Although small and mid-sized banks control only 22 percent of all bank assets, they account for 54 percent of small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now command 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business. Continue reading
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In a truly groundbreaking move for the English-speaking world, Britain’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has released a full suite of renewable energy tariffs that go into effect in April. Britain will become the first country in the world to offer a comprehensive system of tariffs for renewable heat, including tariffs for solar domestic hot water and ground-source heat pumps among others.
The latest report from TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky warns, “Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car.” Continue reading
By exempting internet retailers like Amazon.com from collecting sales taxes, lawmakers provide a substantial financial incentive for people to bypass local businesses and shop online instead. Continue reading
The New Rules Project, in partnership with HuffPost’s Move Your Money campaign, is using its Community Banking Initiative to get out the word that banking locally can put the power back in the hands of individuals and communities, rather than Wall Street’s CEOs.
As more of us ditch the big banks in favor local banks and credit unions, we need to give thought to both the saving and lending sides of a bank. Each is crucial.
As we start down the path of breaking up with the big banks and defending our own economic interests and that of our communities, we should think about the whole range of financial services we use. We need to give thought to both the saving and lending sides of a bank. Each is crucial. On the savings side, community-based financial institutions need our deposits much more than the big banks do. But to be profitable community banks need to convert those deposits into loans. Continue reading
A new and vastly improved climate change policy has come out of nowhere to capture the imagination of state and national policymakers: "Cap and dividend." It works like this: Step one, impose a carbon cap. Step two, auction off all carbon allowances. Step three, return most of (if not all) the revenues generated to all households on a per capita basis. Continue reading
This effort was announced in December 2009 and is a nice example of the start of a regional effort to do some comprehensive planning to facilitate the smooth transition to electric vehicles. The initiative is a collaboration between cities, utilities, automakers and others in the Southern California region who will work actively to support and build the necessary infrastructure for the commercial launch of electric vehicles. Continue reading
Vancouver has established an electric vehicle (EV) charging system requirement for new construction – both single family and multi-family properties. In October 2009, a new rule requires 20% of the parking spots in new multi-family developments in Vancouver to have charging ports for electric vehicles.
With respect to charging electric vehicles (EVs), the ideal scenario would result in a maximum amount of renewable energy flowing into the vehicle’s battery packs while at the same time utilizing our existing infrastructure (power plants, transmission/distribution lines) as efficiently as possible. To meet this scenario, the timing of charging up vehicles must be compared to the timing of power plant