Financial Technology

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Tag: funds

FinTech 101: What is a Green Bank?

What Is a Green Bank?
You may have heard the term “Green Bank” and wondered what it meant. This short article will explain the term and concept behind it.

Green Banks in a Nutshell
A green bank is a bank that exists for the sole purpose of battling earth climate change by funding projects that may be able to decrease the global carbon emissions and increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels and energy. They tend to support infrastructure spending in wind, solar, and other renewable energy space.

Green Banks: Functional Model
Green banks are not climate charities. Their funding is expected to be paid back with a profit for the bank. Currently, they are supported by some states in the U.S. and also by private funding. Green Banks utilize philanthropic and public funds. They generally fund energy projects that beyond the research stage and “good to go”. The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a nonprofit agency that is deeply involved in advocating for green banks’ continued development.

Where Did the Idea for Green Banks Originate?
The idea for green banks started in 2008 when two entrepreneurial-minded, Ken Berlin and Reed Hundt, came up with the concept as part of the Obama transition team’s plans for promoting cleaner energy changes in US society. A proposal to enact federally supported green banks was attached to the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The concept never made it as legislation at the federal level. Green bank supporters were not daunted. Consequently, green bank advocates persuaded some states to take up the cause.

Green Banks: Some Statics
Currently, there are at least ten states that have at least one green bank. In addition, they are in the early stages of catching on globally as well. They also exist in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. Within the U.S., green banks have already been involved in the funneling of some $3 billion in funds for clean-energy projects.

Green Banks: Their Future Development
With the advent of the Biden presidency, green banks may again find a firmer footing at the federal level. Indeed, in December 2020, Mr. Biden proposed the idea of a national green bank. They appear sure to gain more traction internationally as the desire to dampen climate change takes hold.

Benefits Of Fintech For Small Companies Jacob Parker Bowles

Benefits of FinTech for Small Companies

Financial technology, known as FinTech, is changing the way many small business owners run their companies. Struggling to find financing from lenders and strict regulatory compliance is leading many smaller companies to focus on FinTech. Instead of relying on traditional lenders to help support their companies, many entrepreneurs are now turning to affordable solutions from financial technology companies.


FinTech Product and Service Offerings

FinTech companies offer a range of solutions for small companies. Business owners have access to lending, foreign exchange services, and digital business solutions. Many finance experts agree that the rise of FinTech is not just a passing fancy, but a real shift in the way small business owners generate revenues and profit. A report from the World Economic Forum suggests that FinTech will change the entire business environment.

From invoicing solutions, peer to peer lending, and supply chain financing, FinTech companies are gaining a real market presence in the business world with their low-cost solutions. Additionally, these companies are not hamstrung by the regulations that many traditional banks face.

One of the largest gaps FinTech companies fill is lending solutions. Traditional banks often turn away small business owners seeking smaller loans. By offering so-called “micro-loans,” FinTech companies provide a critical lending solution for smaller companies that need less than $50,000. The Small Business Administration considers any loans of $50,000 or less as “micro-loans.”

Many FinTech companies also offer strategic invoicing and expense solutions. In many cases, small business owners have free access to these solutions using easy to download apps.


Other FinTech Solutions

Lending and tracking invoices are only two of a countless array of solutions offered by FinTech companies. Property management companies can accept payments from tenants using the solutions. Additionally, loans are available to help some of the costs of repairs and security deposits that many residents struggle with while property management companies still receive those funds upfront.


Many experts agree that FinTech for smaller companies is still in its infancy. Adopting FinTech as the primary source of business solutions for entrepreneurs is still a challenge. However, many experts do agree that FinTech companies have found a niche by providing services to smaller companies that largely go unrecognized by bigger banks.

Jacob Parker Bowles Dark Money

Deceptively Dark Money: The Hidden Dangers of Dark Money

Unless you’re involved in the financial industry or politics, then you may have no idea what dark money even is, but you’ve probably heard the term tossed around by politicians and the media. It sounds like something shady and mysterious that could get the owner into trouble, and that is pretty much exactly what it is. However, dark money transactions occur all the time and government officials do nothing to stop it. And why would they? Dark money, since gaining traction in the United States during the 2010 midterm election, fuels elections, playing such a large role in the campaigns of political figures that it would be futile to try to reverse its existence.

I should probably explain what dark money actually is before getting into why it’s so dangerous and its power to influence elections. Dark money is essentially just money that is donated to nonprofit organizations or super PACs (political action committees) from various undisclosed donors to influence the decisions of voters in elections, mainly in the form of political advertisements- so if you’ve ever seen one of those propagandistic political commercials that seem to play on an endless loop around the time of elections, then you’ve no doubt witnessed the products of dark money.

The use of dark money to influence elections has taken off exponentially in just the few years it has been in use. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, spending from nonprofit organizations that do not disclose their donors has increased from $5.2 million in the 2006 election to $300 million in the 2012 presidential elections and $174 million in the 2014 midterm elections. In the most recent election period, political organizations outside of official party/campaign groups spent over $15 million in 2015 alone and only reported $5 million to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

There is debate over just how much dark money influenced President Trump’s campaign, with Andy Kroll citing in an article for Mother Jones that while Trump initially denounced donations from outside groups to fund his campaign, he ultimately raised more than $300 million from wealthy and small-dollar donors, lobbyists, and businesses, which he used to pay consultants, pollsters, fundraisers, and ad makers to run the promotional end of his campaign. Additionally, according to Kroll, he received more than $100 million in anonymous support from dark money groups.

Whether or not these statistics are entirely factual is beside the point. It’s clear that dark money has come to play a large role in elections. Undisclosed funds are indisputably shady transactions, yet there are generally two camps when it comes to dark money, which helps to explain why this practice isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Campaign finance reform activists

While many people outside of politics or finance may feel uncomfortable about dark money, there are those who are staunchly against it. Campaign finance reform activists, encompassing groups such as Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, argue that voters have the right to be informed of who is funding political campaigns. According to the Center for Public Integrity, “Such information, they assert, is essential to voters’ ability to evaluate the merits of political messages- and to know if certain special interests may be trying to curry favor with politicians.”

Supporters of anonymity in politics

Then there are those that defend dark money, those that support anonymity in politics and assert that founding documents such as The Federalist Papers and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense were published anonymously. The Center for Competitive Politics argues that the threat of dark money is “overblown” and “disclosure comes with a cause,” meaning donors have the right to remain anonymous to avoid harassment or negative press.


As these views demonstrate, there are two sides to every story. However, the risks associated with dark money cannot be ignored, and its influence in political elections is undeniable.

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