Monthly Archives: March 2014

2014
03/31

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Credit Union coming to Stowmarket

A new place to save and borrow money is being launched in Stowmarket on March 6.

Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union (ISCU) is setting up an information and collection point at the Adult Learning Centre in Ipswich Street.

The credit union will provide a safe place for savings as well as offering borrowing rates far lower than pay day loans or loan sharks.

Those with savings can apply for a pre-paid debit card which works like other bank cards. ISCU currently holds savings of more than £800,000 and has handed out 1,200 loans to its members.

Around 300 members already have pre-paid cards.

Mid Suffolk councillor John Matthissen, who has been working to raise the profile of the ISCU in Mid Suffolk, said: “Everyone involved is concerned about the impact of payday lending with its excessive interest rates, rapidly expanding as austerity hits people who are not well-off.

“The Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau, and other advisors, are seeing clients with huge debts which they cannot pay off.

“Newspapers report homes being lost and people driven to crime to keep bailiffs at bay.

“I urge Suffolk residents to join the Credit Union and just put a little away each week or month.

“That way, when they need a loan, our interest rate will be even lower.”

2014
03/30

Category:
Secured Financing

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Corenergy Infrastructure Trust Inc (CORR) news: CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust …

CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust, Inc. (CORR) Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call March 20, 2014 2:00 PM ET

Operator

Greetings and welcome to the CorEnergy Fiscal Year 2013 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Katheryn Mueller, Manager of Investor Relations for CorEnergy. Thank you. Ms. Mueller, you may now begin.

Katheryn Mueller

Thank you and welcome to CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust’s fiscal 2013 earnings call. Im joined today by CorEnergy Chairman, Rick Green; CEO and President, Dave Schulte; and Treasurer and Chief Accounting Officer, Becky Sandring. An audio replay of our conference call and information included in our press release issued Monday, as well as the presentation materials for this call, are available at corenergy.corridortrust.com.

We would like to remind you that statements made during the course of this presentation that are not purely historical may be forward-looking statements regarding CorEnergy’s or managements intentions, estimates, projections, assumptions, beliefs, expectations and strategies for the future. All such forward-looking statements are intended to be subject to the Safe Harbor protection available under applicable securities law. Because such statements deal with future events, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual outcomes and results might differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are discussed in our filings with the SEC. These documents can be accessed through the Investor Relations section of our website. We do not update our forward-looking statements.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to CorEnergy President and CEO, Dave Schulte.

Dave Schulte

Thank you and welcome to the CorEnergys fiscal 2013 earnings call. CorEnergy delivered another year of stable performance reflecting the quality of our assets and providing our shareholders with reliable cash dividends at a growing rate. Our investments in pipelines and electric transmission provide us with stable contracted revenue supporting our distribution. I want to focus on today is how we’re positioned to grow that distribution, and we think we have three means of doing so. Internal contracted revenue growth, capital funding for projects that we own today and new projects which we can buy or build for 10 years which are only done if it’s accretive for our long-term growth prospects. Now when you combine the low risk long-term contracted cash flows in our portfolio, with the growth potential from our positioning in the energy sector, we believe Cor offers investors a compelling opportunity to gain access to US energy infrastructure assets in a transparent tax efficient vehicle with a 1099 can be owned in any account and we’ll highlight those concepts in our remarks today.

On Slide 3, CorEnergy has come a long way in its short history. It was just June of 2012 that we became self eligible, providing a path through capital formation to start our refinancing in earnest. At the end of 2012 we completed the transformational acquisition of a Liquids Gathering System in the Pinedale Anticline executing an operating lease with Ultra Petroleum. We then built out our management team in 2013 and that effort has resulted in our ability to source and consummate additional transactions including two more since year-end.

Our other 2013 accomplishments include, increasing annualized dividend guidance. We went from $0.44 a share in 2012 to $0.50 per share annualized in 2013. Our Board of Directors have confirmed their intent to agreed to management’s recommendation to increase the dividend to $0.52 for 2014, that’s a 4% increase over the prior year run rate and an 18% increase overall run rate as a BDC, before we transitioned to a REIT. We established a $20 million line of credit of which we have approximately 5 million immediately available to provide short-term acquisition financing if need be. We made a formal election to be treated as a REIT for the 2013 tax year. And lastly we’ve expanded our asset platform and opportunity set with two new transactions subsequent to year-end. We funded the acquisition and upgrading of a petroleum products terminal on the West Coast and provided acquisition and construction funding for three saltwater disposal properties in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and Green River Basin.

