Category Archive: Establishing Credit


Establishing Credit


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FDIC Advisory Letter on Loan Participations

On November 6th, the FDICissued an advisory letterdiscussing risk management practices that FDIC-supervised banks should implement with regards to purchased loans and loan participations. While the FDIC acknowledges the benefits accruing from the purchase of these loans and loan participations, such as achieving growth goals, diversifying credit risk, and deploying excess liquidity, the FDIC also recognizes that purchasing banks have oftentimes relied too heavily on lead institutions when administering these types of loans. In such a case, over-reliance on the lead banks has resulted in significant credit losses and failures of the purchasing institutions. Thus, while the FDIC reiterates its support for these types of investments, the FDIC also reminds banks to exercise sound judgment in administering purchased loans and participations.

A summary of the key takeaways from the FDICs advisory letter follows below:

  • Banks should create and utilize detailed loan policies for purchased loans and loan participations. The loan policy should address various topics, including but not limited to: defining loan types that are acceptable for purchase; requiring independent analysis of credit and collateral; and establishing credit underwriting and administration requirements unique to these types of purchased loans.
  • Banks should perform the same level of independent credit and collateral analysis for purchased loans and participations as if they were the originating bank. This assessment should be conducted by the purchasing bank and should not be contracted out to a third party.
  • The agreement governing the loan or participation purchase should fully set out the roles and responsibilities of all parties to the agreement and should address several topics, including the requirements for obtaining timely reports and information, the remedies available upon default and bankruptcy, voting rights, dispute resolution procedures, and what, if any, limitations are placed on the purchasing bank.
  • Banks should exercise caution and conduct extensive due diligence when purchasing participations involving out-of-territory loans or borrowers in an unfamiliar industry. Banks should also exercise due diligence, including a financial analysis, prior to entering into a third-party relationship, to determine whether the third party has the capacity to meet its obligations to the purchasing bank.
  • Finally, banks should not forget to include purchased loans and loan participations in their audit and loan review programs and to obtain approval from the board before entering into any material third-party arrangements.


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TRID Webinars Galore; PIMCO Increases Mortgage Presence While Others Scale Back

morning I am in Detroit, which has seen its share of population
movement. The Census Bureau has released statistics for movers between
metro areas between 2009 and 2013. The migration flows tables show how
many residents move (or flow) from one county or metro area to another
during the course of a year. In addition to the new metro-to-metro migration flow tables, the annual county-to-county migration flow tables are now available. The county flows can also be accessed through the Census Flows Mapper. About 8.5 million people moved between metropolitan areas. The county-to-county migration flow tables show there were about 16.7
million people, or 5.4 percent of the US population age 1 or over,
who lived in a different county within the US one year earlier.

Training and events of note? There are plenty!

the final countdown for TRID implementation and a shocking number of
people are still in the dark on how the new regulations will impact the
industry. Are you ready? HomeBridge will be hosting its final webinar on TRID implementation this Thursday, September 24, at 2PM EDT.
The webinar will recap HomeBridges last five webinars on the subject
and highlight the critical things you need to know regarding TRIDs
October 3 implementation. More information, along with educational
videos, can be found online here.
(HomeBridge is one of the nations largest non-bank mortgage lenders
and is looking for new branches to join its growing family. Experienced
branch managers who share HomeBridges dedication to customer service
and quality in the lending industry should visit for more information.)

If youre tired of TRID, joinNational Mortgage Professional MagazineonThursday, September 24 at 2PM EDTfor a free webinar on, Expanding Homeownership Opportunities in Todays Restrictive Lending Environment. This
webinar, presented by Caliber Home Loans, addresses the current credit
and guideline requirements and how to solve for them while creating new
opportunities for prospective homeowners.Attendeeswill learn financing
options returning to the marketplace while restrictive guidelines are
now expanding, the reintroduction of risk-based pricing … Higher rates
associated with non-agency products versus the potential cost of
waiting, and the return of private capital and how it can help todays

LDWholesale rolled out its TRID Thursdays.
Every Thursday for the month of September, LDWholesale is focusing on
all aspects of TRID and detailing the positive effects it has on the
company, the industry and American borrowers.

