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Mortgage Forbearance Protection Ends, Bitcoin Hits Stock Market and More: Finurah’s Roundup of the Week’s Top Finance Stories

It was a busy news week — Walmart said yes to Bitcoin, the CARES mortgage forbearance act ended, corporations came clean on diversity.

Here’s what happened over the week. 

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Mortgage Forbearance Ends

The mortgage forbearance protections established through the CARES Act have ended for more than 1.2 million homeowners. Experts are not certain whether the forbearance protections ending will lead to a spike in foreclosures or in an increase in housing supply.

More than 7.6 million homeowners took advantage of the forbearance protection during the pandemic, according to mortgage data firm Black Knight. The forbearance protection program allowed homeowners to stop making payments on their mortgages for a set period of time, with repayment to begin when their time in the program ended.

Black homeowners, disproportionately affected by job loss during the pandemic, were an estimated 30 percent more likely to fall behind on their mortgage than other borrowers, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reports.

An estimated 200,000 homeowners in forbearance could face foreclosure on their homes, though it is not considered a housing crisis, according to CoreLogic.

Major Corporations Share Transparent Diversity Data By Sharing EEOC Reports  

More than 75 of the largest corporations in the U.S. are now openly sharing their data concerning the demographics of their employees.  

Companies with more than 100 employees are required to document data concerning the race, ethnicity and gender of their employees with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on an EEO-1 form. However, these same companies did not share this information with news sources. Instead, they relied on diversity reports that were subjective. Sharing information from an EEO-1 form provides information on where the diversity in corporations lies — from the C-suite to the mailroom.

This is a step in the right direction to showing many corporations’ evolving commitment to diversity.

First Crypto ETF Hits Stock Market

Earlier this week, the first Bitcoin ETF became available to investors in the U.S. and the cryptocurrency rose to more than $66,000

ProShares, which is a provider of specialized exchange-traded products, began trading of the Bitcoin Strategy Fund on Oct. 19. It marked the first bitcoin ETF to trade in the nation. Trades are made under the ticker, BITO. This is the first cryptocurrency investment product approved by the SEC. However, investors should be aware of an essential distinction — the fund holds bitcoin futures contracts — not bitcoin.  

A Bitcoin ETF mimics the price of the digital currency, allowing investors to buy into the ETF without trading bitcoin itself. 

Bitcoin Comes to Walmart

Walmart is reportedly starting a new pilot program with Coinstar that will introduce bitcoin to 200 ATMs to start with. For the plan, Coinstar has teamed up with Coinme crypto exchange to allow the buying and selling of bitcoin at various Coinstar and Moneygram locations.

“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin,” Walmart’s communications director, Molly Blakeman, told Coindesk. “There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”

Dow Jones Industrial Average Jumps

Despite investors being worried about the stock market’s performance over the last two months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new record on Oct. 20 with positive earnings reports and the release of the bitcoin ETF hitting the stock market.

This week, the Dow reached a record high of 35,609.34 points. The Standard & Poor’s also jumped 16.56 points and the Nasdaq composite closed at $15,121.68.

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