In our 2012 portfolio of assets, I want to provide concrete illustrations of our strategy and action. On Slide 4, we depict the assets we currently own and measure each asset against the investment criteria we set out. As you can see, all of the investments and their operating characteristics are consistent with our target criteria, which we utilize as a risk mitigation strategy in putting our portfolio together. Starting with the Pinedale LGS, it has 14 years of remaining lease contract providing reliable revenue for CORR with potential rent growth through CPI adjustments and volume participation features. The CPI adjustment will contribute to 2014 revenue at CORR and that allows us to be patient to our expectations for that volume growth portion of the contract. This contract illustrates below direct commodity price sensitivity of our revenue stream supporting our dividend payout. Now we would expect to pay out any meaningful CPI-based growth, but consider participating revenue to be additive to our coverage and only paid out if it’s sustainable. And with the CPI escalation alone, our rents have the potential to increase significantly over the next 14 years.

Our EIP and Mowood are utility-based assets that also offer potential for upside. The EIP lease had a fair value purchase option that favored PNM, which when they exercised it resulted in our realization of a total return of 7% over the life of this low risk investment. Not a lot of upside but very low volatility. Omega’s sales revenue was higher in 2013 largely however attributable to overall cooler temperatures and therefore higher gas volumes in 2013 compared to 2012. Mowood also has 15% higher operating results than originally expected due to higher margins from construction projects that were completed during the year. These construction projects result in added assets on which we earn fees representing incremental growth potential.

And the Portland Terminal has ample storage capacity in a very desirable West Coast location. So we have a long-term lease with fixed-based rent payment plus participation in volume growth and we’re funding the upgrading and optimization of the facility — let’s see Arc Terminals is in-charge of the project, has a track record of successful value creation in the terminalling business which you can read more about in our SEC filings.

Our newest asset is the secured funding for Black Bison which provides water disposal services to upstream companies. While well volumes are less predictable in this business our structured financing provides us with 10 years of regular payments and increases based on activity levels at the well sites. Water disposal is an economically critical activity for production from shales and is a sane driver as we have underpinning the Pinedale LGS system, moving the water in an environmentally sensitive manner is a required activity for the production of oil and gas.

On Slide 5 we want to highlight the successful completion of our two most recent transactions Portland Terminal and Black Bison with some added information. In mid-January we raised capital efficiently to finance the $40 million acquisition of the Portland Terminal facility. We’re also funding a near-term optimization project in the range of 10 million. And this asset is in our sweet spot of sizing, where we were able to structure a long-term lease with flexible terms to meet the needs of our tenant while providing upside in the form of participating rent. Now although we have an ownership interest in the GP of our tenant, we want to assure our investors that we provided a competitive financing option for them, and that the other owners of the GP, are sophisticated energy companies and funds all which are disclosed in Arc Logistics’ public reports.

In March we closed the transaction to finance Black Bison’s acquisition of saltwater disposal properties and related capital improvement projects. The financing is secured by three water disposal properties serving oil and gas producers in the Powder River Basin and the Green River Basins in Wyoming. We have a 10 year secured financing which is a facility initially sized at 11.5 million with a base interest rate of 12% per annum which escalates every year at 2%. A variable interest component initiates after the first year contingent on volume at the well site. Additionally, the Company will purchase, or did purchase at closing, a 15% equity option in Black Bison, enabling that company to retain control, accounting and tax benefits of ownership of this network of related assets. And Black Bison’s opportunity set provides another enhancement to our growth prospects as we hope to finance their future growth.

Now that concludes our update on our portfolio of assets. And I want to take a step back just to reflect on the broader market opportunity available to CorEnergy. On Slide 6 you will see what we think is a significant driver of future growth. The renaissance in the energy sector currently underway in North America is depicted on this map. There are vast oil and gas production regions in dark green and light green which are occurring in new areas not previously exploited. The capital necessary to support moving that production from where it’s found to where it’s used are significant as are the pipeline networks illustrated by the arrows on that map. Our colleagues are Tortoise Capital Advisors project 100 billion plus in MLP pipeline and related projects through 2016.

