Archive for October 31, 2014

SPI 2014 – Admirals Bank to Unveil New Solar Loan Products and Services at …

These products allow for faster loan approval times, a more seamless application process, and enhanced service levels and availability. The FastTrack program will be offered through a dealer program.

In addition, Admirals Bank is introducing a solution for commercial solar customers. These loans will primarily service under-served, small-to-medium sized businesses and address a growing need in the commercial sector for affordable solar financing.

Admirals Bank will showcase these new product offerings at Solar Power International in Las Vegas, NV from October 20th 23rd. Daily presentations and additional information will be available at the Admirals Bank booth, #3704.

We saw how the declining costs of solar panels and emerging financing options had contributed to the exponential growth of the industry, said Nicholas W. Lazares, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Admirals Bank. Our new loan programs align with the needs of todays solar customer and we will continue to develop and enhance our offerings as the industry evolves.

In addition to being an advantageous product for consumers, the FastTrack program also meets the expectations of installers and other industry professionals. This program allows Admirals Bank to provide their dealer network with broader and more flexible loan options, including loan options without dealer fees and loan options for low FICO borrowers.

For more information about Admirals Banks residential and commercial solar loan products and to register to begin offering financing for your customers visit booth #3704 at SPI or call 800-715-8472 or visit http://www.admiralsbank.com today.

Cash America’s Revenue +8%, Profit -79% in 3Q

RAPAPORT… Cash America International Inc. reported that its revenue rose 7.9 percent year on year to $472.2 million during the third quarter that ended on September 30. Net revenue, meanwhile,increased 11.9 percent to $276.4 million and expenses rose 5.9 percent to $231.4 million as loss rates from the consumer loan portfolio were lower overall and pawn-related revenue was higher. The aggregate balance of consumer loans outstanding rose slightly as US consumer loan growth outstripped the anticipated decline in foreign consumer loans related to changes in the regulatory environment in the UK, the company noted. Total pawn loan balances in the US were up 6.5 percent year on year and same-store pawn loan balances were up 2.1 percent.

Profit fell 78.5 percent to $9.9 million, as management implemented plans that generated $14.1 million in after tax expenses related to the sale of non-strategic operations, the early repayment of long-term debt and a corporate reorganization for theretail services segment. One year earlier, Cash America gained an after tax net benefit of $21.9 million from a tax credit that was partially offset by a significant litigation settlement during the period.

During the quarter, Cash America sold non-strategic lending operations, including the disposition of 47 locations in Mexico and five locations in Colorado, which generated approximately $21.5 million in net cash proceeds but contributed to an aggregate loss of $6.4 million after taxes. In addition, the company purchased $103.5 million of its outstanding long-term fixed-rate senior notes in the open market during the third quarter, which generated $6 million in pretax charges.

Daniel R. Feehan, the president and CEO of Cash America, said, “We have completed a variety of strategic initiatives during the third quarter, including the refocusing of our domestic pawn operations and the positioning of our ecommerce segment to be an independent public company. We have taken the steps we feel have the greatest potential for delivering long term value to our shareholders for many periods in the future. Operationally, we also successfully moved through the initial transition of our UK ecommerce business to meet the new regulatory requirements in the UK and we maintained our positive metrics of pawn lending that started in the second quarter.”

Cash America declared a3.5 cent per share cash dividend on common stock outstanding. The dividend will be paid at the close of business on November 19 to shareholders of record on November 5. Looking ahead, management anticipates that demand for consumer loan products will continue on a similar pace during the fourth quarter, with a continued heavier weighted consumer loan portfolio and longer-term installment and line of credit products.

Obama Administration Secrets: Operation Chokepoint Abuse of Power?

You can be a business owner who is on the right side of the law, but that may not matter in 21st Century America if you’re a business owner who on the wrong side of someone else’s political agenda. That should not be the case, which is why we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on September 4, 2014, against the Department of Justice (DOJ). This was done to obtain records relating to a highly controversial program known as Operation Chokepoint (OCP), which the DOJ started early last year.

Our lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with a FOIA request we filed with the DOJ on May 1, 2014. The DOJ has been operating in collusion with the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to pressure banks and other financial services to cut off law abiding businesses that the Obama Administration views as being politically incorrect.

When Operation Choke Point began, the FDIC targeted 30 merchant categories on its website as “high risk.” This list included the following: coin dealers, credit repair services, dating and escort services, firearms and firework sales, mailing lists, lottery sales, pay day loans, pharmaceutical sales, travel clubs and tobacco sales. So the Obama administration was up-front about which businesses it hates. In a 2011 bulletin, the FDIC left no room for equivocation or doubt when it warned banks that associating with these businesses could expose the banks to “reputational risk.” And if a bank is bold enough to resist a government directive to close down an account; it can be penalized even if the business in question has not broken any laws.

Operation Choke Point grew out of an executive order President Obama issued in 2009, which created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The Task Force has been criticized for politicizing its enforcement against banks and other financial institutions, which have been forced to settle for billions even when there is no proof of wrongdoing. In August 2013, thirty-one members of Congress sent a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder and FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg requesting they provide congressional staff members with information on the OCP. This request did not produce any meaningful information. Although a DOJ official met with congressional staff, this same official declined to answer any questions, according to a report on Breitbart.com.

Our FOIA lawsuit asked for the following information:

  • Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the legal basis for the targeting of legal business entities under Operation Choke Point.
  • Any and all records depicting the criteria for businesses and/or industries to be targeted for any type of scrutiny and/or enforcement or regulatory action under Operation Choke Point.
  • Any and all records depicting the business types and/or industries targeted for any type of enforcement or regulatory action under Operation Choke Point. 

