Monthly Archives: October 2015

2015
10/31

Category:
Credit Cards

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Suspects used fake credit cards to buy gift cards

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Westfield Police is asking for the public’s help in identifying two men who allegedly used counterfeit credit cards throughout Hampden County.

View Surveillance Photos from local businesses

According to the Westfield Detective Bureau’s Facebook page, the suspects are accused of using the fake cards at the Holyoke Mall, the Holyoke Crossing Plaza, on Boston Road in Springfield, and on Memorial Drive in Chicopee.

The men mostly bought $100 gift cards, police said. One victim from Westfield told police she still had her card when the charges were made.

Police report that the suspects might be driving a white van or SUV, and speak with an eastern European accent. They also said a third man was seen with the two men during one of the alleged incidences.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Scott Phelon at 413-642-9390 or email at s.phelon@cityofwestfield.org.

The Chicopee Police Department is also investigating after a second victim was found living in the area.

2015
10/30

Category:
Mortgages

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

First time buyers getting high risk mortgages at a rate not seen since the …

One in seven first time buyers has taken out a potentially risky mortgage this year, the highest proportion since the financial crisis.

Across the UK, 14.2% of first time buyer loans in the first half of the year were based on a high income multiple and low deposit, putting borrowers at risk of struggling to repay their loans if interest rates rise.

A total of 18,723 mortgages were approved in the first six months of 2015, according to figures, released through a Freedom of Information request to the Financial Conduct Authority.

The proportion of first time buyer loans that are potentially risky is at its highest since 20.6% of loans were advanced on this basis in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. They dropped to just 1.7% of first time buyer loans in 2011.

What counts as risky?

High income multiple, low deposit mortgages are defined by the FCA as a combination of borrowing 3.5 or more times a single income or 2.75 times a joint income and borrowing 90%+ of the homes value.

High house prices, low interest rates and Help to Buy may be behind the revival in popularity of the loans.

First time buyers in the UK are 2.5 times more likely to take out a high risk mortgage, with 14.2% taking out a high income multiple, low deposit loan in the first half of 2015, compared to 5.8% of all mortgage lending.

In terms of all mortgage lending, high income multiple, low deposit loans now made up a higher proportion of the mortgage market than at any point since 2007, when they accounted for 7.4% of loans.

A loan worth more than the house

2015
10/30

Category:
Credit Cards

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Scam emails tempt consumers waiting for new credit cards

As consumers wait for new, more secure credit and debit cards based on computer chip technology, scammers are trying to take advantage.

The Federal Trade Commissions say some people have gotten emails, purportedly from their credit card company, seeking personal information to update an account to the new type of card.

Experts advise that unsolicited emails are rare from credit card providers. If you get such a request, call the customer service number on the back of your card.

The new cards, which use a microchip to create a unique code for each use, are more secure than older cards with amagnetic stripe on the back.

2015
10/29

Category:
Mortgages

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Digital mortgages could be key to survival in post-TRID world

  • Know Before You Owe compliance has been less painful for companies that offer digital mortgages.
  • The legal and regulatory changes necessary to allow for the acceptance of emortgages have been a major barrier to adoption.
  • The importance of lenders, title companies, settlement agents, real estate agents and others being able to collaborate to close a loan and communicate efficiently and effectively with each other is paramount to complying with Know Before You Owe, especially over time.

2015
10/28

Category:
Revenue

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Wynn frustrated with Macau; revenue drops 27 percent

Wynn Resorts, the casino company that owns the Wynn and Encore on the Strip as well as property in Macau, reported its third quarter earnings today.

Company: Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN)

Revenue: $996.3 million, down 27.2 percent from the third quarter last year. The company attributed most of the decline to a big drop in revenue from its Macau operations, as well as a smaller decline in revenue from its Las Vegas resort business.

2015
10/28

Category:
Revenue

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Square Files For IPO On $560.6M In Half Year Revenue, Slim $77.6M Loss

As expected, Square has filed to go public. The financial transactions shop reported in its S-1 document that during the first half of 2015, it had revenue of $560.6 million, and a loss of $77.6 million. Those numbers compare favorably to the year-ago six-month period during which Square reported $371.9 million in revenue, and a slightly steeper $79.4 million in losses.

In short, Square grew at a decent clip while managing a minor reduction in losses. That’s a good thing. The company is going to list on the NYSE. The company’s reported half-year gross profit of $164.6 million, compared to its total revenue underscores how competitive, and expensive the payments business is.