In this capital thirsty market we provide a differentiated funding source for companies that want to retain control over their infrastructure, but prefer to dedicate their capital to higher returning projects. The Portland Terminal and Black Bison saltwater disposal assets are examples of assets that provide critical links in the supply chain. The Portland Terminal is capable of receiving, storing and shipping petroleum products from truck, rail and ship. The Black Bison water disposal assets are necessary parts of the production of the commodity and need to exist as long as the wells in the fields are producing oil and gas. Both of these assets provide CORR with long duration cash flows and with participation features providing visibility and dividend growth and opportunities for additional capital expenditures for us to fund for the continued optimization of those assets.

And with that, I’d like to turn the presentation over to our Chief Accounting Officer, Becky Sandring for an overview of our financial results.

Becky Sandring

Thank you, David. This week we filed our 10-K and issued a press release highlighting our financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013. The financial information presented in the 10-K should be considered in its entirety. For purposes of this call, we have provided you with a few key financial metrics that we think will be helpful to you in evaluating CorEnergys performance going forward.

Because the majority of the Company’s assets are now re-qualifying management believes that non-GAAP performance measures utilized by REITs including funds from operations, FFO and adjusted funds from operations AFFO also provide useful insights into CorEnergy’s operational performance. FFO for the year ended December 31, 2013 totaled approximately $13 million or $0.54 per share. AFFO for the quarter ended totaled approximately $12.7 million or $0.52 per share. These measures are after payments made to our non-controlling interests that were applicable to our common shareholders.

In the MDamp;A we have provided results from operations in a revised format that management believes provides additional information related to the Company’s operational performance. Turning to pro forma column on Slide 7, we have assumed the completion as of January 1, 2013 of the Portland Terminal acquisition. The pro forma column includes the purchase of the Portland Terminal facility, execution of the Portland lease agreement and the sale of 7.5 million shares of our common stock which includes shares issued in the over allotment option. On a pro forma basis FFO totaled approximately $18 million or $0.57 per share and AFFO totaled approximately $17.5 million or $0.56 per share. Due to a shift in our calendar year-end, our fourth quarter dividend of $.0125 was declared on January 3, 2014. Going forward, we anticipate making four dividend payments in each calendar year, starting with 2014.

The graph on Slide 8 showing total revenue and dividend distributions or detections of CorEnergy’s recurring sustained performance quarter-over-quarter. With privately held investment securities now representing less than 10% of our asset portfolio, we believe that in 2013 sequential comparisons rather than prior year comparisons are more relevant to assessing dividend payments. The fourth quarter dividend was again supported by steady and recurring revenue streams from our asset portfolios. The graph showing total assets illustrates the growth of our asset portfolio. The increase in 2012 and pro forma 2014 are results of our Pinedale and Portland acquisitions. We continue to maintain a conservative leverage range of 25% to 50% of total assets which we expect to help fund our target 8% to 10% hurdle rate on investing capital.

And with that overview, I will turn it back to Dave to conclude the presentation and lead us into the Qamp;A.

Dave Schulte

I want to turn you to slide that we call overheard in the quarter wherein use this opportunity to give you a sense for what’s on our mind as the backdrop for 2014. And with two transactions completed in the last two months, it’s important to highlight how and why these particular assets illustrate the market potential for CorEnergy. The asset for re-financing are critical [indiscernible] of the value chain, which is shown here. On left side of the diagram you will see a ship or offshore oil field, onshore oilfield and a gas field. And I just want to point out where our assets are located in this chart. The Arc Terminals would be representative of the storage tanks that service the ship and pipeline on the top part of the chart.

On the oilfield side you will see that there are for oil producing wells and on the gas field side, gas producing wells. Both the Pinedale LGS and the Black Bison operations served operators in those fields. And if you remember back at the map we showed earlier, those are very large areas that demand a tremendous amount of capital. And we also own Mowood, a utility which would be on the right side of the chart an EIP transmission line. But the amount of infrastructure assets necessary to support the upstream growth in United States generates ripple effects of asset development needs, almost all of which could be characterized as real property assets under current rig rules. And by attaching long-term leases to those assets, we’re able to identify and develop long duration predictable cash flows with multiple growth opportunities serving those assets.

