Solar & Home Improvement Contractor Point-Of-Sale Lender Dividend Finance Announces New Lending Platform & Broader Loan Product Suite

 

Dividend Finance Inc., a U.S.-based fintech that specializes in point-of-sale lending to solar and home improvement contractors, announced on Wednesday the launch of a new technology platform. Founded in 2013, Dividend claims it is a leading national provider of renewable energy and energy-efficient financing solutions to property owners.

“We give our customers the opportunity to obtain clean energy financing through a comprehensive suite of financing options. Our flagship product, the EmpowerLoan™, continues to expand its product offerings into the storage and home-energy space.”

Dividend reported that in addition to a new solar + home improvement partner portal, it is now offering its solar contractors an array of new products and enhancements including:

  • Dividend Lite: a new single-page URL application
  • New solar loan terms, including a 25-year 2.99% APR, 20-year 1.49% APR, 15-year 1.49% APR, and 10-year 0.99% APR
  • Flexible credit criteria and funding requirements
  • Same-day approvals and project funding

Skyler Hopkins, Dividend’s SVP of Solar Sales, spoke about the products by adding:

“We’ve been listening to our contractor network and wanted to deliver a comprehensive overhaul in Q4 2020 with a diverse suite of loan product options, a more flexible point-of-sale experience, enhanced credit approvals, and a streamlined funding process.”

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7 Best Ways to Finance Home Improvement Projects | Pennyhoarder

Home improvement projects have a way of increasing in priority when you’re always in the house.

The leaky kitchen faucet never really bothered you until you had to turn your kitchen table into a desk, forcing you to listen to the dribble. All. Day. Long.

Or maybe you discovered your cozy home isn’t quite big enough to also house an office, gym and school, so you need to rethink your space.

Whatever the reason and whatever the size of the project, you need to make a change — but how are you going to pay for it?

Considering the eye-popping price tag — the average cost for just a garage door replacement is $3,695 and a minor kitchen remodel surpasses $23,000 — you might not know where to start for financing your home improvement projects.

But whether the price tag is a few hundred dollars or into the triple digits, we’re here to help you decide the best way to finance your project — without winding up in debt long after the last coat of paint has dried.

7 Ways to Finance Home Improvements

Listening to financial experts talk about how to pay for your home improvement is a good idea, but what do they know about the real-life leaking roof you’re living with?

Well, Jill Emanuel is the lead financial coach at Fiscal Fitness Phoenix. She works with plenty of clients as they choose financing for their home renovations.

But she’s also a homeowner who needed to replace her entire air-conditioning system and ductwork this past spring — and in Arizona, air conditioning is not optional.

She spoke with us about how to decide which options are best for a home renovation — as well as her personal experience financing her own project.

Wait, Should You Even Be Doing This Project?

First thing’s first: What’s your reason for doing this home project?

Is the repair necessary (like replacing a dead refrigerator) or a nice-to-have (like adding a backsplash)? “Or is it that they’re just bored right now and staring at the thing that doesn’t look the way that they want it?” Emanuel asked.

Doing this assessment can help you prioritize projects. Here’s what else to consider before you start a project.

DIY?

Pro Tip

Many home-improvement retailers offer free classes that can help you save on at least part of a project by teaching you how to do smaller projects, like patching and painting plaster.

By creating a home improvement budget before you start anything, you can avoid letting projects grow out of control, both physically and fiscally.

Do Your Research

If you have the money already on hand for a smaller project — replacing a faucet, for instance — the research process may only take a few days as you compare prices and ask your plumber for an estimate if you don’t want to do it yourself.

For larger projects — like renovating a bathroom — doing the research could take months. Emanuel recommended checking out home-improvement blogs

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Garden Grove, California, Goes Live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise Software – Press Release

Lake Mary, Fla., Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CentralSquare Technologies, an industry leader in public sector software, announced today that the City of Garden Grove, California, has successfully gone live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise software. The two-phase technology upgrade will replace the City’s 40-year-old legacy system with a modern software suite to enhance operational efficiency, facilitate transparency, enhance internal controls and integrate administrative business functions.

“To replace our decades-old system, we needed a solid ERP system with strong reporting and control structures alongside a foundational chart of accounts to serve as the backbone of our entire finance system,” said Finance Director Patricia Song. “The configurable platform in CentralSquare supports more than data analytics, cost tracking, budgeting and other capabilities; it’s helping us to transform our operations because we can apply best practices for strategically enhancing efficiencies across our organization.”

