(as of Feb 28,2018 22:59:15 UTC – Details)
The knives are out for Jared Kushner.
After losing his top secret security clearance and reportedly falling under intense scrutiny by Robert Mueller’s probe, the New York Department of Financial Services has asked Deutsche Bank two local lenders for information about their dealings with Jared Kushner, the Kushner companies and his family, according to Bloomberg.
Letters were sent by department superintendent Maria Vullo to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank last week, said a person who had seen the letter which seeks a response by March 5. Vullo was appointed by New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
The requested information is broad, and include the banks’ processes for approving loans.
Vullo requested copies of emails and other communications between the Kushners and the banks related to financing requests that have been denied or are pending. She also asked whether the banks have conducted any internal reviews of the Kushners and their companies and the results of any such inquiries revealed.
The most detailed information about the Kushners’ finances can be found in their government disclosures. The couple had unsecured lines of credit of $5 million to $25 million each from Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank according to a late December filing.
Deutsche Bank’s line of credit was extended to Kushner and his mother; lines from the other two banks were extended to Kushner and his father. Signature Bank also extended a secured line of credit to the couple of $1 million to $5 million, according to the disclosure. –Bloomberg
A spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos, Christine Taylor, said “We have not received a copy of any letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services,” adding “Our company is a multi-billion enterprise that is extremely financially strong. Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries. These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons.”
Kushner’s family business, the Kushner Companies, has had longstanding financial troubles related to 666 Fifth Avenue, “the most expensive building ever purchased”, in New York City.
After Kushner bought the Fifth Avenue property in late 2006 for $1.8 billion – with zero skin in the game coming from Kushner, the building came under intense pressure during the financial crisis. Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing in exchange for a 49.5% stake in the building, which is now carrying over $1.4 billion in debt according to a March release by Vornado.
The Kushner companies are also reportedly negotiating with Vornado to buy their stake back.
While Jared has separated himself from his family’s business and placed assets in a trust, he has fallen into the crosshairs of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Of interest are discussions between Kushner and Chinese investors during the transition, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Kushner met with executives of troubled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance which was recently taken over by China’s insurance regulator. Talks between Kushner and Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, broke down in March 2017, according to the New York Times.
Also of interest to Mueller are Kushner’s dealings with a Qatari investor over the 666 property, for which Kusher reportedly sought financing from former Prime Minister Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. The discussion apparently went nowhere, similar to the Anbang deal.
Kushner in the crosshairs
Dovetailing off of the reports of Kushner’s meetings to shore up his finances, the Washington Post reported this week that officials from at least four countries – China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have explored ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his “complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” The story cited current and former US intelligence officials – and noted that it is unclear on whether the cited countries took any action.
Meanwhile, the presidential son-in-law’s security clearance was downgraded from “Top Secret/SCI-level” to “secret” this week, walling him off from the most sensitive information.
Many had expected that Trump would grant Kushner a waiver, even though Trump himself said Friday that he would let Chief of Staff John Kelly decide if such an exception should be granted. In a statement issued last week, Kelly said that any changes to Kushner’s security clearance wouldn’t impact his ability to do his job:
“As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico,” Kelly said in the statement.
At the end of the day, unless Kushner or his company broke the law, it appears that this entire exercise is meant to embarrass the president’s son-in-law over his troubled 666 property.
Austin-based company ZenBusiness has secured $4.5 million in seed money, thanks to numerous angel investors. The startup is also embarking on the lofty goal of assisting one million businesses get started.
ZenBusiness, which began operations in 2015, helps small business get off on the right foot by assisting with legal documents. The company will inform clients of each and every form required by the state and the reports that have to be filed yearly. This will undoubtedly be a big boon to first-time business owners and entrepreneurs, as the process and requirements of launching a small business differ per state.
The corporate creation and management company is offering a fast, easy and affordable alternative to the complicated process of filing legal and business documents. ZenBusiness will provide clients a set of questions to answer that will determine the business they want to start. The business platform then creates and files all the needed documents for free, except for the state-mandated fees. What’s more, this is all accomplished in as little as 48 hours.