Compliance Ease is hosting a live, complimentary webinar titled, Are You Ready to Pinpoint TRID Issues?
on Wednesday, September 23. Speakers will include Donald Lampe (Partner
– Morrison amp; Foerster, LLP), Jason Roth (SVP Product Management –
ComplianceEase), and Lisa DeFors (attorney – ComplianceEase).

On September 22, 23, and 24, 2015, AmeriHome will present a TRID webinar addressing its approach to implementing the TRID requirements. Click here to access Seller/Web login prompt and choose
Resources/Training tab.Click the Click Here to Register link that
displays to go to the registration site. AmeriHome sales representatives
are also sending a TRID Webinar email invitation. A registration link
is provided at the bottom of the email. In
addition, AmeriHome has provided a TRIDreferenceguide in word format
which can be re-branded for your internal use. Both word and PDF
documents can be accessed via the sellerweb under the resources tab.

Broker partners with Mountain West Financial Wholesale are encouraged to sign up for its implementation of TRID Training September 23rd. Instructional materials and videos are also available at the MWF Compliance Resource Center.

Agents are required to coordinate with MWF regarding fees for
disclosure in the CD via the Collaboration Portal.Training will be made
available to Settlement Agents in advance of the October 3
implementation date.Additionally, during October amp; November, an
email with a link to pre-recorded training on how to use the
Collaboration Portal will be provided to the Settlement Agent at the
loan level. This short pre-recorded training from MWF vendor on using the Collaboration Portal is available for review. In addition, a more detailed video is available here.

Stonegate Mortgage still has one TRID webinar available today, Tuesday September 22nd.

Specific company news?!

It isnt the first, and wont be the last. PIMCO added to its PHH stake (PIMCO owns about 11% of PHH) by purchasing a steak, uh, stake in First Guaranty Mortgage Corp., a $4 billion a year lender. Yes, bond investing giant PIMCO has purchased a sizeable stake
in First Guaranty Mortgage Corp., Frederick, MD, a nonbank that is on
track to originate at least $4 billion in home mortgages this year. The
acquisition was made through PIMCOs Bravo Fund II and the investment
represents a huge infusion of capital which will allow FGMC to make an
exponential move in growth very rapidly. A few of the big players have
been trying to better get more vertically integrated so as to control
the collateral from start to finish. Different pools of money can own different parts of the risk and their Alternatives platform can invest in Equity such as this. The small independent mortgage bankers competing with the likes of PIMCO and Blackstone will be interesting.

do Wells Fargo and Chase have in common? They are both trying to send a
message to HUD. Yesterday the commentary discussed recent Wells Fargo
moves, and later in the day Chase turned heads with a story on CNBC mentioning what many in the industry believe about comparing FHA loans to subprime.
Smaller companies to originate FHA loans cant help but notice. Some in
the industry believe that the FHA has lost its target market and it is
just randomly targeting irrational avenues for business and to take
market share from Fannie amp; Freddie. And some suggest that the FHA
would be better off raising the FICO min to 600, increasing the reserves
to 4-6 months, and removing some of the existing restrictions such as
those involving short sales, foreclosures, and re-establishing credit.

NewLeaf Wholesale
is requiring properties located in six different counties (Amador,
Butte, Calaveras, Lake, Napa and Solano) to provide evidence that the
subject property did not experience any fire damage due to the Northern
California wildfires. If a property is located in one of the counties
with a completed appraisal before September 11th, a 1004D re-inspection
completed by the appraiser is required. For appraisals on or after
September 11th the appraiser must comment on the condition of
the property and any effects to the marketability. If there is fire
damage, the extent of the damage must be indicated. If the subject
property sustained minor damage, repairs must be completed before
closing or if damages are structural or major, the loan will be

Homestead Funding
discontinued its one close construction disbursement product due to the
lack of guidance by the CFPB. (Remember Wells did something similar
with that product.)

