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Two Million Californians Go Dark and the Heat Is Just Beginning

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(Bloomberg) — As many as two million Californians were plunged into darkness over the course of four hours late Friday in the first rolling blackouts to hit the state since the 2001 energy crisis.And that was only Day One. A relentless heat wave is expected to blanket California through the middle of next week, sending temperatures soaring past 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in some parts. People blasting their air conditioners and fans to keep cool are straining the region’s power system and raising the specter of a repeat of Friday’s sudden and largely unannounced outages.It started at about 6:30 p.m. local time on Friday, when California’s grid operator determined through a complex calculation that the state’s power reserves had fallen below a critical threshold and called a Stage 3 grid emergency, which triggers what it describes as “load interruption.” The last time such a declaration was made during the 2000 and 2001 electricity crisis, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses took turns being plunged into darkness, power prices surged to a record and the state’s largest utility was forced into bankruptcy.“We had an energy shortfall,” Anne Gonzales, a spokeswoman for grid manager California Independent System …

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Hertz Names New Finance Chief After Jamere Jackson Steps Down

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Hertz Global Holdings sought chapter 11 protection in May as Americans reduced travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nina Trentmann
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Aug. 14, 2020 8:10 pm ET

Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

promoted its chief accounting officer to chief financial officer, succeeding Jamere Jackson, who the company said resigned to pursue a new opportunity.

The bankrupt car-rental company appointed R. Eric Esper, its head of accounting since November 2018, as CFO, effective immediately. Mr. Esper previously served as the company’s controller and before that worked in various finance roles at

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

His annual base salary will increase to $510,000 from $375,000 as part of the move, Hertz said. Mr. Esper will retain responsibility for accounting, according to a spokeswoman.

R. Eric Esper.

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Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

Mr. Jackson, who had been CFO since September 2018, will remain with Hertz until Sept. 11 to assist with the transition and will forfeit his retention bonus, the Estero, Fla.-based company said in a filing with regulators.

Hertz is one of several companies in recent months that have paid bonuses to senior executives shortly before filing for chapter 11, a move …

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St. Peter’s Health Partners to cut 76 finance jobs

st. peter’s health partners to cut 76 finance jobs

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ALBANY — St. Peter’s Health Partners is eliminating 76 jobs in its finance unit as a restructuring plan begun 22 months ago nears completion.
The Albany-based medical system, with 12,000 employees in more than 170 locations, has been part of national Catholic health system Trinity Health since 2013. The SPHP jobs are being eliminated so that their function can be centralized at Trinity.
SPHP said Friday in a prepared statement that the employees of its Revenue Excellence department were told of the impending changes in October 2018. It said many of the 76 employees losing their jobs will have the opportunity to transition into roles with Michigan-based Trinity, and will be able work remotely from the Capital Region if they like.
SPHP said all will be eligible for outplacement services and benefits including a paid notice period, severance pay and health benefits during the severance period.
SPHP provided notice to the state Department of Labor on Monday and said the last day of work for the affected employees would be Nov 9.
Sixty-one of the 76 employees work on the Albany Memorial Hospital campus in Albany, 11 work in a Colonie office and four work on the St. Mary’s Hospital campus in Troy.
Their titles include data analyst, collection …

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Eye on the Industry: Updates on Gateway, LendingHome

eye on the industry: updates on gateway, lendinghome

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Gateway First Bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma has appointed Jeff Weiner as its Chief Information Officer. In this role, Weiner will be responsible for evaluating Gateway’s existing technologies and processes and advising on the best strategies to streamline all internal operations as well as external systems and platforms to improve the customer experience.  He will also oversee the enterprise delivery and vendor management functions of the company.
“One of the key building blocks at Gateway—and an area that is quickly becoming one of our core competitive advantages—is our technology,” said Scott Gesell, CEO of Gateway.“Jeff has significant experience in IT, with specific expertise in financial technology integration as well as in managing other key core functions. With his help, Gateway will continue to advance on its commitment to technology solutions to support its business activities today and in the future. Jeff is a strong addition to the team, and we look forward to working with him.”
Weiner has 30 years of technology, operations and transformational leadership experience. Prior to joining Gateway, he held multiple leadership roles in financial services and banking, retail operations and technology services. He said his goal with Gateway will be to “ensure that information …

