversation around anxiety and what all children and adults are feeling right now is one of the most impactful things we can do as an organization, Johnson said. Anxieties of the uncertainty and unknown are running high for both adults and children.

The sponsors who made this event possible include The Ellenberg- Herr Team at Merrill Lynch, Jay Group, Hershey Retirement Solutions, Kreamer Funeral Home, LCCF, Hinkle Insurance, and Eden Park Pediatric Group The screening tickets are free and are now available. For more information about the event and to register for tickets, click here.

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Girls on the Run initiates fall season programs with accommodations for health and safety guidelines - LebTown

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Defending Rights of Women in India: A Constitutional Standpoint – The Kashmir Images Newspaper

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Added on September 11, 2020 Adeela Hameed

Women make up half the population of our world. They are equal members to each resource provided by nature, have personal and official rights, and elicit respect. Each country takes care of women rights as one of its fundamental responsibilities. India is no exception.

When talking about constitutional and legal rights of women in India, we have a large base to cover. Some of the very important constitutional rights are mentioned below to provide an idea that the Indian constitution does indeed cater to women empowerment.

The legal rights (notified as Acts) of women as provided by the Indian constitution are:

Although these rights are clearly mentioned in the Indian constitution, following these to the bone is lacking at large in our country. What does this say about citizens and governing bodies? This indicates that however powerful the rule, it will never be powerful enough to be implemented, unless and until underlying issues are addressed. The issue here is making women aware of these rights, boosting their confidence, and helping them to be bold and headstrong in the face of turmoil at any level; societal, familial, or personal.

Female employees working in industries, factories, government offices, or private facilities whilst maintaining their households properly are proof enough that a woman can balance her job and personal life well. They dont need to be patronized. What they require is full reimbursement for their abilities, at home or at work.

Women are half the reason this planet survives. They are guardians of the human civilization, and their presence in this world matters as much as a mans. So, women need to know their role, rights and responsibilities to move ahead with confidence. Not only women, but men too should consider it their duty to make sure a woman is respected and admired responsibly. That she is supported in her dreams, her modesty protected, and work appreciated.

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Defending Rights of Women in India: A Constitutional Standpoint - The Kashmir Images Newspaper

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September 10th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

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