Notably, the company’s net loss fell in its second quarter to $29.6 million, down from a far steeper $47.9 million in its first quarter. To be clear, however, Square has a history of losses, and it doesn’t appear to be in close reach of profitability at its current rate of growth.

The company also specifically broke out its transaction revenue from its deal with Starbucks. It said that it brought in $62.9 million in revenue from that deal in the first half of 2015, up from $56.6 million in the first half of 2014.

Square, as of the end of its second quarter in 2015, had cash and equivalents of $197.9 million, implying that it is not out of runway in any material sense. Though, if the company has strong investment plans ahead of it, an IPO would provide welcome capitalization.

The company’s gross payment volume — the total dollar amount of all card payments processed by sellers — hit $15.9 billion in the first half of 2015. That’s up from $10.4 billion in the first half of 2014 and $23.8 billion in total for 2014. The company said it had $14.8 billion in GPV for 2013 and $6.5 billion for 2012.

2015
10/27

Category:
Revenue

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Washington County officials disappointed with sales tax revenue

FORT EDWARD ? Washington County supervisors got good news and bad new about the county budget Wednesday.

The good news: The county’s efficiency plan, which involved every municipality in the county, was accepted by the state. That means property owners will receive a small tax rebate this year if the county stays within the tax cap.

The bad news: Sales tax revenue growth has all but stopped, likely leaving the county in the red.

The budget estimated that the county would collect $18.6 million in sales tax this year. That seemed a safe bet because the county collected more than $19 million each of the past two years.

And each year, the county had vastly underestimated sales tax revenue, guessing it would collect about $2 million less than it actually received.

But this year, buying has stalled.

In early October last year, the county collected $1 million in sales tax. In that same period this year, the county collected half as much.

It’s the fifth time this year that the biweekly figures came in under last year’s revenue. Supervisors had been eagerly anticipating the October report to help them understand whether the budget was in trouble and whether they would need to budget more conservatively next year — which might require cuts.

2015
10/26

Category:
Mortgages

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Don’t tax mortgages to pay for highways

The House Transportation Committee has scheduled a hearing today on a long-term transportation funding measure. The American public needs to be aware that, in a closed-door, 11th-hour deal, members of the Senate inserted a tax on homebuyers in their version of this bill.

The senators cleverly buried in more than 500 pages of bill language a single sentence referring to a fee. Apparently, they believe that, by imposing this so-called fee, they can claim to have funded the nations highways without raising taxes.

The problem is that this fee forces lenders to charge homebuyers a higher interest rate when they obtain a conventional mortgage (one backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) or when they refinance with a mortgage of this type. For example, under the provisions of this bill, a family purchasing a median-price Orange County home with a 30-year conforming mortgage would pay a highway tax of more than $11,800.

Thus, while unsuspecting homebuyers may think theyre paying the lender to cover the risk and costs associated with making the loan, in truth, a portion of the mortgage payment will be placed in the Treasurys general fund to cover costs that have nothing to do with the mortgage. And because the tax applies only to conforming loans (capped at $417,000) and not to jumbo loans, its more likely to be incurred by middle- and low-income buyers.

If homeownership is an important part of the American Dream, why would Congress impose a tax on homebuyers? The answer is simple. The senators need money to pay for the nations highways. Because they cannot agree on a transportation-related funding source, they have disingenuously chosen to hide a transportation tax by calling it a fee while hoping no one will notice.

This is not the first time Congress has used a tax on conventional mortgages to fill its coffers. In 2011, when Congress needed money to extend unemployment benefits, it increased the monthly fee charged on conventional mortgages and transferred the proceeds to the general fund.

All conventional mortgages originated from 2011-21 must included this tax.

The Senate version of the transportation bill will extend this tax until 2025 to fund roads unless the House of Representatives puts a stop to it. Because federal funds for the nations highways will run out in November, members of the House must act soon. Their choices are to pass their own long-term funding bill, to act on the Senate bill or to pass a short-term funding bill, and kick the can down the road.

No matter what the House decides to do, any tax on homebuyers to pay for our nations transportation system is unwise, unfair and unacceptable. On behalf of todays homebuyers and of those who dream of becoming homebuyers, the Orange County Association of Realtors urges Congress to oppose the homebuyer tax in the Senate version of the transportation funding bill.

Rita Tayenaka is a longtime Orange County resident and president of the Orange County Association of Realtors.