Company owners can also avail of the $10 monthly package that lets ZenBusiness become the business’ registered agent and allows them to handle “annual filings, franchise tax, all of the red tape around an entity.” The company is also open to paying any potential fines in the event that they have been remiss with any of the documents. The payment will be taken from the $4.5 million seed money from investors Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, Slow Ventures, Founders Fund, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest.
ZenBusiness founder Ross Buhrdorf explains that their platform and affordable pricing ensures that every small business owner has the “resources and protection they need to turn their business dreams and ideas into reality.” Burhdorf has also set a very lofty goal for the company, that of helping develop one million small businesses by the year 2023. This roughly translates to 2.5 million new jobs for Americans and over $100 billion in income for workers.
[Featured image via Pexels]
The cryptocurrency market as a whole has taken a slight correction, with no specific reason for doing so. There have been crickets lately with new worldwide government regulations, which is a great thing as those announcements have driven crypto prices down exponentially in the past. With prices down today, there are still a few coins seeing gains and leading the market.
DigixDAO coins are entirely backed by bars of gold. Yes, that’s right, actual gold. A single token represents 1 gram of gold. The team’s reason behind this is to provide stability and store value of the digital tokens within the cryptocurrency space. Also, participants that bought these tokens initially participated in the first-ever crowd-sale on the Ethereum blockchain.
To distribute these tokens backed by gold, Digix uses a Proof of Asset (PoA) protocol. The process includes recording the possession of an asset on the Ethereum blockchain and the creation of PoA Asset Card occurs. The company’s website explains, “The asset cards are certified using sequential digital signatures from the entities in the chain of custody, namely, the Vendor, Custodian, Auditor, which are further validated with proof of purchase and depository receipts provided and uploaded onto the InterPlanetary File System for permanent record.”
The cryptocurrency entered the market mid-2016 but towards the end of 2017, has begun to soar. Investing in Gold brightens the future of the token, and the token will attract many gold investors into the cryptocurrency market.
At press time, DGD is trading at $552.55 a coin, up 15.51%, in 24 hours time. For the month, the cryptocurrency is up 135% and in 90 days, the cryptocurrency is up 360.7%. A gram of gold today is currently selling for $42.44.
NEM is another cryptocurrency that is leading on the market. The most recent news surrounding this project is that the country of Venezuela has decided to use XEM’s blockchain to run their own government launched ‘Petro’ cryptocurrency. There have been rumors circulating that the country is in major financial trouble and is trying to dig itself out of a hole.
The big question is if the NEM blockchain can handle a large number of transactions, but with its release of the upgrade ‘Catapult’ it should be more than equipped to handle them. Currently, NEM’s network can handle 120 transactions every minute but with the upgrade, that number jumps to 4,000 per second. To put it in perspective, Bitcoin is only able to handle seven per second and Ethereum 20.
If this ‘Petro’ coin flops, this could be bad news for the cryptocurrency but if it soars, XEM holders will be pleased.
At press time, XEM is trading at $0.41 a coin, up 2.98%, in 24 hours.
TRX is the biggest gainer on today’s market, among the top 20 cryptocurrencies. 15 hours ago, the Tron foundation announced that TRX will be listed on the LBank exchange. This announcement must have pushed the coin, as there isn’t any other big news for the project recently.
Tron Dogs is steadily moving along, as many desperately await being able to breed their digital animals.
At press time, TRX is trading at $0.044 a coin, up 4.66%.
Featured Image: Steemit
$24.99 - $5.77
(as of Feb 28,2018 21:44:28 UTC – Details)
For many people, a well-maintained automobile is a source of pride and peace of mind. But for others, the idea of routine maintenance is daunting. How to Make Your Car Last Forever will guide you through the minefield of preventative maintenance, repair, extended warranties, and magic elixirs that claim to cure everything from oil consumption to male-pattern baldness!
