Street Talk: In support of reform

Out in the cold.
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Prison Fellowship, a Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners and their families, is joining with other faith leaders in Michigan in supporting criminal justice reform.

In a letter addressed to Michigan lawmakers, faith leaders are calling for a criminal justice system that is fair and redemptive for “our fellow neighbors” who are incarcerated and restores people who are reentering society.

“No life is beyond redemption as each human being, including those who commit crime and the victims of crime, is made in God’s image,” said Heather Rice-Minus, SVP of advocacy and church mobilization for Prison Fellowship. “Criminal justice reform in Michigan needs a biblical solution that sees people the way God sees them — as created in His image — and treats them accordingly.”

In the letter, the coalition of Michigan faith leaders asked lawmakers to consider the following biblical principles in working to reform the criminal justice system:

  • Each human being, including those who commit crime and the victims of crime, is a person made in God’s own image, with a life worthy of respect, protection and care.
  • Accountability for crime should be community-based and local where possible, recognizing cultivation of the seedbeds of virtue, such as families and churches, pays dividends in reducing crime.
  • Appropriate avenues should be provided for personal transformation and a second chance.
  • Punishment should be proportional to the act committed, advancing public safety, fostering accountability and providing opportunities to make amends.
  • Rehabilitation of the formerly incarcerated should include, where not prohibited by public safety concerns, restoration of the rights and privileges previously lost in order to foster their ability to become productive citizens and taxpayers in society.

According to information from Prison Fellowship, around 38,700 adults and 1,500 minors are imprisoned in Michigan. There are 175,200 adults on probation and 12,500 are on parole.

Additionally, the state pays around $38,000 to incarcerate one adult prisoner.

Bank on it

In response to customer feedback, Huntington National Bank is adding two new features to its overdraft-protection lineup: 24-Hour Grace for Business and a no overdraft fee $50 Safety Zone.

To help customers navigate the pandemic-induced recession and manage their long-term financial health, Huntington — the nation’s No. 1 Small Business Administration 7(a) lender by volume — is providing new features that will help people avoid paying overdraft fees at a time when they may need their money most.

This move builds on Huntington’s “Fair Play Banking” approach established in 2010 as a commitment to do the right thing for its customers. 

“This is an important moment. Exactly 10 years ago this month, we made a commitment to do more to look out for our customers’ financial well-being at a critical time. A decade later, we’re doubling down on our ‘Fair Play Banking’ philosophy to help people,” said Huntington CEO Steve Steinour. “While we are again forgoing some fee income with 24-Hour Grace for Business and a no overdraft fee $50 Safety Zone, doing the right thing is also good business. We believe it will not only help us grow, but also demonstrate that we put our customers at the center of all we do.”

24-Hour Grace gives consumer, business and commercial customers additional time to cover overdrafts on their checking accounts. Huntington will automatically waive the overdraft fee as long as the customer makes a deposit during the next business day to resolve the overdraft. The offering is available for free on all Huntington consumer, business and commercial checking, savings and money market products. More information on 24-Hour Grace is at huntington.com/Grace.

The no overdraft fee $50 Safety Zone will protect consumer and business customers from overdraft fees as long as the account is overdrawn by $50 or less. This represents an increase from the previous $5 limit. Customers’ accounts will be automatically closed in 60 days if the balance remains negative.

“Our customers continue to influence our new products and services, and we’re making bold moves as part of our ongoing commitment to put them first,” said Andy Harmening, Huntington’s director of consumer and business banking. “Extending 24-Hour Grace to our businesses and offering a no overdraft fee $50 Safety Zone across all deposit products will save our customers millions of dollars every year at a time when they need it most.”

Following the Great Recession, Huntington introduced its Fair Play Banking approach. It included asterisk-free checking and other options to look out for people’s financial well-being. Since then, Huntington launched other offerings including The Hub, the bank’s digital-banking experience, Huntington Heads Up, a digital messaging platform, and Money Scout, an automatic savings tool that scans customers’ accounts and looks out for money they can set aside without missing it.

Cold-hearted

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) released its “Don’t Leave Michigan’s Hospitality Industry Out in the Cold” campaign, including a list of common-sense public policy solutions to help Michigan’s restaurants and hotels survive the transition to a colder, less predictable fall season.

While expanded outdoor patio seating, great weather and federal stimulus funding helped to sustain the industry throughout the summer, more than half of the hotels in Michigan remain unprofitable and nearly a quarter of the state’s restaurants do not anticipate being in business in six months.

“The hospitality industry in Michigan finds itself in a precarious position this fall as dropping temperatures and mandatory capacity restrictions indoors threaten its very existence,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA.

The MRLA is launching the campaign to educate elected officials of the economic impact to Michigan’s overall economy as the state’s second largest private employer loses leisure travel and outdoor dining with no way of mitigating those losses indoors given current executive orders.

The proposal includes:

  • Allow Michigan’s meetings and banquets centers statewide the same access to market as restaurants at 50 percent capacity indoors with appropriate social distancing and sanitization standards
  • Allow restaurants to retain the expanded capacity they gained via patios and other outdoor solutions this summer by allowing them to safely winterize those spaces while extending their temporary alcohol service permits as well
  • Allow for expanded indoor capacity, both at restaurants and banquet centers if the data reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services falls below a 3%-percent positive test rate over an extended period
  • Restore Pure Michigan funding to encourage the restoration of safe travel
  • Promote and subsidize the requisite education and training necessary to earn credentials associated with the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment

For more information on the campaign, visit mrla.org/outinthecold

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