Titan Capital Solutions is leaving the jumbo space,
rumored to be winding down the pipeline rather than any dramatic shift
in strategy. Sources say that there is no concern that investors will
not purchase those loans, and attention will be shifted to Titan Lenders
Corp. (Editors note: yes, the jumbo space is crowded, the tolerance
for any error is so very low, and pricing is always an issue – its the
mortgage industry!)

Up in California CalHFA will be discontinuing the CHDAP product on September 24.
Lenders such as Mountain West Financial alerted clients that all loans
with a CHDAP must be locked on or before Sept 24th. There will be no
exceptions beyond these dates. The longest lock available for a CHDAP is
30 days, so plan accordingly. We would like to thank all of our
lending partners for helping to make the CHDAP program a success over
the years. CalHFA is proud to say that since its inception in 2000, this
program has successfully contributed over $360 million in down payment
assistance to help over 54,000 families achieve the dream of

are rates going? No one knows for sure, and if someone charges you for
forecasts, well, whats that worth? But there are plenty of smart folks
who have some guesses, and Mike Fratantoni, MBAs Chief Economist,
writes, We continue to expect that rates will trend up over the medium
term. Mortgages
rates, which have been just above 4 percent recently, are likely to end
2015 closer to 4.3 percent, and could reach 5 percent by the end of
2016. This
increase in rates will lead to a reduction in refinance activity. The
continued strengthening of the job market, however, will more than
offset the gradual increase in rates, and we continue to forecast
stronger housing markets in the year ahead. There we have it – check
back with Mike at Christmas time.

didnt want to go down any more on Monday so they decided to go up.
Frankly, I didnt hear any better reason, although oil prices tracked
higher and the US stock market rebounded somewhat from Fridays
sell-off. And looking at today things were pretty quiet overnight and
the only news is the July FHFA Housing Price Index at 9 AM Michigan time
and a $26 billion 2-year note auction. We saw a 2.21% close on the
10-year Monday and this morning were back down to 2.16% with agency MBS prices better between .125-.250.

Jobs and Announcements

The fourth quarter of 2015 will be one of growth for Overland Park-basedCapWest Mortgage,
who announced earlier this year it is being acquired by Prospect
Mortgage, one of the nations largest independent mortgage lenders. CapWest is hiring several Senior Loan Officers with
proven track records of consumer direct selling to join its Sales team
and take advantage of its industry-leading technology. CapWest is also seeking to hire Producing Sales Team Managers
who are interested in both a leadership opportunity and the ability to
generate personal production. To inquire about these opportunities, go
to joincapwest. com or contact Tony Thole, National Sales Manager.

Fifteen hundred miles away Frost Mortgage is seeking a branch partner in the San Diego area.Frosts entrepreneurial operating platform and revenue sharing business model is worth your serious evaluation. Click Here to schedule a confidential interview with Greg Frost.

Appraisal Management Solutions, one of the fastest growing AMCs in the
industry, is actively seeking a Regional Director-Sales for the Midwest
to assist with its continued strong growth. With a relentless focus on
risk management and compliance, Triserv AMC provides a differentiated
approach to appraisal management for lenders assuring that all
appraisals will be conducted by a Certified and FHA approved appraiser
who is local to the market, and is timely paid twice per month for all
completed orders.Additionally, Triserv provides a 100% manual review
of all appraisal orders by actual licensed appraisers who are full-time
employees.Triserv is fully integrated with the leading Loan
Origination Systems and provides lenders with an annual SSAE-16 audit
along with a CFPB/AIR business process audit. Please send your
confidential resumes or questions to Joe Bryant, President.

