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  • Housing Slump Has Ripple Effect
    More evidence is emerging that the current housing slump is having a ripple effect across the nation’s economic spectrum. Home Depot, the company that’s earned a reputation as a handyman’s best friend, is the latest entity to fall victim to falling housing prices. Home Depot has recorded a nearly 15% drop in its 2nd quarter profit [...]
    [August 24th, 2007]
  • Fed Slices Discount Rate to Promote Growth
    The Federal Reserve Board took bold action this week in cutting its discount rate on loans to banks by a half of a percentage point. The move came amidst worries that difficult economic conditions could hinder business growth in the U.S. A worldwide credit crisis has caused turmoil in financial markets, raising the specter of recession. As [...]
    [August 24th, 2007]
  • Mortgage Rates on the Rise
    A new report shows that mortgage rates are once again heading upward. The mortgage firm known as Freddie Mac reports that interest rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage are now averaging 6.62%. That’s up from 6.59% the previous week. That 6.59% rate was the lowest rate posted since the beginning of June. The increase in mortgage rates [...]
    [August 24th, 2007]
  • Using Debit Cards Can Be Risky Business
    Summer 2007 may be remembered in economic circles as a time when new concerns were voiced about those handy debit cards that are appearing in just about everyone’s wallets. Research indicates that consumers are often opting to pay for their purchases with debit cards rather than credit cards. Consumers appear to appreciate the convenience which debit [...]
    [August 22nd, 2007]
  • Western States Record Highest Foreclosure Rates
    While the current housing crisis appears to have national implications, the problem appears to be most acute in Western states. RealtyTrac reports that, during the first half of 2007, Nevada, Colorado, and California led the pack, as far as foreclosure rates were concerned. However, Midwestern and Southern states are also taking a hit. There also appear [...]
    [August 22nd, 2007]
  • Home Building Remains Slow
    A report from the U.S. Commerce Department indicates that home building continued to be slow at summer’s start. The report shows that construction of new homes and apartments decreased in July by 6.1% when compared to the June rate. The homebuilding pace represents a 20.9% drop from last year - in fact, it was the slowest [...]
    [August 22nd, 2007]
  • Credit Cards Hasten Arrival of Self-Service Economy
    Thanks to the fact that so many consumers carry credit cards nowadays, the self-service economy is booming. If you go to your local supermarket, you may end up checking yourself out with the help of your handy credit card. When you go to the airport, you may be able to check in with a swipe of [...]
    [August 20th, 2007]
  • Consumer Credit Rises in June
    Credit card debt rose again significantly in June - a sign of the times, as far as family finances are concerned. It seems that many consumers are turning to plastic to help them make ends meet - even those who might be considered to be in a better position financially because they own their homes. According [...]
    [August 20th, 2007]
  • Interest Rates Hold Steady
    Interest rates are remaining the same, amid continuing concerns at the Federal Reserve over inflation. The Fed recently voted to maintain the federal funds rate at 5.25%. The figure refers to the rate that banks charge one another. The decision came despite the fact that the stock market has been volatile lately because of the increase [...]
    [August 17th, 2007]
  • Chase Offers New Program to Assist Consumers
    The credit card giant known as Chase is offering a new program to assist consumers with their money management. The program, entitled the “Chase Clear & Simple” program, offers customers a $10 credit as soon as they sign up for automatic payments, online statements, and free alerts. Through the program, cardholders become greater stakeholders in their [...]
    [August 17th, 2007]
  • Students More Concerned About Credit Scores
    It appears that college students are more concerned these days with maintaining good credit scores. Celent, a consulting firm, has been watching the financial habits of Americans born between the years 1982 and 2000, also known as Generation Y. In an online poll conducted in May, Celent surveyed the financial behavior of nearly 600 university students [...]
    [August 17th, 2007]
  • Concern Rises About Predatory Lending in Mortgage Industry
    Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is expressing concerns about shady mortgage lenders who practice predatory lending. Senator Clinton is also requesting a $1 billion government fund that would enable homeowners to avoid the hardship of foreclosure. Senator Clinton says that she doesn’t oppose lending institutions, but she wants to ensure that consumers are not ripped off. [...]
    [August 15th, 2007]
  • New Report Suggests Changes in the Credit Card Industry
    A new study is recommending changes in the embattled credit card industry. The report by the National Consumer Law Center is particularly critical of the industry’s impact on older Americans who may be on a fixed income and therefore unable to deal with large credit card debt. The Center reports that there are a massive number of [...]
    [August 15th, 2007]
  • Credit Card Companies Under More Scrutiny
    This summer, credit card companies are under increasing scrutiny. For instance, the Federal Reserve Board wants companies to make information about their credit rates and fees more user-friendly. The Fed also wants credit card issuers to give consumers more notice when they’re about to raise rates. Currently, issuers give consumers 15 days’ notice. The Federal Reserve [...]
