Photos by Patrick Olivero |SHREWSBURY – Sunday, Oct. 21 marked the 24th annual Shrewsbury 5K Classic, an event which featured a 1-mile Shrewsbury Community Run/Walk and a 5K race on a USATF-certified course. Organized by the Foundation for Shrewsbury Education, the event for all ages is a popular fundraiser that supports the students and teachers of the Shrewsbury Borough School. Many racers took advantage of the precursor 1-miler to warm themselves up before the main event, fighting off cool and windy fall morning weather. More than 200 people participated in the race, including may borough residents. Two Shrewsbury residents took first and second place overall in the 5K, with Christian Manning, 23, crossing the finish line first with a time of 18:44.9 and Joseph Koetzner, 13, second at 19:08.1.This article was first published in the Nov. 1-7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
TransUnion, global credit and information management analyst, has released its South African Consumer Credit Index (CCI) report for the second quarter of the year. The index is unchanged from the first quarter, at 54.4.This indicates a marginal improvement in consumer credit health for the second quarter and the first half of the year compared to 2014, says the group. In addition, there has been an improvement in new account defaults and distressed borrowing levels.However, while the report shows a number of positive aspects, on-going economic challenges indicate that consumers are still under strain and will continue to feel the pressure in the second half of the year.The CCI is an indicator of consumer credit health that measures the ability of consumers to service existing credit obligations within the constraints of their monthly household budget. It is based on a 100-point scale, where 50.0 is the break-even level between improvement and deterioration of credit health.“Any number above 50 in the context of the CCI means that consumer credit health has improved over the past year,” explained Owen Sorour, the senior vice-president of analytic and decisioning solutions. “However, a number under 55 is considered only a moderate improvement. Given that the Q2 CCI is the same as Q1, we can ascertain that credit health has stabilised for the time being.“The improvement can be attributed in large part to more conservative lending from credit providers. We have seen a drop in the number of credit applications and an increase in the rate of declined applications, and these more prudent lending requirements by providers are paying off,” Sorour said.“However, despite this promising trend, the future for consumers is not optimistic. In the past few months the exchange rate and instability of the rand have resulted in price increases, and a recent interest rate hike will further contribute to decreased cash flow.”Fewer defaults, less distressed borrowingAccording to the TransUnion payment profile database, the rate of new consumer loan defaults, (accounts three months in arrears) declined by 8.3% year-on-year in Q2, compared with an 8.5% year-on-year decline in the first quarter. The rate of this decline has slowed since late 2014, which indicates that the best phase of improvement in repayment records may now be in the past.Distressed borrowing shows the amount of revolving credit, such as credit cards and store cards, used by consumers as a percentage of their overall credit limit. Currently, households are using just over 50% of their credit limits, up from around 40% in 2007.However, while the numbers have increased over the past eight years, for the first time since the third quarter of 2010, the CCI shows the level of distressed borrowing declining on a year-on-year basis. TransUnion data show that revolving credit utilisation fell by 0.3% year-on-year in the second quarter. The trend towards improvement first observed in the first quarter of 2012 continues.Reduced cash flowConsumers’ cash flow levels are also down, as a result of a number of factors. The household cash flow measure shows growth in household cash flow fell from 2.6% year-on-year in the first quarter to 1.6% year-on-year in the second quarter.Price increases on non-discretionary items such as food, accommodation, petrol and other basic necessities have placed strain on consumers, particularly those from lower income groups. In addition, disposable income growth has slowed.Inflation as a result of the unstable rand, coupled with slow gross domestic product growth, lower salary increases and high unemployment rates are all weighing on consumer cash flow and disposable income. And the Reserve Bank forecasts inflation will keep rising in the second half of the year. As such, household cash flow is likely to come under more pressure as the year continues.Growth in debt service costs remained stable in the second quarter, increasing modestly compared to the same quarter a year ago, TransUnion says. However, while the benchmark repo rate remained at 5.75% during Q2, the Reserve Bank raised this rate by 25 basis points to 6% in July.In addition, more rates hikes are likely on the cards to guard against the inflation risks resulting from a weaker rand. This suggests that debt servicing could become a bigger problem in months and quarters ahead.Implications for consumers and credit providersRand depreciation poses a significant risk, as a stronger US dollar and slow domestic economic growth are placing the currency under renewed pressure. A weaker rand raises inflation and interest rate risks, which in turn affects household budgets and can place strain on credit markets.Ultimately, what the CCI indicates is that the South African economy is struggling to recover from the downturn. In the short to medium term, we can expect pressure on consumers to remain as a result of rising interest rates and constrained cash flow.“For credit providers, the key message of the CCI currently is to continue with cautious and conservative lending measures,” Sorour said. “It is vital to continue to assess risk accurately and predict the lower risk income earners, in order to keep default levels and distressed borrowing as low as possible.“The new affordability assessment requirements mandated by the [National Credit Regulator] will ensure more sharing of information around affordability, which will in turn assist credit providers in making improved decisions around lending,” he concluded.About the CCIReleased quarterly, the TransUnion CCI measures aggregate consumer loan repayment records; tracks the use of revolving consumer credit facilities as an indicator of distressed borrowing; estimates household cash flow as a means of determining financial pressure/relief; and quantifies the relative cost of servicing outstanding debt.These aspects are then combined into a single numeric score of consumer credit health. The index is compiled by the TransUnion Credit Bureau with technical support from market intelligence firm ETM Analytics.SAinfo reporter