With the new system, Garden Grove gains a centralized financial management software suite that combines finance, human resources and payroll into one fully integrated suite upon completion of the second phase of implementation. By offering one point of data entry for all information, the system reduces the need for redundant data processes. In one example, the city is realizing an immediate efficiency upon completion of its first phase of implementation: centralized invoice processing. Previously, invoices might bypass the Finance Department altogether if routed directly to a department or employee outside of Finance. Employees who received the invoices would manually review and code the invoices before sending to Finance, bypassing the ability to ensure compliance with budget and purchasing requirements and limiting visibility into the overall spending status.

“The new system really pushes us as an organization to transform our processes,” added Song. “Now, invoices can be applied to purchase orders without our team having to find the relevant information from user departments. Not only does this save time and reduce stress, it helps us to solve a reporting deficiency identified in previous audits.

“In terms of updating our internal control processes, we’re benefiting in three distinct areas: system configuration allows us to design and set up security protocols for ensuring checks and balances; automation removes any manual manipulation, preventing fraudulent activity; and login reports detect user access. Compared to before, management has greater confidence because we’re making sure transactions are monitored and fraudulent activities are prevented.

“From a workflow perspective, the automation has given us another immediate improvement. Approvers get an automated email, and they can simply reply with ‘Y’ or ‘yes’ to approve the transaction or ‘N’ or ‘no’ to reject. This is significant because our approvers often are away from their desks. The capability of reviewing and approving the transactions by a mobile device improves efficiency and ultimately enables us to better serve our community.”

The fifth largest city in Orange County, Garden Grove’s Finance Department consistently receives high marks for fostering a culture of accountability. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the city for its

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A top House Democrat calls for the suspension of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over campaign finance allegations.

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, on Monday called on the Postal Service’s board of governors to suspend Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, while she investigates allegations that he asked former employees to make campaign contributions to Republicans and gave them bonuses to defray the cost.

“If these allegations are true, Mr. DeJoy could face criminal exposure — not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our committee under oath,” Ms. Maloney said in a statement. “We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the board of governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place.”

Ms. Maloney’s committee on Wednesday issued a subpoena for documents she said Mr. DeJoy had withheld from Congress related to mail delays and communications with the Trump campaign. Since then, Mr. DeJoy, a Republican megadonor and onetime executive of a shipping company based in North Carolina, New Breed Logistics, has been accused of cultivating an environment at his former company that left employees feeling pressured to make donations to Republican candidates, and rewarded them with bonuses for doing so.

The practice was described to The New York Times by three former employees at New Breed Logistics who said that workers would receive bonuses if they donated to candidates he supported, and that it was expected that managers would participate. A fourth employee confirmed that managers at the company were routinely solicited to make donations. The four former employees spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional retaliation.

The former employees did not say how explicit Mr. DeJoy was about linking the campaign contributions he was encouraging to the extra compensation, but three of them said it was widely believed that the bonuses were meant to reimburse the political donations, an allegation first reported by The Washington Post.

Federal campaign finance law bars straw-donor schemes, in which an individual reimburses someone else to donate to a political campaign in order to skirt contribution limits. But it is legal to encourage employees to make donations, as Mr. DeJoy routinely did.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has called for the North Carolina attorney general to investigate the allegations. At a hearing last month, Mr. DeJoy angrily denied a suggestion by Representative Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, that he had reimbursed his employees’ political donations.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” Mr. DeJoy responded. “What are you accusing me of?” A spokesman for Mr. DeJoy has insisted that he followed federal and local laws.

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House Democrats Investigating Louis DeJoy Over Campaign Finance Allegations : NPR

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, shown last month during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, is now under investigation by that committee.

Tom Williams/Pool via AP


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Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, shown last month during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, is now under investigation by that committee.

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Updated at 2:06 p.m. ET

House Democrats say they are investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over allegations reported by The Washington Post that he asked employees to donate to certain political candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses.

“If these allegations are true, Mr. DeJoy could face criminal exposure — not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our committee under oath,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a written statement.

“We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the Board of Governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place,” Maloney added.

DeJoy, a major Republican donor and supporter of President Trump’s, was appointed by the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors, not confirmed by Congress. He ran afoul of House Democrats after ordering an “operational pivot” within the Postal Service that caused some delays — prompting additional criticism by Democrats who accused him of trying to hurt voting by mail.

DeJoy has defended himself vigorously to congressional and state officials. The Postal Service has been financially underwater for years and is overdue for reform, he argues. And he rejected out of hand the idea that he is Trump’s saboteur in place to hurt voting by mail, which the president criticizes but also uses himself.