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A new study shows emerging economies are catching up

a new study shows emerging economies are catching up

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THIS AWFUL year could, paradoxically, be a good one for what economists call convergence. This normally takes place when poor economies grow faster than rich ones, narrowing the income gap between them. This year will be a bit different. Few emerging markets will grow at all—perhaps China, Egypt and Vietnam. But because advanced economies will probably retreat even faster, the gap between them will narrow. In the pandemic, like a 400m race, the laurels go to whoever slows down least.The last time there was such a decisive growth gap between advanced and emerging economies was in 2013 (see chart 1). That was year of the “taper tantrum”, an emerging-market sell-off prompted by fears that America would slow its pace of monetary easing. It marked the end of a decade of heady emerging-market optimism best symbolised by the enthusiasm for the “BRICs”, an acronym coined by Goldman Sachs, which helped sell many investors on four of the most populous emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India and China.The idea that “backward” economies could grow faster than mature ones was first spelled out by economic historians like Alexander Gerschenkron in the 1950s and Moses Abramovitz in the 1970s. It rests on the assumption …

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BRG and Azimuth Announce Strategic Relationship, Leveraging Technology to Help Financial Institutions With Compliance Challenges

brg and azimuth announce strategic relationship, leveraging technology to help financial institutions with compliance challenges

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Berkeley Research Group (BRG) and Azimuth GRC are excited to announce the signing of a strategic relationship to deliver unique products to help financial institutions address pain points in their operations and regulatory compliance functions. As a part of the relationship, BRG clients will have access to Azimuth GRC’s software platform among a menu of technology service offerings.
“BRG is the right advisory partner for Azimuth GRC, with its deep background in financial services and forward-thinking approach on leveraging technology to provide the best solutions for its clients,” said Rohin Tagra, founder and CEO of Azimuth GRC.
BRG will provide advisory services to its clients to implement the Azimuth GRC platform, assisting with regulatory compliance, regulatory change management and risk assessments.
The strategic relationship efforts were spearheaded by Michael Canale, John DelPonti and Joseph Sergienko, leaders in BRG’s Financial Institutions Advisory practice.
DelPonti commented, “BRG’s strategic relationship with Azimuth GRC is an exciting opportunity for our clients to automate and reduce the cost of their regulatory compliance programs. Our team in the Financial Institutions Advisory practice is focused on delivering exceptional client service that is expert driven and enabled by industry-leading technology. In risk and compliance, …

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In India, gold-based finance is booming

in india, gold-based finance is booming

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CLOSING TIME for the Kondapur branch of Muthoot Finance, in Hyderabad, is usually 5.30pm on a Monday. But on August 10th it was only two hours later that the manager, Haripuri Padmavati, and her five colleagues, could shut the doors. More than 150 customers had visited the gold-backed lender, six times as many as on a Monday before covid-19. Among the borrowers were those caring for infected family members; those who had lost their jobs but had big bills, such as school fees, to settle; and business owners needing to pay creditors and employees. The average loan size was 50,000 rupees ($700).The pandemic has meant huge uncertainty about banks’ loan losses. Business at Muthoot, though, is booming. Loans are extended for a year in exchange for collateral in the form of gold—usually a bangle or necklace of the sort that lights up Indian weddings. The entire lending process usually takes 15 minutes. Jewellery is weighed, then scratched on a small square stone. Acid and salt are applied to the scratch, to test purity; 5-10% of items fail. With experience, says George Alexander Muthoot, the company’s managing director, you can tell by touch. In a video call with your correspondent, he demonstrates …

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