2015
10/26

Category:
Mortgages

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Do reverse mortgages help out?

Imagine that you are about to retire. Everything looks OK, but just OK. You own a very nice house, your health is good, you have no debts, you’re about to get Social Security benefits, and you have some savings. Sadly, you won’t have all the income you wanted, mostly because the last 15 years haven’t been kind to your savings.

Lots of people are in this boat.

What can you do to make things better? Would you like to boost your spendable income by 25 to 50 percent? For the rest of your life? Then listen up. A reverse mortgage line of credit may be your new best friend. This is a type of loan that allows you to borrow against the equity in your home with some protection against the loss of your house.

While recent research has shown that reverse mortgages can be a powerful tool for retirement income planning, until now I hadn’t seen any work that objectively measured how big an impact a reverse mortgage can have.

Planning ahead

Then I met Brian Vezza, who is a physicist and an Internet of Things consultant in Dallas. He’s a systems thinker who loves the elegance of the consumption- smoothing software that I’ve written a good deal about, ESPlanner. He knows it so well that he is a beta tester for updates.

ESPlanner doesn’t guess at the standard of living you can have in retirement. It uses dynamic programming to calculate a constant standard of living you can have from any age you choose until you die.

Make a change, and it will tell you how much your lifetime standard of living will rise or fall.

Some people use the software to figure out how much a higher (or lower) return on their investments will affect their retirement. They do the same thing with saving more, or less. And they can also test the impact of retiring earlier or later, downsizing, moving to a state with no income tax, etc. Vezza knows all about that.

But he has also explored the impact of taking out a reverse mortgage line of credit. It’s big. Indeed, if you are looking for a big lever, a reverse mortgage line of credit will be the most powerful tool available for many people.

Doing the math

Skeptical? I don’t blame you. So let’s examine two of Vezza’s case studies. These case studies assume 3 percent inflation, a 6 percent rate of return, California residency, low property taxes and living to age 95.

Mr. and Mrs. Housepoor. This couple is already retired, ages 77 and 76, with $2,000 a month in Social Security benefits, savings of $150,000, and a house worth $443,000. If they do nothing, they will have $30,300 a year in constant purchasing power for the rest of their lives.

That $30,300 is what they have to spend after paying income taxes, Medicare premiums and the operating expenses for their house.

But if they take out a reverse mortgage line of credit, their lifetime consumption will rise to $45,700 a year in constant purchasing power. That’s a 50.8 percent increase in the money they can spend on daily living. The additional income they receive won’t be taxable, but they will be building a debt against their home equity. How much, if any, home equity they will have at death will depend on future real estate appreciation.

Mr. and Mrs. Notready. This couple lost their jobs before they were ready to retire. Now 67 and 65, they have $2,000 a month in Social Security benefits and only $70,000 in savings. They own a $200,000 house. If they do nothing, their lifetime consumption will be $20,000 a year in constant purchasing power. But if they take out a reverse mortgage line of credit, their lifetime annual consumption will be $25,900 a year. That’s a 29.5 percent increase. It’s smaller than the increase for the Housepoors because their credit line is smaller.

Bulking up wealth

How does all this fit in the Big Picture of retirement readiness?

Simple: It could be the most powerful tool most people have.

In May I wrote about “the thinness of wealth”: how about 80 percent of all households had more money in home equity than they had in their combined financial assets and retirement accounts.

Think about that — 80 percent. It tells us that whether it is a reverse mortgage, downsizing, right-sizing, renting or living in a trailer, our shelter decisions will make the difference between retirement squeeze and retirement comfort.

Scott Burns is a syndicated columnist and a principal of the Plano-based investment firm AssetBuilder Inc. Email questions to scott@scottburns.com.

Twitter: @assetbuilder

2015
10/25

Category:
Mortgages

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Spain’s Sabadell to keep ‘floor clause’ mortgages

MADRID Oct 23 Spanish bank Sabadell
said on Friday it would keep selling mortgages with a so-called
floor clause, which impose a limit on how far mortgage
interest rates can fall in line with a benchmark rate.

The terms of these mortgages are clearly marked to potential
buyers, Chief Executive Officer Jaime Guardiola said in a
conference call.

The removal of the widely-used floor clauses, following
protests by consumer rights groups, may hit bank profits,
analysts fear.

(Reporting By Jesus Aguado; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing
by Paul Day)