September 2012 Archives

The Courier Journal (Louisville; CFED)

By:  Christie J. McCravy

September 26, 2012

 

Last week I was in DC attending a conference which focused solely on helping the underserved and underprivileged gain the knowledge and develop tools to build assets. The Assets Learning Conference is hosted annually by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)  an organization with a vision of a "more inclusive" economy. The whole focus of those who work in the field is this - assets are the difference between the haves and the have nots - not just income.

The Epoch Times (KIPP)

By:  Kelly Ni

September 26, 2012

 

Everyone may agree that there is always room for improvement, and nowhere was that more evident than at the third annual Education Nation Summit, held at New York's public library and hosted by NBC. Over 300 of the nation's leading educators and education experts came together for the 3-day event, where everyone seemed to be focused on the needs of students and their character, getting families heavily involved in their child's education from day one, and getting teachers and schools support from the community.

The Washington Post

By:  Danielle Douglas

September 25, 2012

 

Credit bureaus sometimes provide Americans with credit scores that are different from those that lenders use in deciding whether to offer a loan and at what interest rate, the government's consumer watchdog found in a study released Tuesday.

The Washington Post

By:  The Associated Press

September 27, 2012

 

WASHINGTON -- With college enrollment growing, student debt has stretched to a record number of U.S. households -- nearly 1 in 5 -- with the biggest burdens falling on the young and poor.

The Tennessean (Nashville)

By:  Walker Moskop

September 27, 2012

 

Every year, millions of Americans in a pinch turn to short-term loan products, such as payday and auto title loans.

 

Some fail to meet loan terms -- like having to make a full repayment within two weeks -- and they roll over the loans, which begin to rack up fees.

Mississippi Business Journal

By:  Ted Carter

September 23, 2012

 

Mississippi has retained its distinction as the state with the highest percentage of households without checking accounts or other banking services, a survey released earlier this month by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows.

The New York Times

By:  Eduardo Porter

September 25, 2012

 

Mitt Romney may be right about President Obama's Robin Hood tendencies. Future historians could well conclude that Mr. Obama led the biggest redistribution of wealth in decades.

 

The Affordable Care Act, which levies new taxes on the wealthy to expand access to health care for the near poor, seems on track to become the biggest increase in government redistribution since the Johnson administration.

Redistributing Wealth Upward

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The Washington Post

By:  Harold Meyerson

September 25, 2012

 

Which is the more redistributionist of our two parties? In recent decades, as Republicans have devoted themselves with laser-like intensity to redistributing America's wealth and income upward, the evidence suggests the answer is the GOP.

Romney's Tax Plan, By the Numbers

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The Washington Post

By:  Ruth Marcus

September 25, 2012

 

There are three fallacies and two dangers at the heart of Mitt Romney's tax policy.

 

Romney has been appropriately chided for dangling the promise of lower rates -- with unpleasant details left intentionally blank. But there are even more fundamental flaws with his approach.

The first is the argument that cutting personal income tax rates would lead to economic growth robust enough to help pay for a big chunk of the cuts. The second, related, fallacy is the contention that raising rates on top earners would hurt growth. The third is that raising capital-gains rates would be even more harmful.

Reuter's

By:  Lucia Mutikani

September 25, 2012

 

Labor income has dropped as a share of total income earned in the United States, widening the gap between rich and poor, according to a study by the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

American Banker

By:  Kate Berry

September 25, 2012

 

San Diego has joined a growing list of major cities requiring banks to prove that they are adequately serving low- and moderate-income consumers.

The city council last week unanimously passed a "responsible banking" ordinance that compels any bank doing business with the city to disclose detailed data on their lending and community redevelopment activities. Banks that fail to comply run the risk of losing the city's business.

The Washington Post

By:  The Associated Press

September 245, 2012

 

CHICAGO -- Truly free checking accounts are becoming rarer as banks add more fees to boost their profits.

Only 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free to all customers, according to survey results released Monday by financial data publisher Bankrate.com. That's down from 45 percent last year and 76 percent in 2009.

The Wall Street Journal

By:  E.S. Browning

September 24, 2012

For years, Sean McGroarty ignored his mother's urging to save money.

Then his mother, Karen Zader, 54 years old, lost her job as an administrative assistant. The family home, where Mr. McGroarty grew up, went into foreclosure, and Ms. Zader had to raid her retirement savings to pay bills.