In other job news, eLEND, the technology driven consumer direct division of American Financial Resources, Inc. is searching for a National Sales Manager.
The candidate would lead the dynamic originations team and responsible
for the oversight of its channelized origination sales team comprised of
over 50 contact center loan originators. The job itself is located at
the companys national headquarters in Parsippany NJ or additional
locations. The person must be technology-savvy and have a forward
thinking mindset aimed at continuing AFRs amazing growth story. Please
email a confidential cover letter and resume to Robert Pieklo
or connect with an AFR executive at one of these upcoming industry
events: Originator Connect in CT, MBAMW Mid-Atlantic in Fairfax, VA, the
NAMB National in Las Vegas, or the MBA Annual in San Diego. AFR is an
equal opportunity employer.


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How to travel like a king on a college student’s budget

For many college students, getting to school required a flight–either across the country or around the globe. Although skipping the airport security lines, getting a relaxing massage before boarding the plane early, and having a private lie-flat bed on your way back to school might seem like a fantasy, it doesn’t have to be.

Most credit card companies offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to woo new customers. With an established credit history, you can take advantage of sign-up bonuses to travel like a king: just follow these four simple steps.

1. Build your credit

If you don’t have an established credit history, the first step is to begin building your credit. Consider applying for a “secured credit card.” Secured credit cards require you provide an initial deposit and then issue you a line of credit equal to that amount. While these cards are great for establishing credit, they don’t offer great rewards programs, so you’ll want to avoid using them once you can get approved for other cards.

Charge cards are another great way to build your credit. Unlike credit cards, which allow you to carry a balance, charge cards must be paid in full every month. This reduces the lending agency’s risk, making them more inclined to approve younger applicants with less credit history.

2. Set a travel goal

Once you’ve established your credit history, set your first travel goal. Dream big! If you’re planning to study in Europe next year, for instance, you might like to travel internationally in business class. Setting this goal–and a deadline–is essential to planning your credit card application(s).

3. Research current credit card offers

Credit card companies often change their sign-up bonuses to lure in new customers. Fortunately, a number of online blogs like “The Points Guy” monitor these offers. Citi, for instance, is offering a 50,000 American Airlines “AAdvantage” miles to new applicants who spend $3,000 in three months. Those 50,000 miles are enough for a business class ticket from New York to Paris, which costs more than $7,000!


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Raise Credit Score Help

If you can’t qualify due to credit problems, a credit counseling agency may be able to help you lock in lower rates Whether rates will increase this month or next, the truth is your credit score will likely have more of an impact on your payments

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ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and

Balanced Scorecard Institute – BSI provides consulting, training, and professional certification services to help organizations to improve strategic performance, formulate and execute strategy

Learn what it takes to rebuild bad credit and improve your credit score. Using a credit card the right way help you establish a positive payment history. continue

Four tips to help raise your credit score – If you’ve already been victimized in a data breach, then you’ve probably been offered free credit monitoring services. Forgot about that bill? The average debt load for people between the ages of 21 and 25 is $13,116, a number that more than triples to

Tips and information on establishing credit, improving your credit scores, choosing a credit card and getting out of debt.


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American Express Says Small Business Primed for Growth

From establishing credit to helping secure loans, financial firms are more eager to sit down with small businesses owners and help find the funds to fuel their growth. For example, small businesses racked up nearly $190 billion in purchases using the American Express Open business cards last year, the company reported.

And once they secure their financial footing, entrepreneurs often find that it has a beneficial effect on the rest of their efforts.

Theres a strong thread of optimism weaving it way through everything, from what business owners told us, Bredin said. When theyre optimistic in general, theyre optimistic on everything, and it motivates them to pursue strategies that promote growth.

Its more than a just feel-good attitude, Bredin said. Optimism fuels their outcomes, often manifesting as healthy profits. But to get there, they need a plan.

Planning for Small Business Success

Nearly two-thirds of survey takers said they created a formal growth plan. Spending her days steeped in statistics and factoids, Bredin said shes not normally surprised by business numbers. However, the two-thirds finding is the exception. This number surprised me in a good way, she admitted.

After the Great Recession, small business owners found themselves constantly putting out fires and struggling just to keep the lights on. They didnt have the mental bandwidth to consider a brighter future, let alone plan for it, said Bredin.

