July 15, 2012 |
Large credit reporting companies, which are playing an increasingly important role in the financial lives of Americans, will get new federal oversight from the nation's consumer watchdog. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it would begin this fall to supervise the 30 largest credit reporting companies, which account for 94% of the market's annual receipts. Among the firms are the big three: Experian Information Solutions Inc.,Equifax Inc.and TransUnion. Combined, they issue more than 3 billion consumer credit reports each year and have files on more than 200 million Americans.
June 8, 2012 |
Stocks edged lower on Wall Street after investors heard no hints of further Federal Reserve actions in Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before Congress. Europe's debt crisis continued to rattle financial markets. The Financial Times reported Spain could request a bank bailout Saturday from the European Union. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 44 points, or 0.4%, to 12,417 shortly after the opening bell. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1,311.
June 7, 2012 |
The amount of money U.S. consumers owe continued to rise in April as Americans took on more debt to pay for big-ticket items such as college and cars. Total consumer credit outstanding rose $6.5 billion, an annualized 3.1%, according to a report from the Federal Reserve. That followed an increase of $12.4 billion in March. The increase occurred even as consumers paid down credit card debt. Revolving debt outstanding, which includes mostly credit cards, fell $3.4 billion in April.
March 18, 2012 |
Ayman and Rahma abu Hussein can't help but feel they are moving up in the world. The database engineer and his wife just bought their first home, and it's large enough for both of their children to have their own rooms. There's a Hyundai parked outside and a flat-panel TV hangs in the living room, one of many new appliances decking out the place. But the Abu Husseins are up to their ears in debt. Their upward mobility, like that of thousands of other Palestinians, came tied to something that was once rare in the West Bank: mortgages and consumer credit.
March 1, 2012 |
Americans are buying cars at a faster rate than they have in four years as rising gas prices and easier-to-get financing are driving more buyers to dealership showrooms. Bolstered by a surge in sales of fuel-efficient vehicles, automakers sold cars at an annualized sales rate of 15.1 million in February, which coincidently marked the industry's best performance since the February of the last leap year in 2008. They are selling to buyers such as recent college graduate Lindsey Roberts, an Atlanta resident who went shopping earlier this month to replace her 12-year-old Chrysler that got less than 20 miles per gallon.
February 8, 2012 |
For better and for worse, consumers are starting to take on more debt — much more, surprisingly. The Federal Reserve reported Tuesday that consumer credit outstanding surged in December at a 9.3% annual rate, thanks mostly to strong car sales and growing demand for student loans. The seasonally adjusted dollar gain from November was $19.3 billion. That was almost triple what analysts were predicting, and December marked the second straight month of 9%-plus growth. On the positive side, the increase reflects the pickup in consumer confidence and spending as the labor market has perked up since last summer.