On Page 10, our enterprise value at December 31 was approximately $252 million, but giving effect to the transaction we completed in January for approximately $286 million of enterprise value. This represents a 15% increase in the enterprise value over the prior quarter of course giving effect to the equity offering. The dividend yield of CorEnergy is approximately 7.3%, significantly higher than the average yields on a NAREIT equity index and a Dow Jones utilities index and the Samp;P global infrastructure index.

And these benchmark yields include growth expectations from widely held institutional investors. And we’ve tried to illustrate on this call how we have derived our growth. 1% to 3% solely from contractual rent increases, through escalators and participations that I mentioned. We get added growth from construction based financing on assets we already own. And we augment all of that from new assets which are accretive to our existing shareholders. And we add growth to our dividend rate and compare it to other similarly risked assets, we believe CORR offers investors a compelling return opportunity.

With that, I’d like to open the line to questions, operator?

2014
03/29

Category:
Secured Financing

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Black Bison Acquires Wastewater Property

Black Bison Water Services has acquired a salt water disposal (SWD) property located in Wyomings Powder River Basin. The acquisition of the Reed Well will be financed using funds available to Black Bison under its newly established mortgage facility.

The acquisition of the Reed Well and additional financing will allow the company to expand its water disposal services business. Companies have outsourced wastewater management and water disposal to Black Bison, it said.

The mortgage facility will be secured by Black Bisons SWD properties, which serve oil and gas producers in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and Green River Basin.

The 10-year secured financing provides Black Bison with borrowing capacity of $11.5 million and has base interest of 12 percent per annum.

Over the past twelve months, Black Bison has evaluated several salt water handling and disposal opportunities in Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota and Texas. Black Bison has prioritized four actionable Wyoming-based SWD properties to create a meaningful pipeline of projects and potential acquisition opportunities, the company said.

In fast-growing shale plays, oil producers and other non-water disposal companies have been forced to drill their own SWD wells instead of focusing resources on fracturing and drilling.

2014
03/29

Category:
Revenue

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KU reports record $93 million in athletic revenue, $13 million surplus for …

So perhaps this explains why after one of the most lucrative years in KU athletics history, department officials are hoping to clarify the narrative of cha-ching on the balance sheet. Kansas reported $93 million in revenue in the 2013 fiscal year, according to documents filed with the NCAA. But a closer inspection, officials says, tells a more complete story.

Yes, it was a record-breaking year for KU, which boasted the third-highest athletics revenue in the Big 12 behind football powers Texas ($165.7 million) and Oklahoma ($123.8 million). It also resulted in a surplus of more than $13 million when factoring in KU#x2019;s reported expenses of $79.7 million.

But Pat Kaufman, the chief financial officer for KU athletics, says much of that surplus is because of future pledges and donations that had to be counted this year because of accounting rules. In fact, Kaufman says, a change in the department#x2019;s fundraising cycles caused nearly a year and a half#x2019;s worth of contributions to be counted in 2013. Kansas counted nearly $33 million in contributions in 2013, up from $22.4 million the year before.

#x201C;It#x2019;s kind of an anomaly this year,#x201D; Kaufman said, #x201C;because we adjusted our cycle.#x201D;

KU officials say the department#x2019;s operating expenses, which increased from nearly $79 million to $79.7 million over the last year, are a better reflection of the amount of cash the department brings in each year.

#x201C;We really don#x2019;t have a significant cash surplus,#x201D; Kaufman said, before adding: #x201C;We pretty much know what our revenue numbers are going to be, and we budget to live within our means.#x201D;

A similar occurrence took place two years ago, when Kansas State reported a $23.4 million surplus, making it the most profitable athletic department in the country in 2011. Long-term contributions, such as large donations pledged for major facility upgrades, must be counted the year the pledge is made. So a school#x2019;s cash on hand can be different than the revenue numbers filed each year to the NCAA and to the US Department of Education.

Still, Kansas benefited from other areas of growth in 2013, landing among the most high-end revenue-generators in college athletics. Kansas#x2019; $93 million in revenues ranked 19th in the country, according to figures filed to the US Department of Education.

In some ways, KU is a unique member of the top 20. Of the schools on the list, almost all would be considered traditional football powers.

