6 Ways the North American Clean Economy Agreement Will Affect Business

Within a week, two continents embarked on widely divergent paths. Europe’s union took a potentially fatal blow, whileNorth Americacommitted to a deeper relationship: Canada, the US, and Mexico issued a joint commitment to building a clean economy. It’s a big step forward for cross-border cooperation, and the ramifications for energy producers and users (that is, everyone) could be enormous.

The North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership covers a lot of ground. The biggest commitments are:

  • Generating 50% clean power by 2025
  • Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% by 2025
  • Aligning appliance, equipment, and vehicle fuel efficiency standards
  • Further integrating the electric grid across borders to build resilience and security
  • Implementing policies that support the historicParis climate accords — ie, limiting global temperature rise to2 degreescelsius, and perhaps even holding it to 1.5 degrees celsius
  • Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and calling on G-20 to do the same

The agreement touches on a range of other issues that could impact many industries. But just looking at these big commitments, they’ll clearly reverberate through governments and business in six key ways.

The US must lead on renewables. The 50% clean power target initially made the biggest splash, and for good reason. Let’s unpack what it means for the energy system. The goal soundsaggressive, but the continent is closer than you’d think. The definition of “renewable” here includes not just the obvious (wind, solar, and geothermal), but alsothe more controversial sources of hydropower and nuclear. By that broad definition, North America is already at about 38%. So the goal is tough, but achievable.

But make nomistake: according to my model, reaching the goal is almost entirely on the shoulders of the United Statesfor two big reasons. First,the US generates 82% of the energy on the continent. Second,Canadais already well beyondthe 50% mark (with 59% from hydro alone). So even if Mexico hits its aggressive target of going from 22% to 35% renewable, the US will have to go from 33% to 46%.

It’s a big move. In a simplistic scenario where the USonlybuilt more wind power, wewould need to add 3 times as much as we did over the last decade. If onlysolar, wewould need to average eight times the amount built in 2015, every year, through2025. The growth in renewables is phenomenal, sothe sector could be up to the task. But there’s a problem in another part of the equation, nukes, which could shift attitudes toward that source of power.

I spoke with Cristin Lyon, the Partner and Practice Lead for Grid Transformation for management consulting firm Scott Madden. She pointed out that states and utilities are currentlyplanning to close some nuclear plants. “To the extent that we continue to take nuclear plants offline,” Lyon said, “we’re going in the wrong direction.”

No matter what your view on nuclear power, the math gets harder if we close those down during this critical decade in the climate fight. But, even so, the economics of renewable energy continue to get better fast. Andthe growth of corporate renewables is accelerating. Big guys like Google, Apple, Dow, Owens Corning, Microsoft, Ciscobought 3.4 Gigawatts of wind and solar last year.

There will be increased pressure on utilities and energy giants. A deep shift in energy markets, including the agreement’s goals onmaking the grid more flexible and resilient, will change how utilities and energy companies need to operate. It’s continuing the bad news for coal — but that’s already priced into those companies’ valuations, which have dropped more that 90% in the last 5 years.

Utilities, too, will face more regulations and pressure to increase the percentage of renewable energy on their grids. To aid in this, the US government will need to leaninto the Clean Power Plan, which pressures energy providers to cut carbon (that is, assuming the eight Supreme Court justices leave the law standing after temporarily freezing it while challenges move through the lower courts).

The natural gas industry will have to face its “leakage” problem. The new partnership’s methane goal is particularly fascinating. A bit of history: As the fracking boom took off, carbon emissions in the US actually went down…in theory. Measured at the power plant, natural gas burns much cleaner, so the numbers initially looked good.

Pay heed to your spouses credit score

If both, your partner and you, have a good credit score and continue to maintain it by making diligent repayments, taking a loan becomes easy. Your combined income and healthy credit profiles will enable you to qualify for larger loans at more attractive terms, including a lower interest rate. Given the good credit record, lenders are confident that the two of you have both the means and the willingness to fulfil your loan obligations.

