September 13, 2012 |
Question: When is a contract not worth the paper it's printed on? Answer: When it contains weasel words so broad in scope that one party is free to change whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Janet Bandur and her husband, Darrell, discovered this after Wells Fargo contacted them recently to say that their home equity line of credit was being closed because "it is no longer compatible with today's systems. " The Bandurs were told they had one year to pay off the roughly $87,000 they had outstanding on the account.
September 12, 2012 |
New data show the number of underwater borrowers in the U.S. is continuing to decline as home prices improve, meaning one of the most stubborn roadblocks to the housing market's recovery is slowly lifting. The Santa Ana research firm CoreLogic estimates that the number of homeowners in the U.S. who owed more on their homes than those properties are worth totaled 10.8 million American households, or about 22.3% of all homes with mortgages, at the end of the second quarter. That was an improvement from the first quarter, when there were about 11.4 million underwater homes, amounting to about 23.7% of all mortgaged homes.
September 9, 2012 |
Dear Liz: You write about it not being a good idea in many cases to pay off your mortgage, but does it make sense to do so to reduce savings so that we can be in a better position to help our high school junior get financial aid for college in a year? We also have a 529 and some investments and are savers. Answer: Your income matters far more to financial aid calculations than your savings, said Lynn O'Shaughnessy, author of "The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price (2nd Edition)
August 31, 2012 |
Citigroup Inc. will let customers challenge the suspension of home equity loans and provide $120 apiece to some ex-borrowers whose credit lines were cut, under the settlement of a lawsuit challenging its practices. The accord, disclosed Friday in documents filed in federal court in San Francisco, resolves a class-action lawsuit that accused the bank of improperly suspending or reducing home equity lines of credit for several hundred thousand customers. Citigroup's Citibank unit will improve its suspension notices and restore some customers' access to home equity accounts under the agreement, according to the filing.
August 14, 2012
Re "Carl's Jr. owner CKE delays IPO," Business, Aug. 11 The private equity firm Apollo Management, which bought Carl's Jr. operator CKE Inc. two years ago, did what many such firms do: use these companies as credit cards and load them with debt. According to your article, Apollo paid itself $190 million in dividends from CKE last year while cutting costs in part by stopping matching contributions to employees' 401(k) retirement accounts. Do you think the $190 million would have helped the CKE employees more than the executives at Apollo?
August 11, 2012 |
- The day after Claressa Shields punched her way to a gold medal in women's boxing, she was walking through the Olympic village Friday on her way to the dining hall. With the medal still draped around her neck - "I kept it on everywhere," she said - she bumped into Carmelita Jeter, a sprinter and teammate on the U.S. squad. "Girl," Jeter said, "I want one of those. " The American women came to the 2012 London Olympics hungry to succeed - Jeter would have her moment anchoring a record-setting 400-meter relay victory later that night - and they have responded with a historic performance.
August 9, 2012 |
Private-equity giant Carlyle Group is buying TCW Group Inc. from the French bank Societe Generale, a deal that will give management and employees of TCW a 40% stake in the asset manager. Los Angeles-based TCW manages investments for some of the nation's largest pension funds, universities and other big investors. Financial terms of the transaction were not announced in a statement from the companies Thursday morning. The long-rumored deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
July 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — Though many home shoppers who assume they are still in a buyer's market find it hard to believe, one of the sobering fundamentals shaping real estate this summer is shrinking inventory: The supply of houses for sale has fallen significantly in most areas compared with a year earlier, sometimes dramatically so. And that is having important side effects by raising prices and homeowners' equity stakes and reducing total sales. In major metropolitan markets from the mid-Atlantic to the West Coast, the stock of homes listed for purchase has dropped by sometimes extraordinary amounts — 50% or more below year-earlier levels in several areas of California, according to industry studies.
July 13, 2012 |
Oil rose for a third day, the longest winning streak in a month, as slowing growth in China fueled stimulus speculation and U.S. equities advanced. Crude gained 1.2% as China's growth declined to the weakest pace in three years, putting pressure on the government to act. U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gaining for the first time in seven days. "Increasingly there is a feel that we'll see some stimulus plans from places like China and you'll see stronger economic growth in the second half and stronger oil demand," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts.