Celtic Bank Blog

APR
06

5 Tax Tips to Maximize Your Efforts this Year and Next

5 Tax Tips to Maximize Your Efforts this Year and Next
April 15 th : D-day for every American citizen. The day we talk about with fear all year long, the day we all wish was over before it even began. That day is fast approaching, as tax season is in full swing. This year has been an especially interesting tax year- with Obama Care and PayPal 1099’s confusing the masses, we thought some last minute tax tips could help you maximize your deductions for the 2014 fiscal year, and help you better prepare for the 2015 tax year. 1. Watch out for Identity Theft: Identity theft is still quite common, especially around tax time. Each year thousands of taxpayers have their identities stolen along with their tax refunds. Be aware that this and other tax scams still happen and if you do file and are told that your refund has already been issued, be sure to contact the IRS immediately. 2. Donate If you are looking for reasons to be charitable, the tax breaks are one of the biggest. Making regular charitable donations will reduce your 2015 income taxes because any financial contribution or donated contribution to qualified organizations are tax deductible. The IRS even has a simple online tool...
MAR
19

Small Business Lending Continues to Break Records

Small Business Lending Continues to Break Records
In a year-to-year comparison, traditional big bank approval rates have increased over 12 percent. This year alone there was a 19.1 percent increase in approval rates from February 2014 to February 2015. The small business-lending environment has been trending up since the end of the recent Recession. Many have attributed the increase in small business lending to the emergence of alternative lenders. But a February 2015 Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index reveals small businesses are getting loans approved by big banks in record numbers – 21.5 percent to be exact. This approval rate has jumped from Januarys approval rate of 21.3 percent, which was a record post-Recession high. Biz2Credit CEO, Rohit Arora stated that these changes could be tied to a few key differences in the lending environment, “Big banks are starting to grant more conventional loans. This allows them to keep fixed loan expenses down compared to SBA-backed loans, which are not primarily being done at smaller banks. The investment in digitization at big banks has helped expedite the small business loan approval process." Conversely institutional lenders were responsible for 60.7 percent of small business loans in February 2015 – a slight increase from 60.5 percent in January 2015....
MAR
13

Consumer Protection Agreement Reached with The Three National Credit Reporting Agencies

Consumer Protection Agreement Reached with The Three National Credit Reporting Agencies
Experian, Equifax and Transunion Credit Reporting Agencies have agreed to increase consumer protection on credit reporting errors as well as provide second free annual credit reports to consumers. This announcement not only increases protection for consumers with medical debt it also greatly improves the accuracy of the reports which gives consumers around the country greater opportunities. As reported by the office of the Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, “ The agreement  means the companies will improve credit report accuracy; increase the fairness and efficacy of the procedures for resolving consumer disputes of credit report errors; and protect consumers from unfair harm to their credit histories due to medical debt. All three credit reporting agencies worked cooperatively with the office to develop these critical reforms.” 0 0 1 193 1106 Kabbage, Inc. 9 2 1297 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}   Attorney General Schneiderman  commented, “The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports. This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections...
MAR
04

HUD issues New Guidance to Better Serve the LGBT Community

HUD issues New Guidance to Better Serve the LGBT Community
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued new guidance last week to better service the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community looking for home loans and mortgages . These guidelines will have a big impact on how the Equal Access Rule is interpreted and implemented (Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule aka The Equal Access Rule ). Overall these provisions makes clear that housing that is financed or insured by HUD must be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. It also prohibits owners and operators of HUD-funded housing, or housing whose financing was insured by The Department of Housing and Urban Development from inquiring about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity or denying housing on that basis. Additionally, the guidance also makes clear that sexual orientation and gender identity should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage.  0 0 1 238 1363 Kabbage, Inc. 11 3 1598 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
FEB
25

What Having Two New Small Business Chairmen in Congress Means for Small Businesses

What Having Two New Small Business Chairmen in Congress Means for Small Businesses
It has been a big month in Washington for small businesses. Congress saw the emergence of two new small business leaders. Steve Chabot has taken over as chairman of the House Small Business Committee, while David Vitter is the new chairman for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Both representatives have big ideas for change. The House Steve Chabot was not only a lawyer before joining the House of Representatives, he was also a small business owner, having owned and ran his own law practice in Ohio. He has serviced on the House Small Business Committee for a combined 19 years and because of his business background really thinks he can help the state of small business in this country. The biggest challenges Chabot believes small businesses face these days are access to working capital and federal contracts as well as over-regulation. His committee will also be charged with regulating the Small Business Administrations lending and counseling programs. Chabot has also commented on the tax system set up for small business owners and how over-complex it has become.  Chabot plans to focus the committee on reducing federal regulations on small businesses and reforming the small business tax code first...
FEB
12