To understand the growth, it#x2019;s best to look at some recent trends.

In 2007, the Big 12 paid Kansas just $8.4 million in television money. Six years later #x2014; after the sea change of conference realignment and skyrocketing television deals #x2014; that number hit $20.8 million. It#x2019;s an increase from $14.1 million in 2012.

Schools all over the country are benefiting from the boon, but the infusion comes at a good time for KU. Just one year ago, Kansas reported an $8.7 million deficit after shelling out more than $8 million in severance payments to fired football coach Turner Gill and his assistants.

As one might expect, firing coaches can be an expensive decision in the short-run. The payments to Gill and his staff came on the heels of multimillion-dollar settlements with former football coach Mark Mangino and athletic director Lew Perkins in the previous two years.

The ledger has been clear of costly buyouts over the last two years, and while the football program as remained at the bottom of the Big 12, stability in the coaching ranks has been healthier for balance sheet.

KU officials say the 2013 surplus #x2014; even after factoring in the inflated contributions #x2014; is not connected to any upcoming projects or expenditures such as facility upgrades. But KU is poised to finish #x2014; and begin #x2014; a host of projects this year.

Construction crews are rushing to put the finishing touches on Rock Chalk Park, a $39 million project in west Lawrence that will house new facilities for track and field, soccer and softball. The project features a 30-year leasing agreement between KU and Bliss Sports, a Lawrence-based firm that built the facilities. Under the arrangement, KU will play $1.3 million per year to lease the new venues.

The snowy winter slowed construction, but KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said the track facility would be ready for a #x201C;soft opening#x201D; for this year#x2019;s Kansas Relays.

Meanwhile, construction is set to begin this year on the DeBruce Center, an $18 million home for James Naismith#x2019;s original rules of basketball. The center, a joint-project between KU Endowment and the athletic department, will be built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse and serve as a new on-campus dining center for students.

KU also recently announced plans to build the first phase of the Fieldhouse Apartments, a new on-campus home for KU basketball players and other students. According to a plan submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents in January, the first phase would include a commons area and 33 bedrooms at an estimated cost of $11.6 million. Private donations would finance $7 million to $7.5 million of phase one.

The Kansas legislature denied KU additional bonds for the project in February, and Marchiony said final cost estimates could change, depending on fund-raising.

Next up: Further renovations at Allen Fieldhouse and the removal of the track at Memorial Stadium have been on the docket for some time. As is the case with most major projects, the final hurdle is fund-raising.

In total, Kaufman says, KU has spent close to $150 million in improvements for facilities over the last 10 to 15 years, while accruing just $49 million in debt. And officials believe the department is in good financial shape moving forward.

#x201C;To put it in context, over the last 11 or 12 years, we#x2019;ve been able to improve our athletic facilities, student-support facilities and our office facilities to the tune of $150 to 160 million dollars,#x201D; Kaufman said.

#x201C;We only have debt of $49 million, so the other two-thirds we#x2019;ve been able to fund through operations or fundraising or other revenue sources.#x201D;

The graphics below, compiled by The Star through open-records requests, show revenue and expense data for the three major college athletic departments in Missouri and Kansas for the last seven financial years. Mobile users, please click here to view.

2014
03/28

Category:
Credit Cards

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Wilf Woods | Taming wild credit cards will take some bucks

Credit card companies continue to press their products on the general public, despite the ease of hackers and others to get vital statistics from them.

Our countrys credit cards are obsolete compared to what is available overseas, but the resistance to upgrading them is dollar-related.

2014
03/28

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Why Improving Your Credit Score May Be a Wise Resolution for 2014

To many, it may appear that Americans are as addicted to credit as they are to their favorite latte, and the lending and credit industry has reaped the benefits, especially from those who have less-than-a-great credit score. One aspect of this fact appears to be changing based upon a recent announcement by federal regulators.

The announcement basically states that authorities who regulate the banking industry will be closely scrutinizing short-term loans, commonly referred to as pay day loans. The news is being heralded by consumer advocate groups who have expressed their concern that these types of loans should be classified as predatory lending.

