Uplinq Financial Technologies and Visa have joined forces to simplify access to working capital for small business owners in the U.S. and Canada. Uplinq, known as the first global credit decisioning support platform tailored for small business lenders, is teaming up with Visa to create an innovative solution for SME lending. Central to this collaboration is Uplinq’s groundbreaking API technology, which offers a holistic view of a business’s creditworthiness by analyzing various data sets, including market dynamics, community factors, and environmental conditions, surpassing traditional credit metrics. This partnership aims to address the challenges faced by small businesses, particularly those in minority and protected class segments, in obtaining fair credit access. The collaboration represents a promising step towards a more inclusive and precise lending approach, potentially transforming the landscape for small business financing.
Source: Small Business Trends
In August, optimism among small businesses in the United States declined, breaking a three-month trend of improving sentiment, as they grappled with ongoing challenges related to inflation and hiring qualified workers, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). This drop in optimism marked the 20th consecutive month below the 49-year average. Expectations for better business conditions in the next six months also deteriorated, though it was an improvement from the previous year but still at recession levels. The survey revealed that 40% of small business owners found it difficult to fill job openings. Despite aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation, the US economy has remained strong, with consumer spending rising, but concerns about student loan payments, dwindling savings, and a potential interest rate hike loom. The economy’s resilience has led to optimism about the Fed achieving a soft landing regarding inflation without a sharp increase in unemployment.
The IRS is utilizing artificial intelligence to crack down on illegal tax practices, particularly targeting hedge funds, private equity groups, real estate investors, and major law firms. This initiative is part of a broader IRS effort to tackle complex cases that have overwhelmed the agency in the past, with plans to examine 75 of the nation’s largest partnerships identified with AI assistance. Fueled by $80 billion allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS aims to increase federal revenue by targeting tax evasion and sophisticated accounting practices. This focus on partnerships is part of a larger IRS effort to scrutinize wealthier taxpayers in 2024, including those with significant unpaid taxes, as well as to increase scrutiny of digital assets and investigate the use of foreign bank accounts by high-income taxpayers to avoid disclosing financial information. This move reflects a broader trend in government institutions adopting AI to streamline operations and address complex issues, as seen with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent executive order to explore the use of generative AI in state government.