When one spouse has a poor credit score

In such cases, the outcome depends on how poor the credit score is and the lenders evaluation method. There are a few lenders that look solely at the monthly income and not at the credit scores when processing loan applications. You may be able to secure a loan with them if both of you have substantial incomes but a poor credit history.

If your salary account or main transaction account is with a particular bank, approach that bank first. If your spouse has a poor credit score but a healthy bank balance or relationship, inform the lender about the reasons for the poor score. Some banks may be willing to give you a loan as they have insights to your financial history.

Spouses score around 700: Your spouses credit score may not be great, but it is certainly not very poor either. It is likely that public sector banks may not want to lend to you, but some other lenders may be willing. Your preferred bank may reject your application or lend a smaller amount at a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are the primary applicant with a moderately good score and much higher income while your partner, the secondary applicant, has a high score, the situation can work in your favour. Lenders may give you better terms. More importantly, your spouses score will prevent a lender from rejecting your application. Bear in mind that a loan rejection too drives credit score lower.

Spouses score in 500-600 range: While there is no magic number that guarantees loan approval, even in joint loans lenders prefer it if both applicants have a score of 750 or more. If your partner has a slightly lower score, it will raise red flags during the loan approval process. In the worst case, your joint application may be rejected.

Lenders are naturally nervous about lending to someone who does not have a good history of responsible financial behaviour. If at all a lender is willing to sanction a loan, you might be offered fairly unattractive terms and conditions like a higher interest rate or smaller loan amount. This happens because lenders want to impose tighter restrictions and thereby safeguard their money.

If you choose to apply for a loan with a partner who has a bad score, it will not affect your individual score, but your chances of securing the loan will be significantly compromised.

Is it a better idea then to apply for a loan on your own if your spouse has a poor credit score? Here, too, the answer is not straightforward. You could choose to apply individually, without your spouses score having a negative impact on the lenders decision. While this may result in your loan getting easily approved, it could affect your chances of qualifying for a large loan amount. While you may be credit healthy, your single income may not suffice to get you the large loan amount that you are seeking.

How to become financially fitter in 30 minutes

So, while once upon a time it was family and friends who threw in their two cents for free, now anyone with an Internet connection can reap the benefits of free tips from finance professionals.

Here are our tips for shaping up, fast.

Find any lost super

An alarming amount of superannuation sits unclaimed in funds every year.

Super can go missing when a person changes funds or gives the wrong details to an employer.

And while relatively easy, finding lost super is often a task that goes into the too hard basket for busy workers.

If you think you might have super waiting for you out in the ether, try this quick search via the Australian Taxation Offices website.

You can also check with AUSFund – a non-profit that holds lost super from 35 Australian super funds.

Meet ed

If you think your budgeting tools need sharpening, it might be time for you to meet ed, ME Banks quick and easy online finance school.

Classes range from money basics, to managing debt and living with a home loan.

For those in need of a financial plan, try this class on budgeting.

Unlike many finance tools online, eds classes are easy on the eye and over before you know it.

Can I Get a Mortgage With Bad Credit?

Prospective homebuyers may be surprised to hear that bad credit wont necessarily shut them out of the market completely. It is possible to get a mortgage with a subpar credit score — but your options are going to be limited and youre most likely going to pay in fees and/or interest.

What Score Do I Need?

General consensus among mortgage experts is that you need a score of 620 or higher to successfully obtain a conventional mortgage (think Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans). And, in fact, according to a report released by Equifax earlier this year, first mortgage originations for subprime borrowers (defined by the bureau as consumers with an Equifax Risk Score of 620 or below) showed steady growth from January to October 2015, with more than 312,000 new mortgages originated, totaling $50.7 billion.

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Now, there is a chance you can get a mortgage with credit thats a bit worse. Mortgage experts told Credit.com back in February that most FHA-backed loans generally require a score of 600, though some lenders will do loans for as low as 580.

Those scores may not be the worst of the worst — most credit scoring models follow scales of 300 to 850, though Equifaxs risk score utilizes a range of 280 to 850 — but they certainly arent good.