Obama’s Budget, and What it means for Small Businesses

Obama’s Budget, and What it means for Small Businesses
President Obama’s Budget for the fiscal year 2016 was release last week, to a Republican controlled Congress, and it will have a BIG impact on small businesses across the country. The budget, if passes, would make huge strides for small businesses – but with a Republican controlled Congress, that is not likely to happen without huge concessions. As expected, small businesses will see small economic boosts from more government spending – again if passed. Where we stand now, it seems as if the budget debate will be overshadowed by bi-partisan agendas. Here are the big basics small business owners need to know and understand (especially if they pass): Expansion and extension of the small business-expensing limit (Section 179): Increase the limits for deductible new business expenditures and combine the requirements for start-up and organizational expenditures.  Proposes a 7 basis point fee on the liabilities of financial firms: This fee is meant to tax larger financial firms and discourage them from disproportionate risk-taking  Small businesses (those with less than $25 million in average gross receipts) would be allowed to use the cash method of accounting, avoid certain uniform capitalization requirements and use a better inventory method. Requires employers with over 10...
FEB
05

Small Businesses with Big Compliance Issues

Small Businesses with Big Compliance Issues
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our American economy, and that is becoming more and more apparent to consumers, with 54 percent of U.S. sales now happening at small businesses. In fact there are just over 23 million small businesses in the country, creating over 8 million jobs. Which means small business is a big deal. A December 2014 Kabbage survey revealed that small business optimism was at an all time high for the last three years; more than seven out of ten businesses surveyed experienced revenue growth and small business owners are really optimistic about what is in store for 2015. This means two things for small businesses: 1. Not only are small businesses becoming more prominent and growing rapidly 2. The responsibilities held by small businesses are about to get a whole lot bigger. Now its time for small businesses to start competing with the ‘big guys,’ this also means its time for small businesses to get compliant, especially in the wake of data breaches, the affordable care act and much more.   Here are some of the BIG compliance issues small businesses will need to deal with in 2015: Financial Regulations  2013 and 2014 were the years...
JAN
14

Avoid These 5 Financial Mistakes if You Want to Achieve Success

Avoid These 5 Financial Mistakes if You Want to Achieve Success
Starting out your life is hard; starting out your own business is harder. Here are some best practices to keep in mind, and mistakes to avoid that many young entrepreneurs and companies have made in the past, which has stunted their growth.   A lot of mistakes have to be made on your own, to truly understand the consequences of those actions, but many mistakes can happily be avoided if you only do your research. 1. Always Keep a Detailed Record It is really easy to get caught up and forget to keep that one invoice or receipt and laugh it off - but don’t! Failing to keep detailed accounting documents are highly avoidable and doing so will help you manage your business much more effectively. Additionally the better the accounting and financial information that you keep on your business is, the easier it will be for you to look for investors, funding and even partners, vendors and suppliers.  2. Plan Ahead Have you ever heard “nothing goes as planned”? Well it’s a saying for a reason, so although you and your business may have the best intentions be sure to plan for the worst. There will be many financial...
JAN
05

How to Maintain Good Credit: Explaining Revolving Debt

How to Maintain Good Credit: Explaining Revolving Debt
Revolving debt is any type of debt with a variable interest rate, an open-ended term and payments based on a percentage of the remaining balance. Revolving debt has a predetermined limit that has been agreed upon by both the borrower and the lender. Although revolving debt can be useful as it creates a credit opportunity for the consumer, it can also be damaging if not used with the utmost of discipline.  How It Works The most known type of revolving debt is credit card debt. It works in that a lender supplies an approved credit limit for a consumer to use. This “limit” is set based on your income, assets and credit history – meaning the lender will assess your financial health to determine how much debt you can afford to take on. A credit card is then issued in your name allowing you to borrow up to your limit. Your limit however also includes interest charges and finance charges, meaning if you have a $5,000 credit limit, you can only spend as much that would allow your finance and interest charges to also come out of that $5,000. As you make payments on your credit card, the amount you...