Author, car repair expert, and host of satellite radio show America’s Car Show with Tom Torbjornsen, Tom Torbjornsen has seen it all in his 40 years in the automobile industry. Let him show you how to extend the life of your car indefinitely. In How to Make Your Car Last Forever, he explains the what, when, and why’s of automotive maintenance and repairs in easy-to-understand terms. Simple how-to projects supplement the learning with step-by-step instructions that will save you time and money.
While you may not want your car to last forever, Torbjornsen’s advice will help you preserve it indefinitely while maximizing resale value down the road. Preventative maintenance is the key to the automotive fountain of youth. Let Tom Torbjornsen show you the way!
How to Make Your Car Last Forever
(as of Feb 28,2018 20:34:23 UTC – Details)
Couponing 101 is a book filled with information on couponing. This book is a perfect resource for both beginners and intermediate coupon hunters. This book is very helpful in understanding the history of couponing—it may not be something important but it’s quite entertaining to know the rich history of couponing.
Then get to know the various types of coupons, in knowing the many types, it is easier for you to get your hands on these coupons. Inside the book, you will also learn about coupon values. Understanding coupons can be quite tricky because coupons were made to advertise certain products. Coupons were meant to make you spend more or less. Thus, this portion is really important when it comes to making the most out of them.
Next to knowing coupon values are how to get coupons. Know how to use coupons because there will be times when coupons can only be used on certain days, or when you have reached a certain amount of purchase or a specific item and many others. So learn the tricks of the trade so you won’t get disappointed. Thanks to the internet, getting coupons is now very easy—everything is just at the tips of your fingertips.
So what else are you going to learn in this book? Hordes and hordes of tricks like:
Download the Couponing 101 book today and learn how to save a lot of money.
Due to the general animosity toward paying taxes, people sometimes try to hide, lie about, or simply not report all of their income and/or property to the IRS. But, those who thought they could keep their cryptocurrency information from the IRS may be out of luck. A popular cryptocurrency wallet called Coinbase has agreed to provide the IRS with account information on 13,000 users.
What Led to the IRS Request?
The IRS considers cryptocurrencies to be property subject to taxation, and believes that millions of Americans are not reporting their cryptocurrency in their tax returns. And, the IRS might be right as fewer than 1,000 people reported that they have cryptocurrency despite the fact that Coinbase says it has over 10 million users. For its part, Coinbase didn’t want to provide the information to the IRS. In fact, Coinbase fought the IRS in court to resist the request, and was able to reduce the scope of the summons.
Coinbase said that its intention in fighting the request was to “protect its customers, and the industry as a whole, from unwarranted intrusions from the government.” But, in the end, the court ordered Coinbase to turn over user information to the IRS. As a result of the court order, Coinbase will provide account information, including transaction records and taxpayer IDs, for the 13,000 users. The request of the IRS focuses on Coinbase users who bought or sold $20,000 worth of cryptocurrency between 2013 and 2015.
If you have questions about what property and income is subject to taxes, it’s a good idea to contact a tax attorney. After all, failure to report all of your earning and property when filing taxes could result in an audit or even charges of tax evasion or tax fraud.
Marketing your business is expensive. Coming up with customer acquisition strategies that won’t break the bank can be a challenge.
But you can get new customers without having to spend much money.
Using your existing customers to help bring in new business is one of my favorite ways to do this. It may sound complex, but it’s much easier than you might think.
It’s all about getting creative. Coming up with an acquisition strategy that also promotes retention is a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
Don’t underestimate the power of a recommendation. Research shows 83% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family and friends. When your brand gets recommended to someone, they are likely to give it a shot.
But the key here is getting that initial recommendation. How do you do it?
If you’ve never tried to incorporate this strategy into your marketing plan before, don’t worry. I’ll give you some insight into how you can proceed.
Here’s what you need to know.
Before you launch any new marketing campaigns, analyze your company’s culture. Start with your customer service.
Recent studies showed that customers who had a friendly interaction with a company were likely to recommend that company to others. The majority of people who experienced unfriendly service would not recommend a brand.
Being friendly costs you nothing.