Bad credit scores are generally considered any number under 600, whereas poor credit scores fall between 600 and 649; fair credit scores fall between 650 and 699; good credit scores are between 700 and 749 and excellent credit scores are 750-plus.

Remember the Caveats

Of course, just because you can potentially secure a mortgage with a subpar credit score, doesnt mean you should. A bad credit score is pretty much going to saddle you with a high interest rate, upping the cost of your mortgage.

Credit scores, for instance, play a major role in determining Fannie Mae and Freddie Macs loan-level price adjustments — risk-based fees paid out on conventional loans. (The other major factor is your loan-to-value ratio, the amount of the mortgage you are applying for in relationship to the appraised value of the home you are looking to buy.) Loan level price adjustments go up or down in 20 point intervals with the most favorable one for mortgages capped at 740.

Even with that cap, it can be seriously worthwhile for someone with a bad score to fix their credit before they apply for a home loan. You can generally improve your credit scores by disputing errors on your credit reports, paying down high credit card balances and avoiding new credit inquiries while your score rebounds. To see where your credit currently stands, you can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view two of your credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.

[Offer: Denied from a loan? It may be because of a low credit score due to errors on your report. Lexington Law can help you navigate the credit repair process so you can get back on track. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]

More on Mortgages amp; Homebuying:

  • How to Find amp; Choose a Mortgage Lender
  • How to Refinance Your Home Loan With Bad Credit
  • How to Get a Loan Fully Approved

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‘Merchants bearing the blunt of dairy farm cash flow struggles’

Merchants and co-ops are bearing the blunt of cash flow struggles on dairy farms, according to Bank of Irelands Susan Maher.

Speaking at a Teagasc Managing Through 2016 Dairy Farm Walk in Co. Kildare, the Agri Manager said farmers struggling with cash flow need to take control of their own situation.

Maher said that many farmers are using the credit facilities provided by co-ops and merchants to ease the burden of a tight cash flow caused by lower milk prices this year.

If you are taking out merchant credit over an extended period of time, the interest rates can rise up to 15-16% on your outstanding balance very quickly, she said.

However despite the increase in merchant burrowing, she said that the number of farmers using over draft facilities to deal with cash flow issues are quite low.

All of the banks expect that that pressure is going to come back on us and I think the banks should be the first port of call for farmers.

Farm debt restructuring on the increase

The number of dairy farmers looking to restructure their debts has increased over the past six weeks, she said.

The Bank of Ireland Agri Manager said that some dairy farmers are looking to pay back their debts over a longer time frame.

Maher continued to say that many dairy farmers have a number of loans repayable under different terms and this often results in higher repayments in the short term.

And in a bid to ease the burden of short-term repayments, she said that many borrowers are looking to restructure their debts to longer term loans.

No silver bullet to guarantee success

Maher also said there is no silver bullet to guarantee success when it comes to managing debt on farms, as every farm will require a different solution.

However there are a number of options farmers can avail of to ease some of the financial burden on their farms.

Borrowing against existing infrastructure

Maher said that one of the key things that has been seen on Irish dairy farms over the past two-to-three years is farmers investing in capital infrastructure on the back of a favourable milk price.

When milk price was up at 38-39c/L there was work done on farm because there was a cushion to fund the work and it wasnt funded by way of bank borrowings, she said.

She said when farmers can quantify the money they have spent over the last number of years they may be able to take out a loan against the asset to re-inject cash back into the business.

The term of the loan will match the type of capital development that you undertook.

Farmers will be able to apply for a 15-year term loan on the strength of a farm building, she said, a seven year loan on the back of an investment in stock and a seven-to-10 year loan on roadway and fencing spending.

It is absolutely an option that is there for a lot of farmers.

A letter from an accountant should be sufficient prove to show that the work has been carried out as it will show up on the financial accounts as either an addition to assets or repairs and maintenance on the profit and loss, she said.

Interest only debt repayments

Interest only payments might be an option on term debt, she said and that is available across all of the banks.