That most entrepreneurs are drawing up formal business plans is not only indicative of an improved economic landscape, it shows that they are serious about holding their businesses to a higher standard over the long-term. Lets face it, if you want to get somewhere you need a plan to get there, Bredin said.

Courting Small Business Customers, Eyeing Profits

Another encouraging statistic is that 26 percent of respondents identified increasing customer counts as the most important driver of business growth. The path to success is paved with customers, Bredin said. Success for businesses at this juncture is really about finding new customers.

But dont neglect your existing customers, warned Bredin. Theres little point in welcoming new clients and buyers through the front door if current customers are scrambling out the back window to escape a noticeable decline in levels of service or quality.

A number of small business owners are also keeping a closer eye on profitability. Twenty-three percentalmost a quarterare focused on increasing profits, Bredin said.

While that percentage may seem small, Bredin said its yet another sign that economic pressures have let up.

Revenues and cash flow trump eking out a profit when times are lean. Everyone focuses on the bottom line in tough times, she said. That nearly a quarter of small businesses now devote their energies to growing their profits suggests that they are well and truly out of the woods.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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Many New Yorkers lack bank accounts and emergency savings, says new report

Feeling poor? Dont feel like the Lone Ranger!

More than half of New Yorkers lack adequate savings for an emergency, and 1.14 million dont have bank accounts or are under banked, according to a report by the citys Department of Consumer Affairs.

About 360,000 households — 11.7% of all homes — in New York City lack a savings or checking account — surpassing the national figure of 7.7% according to the study. Another 780,000 city households, meanwhile are under banked:While these families may have a bank account, they still rely on check cashers, money orders, pawnshops, prepaid cards and remittances to handle their money.

People in the Bronx — where 43% of children live below the poverty line — are the most likely to be without an account or under banked.

In the borough 21.8% of households have no bank account and 66.6% report inadequate savings for an emergency. While the number of unbanked households in the city decreased slightly between 2011 and 2013, the number of under-banked households increased from 22.4% to 25.1%.

The findings — obtained by the Urban Institute, which was commissioned by consumer affairs — are important, Julie Menin, the departments commissioner, explained in a statement.

Having and using a bank account helps families save money and guard against unexpected financial emergencies, she said.

The findings didnt surprise trucking manager Shawn Gray, 40, who lives in the Fordham area of the Bronx. Gray has a bank account, but he cant use it because its in overdraft, to the tune of $211.

Rather than helping provide economic security, his bank account generates fees that do violence to the already thin financial margin in which he lives.: Its the fees! They kept charging me $35 (in overdraft fees) for stuff debited from my account that cost only $9 or $10, he said.

He uses money orders — paying about $2 for each one — to pay his rent and other bills. The fees shouldnt be so harsh, Gray complained.

The poorest people pay the highest fees: Its very expensive to be poor, said Rosa Franco, director of lending at the Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, which serves Washington Heights, West Harlem and Inwood.

Many people — especially undocumented workers, the very poor and ex-offenders — feel they cant open a checking or savings account for one or more reasons. They may not trust banks, lack the money for a minimum balance or fear the fees generated by not managing a checking or savings account correctly, Franco noted.

But people without bank accounts have trouble establishing credit. That means they dont qualify for conventional loans should they have an emergency, so if they need a loan, they use predatory lenders like loan sharks: The interest can be 500% a year, dooming them to seemingly eternal debt — and worse, Franco explained.

The Neighborhood Trust, which also is a site to apply for ID NYC cards, conducts free financial literacy seminars and gives prospective customers free introductory accounts upon seminar completion. But, she noted, many are unaware of the affordable fee structures and benefits of credit union membership because as nonprofits, we dont have enough resources to do marketing.

People like Anthony Charles, a 49-year-old porter from New Lots, Brooklyn, would be an ideal credit union customer.

I cant afford a bank account! lamented Charles, who explained he doesnt have a bank account, a credit card or a debit card because his salary — about $1,260 a month — disappears the second he gets it into money orders for rent and other expenses. Everybody wants to use everybody. Theres more work, more work, more work — but no money, he said.