California Newswire

By:  Valerie Gotten

September 25, 2012

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ - Low-income earners facing wage garnishment will be able to keep a little more money to make ends meet after Governor Jerry Brown  Governor Jerry Brown  -Search using: News, Most Recent 60 Days Biographies Plus Newssigned a bill yesterday authored by Assembly member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont).

The Register Guard (Eugene, Oregon)

Springfield will study an assistance program for Glenwood residents

By:  Saul Hubbard

September 25, 2012

 

SPRINGFEILD -- Having targeted Glenwood as an area where they will try to foster new residential and commercial development, the Springfield City Council now faces long-term questions about what type of assistance, if any, it should provide to some current inhabitants who could be displaced by those plans.

The Chicago Tribune

By:  Mary Ellen Podmolik

September 16, 2012

 

With the presidential election edging closer, both parties have focused on the topic of whether voters are better off than they were four years ago.

But what about homeowners? Are they?

Homes have lost a significant portion of their value since the housing bubble burst. Millions of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, and foreclosures have popped up in even the best neighborhoods.

A snapshot of poverty in the U.S.

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The Los Angeles Times

Editorial

September 16, 2012

 

A new Census Bureau report confirms that the slowly rising tide of the U.S. economy hasn't lifted all boats. The 20% of Americans with the highest incomes captured an even larger share of the earnings in 2011, while the rest collected the same share or less. The widening income inequality is disturbing, but as the report shows, things could have been considerably worse. Without such safety net programs as unemployment benefits and food stamps, millions more families would have fallen into poverty.

Credit Union Times

By:  Heather Anderson

September 17, 2012

 

DENVER -- The NCUA's opt-in process for low income credit union designation may expand to include state-chartered credit unions, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz announced last week during her keynote speech at the 2012 NASCUS Summit. The agency hopes to put the program into play later this month by working with state regulators to identify eligible state-chartered credit unions and reduce the red tape required by the NCUA.

The New York Times

By:  Jessica Silver-Greenberg

September 16, 2012

 

They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney's office. But there is a catch: the letters are from debt-collection companies, which the prosecutors allow to use their letterhead. In return, the companies try to collect not only the unpaid check, but also high fees from debtors for a class on budgeting and financial responsibility, some of which goes back to the district attorneys' offices.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee

By:  Kent Stolt

September 14, 2012

 

Ask anyone what the key is to living the American Dream and chances are two of the top answers would be buying a home and obtaining higher education. In both cases, access to the right financial resources is critical.

CFED Blog

By:  Sean Luechtefeld

September 14, 2012

 

While homelessness has been a "persistent and enduring feature in American history," the recent economic downturn is producing a new face of those at risk of homelessness and a growing sense of vulnerability among many Americans. As the Executive Director of the Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority, Mark Baggett, puts it, "While homeless services a few years ago were more focused on the guys under the bridge, most of the people coming to us now are working families who played by the rules but are facing the prospect of falling into homelessness." These families may only be a few paychecks away from being homeless, lacking the financial cushion to sustain themselves in the event of a job loss or unexpected medical bill.

The Huffington Post

By:  Jared Bernstein

September 14, 2012

 

According to new Census Bureau data released Wednesday, poverty rates as officially measured did not rise as expected last year and more people were covered by health insurance. Middle class incomes fell significantly, however, and inequality increased.

The Washington Post

By:  Ezra Klein

September 14, 2012

I want to explain why everyone is so excited about what the Federal Reserve did yesterday. But I want to do it without using the words "quantitative easing," because those words are almost designed to get you to give up and stop paying attention.

The Huffington Post

By:  Mandy Graessle

September 13, 2012

 

Every year when the mercury rises, neighborhoods are dotted with kids' first entrepreneurial endeavors -- sidewalks, street corners and parks host lemonade stands. But these days the simple lemonade stand is being used for serious business thanks to an innovative yet simple idea: Lemonade Day. Kids sign up and get a workbook that teaches kids how to start, own and operate their own business.

The New York Times

By:  Sabrina Tavernise

September 12, 2012

 

WASHINGTON -- The income gap between the wealthiest 20 percent of American households and the rest of the country grew sharply in 2011, the Census Bureau reported, as an overwhelming majority of Americans saw no gains from a weak economic recovery in its second full year.

Are senior start-ups the answer?

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Forbes

By:  Kerry Hannon

September 9, 2012

 

Unless you've been hiding in the woods, you know that it's all about jobs these days, particularly if you're running for President of the United States.