She said that Bank of Ireland offers the Agri-flex option, which allows farmers to make interest only payments on stocking, term, land purchase and farm building loans.

The interest rate doesnt change but you can extend out you loan repayments by a six or 12 month period

Once the interest only period has lapsed you can extend out your term or you can pay it back over the existing term at slightly higher repayments, she said.

Hillary Clinton Calls Trump’s Business Record Disqualifying

Hillary Clinton wants voters to think of Donald Trump as a corporate super-villain who destroys the livelihoods of working families to enrich himself.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee pressed that case on Wednesday in an appearance outside the shuttered Trump Plaza hotel and casino in Atlantic City, NJ Pointing to Trump’s checkered history in the resort town — multiple bankruptcies, lawsuits from contractors who said they got stiffed, a legal fight with a widow over bulldozing her house to make way for a parking lot — Clinton said voters should be wary of her opponent’s promises.

“What he did for his businesses and his workers is nothing to brag about,” Clinton said. “In fact, it’s shameful, and every single voter in America needs to know about it so we don’t let him do to the country what he did to his businesses.”

The strategy aims a dagger at the heart of Trump’s argument: That as president, the billionaire could use his business acumen to spread prosperity. In that sense, Clinton hopes to repeat the jujitsu that President Obama performed in 2012 on Mitt Romney’s private equity experience, transforming that GOP nominee’s leading asset into a liability. But Trump, whom Clinton noted Wednesday has faced over 3,500 lawsuits in his business career, arguably offers even richer source material.

Trump issued a rapid reply, defending his business record and his use of bankruptcy laws. “Out of the hundreds of businesses I have owned over the decades, and hundreds of deals and transactions, I have used the chapter laws of our country in four instances, much as many of our country’s elite business people do (but nobody cares about),” Trump said in a statement. “It is an effective and commonly used practice in business to use bankruptcy proceedings to restructure a business and ultimately save jobs.”

But Clinton charged that Trump used bankruptcy laws to stick others, from banks to workers, with his bills while he collected on his own failing projects. “It’s not about what he can build; it’s about what he can take,” she said. A recent Fortune investigation offers some grist for that critique, laying out how excessive debt and weak management doomed Trump’s foray into Atlantic City.

Trump profited personally, however, from handsome management fees — a fact he’s happily acknowledged. Clinton in her Wednesday speech sought to turn that against him, more evidence Trump only cares about his own stake despite promising returns for everybody.

Clinton has her own personal vulnerabilities, highlighted anew on Tuesday by FBI Director James Comey’s devastating assessment of her recklessness in using a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Clinton will need to demonstrate to voters that Trump’s shortcomings overwhelm her own, and Wednesdays speech will form the spine of that attack.

How a Brooklyn business turns memes into money

They say the best investors know how an event in one corner of the market impacts a company in another. New mining laws in Colorado require thousands of workers to wear a certain type of hardhat, and suddenly a plastics company in Norway quadruples its business to meet the increased demand. That sort of thing. Look, if I knew a current example, I’d be too busy making billions to write this story.

In some fashion, I see David Moreno andhis company 232Tech as similar investors, but in meme commodities. When a moment happens on the internet, they produce the best product with which to profit from.

South Korea’s shipbuilders are in troubled waters

The banks have a mandate to lend to sectors that are important to South Koreas economic development but considered too risky for commercial banks, explained Nguyen. The capital-intensive and trade-oriented nature of shipbuilding often tends to scare private lenders away, he added.

Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Korea Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) have around 60 percent of the banking sectors credit exposure to the shipbuilding sector, noted Oh.

STX Offshore amp; Shipbuilding–the worlds fourth-largest shipbuilder–filed for a court-led restructuring scheme on Friday, local media reported, after its principal creditor KDB, declared that it was no longer feasible to keep pumping money into the shipbuilder. The court will decide whether STX will be restructured or liquidated, according to reports.

Strategists say these banks are in desperate need of additional capital, but the source of funding remains the key question.