    [August 15th, 2007]
  • Housing Slump Likely to Continue
    Financial forecasters say the current housing slump is likely to continue in the near term. Figures obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department show that sales of single-family houses dropped 6.6% in June. That’s the 5th decrease in half a year. In addition, some of the country’s leading builders recorded larger losses than had been expected for the [...]
    [August 13th, 2007]
  • Consumers Urged to Pay Heed to Their Credit Scores This Summer
    This summer, financial experts are warning consumers that they need to pay particular attention to their credit scores - before it’s too late. Your credit score is a three-digit number which indicates how well you handle your debt. It can be as important as your IQ in determining your financial success. The credit score can determine what [...]
    [August 13th, 2007]
  • Consumers Searching for Ways to Rebuild Their Credit
    This summer, a number of American consumers are looking for ways to rebuild their credit history. Such a goal is important, considering the fact that a less-than-stellar credit rating can cost you thousands of dollars in interest and life insurance costs. But how can you go about restoring your credit worthiness at a time when high [...]
    [August 7th, 2007]
  • Wells Fargo Posts Rise in Profit
    Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s leading providers of home loans, saw its second quarter profits rise 9%, despite the difficulty that some consumers are having paying their mortgages this year. Analysts credit the rise to customer service fees and the sale of additional products. From April to June, Wells Fargo earned $2.28 billion, which amounted [...]
    [August 7th, 2007]
  • Debit Card Use Can Yield Some Unwelcome Surprises
    Debit card use has exploded in recent years, with consumers turning to the cards as a convenient alternative to writing checks. Still, although such cards offer numerous advantages, they are not fool-proof. If you find yourself close to your limit on your debit card, your bank may put a hold on your card, which can lead [...]
    [August 7th, 2007]
  • Consumers Question Credit Report Offers
    Some American consumers this summer are questioning “deals” offering copies of credit reports to those who pay for special services. While the practice is legal, experts say it may not be the best idea for a consumer’s bottom line. Under federal law, consumers may obtain a free copy of their credit report once each year from [...]
    [August 6th, 2007]
  • Citigroup Sees Rise in Second Quarter Profits
    Citigroup Inc. is reporting an 18 percent jump in its second-quarter profit. Meanwhile, one of Citigroup’s leading competitors, Wachovia Corp., also saw a significant fattening of its profit margin, as did Bank of America Corp. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Still, against the backdrop of a difficult credit picture, some financial institutions are also seeing [...]
    [August 6th, 2007]
  • Consumer Optimism May be Building
    Consumer optimism appears to be growing again, according to a Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. The optimism appears to be fueled by renewed hope in the job market and in salary situations. The July consumer sentiment reading was 90.4. While the reading was below the figure that had been forecast, it was far better than [...]
    [August 6th, 2007]
  • Home Construction Rises
    The troubled housing industry received some positive news recently with a report that new home construction increased 2.3% in June. However, enthusiasm was dampened by the fact that the new construction rate in May was revised downward. As a result, the U.S. housing market remains in the midst of tough times. According to figures released by the [...]
    [August 2nd, 2007]
  • Economic Growth May Be Lower Than Expected
    The head of the Federal Reserve Board is taking a conservative course when it comes to predictions about the economy—a move that’s being applauded by some in the investment sector. Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke indicated recently that the economy appears to be fairing better. However, he appears to be pessimistic about economic growth in the [...]
    [August 2nd, 2007]
  • Inflation Concerns Continue
    It appears that members of the Federal Reserve Board continue to be concerned about the specter of inflation. Last month, the Fed chose to hold interest rates steady—even though the current housing crisis could jeopardize economic growth. Minutes from a Fed meeting in late June indicate that Fed officials have a “predominate concern” that inflation will [...]
    [August 2nd, 2007]
  • Fed Surveys Consumers About Credit
    The Federal Reserve Board has now released its report on credit card solicitations and applications. The findings are significant, since the study included personal one-on-one interviews with American consumers. The whole point of the study was to help make the terms and conditions of credit card accounts simpler for customers to comprehend. To that end, the [...]
    [August 1st, 2007]
  • Gaining Credit May Be Getting Tougher for College Grads
    A change in practices in the U.S. credit card industry may mean that it will be tougher than ever for college graduates to establish credit. Here’s the problem: In the past, college grads who hadn’t gotten a credit card during their time in school would attempt to establish credit by becoming an authorized user on a [...]
    [August 1st, 2007]
  • Mortgage Rates Unmoved
    Prospective homebuyers received some encouraging news recently, thanks to the fact that rates on 30-year mortgages stayed steady. The decision to maintain the status quo might have been surprising to some, given all the concerns being raised about inflation at this point in time. The mortgage firm known as Freddie Mac noted that the 30-year fixed-rate [...]
    [August 1st, 2007]
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