Not A Wave-killerIt’s doubtful Shareflow will be the game-changing tool that everyone has predicted Google Wave will be, and that’s only natural, considering Zenbe isn’t Google. Even if it was, the fact that Shareflow is proprietary means it will never get near the crazy level of adoption and interest that Wave will. But open source or not, if you’re desperate to start working in a manner that is similar to Wave, Shareflow might just scratch your itch until the big day arrives. 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#enterprise#Products#saas It was inevitable really. Ever since Google Wave burst on to the scene as the next hot thing, someone, somewhere was going to beat Google to the punch and release something comparable. That something is Shareflow, a new SaaS play by New York City-based startup Zenbe. Up until now, Zenbe has been focused on simple productivity tools like a webmail client and collaborative to-do lists, and this is really their most ambitious project to date. Though the folks behind Zenbe deny any claims that they created Shareflow to explicitly imitate Google Wave, not even they can deny the obvious similarities. Google Wave Knockoff?Despite plenty of accusations, Zenbe’s team is vehemently denying any notion that Google Wave was the direct inspiration for Shareflow.It’s honestly hard to say how much of the product was copied directly from Google Wave, conceptually speaking. A great deal of the functionality is equivalent, but they were released quite close together. Zenbe’s evidence to the contrary is the video they produced (watch it below) in early March prior to Wave’s public launch, and a blog post from April that suggests Shareflow was in private beta previously. How it WorksWhether or not Shareflow is simply an imitator is really beside the point. What matters is that it’s available here and now, and it works. Shareflow is a granular version of a flow-based collaboration; you can either view all flows or just single projects. In terms of content, it handles threaded comments, files of most types can be uploaded and previewed through Scribd’s iPaper interface, there’s Google Maps integration, images, and video. Like other Zenbe products, email integration is also a big component of Shareflow.Part of the reason this doesn’t look like an imitator is that the two major features that Shareflow doesn’t really do very well are real-time document collaboration and chat, both of which are key parts of Wave. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… steven walling Related Posts Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…
Although Chapter 11 affords reorganization and protection from debtors, declaring bankruptcy is the end of the story for many businesses. But when it’s the largest Chapter 11 in history, as was the case when the financial services corporation Lehman Brothers declared bankrupcy in 2008, “the end” is a story in itself. And as a story in CIO Magazine chronicles, it’s a story that involves the company winding down its vast IT infrastructure – and moving to the cloud.As part of the bankruptcy process involved turning Lehman Brothers’ remaining assets into cash for the company’s creditors, minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency was important. Lehman Brothers’ CTO James Johnson had to “find a solution to support the current business and at the same time support the wind-down.”Johnson needed a way to scale down certain aspects of IT operations while scaling up others – all at the same time, of course, as avoiding any major capital investment on the bankrupt firm. “It wasn’t like I was looking for cloud computing,” Johnson tells CIO Magazine. But as he evaluated his options, “cloud matched exactly what we wanted to do.”Before its Chapter 11, Lehman Brothers had a huge IT operation, the norm for most Wall Street companies. It deployed 2,700 software applications running on 27,000 servers. It supported over 100,000 different devices, ranging from smartphones to traders’ terminals. And Johnson was tasked with taking all of that apart while simultaneously, of course, supporting all of it.In retrospect, the move to the cloud by Lehman Brothers makes perfect sense. There was no money for an investment in hardware (just another capital expenditure that would eventually need to be liquidated). But at the same time, Johnson still had to maintain services for a “very demanding set of users.”The move to the cloud, according to the CIO article, afforded a certain stability while the rest of Lehman Brothers collapsed – or rather, reorganized. And in Johnson’s final words, moving to the cloud during this process actually gave him both stability and “maximum flexibility in being able to guess wrong and still meet all our objectives.” Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Analysis#cloud Related Posts
The first song from Priyanka Chopra’s much-awaited film Mary Kom is out.Ttitled Ziddi Dil, the song features Priyanka and is composed by Shashi Suman and sung by Vishal Dadlani. Ziddi Dil talks about the never-say-die spirit of Mary Kom that she displays during her journey of being a World Champion boxer. The song is penned by Prashant Ingole. Directed by Omung Kumar, it is slated for a September 5 release.The video shows journey of Mary Kom from a girl in Manipur to world champion boxer.Co-produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Mary Kom shows Kom’s journey from an athlete to a boxer, opposition faced by her father to take up the sport as a profession, training with men, her fearless nature, marriage and so-called end of her boxing career.Directed by Omung Kumar, it is slated for a September 5 release.