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Economics in Brief: The Credit Card Industry Doesn’t Want to Flag Suspicious Gun Purchases

Also, Biden has appointed the country's first Indigenous U.S. Treasurer.

(Photo by Jay Rembert)

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Credit Card Companies Block Efforts to Track Suspicious Firearm and Ammunition Purchases

Credit card companies are seeking to prevent law enforcement from investigating suspicious firearm and ammunition purchases, CBS News reports.

Amalgamated Bank, which describes itself as the nation’s oldest socially responsible bank, noticed that mass shooters had a history of borrowing large sums of money to fund their grim plans. The Pulse nightclub shooter in 2016, for instance, charged about $26,000 to credit cards in just 12 days.

And while banks can work to report suspicious activity to the government, the individual merchant codes that other shops obtain are not applicable to standalone gun sellers. Priscilla Sims Brown, the bank’s CEO, spoke to CBS about her attempts to change this. “You apply to a panel, a committee of sorts. It includes credit card companies,” Brown notes. But with representatives from Mastercard, Visa and American Express on the panel, her application was rejected twice.

Mastercard told CBS the company believes it is up to public officials to deal with gun violence. Brown sees her industry’s role differently: “We have an obligation to address crime that is being facilitated through our system.”

Biden Appoints First Native American U.S. Treasurer

The Biden administration has appointed the country’s first Indigenous treasurer, Indian Country Today reports.

Chief Lynn Malerba, Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts), of the Mohegan Tribe, has worked in various fields, including as a member of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee. There, she had advised the Treasury Secretary on topics including Native American taxation and IRS field agent training. Her appointment also marks the start of the new Office of Tribal Native Affairs, which will work with tribes to address economic development in indigenous communities.

“I am honored and humbled by Secretary (Janet) Yellen and the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard by [the] Treasury as we work together to create an equitable and just society,” said Malerba, in a press release. “It is especially important that our Native voices are respected. This appointment underscores this Administration’s commitment to doing just that.”

Philly Investor Home Purchases On the Rise

The number of investor-bought homes soared in the Greater Philadelphia area, with a 55% increase in the number of purchases compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

This increase was by far the largest among the 40 metro areas studied by the real estate company Redfin Corp. The closest city of Newark, New Jersey saw a 21% increase.

The median sale price of these homes was around $125,000. Areas like Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion section saw the highest number of investors interested in purchasing homes, at 59%.

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter.

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Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.

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Tags: philadelphiaindigenous peopleguns

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