The reports findings will serve as a driving force behind our future work as we create targeted programs for key neighborhoods and build toward a more equitable city, a cornerstone of Mayor de Blasios One NYC, Menin said.


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Sounding Off: Plano-area readers discuss how Texas should deal with adult …

RAISE YOUR VOICE: Share your own opinion online at Sign up for Sounding Off or submit a guest column (and include your full name and contact information) by visiting

How should Texas deal with adult inmates who are in prison because of something they did as a juvenile?

Pat Patterson, Plano: Sadly, it’s probably too late for many of these inmates, as the most consistent story you’ll hear from ex-cons is that prison is where they learned how to be “better criminals.” Most likely, the best we can hope for is to segregate all but the most violent juvenile offenders after they graduate from the juvenile detention system. We currently have at least 50 adult state prisons (not counting state jails, transfer facilities, medical facilities, etc., or private prisons) operated by the TDCJ. Surely someone can figure out how to manage the prison population so as to keep the inmates who are in because of crimes committed while they were a kid in dedicated facilities and stop tossing them in with the hardened recidivists who make up such a big part of the remainder of our prison population.

Barbara Hanson, Plano: These inmates who were incarcerated as juveniles and will be released as adults have no idea how to establish themselves in the community, and theres absolutely no reason they should. When I was a banker in the 1980s, I remember going into a prison in Minnesota and talking to the inmates about establishing credit on the outside. Its not hard to establish good credit, but one who has never done it would not know how. I would think the ideal situation would be for community representatives from various businesses to go into the prisons and educate these young men and women about life on the outside. Knowledge is power, and the more information they have prior to being released, the greater the chances they will be able to function in the world.

Amanda Holt, Wylie: It has been scientifically proven that a childs brain is not yet developed at the ages that these kids are when they committed their heinous crimes. Putting them in a juvenile setting until they reach adulthood helps, but only if they get to live like they would on the outside. Decades in prison rarely does anything for society other than keep dangerous men and women away from us as long as possible. Other criminals take their place in the meantime. When these offenders get out, they are usually more dangerous than when they went in. This is the case no matter what age they were when they entered the system. A huge percentage of prisoners are not like you or I am. They were raised on the street and didnt have good people in their lives helping them. They sure wont have anyone helping them upon release.

The adult prisoners and the child prisoners all need programs to help them to become healthy citizens. The world is evolving so fast that no one can keep up, young or old. If they were violent when they went in, they surely will be violent when they get out. There will never be enough money to have programs to rehabilitate. There is not enough money for schools, veterans, health, animal welfare, our down-on-their-luck neighbors, our officers or any worthwhile programs that are sorely needed. Yes, it does all come down to the mighty dollar. Texas will not be able to deal with this crisis.

Texas is not alone in this though. We just have a lot more prisoners than some states. I am surely not looking forward to these men and women joining my community. The answer lies in volunteers. We moan and groan about the way things are, but we never lend a hand to help. For our safety, lets volunteer. It will be a safer world.

Olan Knight, Murphy: The best investment society can make in itself and in its people is education. Inmates should be offered the opportunity for education, either high school/GED or college classes or a trade — and it should cost them something. Whether the cost is public works or community service of some kind, payment should be in the form of something they can do to help society. Those that truly want an education will accept this bargain, the others wont, and wasted effort will be minimized. Ideally payment for the education will be in the form of public works, which serves the purpose of exposing the inmate to the public in a controlled environment and hopefully helping that person reintegrate back into society.

Joe Vaughn, Plano: The Texas prison system should make every effort to educate and prepare the inmate for a successful transition to a new life.