The federal job stats came out this past week.

 

The Washington Post (CRA)

By:  Danielle Douglas

September 13, 2012

 

In the aftermath of one of the worst recessions in history, more Americans have limited or no interaction with banks, instead relying on check cashers and payday lenders to manage their finances, according to a new federal report.

Triangle Business Journal

By:  Lauren K. Ohnesorge

September 12, 2012

 

New data from the Corporation for Enterprise Development shows the Great Recession is "stubbornly" persisting - with nearly half of Americans lacking a financial backup plan if they lose their jobs.

Business Wire

September 12, 2012

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released the results of its 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the most comprehensive survey on the unbanked and underbanked in the United States. The survey indicates that more than one in four U.S. households (28.3%) are either unbanked or underbanked, a slight increase from the findings of the FDIC's 2009 inaugural survey.1 The survey, conducted every two years by the FDIC in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, provides the banking industry and policy makers with insights and guidance on the demographics and needs of the unbanked and underbanked.

The Wall Street Journal

By:  Gary Fields and Maya Jackson-Randall

September 11, 2012

 

The Russell family of Kirkland, Wash., makes about $230,000 with Charles Russell, 43 years old, working as a systems analyst for Microsoft Corp. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that puts them among the top 5% of American households.

The Wall Street Journal

By:  Gary Fields and Maya Jackson-Randall

September 11, 2012

 

The Russell family of Kirkland, Wash., makes about $230,000 with Charles Russell, 43 years old, working as a systems analyst for Microsoft Corp. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that puts them among the top 5% of American households.

The Wall Street Journal

By:  Gary Fields and Maya Jackson-Randall

September 11, 2012

 

The Russell family of Kirkland, Wash., makes about $230,000 with Charles Russell, 43 years old, working as a systems analyst for Microsoft Corp. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that puts them among the top 5% of American households.

Charleston Daily Mail

By:  Cheryl Caswell

September 11, 2012

 

"One consumer had so many overdraft fees the bank seized his entire paycheck," Googel said. "Some had their accounts closed, but CashCall would continue to debit their account."

One witness testified that the company faxed a letter to her place of employment -- Cabell-Huntington Hospital -- and threatened to visit her repeatedly, charging an additional $50 to $150 each time.

 

The Leader-Times (Pennsylvania; CFED)

By:  Mitch Fryer

September 7, 2012

 

Some area social services agencies are opposing a state bill that would open the door for payday loan-making.  House Bill 2191 removes the state's 24 percent cap on interest charged to borrowers.  This fall the state Senate will consider HB 2191, which seeks to legalize payday lending in Pennsylvania.  Advocates for the legislation say it would protect borrowers by allowing the loans to occur safely by regulating the industry.

 

Area Agency Helps Families Come Home

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Southwest Times Record (Arkansas; IDAs)

By:  Pam Cloud

September 10, 2012

 

Thirty-three thousand dollars.

That's a pretty hefty sum of money -- one that would make a decent down payment on a nice home.

And that's the amount of money the average renter throws away over a five-year period renting a house or apartment for $550 per month.

Home ownership can be achieved, even if a limited income seems to be what's holding someone back.

 

Mini Loans Feed Bigger Ambitions

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The Wall Street Journal

By:  Joseph Adinolfi

September 8, 2012

 

Mohamed Diallo is a foot soldier in the army of savers that banks are leaving behind. A livery cabdriver in New York, he wants to start a fruit-importing business. But his dream is clashing with a harsh financial reality.

The Economic Crisis Isn't Colorblind

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The Huffington Post

By:  Dennis D. Parker and Larry Schwartztol

September 5, 2012.

 

As the presidential election season heats up, the candidates will clash over how the country should climb back from the 2008 economic slump. But often lost in that debate is recognition of the especially harsh impact the economic downturn has had on communities of color. All communities have been touched by the economic crisis, but not all have been affected or treated equally. A meaningful debate about the path to recovery requires a careful examination of the uneven impact on African-American and Hispanic families and the role of racial discrimination in creating the ongoing distress.

The Los Angeles Times
By: Catherine Saillant
September 11, 2012

Los Angeles officials are considering a plan to turn the library card into a form of identification that the city's large illegal immigrant population could use to open bank accounts and access an array of city services.