Just make sure your managers and customer service representatives are all on the same page. If you’re dealing with customers face-to-face, you need to train your staff to smile.
Be genuine. Ask the customer how their day is going. Try to have real connections with your customers.
Even if you’re talking to people over the phone or online, the tone of your voice will convey your attitude.
Don’t sigh or take deep breaths of frustration. Don’t be monotone or standoffish. Speak in a friendly voice that’s welcoming and energetic.
Even smiling when you’re talking on the phone can help make the tone of your voice sound more positive.
Employing this strategy is a no-brainer. This isn’t something you can measure, but when your existing customers have a positive experience with your company, they’ll be happy to tell their friends and family about it.
Before you know it, new customers will be walking through your doors. If you treat them the same way, they’ll recommend your brand to others as well.
Let’s continue talking about customer service. In addition to providing friendly care during daily interactions, your support team needs to go the extra mile when customers have questions or problems.
It’s easy to get frustrated with a disgruntled customer. Even if you think they are in the wrong, treat them with respect, and make them feel as though they are right.
Don’t make customers wait to hear back from a customer service representative. This is something you need to keep in mind no matter where you’re conducting business.
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, don’t make your customers wait to speak to a manager. Get someone right away. When taking calls over the phone, don’t put your customers on hold for too long.
Even if you’re taking customer inquiries online through your website’s platform or via email, put emphasis on responding right away.
Take a look at these numbers, and just let that sink in for a moment.
Customers who received a fast but ineffective response were more likely to recommend a brand than customers who received a slow but adequate solution.
Just because you solve a customer’s problem doesn’t mean they’ll recommend you to other people if you took too long to do it.
But if you provide a speedy response, customers are still willing to recommend your brand even if you didn’t provide a solution.
Some people will be willing to recommend your brand only if they can get something in return. Can you blame them?
Customers love getting discounts and free stuff. Come up with a customer referral program that rewards your current customers for spreading the word about your company.
One of the best customer referral programs I’ve seen is from Uber.
Here’s how their program works. The customer who sends the referral gets a credit, and the new customer also gets a credit.
The rewards vary depending on the city and time, but here’s an example of a $20 program:
It’s a major success.
With this example, the customer acquisition cost is $40. Uber is paying $20 to two customers.
So in less than two months, the customer acquisition cost already pays for itself. It’s a great strategy and increases the lifetime value of a customer.
Once a new customer joins, they are likely to refer their own friends as well to try to keep getting discounts. It may seem like a lot of money, but as you can see from the numbers I just went through, it’s well worth it.
If your referral program is worth only a few bucks, it won’t get your customers excited. How much effort do you expect them to put into a referral if you’re just giving them something like $5 or maybe 10% in return?
Same goes for the new customer who is receiving the recommendation. But offering a $20 credit could be enough to get a free product or, in the case with Uber, a free ride.
Find a way to apply this concept to your company. Based on Uber’s rapid growth since inception, I’m sure it will work for you as well.
It’s important to get to know your customers. Don’t treat them as nameless and faceless people.
Talk to them. Find out why they are spending money at your store. For example, let’s say you own a restaurant. When a customer comes in and places a huge order, ask them if it’s for a special occasion.
Go the extra mile to make them feel like you really care. Maybe they’re celebrating a birthday party or an anniversary. If the order is big enough, you could try to offer a free delivery or give them a discount.
Half of the customers who talk about brands on social media when posting about a life milestone do so to recommend the brand to others.
I realize it’s not always easy to find out information about milestones in a customer’s life, especially if you’re operating an ecommerce business.
But whenever it’s applicable, try your best to get as much information about the purchase as possible. This also relates back to the discussion about friendly customer service.
The importance and relevance of this marketing aspect will depend on the industry, of course. But you can still come up with clever ways to incorporate this marketing strategy into your business.
For example, let’s say you sell clothing. A group of women comes into your store and starts trying on expensive dresses. Train your sales team to ask,
“Is this for a special occasion?”
If you discover one of the women just got engaged, do whatever you can to make them feel special without compromising your profit margins.
