All items from Finance & Law for Not-So-Dummies

If there was a real "fiscal" Cliff, at least three-quarters (¾) of Congress would have been thrown over into the abyss far below. Sorting out the facts from the political rhetoric and greed, we are quick to discover that this entire issue was created by Congress itself in 2012 because of a basic moral disconnect within Congress and a desire to stop the President’s re-election.

Posted 1 year 35 weeks ago

The much discussed fiscal cliff about which will fall over (or not based on Congress) is probably misunderstood more than any other jargonistic word in politics today. What is it? Please read further.

About a year ago, or so it seems, Congress and the President couldn't agree on the issue of the national debt - should it be allowed to increase again. Actually, not even the House of Representatives and the Senate could agree (Thank you Tea Party!). A deal was made that allowed the Debt Ceiling to increase by $1-2Trillion. Had it not increased, so goes the theory, we would have defaulted on international and domestic debt. (I guess Bain Capital would have bought the Country for 5 cents on the dollar).

Posted 1 year 42 weeks ago

Should Banks be making mortgage loans? We take the answer for granted. Yet, I have been involved in an on-line discussion that started about gold’s value and price, that became about the wisdom of banks making loans for homes. And, if so, the circumstances under which loans are made. Financial and economic modeling does not take into account all of the variables, nor can any model accomplish that feat. My position is that, the contributors to the conversation should have the actual experience to deal with the issues, and even then they will end up with as many opinions as there are participants

Posted 2 years 1 week ago

Student Loans: Legal Loan Sharking

Student Loan Sharking. Harsh? NO! Outstanding student loans in this country have exceeded $1,000,000,000.00 (One Trillion Dollars). At least 15% of those loans are "private" loans, meaning not made by a government agency or sponsored lender. So what is the difference.

Remember all of the discussion (still heard throughout the country) about "Sub-Prime" and "Predatory" Lending? It's live and well on campuses all over. And why not? The Bankruptcy law change in 2005 created a form of indentured servitude. Have a PRIVATE student loan that is at a level 5 times the entire annual salary that can be earned, accumulating interest at 6%-20% (based on payment history - a default of a payment and the rate jumps to the maximum in most cases - how can anyone pay it?

"Too many student loan borrowers are struggling to pay off private student loans that they did not understand and cannot afford,...We must do our best to leave the next generation in a better place than we are today, rather than buried under a mountain of debt." - Richard Cordray, Director of the COnsumer Finance Protection Bureau ("CFPB"). Both the CFPB and the Federal Reserve are gravely concerned about the problem. 25% of the outstanding loans are in some state of default.

Posted 2 years 8 weeks ago

Colleges are courting the Devil - the Debit Card Devil. Debt counseling and money management are urgently needed on Campus! Hard pressed for funds, Colleges are resorting to "quiet" side deals to the detriment of its students. By this time most students are aware of some of the traps in credit cards, especially the killer default interest rates. The implication or at least the inference drawn by most people is that Debit Cards Are Safe:. THEY'RE NOT!

Posted 2 years 9 weeks ago

  BLACK EYE FOR JP MORGANThe "Too Big To Fail" banks are at the center of the current U.S economic problem. Below is a copy of a comment to an Op/Ed piece that appeared in the American Banker on June 18th. While it deals with issues that do not affect most of us directly, it does affect the entire structure of our Banking system. Unless you have avoided (perhaps wisely) the news, JPMorganChase ("JPM") lost $2,000,000,000 ($2 billion) in trading. Well, that was the initial reported loss. As of this morning (6/28/12) it is up to $9 BILLION. One might say that a comapny lost money - So what? - it only affects the shareholders. NOT IN THIS CASE.

Posted 2 years 10 weeks ago

In late March, there was an analysis and recommendations in the American Banker which comprised the most succinct commentary on the current mortgage/foreclosure Bank-Owned real-estate problem and how to begin to solve it. I went through the Maryland S&L crisis running failed institutions. The last thing I wanted in any of them was more real estate. It's just a messy way to waste resources.

Posted 2 years 23 weeks ago

As the details of the Mortgage Settlement Agreement, the deal between 49 of 50 states and the U.S. on one side, and BanK of America, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, Ally Financial, and JP Morgan/Chase on the other, become analyzed, it a HUGE win for the Banks. The not only received a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card but are now assured that there will no jail and the cost will not hurt profits.

Quoting from the March 13, 2012 American Banker's article about the agreement

"The settlement includes releases from certain federal claims, including errors related to servicing conduct; origination; and errors specifically related to servicing loans for borrowers in bankruptcy

The claim "fully and finally" releases the company and any affiliated entities, from any civil or administrative claims and any civil or administrative penalties -- including punitive or exemplary damages--for:

Posted 2 years 25 weeks ago

Hooray! We have a Mortgage Settlement - $26B worth but who gets help and where does the rest of the money go? NO ONE KNOWS yet, and no one know who is covered and will get assistance of any kind!
What we do know is that the 5 major servicers, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial (the old GMAC), CitiBank/CitiMortgage etc, and Wells Fargo are funding the settlement (there may be others later).

We DO KNOW that if you live in Oklahoma you opted out of the settlement, and if your loan is owned by FannieMae (FNMA) or FreddieMac (FHMC) YOU ARE NOT INCLUDED. Below is a link to the website for the Settlement where you can check to see if your loan is owned by either of these GSEs (Gov't Sponsored Enterprises).

Posted 2 years 31 weeks ago