Lee Higdon, Plano: This is not just a Texas problem, its a national problem. Its a national disgrace that so many parents are unprepared to provide an upbringing that would allow their children to fit into the rest of society. Before we even start a dialogue about meting out the right kind of punishment, we have to deal with the problems of generational poverty and its ever worsening condition. Without attacking the root, we are left with two equally, nearly impossible choices: trying to figure how to rehabilitate offenders or keeping them locked up for life. Once we institutionalize these youth, they face conditions that will only ensure their reintroduction to society will be a train wreck. I wish wed spend as many calories trying to solve this problem as we do about who marries whom and whether or not Obama and Trump are two halves of the Great Satan.

Garry Beckham, Plano: By the time these kids get into jail, many are lost forever. A big part of this story isnt what can be done in jail, but what has to be done before a child ever gets into jail. The state needs to start taking at-risk kids away from their parents and moving them into a controlled environment, such as a state- or church-run boarding school. Parents who are habitually put in jail, use drugs as a daily routine and do not have the wherewithal to raise children should not be allowed to keep their children. A tough position, but a necessary action.

Charles Raper, Plano: Those who are non-violent should be paroled to the ACLU which would be responsible for their actions.

Arnell L. Engstrom, Plano: Rationally, jailed young criminals need to be taught lawful occupations and given extensive counseling before they are released to enhance the chances they do not return to even more serious criminal activities. However, the better option is intervention before they become young offenders in the first place. Perhaps that is easier said than done, but the dysfunctional families that most come from are the root cause of them committing crimes and getting into trouble initially.

Gerry Hudman, Plano: It doesnt matter when an inmate entered the system. Common sense and compassion compel us to prepare all returning inmates for successful re-entry into society. What does that look like? Psychological and substance abuse therapy, education, job and job-seeking training would be a good start. Punishment is a perfectly valid rationale for imprisonment, but while weve got them there, lets do our best to rehabilitate them.

Jerry Frankel, Plano: Juvenile inmates should receive a proper education and/or technical training so they have a better chance of supporting themselves after release as opposed to returning to a life of crime. Every effort should be made to assist those being released after serving their time for non-violent crimes. However, upon the release of those who have committed violent crimes, parole officers and law enforcement should be given ample resources to monitor their activities. The rehabilitation of violent criminals leaves a lot to be desired, and public safety is the No. 1 priority for law-abiding citizens.

Ted Gold, Plano: This is a tough one. If you do the crime, you must do the time. But what if good civic-minded individuals and businesses “adopted” and mentored an inmate while they were in prison? Upon their release they could move in with their mentor, and the mentors will either give them a job or help to get a job for them. The mentors will help guide the former inmate back into the life of a responsible citizen. Any volunteers?

Fill out my Wufoo form!


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Immigrants Build Credit Histories from Scratch

Building a credit history

“The best way to build credit is to start small and work toward a larger goal, says Bruce McClary, vice president of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization. First, consider applying for a secured credit card from a reputable financial institution. Unlike ordinary credit cards, these require a deposit as collateral. Your payments are reported to the credit bureaus, and with a solid repayment history, generally after a year or two, you can graduate to unsecured credit cards, which can offer lower interest rates.

You may also want to open one or two credit cards available from department stores or gasoline stations. These often have higher interest rates but may not require a credit history, and steady repayment can help you establish a good credit record. But be selective. “Applying for a dozen credit cards at the same time will have a negative impact on your credit score, says McClary.

Opening a savings and/or checking account at an established bank can be another plus, says Palmer. Although activity on these accounts usually wont be reported to the three major credit bureaus that calculate your credit score, youll be establishing a long-term relationship with the bank that may be valuable if you apply for a loan or credit card in the future.

Payment strategies

With a new credit card, McClary says, using it is the key to building up your credit. “Youll want to show consecutive payment activity for a few billing cycles, which will get your score off to a stronger start. When you can, pay off the balance each month to avoid paying interest charges. Most importantly, dont miss any payments, because doing that could drop your credit score by 100 points or more. Pay other bills on time as well.

There are no shortcuts to establishing credit, so beware of any companies that offer to raise your score instantly, McClary advises. But if you spend responsibly and pay back promptly, you should soon find yourself with a credit score enabling you to pursue your financial goals. Once youve got the score you need, stay aware of it on an ongoing basis, Egg-Krings suggests. “Checking your score and working to build and maintain healthy credit can help you build assets and increase your personal worth, putting those dreams and goals closer within reach.