Based on the data I just showed you, this will increase the chances of those customers recommending your brand to people on social media.
Even if they don’t officially recommend your business, look at some of the other top responses on that list:
All these posts are still positive exposure for your company. As a result, their friends will be more likely to try your products or services.
Here are some of the most popular life milestones that cause customers to recommend a brand on social media:
Be aware of this if you’re in an industry where these types of events are relevant to your business.
Now, it’s time to think outside the box and get creative.
Running promotions that encourage user-generated content is a great way to grow your business.
It won’t cost you much money to achieve this. UGC won’t take too much time on your end, and it requires very minimal effort.
But the results can be very rewarding.
With UGC, your customers won’t officially be recommending your business. However, the brand exposure you’ll be generating is just as effective as a recommendation.
Take a look at how UGC influences online shoppers:
There are lots of ways you can approach this. One of my favorites is running contests on social media.
Use Instagram or Facebook as a marketing channel to run one of these contests. Have your customers upload photos and videos that promote your products or services.
At a specified deadline, pick the post with the most likes or comments, and award them a prize. If you make the prize worth it, you’ll get a high participation rate from your followers.
As a result, your brand will be exposed to people who follow the customers participating in the contest. This indirectly recommends your brand to a new audience.
You can even dedicate a section of your website to UGC.
Let customers upload videos or share stories about their experiences with your company. It will help you get new customers in the door without crippling your marketing budget.
You can promote your company in many different ways, including writing about your product or service. But nothing is viewed as trustworthy as an online review from a customer.
Obviously, you’ll tell people your business is great. Consumers know you won’t willingly reveal bad information about your brand.
Information on your website may not be enough for you to acquire a new customer. But customer reviews increase the chances of a new customer buying from your brand:
Make sure your company has a profile set up on as many review websites as possible. In addition to allowing reviews directly on your website, let your customers review your business on platforms like:
The more platforms you’re on, the greater your exposure will be. Some customers trust reviews on some websites more than others.
Research shows the two most trusted review websites are Google and the Better Business Bureau. Just having an account on Yelp isn’t enough.
Now you need to find ways to get your existing customers to write reviews.
Ask them directly. After they complete a transaction, nicely ask them to write a review online.
Or you could go another route and give them an incentive. You can offer a discount or some kind of promotion if they write a review for your brand online.
Just make sure you’re not soliciting good reviews. Make it clear you’re just asking for a review, and hope it’s a good one.
To keep customer acquisition costs low, you need to come up with some creative marketing tactics.
Making subtle changes to the ways your business operates can get your existing customers to recommend your brand to others.
Start with simple things like customer service. Always be friendly, and respond to customer inquiries as fast as possible.
Create a customer referral program that rewards your current customers for recommending you as well as your new customers for trying your brand out.
Help your customers celebrate important milestones and events in their lives.
Encourage user-generated content, and make it easy for your customers to review your business online.
If you follow these tips, your current customers will be recommending your business to new ones, expanding your customer base.
How are you leveraging recommendations from your existing customers to keep your customer acquisition costs low?
What is happening to crypto? Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), and Litecoin (LTC) all suffer losses on the crypto market today.
There are more coins down than up at the moment; however, there also aren’t any major losses across the board. Dentacoin (DCN) has experienced the greatest percentage loss currently, losing 12.77% in the past 24 hours. With no major threats hovering over crypto at the time, such as recently announced regulations, the loss in the overall market may be due to a general correction.
Cardano is currently selling for $0.314623, putting the coin down 5.64% in the past 24 hours.
Cardano was trading fairly steadily until about the end of the day Tuesday when it dropped off suddenly to $0.321688. The coin has been declining since. Cardano’s market cap, currently $8.2 billion, and its US dollar price have been riding the same wavelength for the past 24 hours.
Stellar is currently selling for a little more than Cardano at $0.340354. XLM is down 4.86% in the past 24 hours.
