October 13, 2013 |
Many unsavory ventures make their home in the seamy underbelly of the Internet, including some particularly unscrupulous payday lenders that use high fees and shady methods to drain borrowers' offline bank accounts. This month, the state Department of Business Oversight took an important step to protect Californians from such predators by warning banks and credit unions not to process transactions from unlicensed online lenders. It was the latest in a growing number of moves by state and federal regulators to weed out the worst purveyors of a risky form of credit.
October 11, 2013 |
The mild weather and cool temperatures of October make it one of the busiest months for rock climbing guides Seth Zaharias and his wife, Sabra Purdy. This time of year they're usually leading climbers up massive boulders and sheer canyons in Joshua Tree National Park. Then the government shutdown closed national parks Oct. 1. The couple now spend their day writing refund checks to dejected clients. In the first week of the shutdown, Zaharias estimates, he lost $2,500 in revenue.
October 11, 2013 |
Jay Joerger was set to close a long-planned sale of his Palm Springs condominium this week until he was blindsided by an unexpected problem: the shutdown of the federal government. The condo sits on land owned by an Indian tribe, so the sale must be approved by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. But the bureau has ceased nonessential functions, delaying many home sales in Palm Springs and nearby areas. "It's stopped cold right now," said Joerger, a painting contractor from Fullerton.
October 10, 2013 |
Mortgage interest rates have leveled off at their lowest levels since June, with 30-year fixed-rate loans averaging 4.23%, statistically unchanged from 4.22% last week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey . The home finance giant's widely watched poll of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers showed the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage rising from 3.29% to 3.31%, also small enough to make no statistical difference. Freddie Mac pegged the 30-year average at 3.35% in early May. It shot up to 4.58% in August on widespread belief the Federal Reserve would taper off its efforts to keep interest rates low, then fell again when the Fed decided in September that the economy wasn't strong enough for it to do so. QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the debt limit Borrowers would have paid lenders an average of 0.7% of the loan amount in fees and discount points to obtain the rate, according to the latest report, issued Thursday morning.
October 7, 2013 |
Is the government shutdown preventing you from buying or selling a home? The closure of many government agencies is threatening deals because people can't get loans or crucial documents. Are you one of them? Are you having trouble getting a loan from the Federal Housing Administration? Is your loan held up because lenders can't get paperwork from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration? Are you a seller whose buyer is having problems? I want to hear from home buyers, sellers, Realtors, mortgage brokers or anybody else whose home deal is affected by the government shutdown.
October 4, 2013 |
A prolonged government shutdown could deliver a substantial blow to an already softening housing recovery. If the political standoff lasts for weeks, it could stall sales because lenders can't use IRS documents to confirm borrower qualifications. The impasse could also threaten loans backed by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. "With each passing day, the anxiety in the marketplace is building," said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA's Ziman Center for Real Estate.
October 4, 2013 |
New York state isn't only providing generous tax breaks to film and TV productions. Now it's offering low-interest loans to small-town cinemas. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that $400,000 in funding is being made available to help community theaters in upstate New York purchase digital projectors. Small-town theaters nationwide have been scrambling to convert their theaters to digital because studios are expected to stop delivering film prints in North America as early as this year.
October 3, 2013 |
Mortgage rates have tumbled for the third straight week, with Freddie Mac pegging the 30-year fixed loan at an average of 4.22%, down from 4.32% last week to the lowest level since June. But what good is a low rate if a lender can't process your application? A protracted government shutdown would hamper the ability of lenders to confirm borrowers' incomes and identities, as well as threatening loans that are backed by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. “The federal government shutdown will have a growing impact on the housing market the longer it continues,” David H. Stevens, president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Assn., said in a statement Thursday.
October 1, 2013 |
CARACAS, Venezuela - President Nicolas Maduro's expulsion Monday of three U.S. diplomats was another sign of the increasingly dire problems Venezuela's government faces and the extreme measures he is taking to try to divert supporters' attention from them, analysts said. In a speech commemorating the 200th anniversary of a revolutionary battle in western Falcon state, Maduro said he was expelling acting charges d'affaires Kelly Keiderling, Elizabeth Hoffman and David Moo for allegedly meeting with opposition figures and “taking actions to sabotage the electricity system.” Maduro had previously charged right-wing opponents with sabotage last month in connection with the outage of a high voltage transmission line in western Venezuela that caused blackouts across the country.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 23, 2013 |
A Westminster police officer and a Little Saigon businessman accused in a loan-sharking case have pleaded not guilty. Officer Anthony Duong Donner, 28, and Kevin Khanh Tuan Do, 38, made their pleas Monday and were ordered to return to court in November. Donner remains on leave from the Westminster police force. FBI agents arrested both men in August, accusing Do of masterminding a loan-sharking operation and using the officer living in his home as his "enforcer. " Do allegedly lent $170,000 to a woman who wanted to open a Garden Grove coffee shop and a lounge in neighboring Westminster, charging her 5% interest a month, along with an annual interest rate of 60%, according to a 39-page FBI affidavit. Do allegedly directed Donner to collect payments from the woman and told her that if she didn't pay, the police would "interfere with her business" and cite her for driving under the influence, even if she wasn't drinking, FBI Special Agent Joseph Paul Nieblas said.