Home of the Second Chance: ‘We don’t judge; We help’

first_imgby. Adam MertzOver the last seven years, St. Louis Community Credit Union has gained prominence for its ambitious and solution-driven approach to serving low- and modest-income consumers in a market full of them.The $237 million asset credit union, which boasts 51,712 members, won the 2013 CUNA Community Credit Union of the Year award among institutions under $250 million in assets. Paul Woodruff, vice president of community development for St. Louis Community, discusses with Credit Union Magazine the philosophies that have earned the credit union respect throughout the movement.Credit Union Magazine: Why did St. Louis Community CU dial up its efforts to serve the underserved?Woodruff: We were turning away hundreds of people a month who wanted access to the mainstream accounts, but they couldn’t get it. We also started to see an increase in members who used payday loans and lenders, which strips wealth out of the community.If there’s no alternative to that, people are going to keep using those services, and make the situation even worse. And a part of that is, if they’ve got loan obligations with us, and all their money’s being taken by the payday lenders, that’s a losing proposition for our institution. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Tougher law drives away Zimbabwe’s street dealers of foreign currency

first_imgIllegal money changers disappeared from the streets on Friday after Zimbabwe passed a law to jail offenders for up to 10 years.The government on Thursday gazetted a Statutory Instrument that allows for the arrest and prosecution of illegal currency dealers and authorizes the police to seize the cash being transacted.Harare’s streets, especially around Eastgate Mall in the central business district and a cross-border bus terminal to the east, had become hotspots for illegal foreign currency dealers who have partly been blamed for the economic hardships the country faces, particularly the cash crisis.While banks have been short of cash, including the surrogate bond notes, illegal cash vendors have been making brisk business in the streets selling the U.S. dollar at a premium.However, there was general calm in the trade zone Friday as the vendors went underground, leaving their makeshift tables and chairs unattended on the pavements.A traffic marshal at Eastgate Mall said they were scared of being imprisoned, while a worker in one of the nearby shops said “they are still around”.“They are simply going to use cell phones to communicate with their clients and will just stop flashing the money in public,” she said.The new regulations also impose several other penalties including the freezing of funds, if the illegal deals are conducted through banks, while the courts may impose fines three times the value of the currency confiscated.Prior to the new regulations, the Banking Act only allowed the central bank to impose penalties on offenders.last_img read more

Medicaid physicians need new pads for prescriptions

first_imgPharmacists have asked lawmakers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to delay implementation of the law. “Millions of Medicaid beneficiaries may not be able to obtain their medications after Oct. 1,” wrote an organization representative in in a recent letter to lawmakers. “This could lead to higher Medicaid costs for emergency room visits, hospitalizations and physician office visits if medication cannot be obtained in a timely manner.” Steve Hahn, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency, for now, has no plans to change the Oct. 1 start. In the interim, he said, agency officials are consulting with health care providers and preparing guidance on how to comply with the law. Several states already require tamper-proof prescription pads, Hahn noted. But health care providers in those states often had more than a year to prepare, Kelly said. New York, for example, allowed 18 months. In this instance, many doctors aren’t even aware of the law. WASHINGTON – Millions of Medicaid patients and their pharmacists could be in for a nasty surprise Oct. 1. A provision tucked within an emergency spending bill for Iraq requires that prescriptions for Medicaid patients be written on “tamper-resistant” pads. Problem is, most doctors don’t use such pads. The law is designed to make it harder for patients to obtain controlled drugs illegally and easier for the government to save money. But the quick startup date leaves little time to educate doctors and pharmacists. “Our members are absolutely flabbergasted that they’re going to be put on the hook for denying prescriptions if something is not on a tamper-proof pad,” said Paul Kelly, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Medicaid is the federal-state partnership that provides health coverage to about 55 million poor Americans. President George W. Bush had recommended the requirement for tamper-proof prescription pads in his 2008 budget. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the requirement would save taxpayers $355 million over the coming decade, mainly through preventing fraudulent prescriptions. Some lawmakers say they are starting to hear concerns from pharmacists back home. Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Ohio, and Reps. Marion Berry and Mike Ross, both Democrats from Arkansas, circulated a letter to colleagues Wednesday that urged them to contact Medicaid officials.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more