From beer to drugs to cars: Global business laments EU vote

LONDON Chief executives from Tokyo to Denver prepared for long-term disruption, job cuts and lower profits on Friday after Britains vote to leave the European Union raised widespread fears over economic growth and sent share prices spinning.

In Britain itself, businesses including aerospace, housebuilders and drugmakers fear a range of difficulties from slumping demand to new regulatory hurdles as the pound plunged to its lowest level since 1985.

British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) warned that it would no longer meet its annual profit target and car manufacturers including Ford (F.N), which employs around 14,000 people in the United Kingdom, indicated that it could ultimately lead to job cuts.

Ford will take whatever action is needed to ensure that our European business remains competitive, the company said, adding that it had not changed its investment plans yet.

World stocks headed for one the biggest slumps on record as investors predicted the impact of the narrow 52 vs 48 percent vote for Britain to leave the European Union would damage economic confidence across the globe.

The president of Japans Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal (5401.T), the worlds second-largest steelmaker, said the vote was extremely disappointing.

We are greatly concerned for the negative impact this will have, not only on Britain and the EU but also on the global economy, said Kosei Shindo.

Those who campaigned for Britain to leave had said a weaker pound could help UK exports, but it will also reduce the value of foreign companies UK earnings and raise questions about access to the EU market.

This decision will create tremendous uncertainty, which will slow economic activity and decision making, said Martin Sorrell, the boss of the worlds biggest advertising group WPP (WPP.L).

Jaguar Land Rover, Britains biggest carmaker, has estimated its annual profit could shrink by 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) by 2020 if Britain returns to World Trade Organization rules for trade with Europe.

Shares in the companys owner, Indias Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), fell 8 percent.

IMMEDIATE STEPS

Some businesses signaled an intention to push for a settlement between the UK and the EU that would minimize damage to their business, while others took immediate steps.

This is a lose-lose ?result for both Britain and Europe, said Airbus (AIR.PA) CEO Thomas Enders. We will review our UK investment strategy, like everybody else will.

Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch, said its investment plans would not change, for now, but it was preparing for a weaker British currency: We have significantly raised our hedging ratios in order to counteract a possible depreciation of the British pound.

The German appliances maker plans to invest 25 million euros in Britain this year.

Randstad (RAND.AS), the worlds second-largest employment services company, said it might need to restructure, as in did during the financial crisis in 2009, to cope with disruption to the jobs market.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who campaigned for Britain to remain in, said he would resign and leaders in Scotland, which voted strongly to stay in Europe, said they would consider holding a referendum to leave the United Kingdom.

Makers of Scotch whisky, who export more than 90 percent of what they produce, fear market access could be jeopardized.

There are serious issues to resolve in areas of major importance to our industry and which require urgent attention, notably the nature of future trade arrangements with both the single (European) market and the wider world, said David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Some investors warned of a coming British or even global recession as sterling collapsed to lowest since 1985.

Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey (TW.L), Barratt Developments (BDEV.L) and Persimmon (PSN.L) saw their market values slump by more than a fifth on fears of a sharp economic downturn.

Bank shares such as Barclays (BARC.L) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) also tumbled, as well as domestic retailers like Sports Direct (SPD.L) and Marks Spencers (MKS.L). Meanwhile safer-haven sectors, like gold miners and tobacco, outperformed.

STERLING HEADACHE

Big swings in sterling will be a headache for some international companies, with a fall in the currency hitting profits earned in Britain.

International companies with sizeable sterling exposure include Denver-based Molson Coors (TAP.N), owner of Carling beer, which is heavily reliant on the UK.

But for multinationals reporting in sterling, there will be a short-term boost to profits, when expressed in pounds.

Aside from market access, streamlining of regulations within the EU has made life simpler.

    Pharmaceutical companies, for example, enjoy a one-stop shop in the form of the London-based European Medicines Agency, which approves new drugs for all EU countries, while the EUs open airspace deals have fostered a surge in air travel and common policies on agriculture and food safety have allowed for smoother supply chains.

    Companies in those sectors have fretted that Britain outside the bloc would disrupt the regulatory landscape.

