Good morning and Happy Monday! Today, we’re zeroing in on credit scores, tech mogul Robert Brockman’s “largest-ever” tax evasion case, and Dropbox’s move to become a “virtual first” company.
Credit Scores Get a Pandemic Bump
While the pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economy, it’s also surprisingly causing Americans’ credit scores to rise.
The average FICO credit score — the metric used to evaluate the risk of lending $$$ to consumers — is at 711 in July. That’s up from 708 in April and 706 a year earlier. Plus, early estimates show that the score is likely to hold steady through mid-October at the July level.
What’s the reason for this?
It isn’t magic, voodoo, or a fairy godmother. Instead, the increase is largely courtesy of:
Stimulus payments and expanded unemployment benefits from the government after the pandemic hit.
Lender deferment programs.
A decrease in credit-card spending, which helped lower total outstanding card debt.
A new fear arises
While the increase in credit score is celebration-worthy, there’s also fear that consumers’ credit profile could take a turn for the worse if Congress continues its dilly-dallying on additional aid for the unemployed. Plus, the scores are often lagging indicators. It could take months before the strain is reflected in people’s credit reports.
Tech Exec Charged in “Largest Ever” Tax Evasion Case
The CEO of software company Reynolds & Reynolds Robert Brockman is in hot water. Scorching hot, really. Federal prosecutors have charged the Texas tech mogul in a $2 billion tax fraud case — the largest ever tax charge in the U.S.
What are the charges?
Do you have about an hour? Because that’s how long it’ll take to list the 39-count indictment. Among the movie-worthy allegations are:
Operating a complex web of foreign companies and bank accounts.
Using unreported taxable income to buy a yacht (very fittingly) called Turmoil.
Asking a money manager to attend a money laundering conference under an assumed identity.
Persuading money manager to destroy documents and devices using shredders and hammers.
Unsurprisingly, Brockman has pleaded not guilty on all counts. But, if convicted, the billionaire faces “a substantial period of incarceration.”
Dropbox: Now A “Virtual First” Company
Is this the future presence of tech? Dropbox is making its workforce “virtual first.” Rather self-explanatory, this means that the company’s nearly 3,000 employees will work remotely most of the time.
However, the employees will occasionally go into the office for collaborative and team-building work. A nightmare for introverts everywhere, Dropbox will also revamp its offices — all individual desks will be removed — to create more space for collaboration. This will be known as “Dropbox Studios.”
While many tech companies are opting for a hybrid approach that allows workers to choose if and when they want to be in the office, Dropbox is skipping this altogether. According to its vice president of people, this is to avoid potentially creating an unequal playing field among workers.
Rock musicians, The Flaming Lips, placed themselves and fans inside plastic spheres as the band played at The Criterion to protect against COVID-19.
Peloton recalled pedals on about 27,000 bikes after reports of injury. Now, we know why that Peloton woman was grimacing in the commercial.
Twitter is back up! The social media platform was down last week — sparking fear in the heart of those looking to share.
Another one bites the dust. Coca-Cola is saying bye to Tab, its first diet soda, as the company retires the drink to trim its portfolio.
- Biggie takes the crown. A plastic crown worn by rapper The Notorious B.I.G. during a photoshoot set a new world record when it sold for almost $600,000.