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Crowley urges Mayor to help taxicab medallion owners in a new reality

By Bill Parry

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) has grown so alarmed about the new reality facing the taxi industry in the city, specifically the declining value of licensed taxicab medallions, that he fired off a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio last week urging action.

The rise of Uber and other companies providing competition for yellow cabs has caused scrutiny and duress for multiple New York credit unions which have lent against these collateral assets for decades, Crowley warned.

“A New York City medallion has long been considered a tangible collateral asset for lending purposes. In fact, such medallions not only held, but increased their value over a period of more than 50 years,” Crowley wrote. “However, in the past two years, the value of these medallions has diminished substantially and—by extension—has devalued the earning power of their owners. The result has been an increase in the number of delinquencies on medallion loans increasing at credit unions that largely lend against taxi medallions.”

Crowley urged the mayor to find legal or financial solutions to assist the yellow-cab industry and its lenders as they make the transition to a world with more for-hire transportation options, as well as rapidly changing market conditions.

“Without swift action, this situation is only going to escalate and lead to a further demise of taxi medallion lenders, disruption for depositors, potential taxpayer exposure and the loss of good-paying jobs for hardworking people,” Crowley warned.

Meanwhile, Crowley kicked off a free workshop for more than 250 small business owners at the Queens Chamber of Commerce in Flushing Monday. The event, called Facebook’s Boost Your Business seminar, helped connect small business with the social media giant.

Facebook small business expert Ana Martinez shared the latest practices and strategies for success, pointing out that more than 45 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with customers. Nearly eight in 10 people in the United States are connected to at least one small business on Facebook.

Indoor Extreme Sports founder Peter Fermoselle shared how Facebook has helped build a following for his paint ball and laser-tag venue at 47-11 Van Dam St. in Long Island City.

“We use Facebook to let people know the exciting stuff that we have at Indoor Extreme Sports,” Fermoselle said. “We want to make our customers look like superstars. If we have a photo of someone running around playing archery tag looking like Rambo, we are going to use that. We are going to post and promote that and it generates a conversation on the post. It generates a conversation and a buzz.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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