Ahead of the vote, some British-based multinationals such as Diageo (DGE.L), Unilever (ULVR.L) and Rolls-Royce (RR.L) had expressed their support for Remain directly to employees, although most stopped short of this.

Rolls-Royce said on Friday the medium and long-term impact would depend on the relationships struck by Britain with the EU and the rest of the world.

    Government figures show 12.6 percent of Britains economic output is linked to exports to the EUs 27 other members, for whom only 3.1 percent of output is linked to exports to Britain. And 80 percent of British businesses trading overseas do so with the EU.

    The Confederation of British Industry has estimated there could be between 550,000 and 950,000 fewer jobs by 2020 in the event of Brexit.

    For banks, a huge concern has been the threat that financial institutions based in London could lose their EU passports, or the automatic right to sell services across the bloc under single low-cost system. That has made bank shares particularly volatile in the run-up to the referendum.

    Brexit uncertainty has also helped push British merger and acquisition activity this year at its lowest as a proportion of global activity since records began in 1980.

It could also impact large deals already in process, such as Anheuser-Busch InBevs (ABI.BR) $100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller (SAB.L) and the $30 billion merger of London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) and Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE).

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton, Ritsuko Ando, Yuka Obayashi and Laurence Frost; editing by Keith Weir and Philippa Fletcher)

Bad credit – what are your mortgage options?

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People with poor credit scores often think they can’t get a home loan. According to Veda (thanks to research by Savvy) 600,000 Australians are high or extreme credit risks. Though some people with extremely bad credit may have to wait until their history improves to apply, the majority of people with bad credit do have options when it comes to taking up a home loan.

Mortgage preparation: What you have to do as someone with bad credit

CEO of Savvy Finance, Bill Tsouvalas says brokers and lenders will generally try to help people with bad credit into a home loan, if they can afford it. “We wouldn’t dream of approving someone for a loan if they had little chance of paying it back,” he says. “However, to help your chances of gaining approval, it’s a good idea to save up at least 20% deposit for houses in your price range.”

Lenders will assess borrowers based on their credit reports and insist on an upfront deposit. This reduces their “skin in the game,” or exposure to default. Though you may have had a troubled financial past and have taken steps to remedy your situation, your history may not be clear of defaults for up to seven years.

What you must sacrifice as a bad credit customer

The reality for bad credit customers is that you will likely be paying more than average interest rates due to your perceived risk. You can try to reduce this perception by showing potential lenders bank statements and payslips to show you practice responsible personal finance and banking. You should also show your lender a budget and projections on how you intend to pay back the loan, to give them extra piece of mind. “Creating a budget and sticking to it is one of the surefire ways of demonstrating low risk to a lender or broker. It goes a long way when you are shopping around,” Tsouvalas says.

Bad credit mortgages still offer options

In many cases, bad credit mortgages still offer a range of options, including offset accounts to reduce interest payments, redraw facilities, lines of credit and choices of variable or fixed rates. “Don’t think you have to settle for less when you have bad credit,” Tsouvalas says. “There are many loan products out there that offer extras, though it does depend on your individual situation. In fact, banks and lenders are still eager for your business, despite the prevailing view of banks not wanting to deal with bad credit customers. That couldn’t be further from the truth!”

Bad credit isn’t forever

The upshot is your bad credit won’t follow you around forever. If you make repayments on time and in full – even some extra repayments – lenders will eventually place you in a “correctible credit” category. In as little as two or three years, you could refinance your home loan at a “prime” rate. “All it takes is time,” Tsouvalas says. “If you’re responsible with your repayments, you will be on track to repairing your credit history and financial standing.”

Tip: Check your credit history for mistakes

“There’s a perception out there that your credit history is unchangeable; however, that’s not true,” Tsouvalas says. “Utilities companies may slap you with a default if you don’t pay bills on time. If you take out gas, electricity or internet for a shared house under your name, a non-payment by a ‘horror housemate’ affects your credit history. You should check your credit history and clear up any irregularities and defaults in error. This can go a long way in improving your chances of gaining a much better home loan interest rate.”