Here’s why more employers are offering student loan repayment assistance

Ruben Onsu

Did you know your company could make tax-free contributions to your student loan payments over the next few years? Here’s how. (iStock)

In light of the financial hardships many are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is offering student loan relief. Loan payments, interest, and collections have been suspended on loans owned by the Department of Education through September 30, 2021.

Employers are stepping in to help employees pay off student loans, too. That’s good news, as a recent study from The Institute for College Access & Success found that 62% of college seniors graduated

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Chili man accused of COVID relief fraud after receiving PPP loans

Ruben Onsu

A Chili man received $277,500 in loans through the Paycheck Protect Program by claiming he had employees to help when he was the sole employee, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Michael Rech, 49, applied for and received three separate loans between April 2020 and February for his nonprofit Guardian of Humanity Inc. and Eclipse LLC. In each instance, Rech, who is charged with wire fraud and money laundering, claimed he was paying wages to employees to qualify for the PPP loans. But investigators learned he didn’t have any employees. 

“Once he received the loans, the defendant took the

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The US Energy Department wants to loan $43B for EV and clean energy projects

Ruben Onsu

US Department of Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm announced earlier this month that she will revive the agency’s Loan Programs Office (LPO), which funded Tesla. It has $43 billion in lending authority for large-scale energy infrastructure projects and advanced technology electric vehicle manufacturing. 

US Energy Department loan plan

The US Department of Energy is planning to pump billions of dollars into the electric vehicle industry to boost domestic production and deployment. Securing America’s Future Energy projects the US could create 647,000 electric vehicle jobs in the next five years. 

On the clean energy side, the LPO has $4.5 billion available for

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Shell, Nigeria’s Aiteo Locked in Legal Battle Over Loan Default

Ruben Onsu

Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc and seven banks accused one of Nigeria’s largest oil producers of defaulting on loan repayments that stand at more than $900 million and are locked in a court battle to reclaim the money, legal documents show.

The previously unreported impasse stems from a deal that Aiteo Eastern E&P Co. did six years ago to purchase a major interest in one of the nation’s most prized oil blocks and a pipeline for $2.4 billion. Zenith Bank Plc, Fidelity

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World Bank approves loan for China food safety project

Ruben Onsu

The World Bank has approved a $400 million loan to help China improve food safety management and reduce food safety risks.

The cost of foodborne diseases in terms of human capital productivity loss in China is estimated at more than $30 billion per year, almost 50 percent of the total economic burden of foodborne infections in Asia, according to the World Bank.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food safety challenges in processing, packaging, and transporting agricultural products. Improvements in food safety standards are important for China’s trading partners and agricultural export competitiveness.

The China Food Safety Improvement Project will strengthen

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PPP loans extended for small businesses until May 31

Ruben Onsu

The Senate voted this week to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for two months amid concerns that the March 31 expiration of the small-business rescue fund could leave struggling employers without a key economic lifeline.

Senators voted 92 to 7 to pass the PPP Extension Act of 2021, delaying the program’s deadline to May 31 and giving the Small Business Administration (SBA) an additional 30 days after that to process pending applications.

President Biden has indicated that he will sign the

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