The Wichita Eagle
By: Marla Marsh
September 6, 2012

Marla Marsh: Financial education essential, whatever your age

In a recent Time.com article, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke kids today will be better off financially than their parents if they take personal responsibility and become more financially astute. If they don't, they will likely face challenges as they grow older.

The economic crisis isn't colorblind

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The Huffington Post
By: Dennis D. Parker and Larry Scwartztol
September 5, 2012

The economic crisis isn't colorblind

As the presidential election season heats up, the candidates will clash over how the country should climb back from the 2008 economic slump. But often lost in that debate is recognition of the especially harsh impact the economic downturn has had on communities of color. All communities have been touched by the economic crisis, but not all have been affected or treated equally. A meaningful debate about the path to recovery requires a careful examination of the uneven impact on African-American and Hispanic families and the role of racial discrimination in creating the ongoing distress.

The Huffington Post
By: Pamela Yellen
September 5, 2012

Teaching kids to save when the culture says spend

Parents are more likely to talk to their little ones about having good manners and getting good grades than the importance of saving money, according to results of research recently published in Business News Daily. The same study found that parents generally wait until children are 10 or older before talking to them about the importance of saving.

Business 2 Community
By: Stacey Rudolph
September 5, 2012

How big is the payday lending industry?

We've all heard about payday loans, and why people avail them. Sure, they're useful, they're quick and they're timely. But are they really good for us? How big exactly is the payday lending industry, and how far is its reach? Are they legal, and are being monitored at all? We answer some of your questions here.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
September 4, 2012

New frontier in student debt: It stifles the housing recovery

With the start of another school year, the air is once again filled with angst over the high cost of college. But the discussion is shifting. It's not just about runaway tuition inflation anymore, or even the individual hardship that excessive college loans create for graduates. Now we're talking about how student debt is everyone's problem because it is crushing the economy.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
September 5, 2012

Big banks are finally making it easier to compare checking account fees

The median length of checking account disclosures is a mind-numbing 69 pages. But a growing number of banks are now cutting through the clutter and offering shorter, simpler breakdowns of major fees and terms. It's a big help to people who want to comparison-shop. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't make the hugely annoying process of actually switching banks any easier.

The Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe Checking in the Electronic Age project tallied up the overwhelming scope of account disclosures, and it's been pushing financial institutions to create a one-page form that lists, in plain English, what fees customers can expect to pay for things like monthly maintenance, insufficient funds, and the like.

"Our ultimate goal is to have the CFPB write rules to make this uniform," Susan Weinstock, the project's director, says. In theory, this would make checking out account details as easy as turning over a bag of chips to see its nutrition information. Even with the variations, though, these forms make it much easier to get a sense of what you'd pay and how to avoid fees without wading through pages of legalese in six-point type.

When Bank of America signed on last week, it brought the number of big banks adopting simpler disclosures to five. Along with BofA, Citibank, TD Bank, Chase and Capital One all adopted their own versions of Pew's model disclosure box. Together, these institutions comprise about 25% of consumer deposit volume in the country. There are also a handful of credit unions and smaller banks on board.

"We're hoping this spurs people to do more comparison shopping," Weinstock says. "At least now you have a sense of the fees and terms."

For people who need to switch banks because of a move or another big life change, this is a big plus. Unfortunately, better transparency about account details doesn't make it easier for people to actually make the switch. That's still a protracted, often frustrating ordeal, so much so that a majority of people who intend to change banks never bother to do so.

Earlier this year, nonprofit group Consumers Union conducted a research project and concluded that it's practically impossible to find account closure information in a single, convenient place. When they conducted secret shopper visits, some bank employees gave them erroneous information. Even more annoying: About half of big banks charge you to close your account if it's only been open for a matter of months.

Still, simplified disclosures represent clear progress on the account disclosure front; it's a welcome change from the old norm of getting zinged by surprise fees, which is one of the biggest reasons people get ticked off at their banks. But we're still only halfway to a market where customers can switch banks as easily as they can change what brand of juice they buy or what barbershop they visit.

American Banker
By: Victoria Finkle
September 6, 2012

Savings raffles gain momentum, as banks seek entrance

Your grandmother probably told you that saving money is its own reward. But a program that enters savers into a lottery for cash prizes is aiming to turn that old adage on its head.

Prize-linked savings accounts, designed to make saving sexy, are growing rapidly in states across the country. They give savers, including those who might not have developed the habit on their own, the chance to win a pot of money just for socking away as little as $25 each month.

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