Stellar’s decline has been slightly more gradual, dropping below $0.34 before briefly recovering above $0.34 and ending in a final correction to its current selling price. From here, it looks as though Stellar may continue to decline throughout the rest of the day.
Litecoin is currently selling for $207.18, putting the token down 4.40% in the past 24 hours.
Litecoin’s decline looks, at this time, to have leveled off. At this point, LTC could go in either direction – recovering its losses, or dropping off more.
The next couple of days could be very important for Litecoin. LitePay has officially launched, a successful move forward by the LTC team. This should translate into major gains for LTC, yet this isn’t what we’re seeing. This is likely because shortly after LitePay’s launch, Litecoin announced that the Litecoin visa card had to be delayed. The delay is said to be due to the “hostile actions” of card companies against cryptocurrencies.
Having access to a Litecoin visa card would have allowed users to directly spend their LTC at participating retailers as well as give them direct access to their funds from their LitePay wallet. Not getting the Litecoin visa card substantiates a large blow to LTC and this may be affecting its price.
At the moment, LitePay doesn’t seem to be paying off. Now we can only wait and see if the system will start paying off in the long-term. The potential is there; what is missing right now is the backing.
Featured image: NeuPaddy
The cryptocurrency market is running rather stagnant today, as it is slowly climbing back from a rough ending to the week last week. NEO is leading the market in the top 10 cryptocurrencies. There are many others that are just below the growth market and are lagging behind such as Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), and Stellar (XLM).
The most surprising of all the coins down today is Litecoin (LTC). At press time, LTC is trading at $217.98 a coin, down -2.41%, in 24 hours. Yesterday, LitePay’s merchant registration launched and many anticipated the coin to skyrocket as the price did when LitePay was first announced via Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR). However, it was set to roll out yesterday around 9 PM PST but yesterday before launch LitePay sent an email out to its subscribers. The email reads, “Due to hostile actions by card issuers towards crypto companies, we have decided that offering LitePay card registrants at this time is imprudent.”
It remains unclear if they were opening card registrations up at the time, at the same time the merchants were able to set up their own LitePay Merchant Payment Processing account. Many LTC enthusiasts were upset and took to Reddit. One user by the name of, litecoinfanboi, said, “I want projects like Litepay to succeed. But you should look at things for what they are, not what you want them to be. As of right now, litepay is a failure. This could change in the future though.”
Many Litecoin investors had the idea that they would be able to use their LitePay card very similarly to a standard Visa or Mastercard at stores but it seems that has been put on hold. How will these new merchants be able to accept LiteCoin now? It makes sense why the team at LitePay decided to tell its users this just before the registration launch. Thoughts?
Ripple’s price within the last 24 hours has been all over the place. At press time, XRP is trading at $0.95 a coin, down -0.64%. What’s surprising is Crypto Daily published an article yesterday talking about the project’s current partnerships with MoneyGram, Western Union, and many large banks. The author states that it’s been ‘heard through the grapevine’ that Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is Ripple’s next target. If that’s the case and Ripple is added to the Google Pay system, some analysts predict that XRP could reach at least $600.
If you’ve been considering adding this cryptocurrency to your portfolio, now may be an excellent time to do so.
Cardano certainly has a strong backing and one particular analyst that has studied the project intently sees the coin passing Ethereum by September of this year. While there isn’t any immediate news for the project besides its launch on Hitbtc yesterday, it steadily remains as the 7th largest cryptocurrency. At press time, ADA is trading for $0.336 a coin, down -1.09%, in 24 hours.
Stellar fans have been patiently waiting for big news to break for the project this year and it seems that they are finally getting it. On March 5th, the Stellar team will be teaming up with eToro the social trading and multi-asset brokerage giant. They will be partnering up to talk about the future of blockchain innovations and this will be held under the Fintech week Tel Aviv 2018 and both founders will be present. With being apart of such a big conference, media exposure is expected and Stellar will be all over the news next week.
This could mean big things for XLM’s price in the near future. At press time, Stellar is trading at $0.361 a coin, down -1.09%, in 24 hours.
Featured Image: Shutterstock