In November of 2013, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a statement directed at banks that offer these types of loans. This statement advised that these lending practices were going to be closely scrutinized to ensure that the borrowers ability to repay, usually measured by credit score, was taken into consideration when executing the loans. Large banks in the US, including Wells Fargo, US Bank and Regions, are responding to the news by halting their offerings of such loans, many as soon as within the next few weeks.

What Makes a Pay Day Loan Predatory?

In a nutshell, a predatory loan is defined as one that exploits the inability to repay by the borrower. Pay day loans are popular among the nations working class who literally live from paycheck to paycheck. Many of these people have a less-than-optimal credit score which makes it difficult for them to obtain short-term credit elsewhere, such as with a credit card.

These consumers often find themselves running short on cash in the few days before their next paycheck and may need such necessities as groceries or even gas for their cars in order to drive to work. By taking a short-term pay day loan, these individuals can obtain the cash they need. The terms of these loans usually require that the individuals pay checks must be on direct deposit with the lending institution, and when the workers wages are deposited, the bank immediately withdraws its repayment for the loan.

2014
03/27

Category:
Credit Cards

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Coakley warns against using credit cards in online gambling

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 27, 2014…. Gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley came out against the use the credit cards for online gaming in Massachusetts Thursday, a critique into an area where her rival for the Corner Office, Treasurer Steven Grossman, believes states will battle for future gambling dollars.

“Opening the door to credit card gambling will certainly help the big banks, but not Massachusetts families nor local businesses,” said Coakley, in a statement. The convenience of gaming online combined with the use of credit cards to finance playing is a recipe for disaster. The potential to run up credit card debt gambling online will further weigh down many of those already struggling to keep their heads above water.”

Coakley, the attorney general, has been the target of a series of critiques from Grossman’s campaign on what he said was a “pattern” of inconsistent statements she made on criminal justice matters. Coakley, who has held a wide lead in public polls, said the statement was not aimed at Grossman.

The Online Products Task Force that Grossman convened to investigate a potential Lottery foray onto the Internet recommended the possibility of “requiring online players to purchase pre-paid gift cards from Lottery sales agents.”

Lottery players are prohibited from using credit cards to purchase tickets at retail vendors. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, of Leominster, has filed legislation (S 101) to allow online Lottery games and Grossman is listed as a cosponsor.

Critics of the move online, who include convenience storeowners who sell tickets, said the bill would legalize the use of credit cards.

Grossman’s campaign deferred to the Treasury, which said Grossman has two conditions as he seeks to venture into online gaming.

“First, there would be no negative impact on the Lotterys 7,400 sales agents, who have been the backbone of its success for more than 40 years. Second, it would not lead to increased problem gambling,” spokesman Jon Carlisle said in a statement. “That continues to be the Treasurers unwavering position.”

Three other Democrats are vying with Grossman and Coakley for their party’s nomination for governor in 2014.

Asked on Thursday whether online gaming could be implemented in a way that protects against problem gambling, Coakley said, “In the short run, it’s hard to imagine that because at least the way they are set up now you would require the use of a credit card for online gaming and so as a result of that I feel pretty strongly that it’s not a good idea for consumers. It’s not a good idea for Massachusetts.”

Coakley said policymakers made “great efforts” when crafting the expanded gambling law licensing casinos and a slot parlor to mitigate the harm than can result to resident with compulsive gambling habits.

“Certainly, allowing online gambling with the use of credit cards exacerbates that risk. We believe it will put consumers in the position of getting into debt,” she told reporters at the State House where she came to testify on flood insurance.

Earlier this month at a budget hearing, Grossman asked the Legislature for the authority to begin testing online Lottery ticket sales, but pledged never to implement such a program unless he was confident that the livelihood of Lottery sales agents can be protected.

We will not be the competition of the 7,400 agents, Grossman promised.

One possible way to protect retailers, he said, would be to sell gift cards in stores that can be redeemed online for Lottery purchases, with the same percentage of sales and prizes going back to the stores. He said he would be interested in limiting purchases through this strategy to protect against gambling addiction.

Coakley last week expressed concerns to the Gaming Commission about the debt collection practices of Connecticut casinos who sometimes place liens on the homes of gamblers who owe money. She said the issue of online gaming with credit cards has come up on the campaign trail.

She said her campaign did not issue her statement on Thursday in an attempt to draw a contrast between herself and Grossman, but rather to respond to a concern she is hearing from residents.