(Visit Chase Slate to better understand your credit health.)

After two years in the United States, Vishnu Bethalem had built a solid credit score, which allowed him to lower the interest rate on his car loan and obtain a mortgage with favorable terms. Says Bethalem, “In the United States, you need a credit history to be able to live the life you want.


Establishing Credit


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Overview of the benefits of hiring a commercial foreign exchange company

Globalization, the Internet, ecommerce, and a liberalized approach by countries towards trans-national and international trade have enabled firms, small and big, to look beyond their domestic markets and explore global trade prospects.

While catering to an international clientele offers significant benefits and advantages, firms must also be prepared to face risks and challenges that domestic companies and firms never face.

This is where relying on a reputed and trustworthy commercial foreign exchange company can prove to be very beneficial. Read ahead for an overview of the benefits of working with such intermediaries when finalizing international contracts and carrying out large international transfers.

Minimize Impact of Exchange Rate Volatility

Finalizing a contract worth $100,000 with a domestic client will result in a guaranteed income of $100,000 for your firm. There is no question of any revenue uncertainty. However, international contracts where payments are made or received in foreign currencies involve an inherent risk of exchange rate volatility.

Chinas decision to devalue its currency or a decision by a European Union member nation to default on its debt can result in forex market volatility, which can consequently lead to an adverse impact your expected revenue or anticipated costs.

The biggest challenge involved in such transactions is that it is virtually impossible to anticipate how the exchange rates will move. A commercial foreign exchange company can help you hedge your positions and minimize impact of adverse changes to the exchange rate. If you are finalizing a Euro contract, then locking your exchange rate in advance can help you stabilize costs and revenue well in advance.

This will help you take exchange rate volatility out of the equation when finalizing multi-currency contracts with your foreign clients and suppliers. This will ensure your costs and revenue calculations are not subject to variations due to factors beyond your control. This certainty will help you make swift adjustments to your trade practices to overtake competitors who are subject to frequent exchange rate variations.

Process Large International Transfers

Unlike domestic contracts, unanticipated delays in processing of international payments or receipts can result in significant complications, including avoidable and unnecessary litigation.

Sending money to a foreign client can involve multiple instances of currency conversions and completion of formalities involving many international financial institutions. Similarly, receiving payments or establishing credit lines can involve many additional procedures and formalities.

Hiring the services of a reputed foreign exchange company will help you carry out large international transfers without worries of delays or inadvertent procedural violations. You just need to issue the necessary instructions and wait for the client to confirm receipt of your payment.

Enhance your Firms Presence and Reach

With the right foreign exchange firm by your side, you can proceed ahead with international contracts in different currencies like Euro, Yen, and the Renminbi without any worries. You lack of knowledge about how international currency markets function and how foreign currency transfers are processed will not impair your ability to benefit from global opportunities.

Deploy Forex Strategies to Maximize Revenue

A smart entrepreneur will never let go of any opportunity to improve revenue and maximize profits. Commercial forex companies can help you leverage your existing exposure to take advantage of anticipated changes in the value of your currency. You can create a safe strategy where risk of losses is minimized to boost your income.

Expert forex market guidance combined with strategic advice and assistance can help you extract double benefits from your firms foreign currency transactions.

Strategic Advice and Guidance

Should you setup foreign currency deposit accounts for receiving foreign revenue and making foreign payments? Or, should you continue converting all receipts into your domestic currency before initiating forex payments? A professional firm will help you analyze the pros and cons of different strategies after considering relevant regulations, compliance norms, and costs.

The combination of expert advice and online access can help you carry out foreign currency transactions in a manner no different than executing a domestic transfer. There was a time when only big firm with deep pockets could consider exploring international markets.

Today, a competitive strategy combined with the services of a professional foreign exchange company can help you expand your presence to different parts of the world without facing significant risks.