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Friday News Round Up: August 11, 2017

Here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week:

Hey SIRI, please pay my phone bill

RBC is the first Canadian bank – according to them – to allow their customers to pay bills via voice command on the iPhone and iPad.

A one-day conference addressed the growing percentage of elderly Canadians facing poverty in old age.

Earlier this week, financial experts from around the world gathered in Ottawa to discuss the pervasive problem of debt amongst senior citizens. According to the FCAC, 19% of seniors still have mortgages to pay off, 15% have outstanding credit card debt and 18% of all personal bankruptcies involved people over the age of 60.

Battle of the scientists following “the Google memo”

Google engineer James Damore was fired this week following the release of a 10-page memo he sent the weekend, which the company says was “perpetuating gender stereotypes”. Here’s a summary. This has prompted a lot of coverage around the ongoing challenges women and other underrepresented groups face in tech, and arguments both for and against the science Damore claims is behind his memo that are a worthwhile read.

This story doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Google yesterday cancelled a town hall meeting to address this issue for fear their employees would be harassed online for asking a question there.

This week in mortgage news: B-20 guidelines

Heads up for anyone looking at financing a home: new rules being assessed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) could soon extend mortgage stress tests to uninsured mortgages. Under current regulations, mortgage-holders who have a down payment of 20% or more don’t need to purchase mortgage insurance.

New rules could require holders of uninsured mortgages to qualify at a 200-basis-point buffer above the borrower’s contract rate. Read more about the stress test, and potential industry impact, here.