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

2014
03/27

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Hampshire HAs step in to tackle pay day and door step lenders

The economic downturn has been tough for everyone. And making ends meet can be especially hard for people on low incomes. Thats why three Hampshire based housing associations have hooked up to give their customers an alternative to door-step lenders and pay-day loans.

First Wessex, Radian and Sentinel Housing Association have joined forces with My Home Finance a not for profit social business offering loans and related services to people excluded by traditional high street lenders.

Sentinels operations director Julian Chun, explains: Tackling this issue together with our partners gives us more clout and its great news for our customers. Nationally payday loan companies issue around 10,500 short term loans a day – charging sky high interest rates with an average APR of 272% rising to as much as 5000%. Theres never been a greater need for a responsible alternative.

First Wessex, Director of Operations, Carol Williams, said: We know from working with our customers that people often dont realise the cost of the money that theyre borrowing or feel that they dont have any other choice. This new initiative will offer a safer alternative to door-step lenders with more affordable repayments alongside offering other valuable help with finances, such as bank accounts and budgeting.

Radians Assistant Director (Inclusion) Sandra Theckston, added: This is a great opportunity to assist our customers to make informed choices about their borrowing whilst working in partnership with others who share our ethos. We will be recruiting Customer Champions to promote this service across our geography.

My Home Finance typically charge an APR of 69.5%. And work with customers to make sure they can afford the repayments without having to rob Peter to pay Paul. They dont exclude people who are unemployed or on benefits even if they have a poor credit history. They treat every applicant as an individual and assess them on their current circumstances.

Helens a Sentinel customer and explains how shes been affected: I know from personal experience how easy it is to borrow money from doorstep lenders and for it to get out of control. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I took out my first loan. I thought I could easily afford the weekly repayments so I didnt check the APR at the time. I couldnt believe they were charging me a whopping 399%. I think its great that people like me will be able to borrow more cheaply and sensibly through My Home Finance.

My Home Finance said The support of First Wessex, Radian and Sentinel has been invaluable in helping us to bring our services to their residents. Working together we are confident that we can help those in need take the first step in breaking the cycle of debt by offering a genuine alternative to high cost lenders.

For customers of First Wessex, Radian and Sentinel its easy to apply. They can call 0845 094 3259 or for more information check out www.myhomefinance.org.uk

2014
03/26

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Pay day loan database bill advances; title loan reform may be dead

Pay Day lenders and Title Pawn lenders line Fairview Avenue. A Senate committee Tuesday approved legislation that would set up a central database to track pay day loans. (Montgomery Advertiser, Amanda Sowards) / Amanda Sowards/Advertiser

2014
03/25

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Loan sharks reap benefits of pay-day loan boom

Once upon a time, money lenders were shunned by polite society, lurking on the fringes.

But thanks to the proliferation of pay-day loan companies in recent years, borrowing money with interest rates that run into the thousands of per cent has become an increasingly normalised process.

From regular TV adverts to celebrity endorsements and the sponsorship of football teams, including the Premier League, they have become an inescapable facet of modern life, even if you never use them.

However, as they have become more commonplace, so too have they become, if not necessarily accepted, then certainly tolerated, as part of mainstream society.

When the legal money lending businesses can get away with charging these exorbitant amounts, is it any surprise that some at the end of their financial tether see no difference in going to an unlicensed loan shark?

With nearly one-in-five people who go to Advice Portsmouth having trouble with pay-day loans or loan sharks, it is clear that this is a problem that is not going to go away any time soon.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, may tell us there are ‘green shoots of recovery’ in the economy, but try telling that to people desperate enough to consider these options. If people didn’t see the pay-day loan companies as viable, they wouldn’t be competing for our signature in prime-time.

Any action to try and clampdown on the loan sharks, such as the city’s hiring of Birmingham City Council’s Illegal Money Lending Team, is to be commended, but it is not a quick process – it requires time and resources.

But this is very much a bottom-up process, gathering information, building a case, and then acting on it.

If action was taken from the top, by the government, to restrict the behaviour of the money lending industry, it would send a clear message that taking advantage of the vulnerable is not acceptable.

Obviously this would not stamp out the loan sharks, but it would go some way to pushing the trade back in to the fringes – where it belongs.