State officials who spoke with DeJoy said he’d vowed to them that the Postal Service would handle ballots this year “like gold.”

New allegations

In the Post report published Sunday, multiple former employees of DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics, said they were asked to give money to Republican candidates between 2003 and 2014. Then, according to the report, DeJoy would ensure that the employees who contributed receive extra bonus money.

If those accounts are accurate, the conduct would be illegal under federal law.

“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” David Young, DeJoy’s former director of human resources, told the Post.

NPR has not independently confirmed the Post‘s reporting. It appears to describe what is known as a straw donor scheme, in which a person donates in another’s name to get around individual contribution limits. It’s not illegal for corporations to encourage employees to donate to political candidates.

During an Aug. 24 hearing in the House, DeJoy denied paying back several executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” he said when asked by Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee. “The answer

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House Democrats Open Campaign Finance Investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

House Democrats said Monday they would open an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over accusations that he broke campaign finance laws in pushing his employees to make campaign contributions to Republicans that he would later reimburse.



a person sitting at a table: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., August 24, 2020.


© Tom Williams/Reuters
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., August 24, 2020.

House Committee on Oversight and Reform chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) said in a statement that the committee would open an investigation and called on the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom “they never should have hired in the first place,” she said. 

Maloney’s announcement followed a Washington Post report that DeJoy and his aides would allegedly pressure employees at his former business, New Breed Logistics in North Carolina, to make donations and attend fundraisers at DeJoy’s mansion — events which regularly drew $100,000 or more apiece. Former employees say they made payments between 2003 and 2014 and would then allegedly receive large bonuses to offset the cost of their contributions at the instruction of DeJoy, the Post reported.

DeJoy was not aware any employees had felt pressured to make donations, a spokesperson told the Post.

While not a crime to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for their contributions would be a violation of North Carolina and federal elections laws.

Maloney said DeJoy faces “criminal exposure” not only if the allegations are true, “but also for lying to our committee under oath.”

DeJoy gave testimony under oath to the House Oversight committee last month, during which he denied having repaid executives for contributions to President Trump’s campaign.

While Democrats including the Democratic Attorneys General Association and Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) called for an independent investigation, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called on the North Carolina attorney general to open a criminal investigation.

“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump’s Justice Department,” Schumer said in a statement Sunday.

President Trump, when asked whether he was open to an investigation into DeJoy during a news conference on Monday said, “Sure, sure, let the investigations go.” He also said DeJoy should lose his job “if something can be proven that he did something wrong.”

The postmaster general’s short tenure has been marked by controversy as Democrats have accused DeJoy, a Trump ally, of implementing changes to slow mail delivery to damage mail-in voting in the November election, as the president has repeatedly expressed distrust of mail voting.

“I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy said in his testimony last month. “We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.”

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Lebanon: Aoun Bargains with Interior, Finance Ministries to Keep Control Over Energy

Lebanese President Michel Aoun is responsible for the delay in the formation of the new government, Lebanese political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The president’s first priority, according to the sources, is to bring back his son-in-law, former Minister and MP Gebran Bassil, to the forefront, and to reserve the largest number of ministerial seats for his Christian bloc, including the ministry of Energy.

The political sources revealed that the General Security chief, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, has been working behind the scene to resolve the nodes that are hindering the cabinet formation. Ibrahim has recently met with Aoun, who informed him that he favored a government of 24 specialists of political background, “to facilitate the implementation of reforms.”

According to the sources, Aoun supports, in one way or another, Bassil’s request to implement rotation in the redistribution of portfolios to the different sects. They said he suggested that the financial and the interior ministries be the share of the Christians, in exchange for assigning the defense and foreign ministries to the Muslims.

The same sources explained that Aoun wanted to convey a message that the Shiites’ insistence on preserving the finance portfolio – which grants them the authority to sign the decrees of a financial nature – does not give them the right to veto the redistribution of ministerial portfolios.

In other words, Aoun – according to these sources – absolutely refuses any party to use the right of veto to prevent the allocation of the ministry of Energy to a Christian minister. The president considers the energy as an exclusive right to his political party, led by Bassil.

Therefore, the sources said Aoun was bargaining with the Interior and Finance ministries, in exchange for maintaining the energy within his share.

Moreover, the president’s insistence on forming an expanded government was aimed at bringing Bassil to the forefront, in light of the rejection of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb party to participate in the government, according to the sources.

However, Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib would not approve a cabinet of 24 ministers and insisted on excluding Bassil from his ongoing talks with Aoun.

Adib is also working to prepare a draft ministerial lineup that he would present to the Baabda Palace at the end of this week.

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