Since the program’s inception, the DOJ has claimed the OCP was set to combat instances of massive consumer fraud. But there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a May, 20, 2014, report that contains information showing the primary target of the OCP is the short-term lending industry.

Honest, law abiding long-time customers have had their accounts closed because their banks could not resist government pressure.

Those Americans who are exercising their Second Amendment rights appear to be on the receiving of the end of the worst OCP has to offer. The Washington Times has reported that a number of firearm businesses have experienced sudden disruptions in their relationships with banks. One example given:

“TD Bank does not support the Second Amendment and has contacted us here at the Powderhorn to say that due to our involvement in firearms sales, we as a business are no longer welcome to have an account at their bank,” the sporting goods store posted on northeastshooters.com, an online forum for shooting enthusiasts in New England states. “They classify us in the same gray area as the local weed shops sprouting up on the Cape.” 

The good news is that there has been some push-back against OCP. The Independent Community Bankers’ Association recently released a position paper that concludes Choke Point “has deployed broad and overly aggressive enforcement tactics that sweep in many legitimate businesses, banks and third-party processors. The DOJ should focus its resources on businesses that are actually violating the law.” 

A new organization has also emerged called the United States Consumer Coalition, which has a website devoted to the victims of Operation Choke Point.

The outside pressure and exposure has had impact. In July, the FDIC announced that gun retailers are no longer included in the “high risk” list. Still, this simply may be posturing. That’s why we saw fit to file a lawsuit to force compliance with our FOIA request and to continue our fight to restore constitutional rights.

Ironically, one of the “high risk” indicators of fraud is a lack of transparency and non-disclosure. The Department of Justice wont obey the Freedom of Information Act and disclose basic information as required about Operation Choke Point. Indeed, Attorney Eric Holder has turned his Justice Department into an agency that is one of the worst violators of FOIA. Maybe the Obama administration should stop strong-arming banks, and focus on policing its own well-deserved “reputational risk” for fraud.

Mosaic Announces $100 Million Investment Facility with PartnerRe

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Mosaic, a peer-to-peer solar finance company, today announced that an affiliate of global reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd. (NYSE:  PRE) will provide up to $100 million in financing for Mosaics home solar loan program.

Under the terms of the facility, PartnerRe will finance the purchase of loans originated by Mosaic. The company also expects to continue to grow its successful peer-to-peer lending platform, which has already seen thousands of investors join the Mosaic community.    

Mosaics superior loan terms, user-friendly borrowing experience, and recent expansion into several new states throughout the US have resulted in accelerating demand for capital sourcing for our homeowner loans beyond traditional crowdfunding, said Bruce Ledesma, Mosaics Chief Operating Officer.  We are thrilled to work with an experienced investment team to expand the availability of our lending capacity to solar installers and their customers throughout the country.

Mosaic has successfully created innovative loan products and technology-driven origination processes, said David Moran, President of PartnerRe Principal Finance Inc.  PartnerRe is impressed with the quality of consumer loans in Mosaics portfolio.  We look forward to beginning our financing arrangement and facilitating greater access to capital for the solar market consistent with our investment objectives.

About Mosaic
Mosaic is Americas first peer-to-peer solar finance company and is enabling thousands of American people to profit from clean energy. Mosaic has been honored by Fast Company as a top ten most innovative company in energy for two consecutive years, by the Department of Energy as a SunShot Grant recipient, The Sierra Club as the Trailblazer Company of the Year, and Verizon Wireless as the environmental winner for their Powerful Answers Awards. For more information, visit: http://www.joinmosaic.com/go-solar. Solar Mosaic, Inc., CFL Lic. #6054631.

About PartnerRe
PartnerRe Ltd. is a leading global reinsurer, providing multi-line reinsurance to insurance companies. The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, also offers capital markets products that include weather and credit protection to financial, industrial and service companies. Risks reinsured include property, casualty, motor, agriculture, aviation/space, catastrophe, credit/surety, engineering, energy, marine, specialty property, specialty casualty, multiline and other lines in its Non-life operations, mortality, longevity and accident and health in its Life and Health operations, and alternative risk products. For the year ended December 31, 2013, total revenues were $5.5 billion. At June 30, 2014, total assets were $23.4 billion, total capital was $7.7 billion and total shareholders equity attributable to PartnerRe was $6.9 billion. PartnerRe on the Internet: www.partnerre.com

Media Inquiries: Katie Ullmann 617-529-8039 / Katie.Ullmann@joinmosaic.com / www.joinmosaic.com

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mosaic-announces-100-million-investment-facility-with-partnerre-503544861.html

SOURCE Mosaic

Press video: Souza, Writz square off for District 4 Senate seat

Stop voting for extreme Republicans.

Idaho needs a Legislature that will pass bills for Idahoans an not for Corporations or people like the Koch Brothers.

Legislature needs to pass a bill on Vulture Pay Day loans to cap the interest rates to 57%.

Kick out the Too Big to Fail Banks, then create a State Owned Bank like in North Dakota.

Legalize Hemp Farming, Including decriminalizing marijuana.

Increase grocery tax credits for all Idahoans that dont receive food stamps.

White House begins talks with Congress on new Ebola funding

The White House has held preliminary discussions with the Senate about a new funding request to fight Ebola, according to a pair of congressional sources.

Any request would come on top of hundreds of millions of dollars already allocated for the fight against the deadly virus, and would trigger a battle with congressional Republicans over the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced Monday her full panel would meet to discuss the Ebola crisis on Nov. 6, two days after the midterm elections.

US Loosens Reins, but Mortgage Lenders Want More Slack

The government, in recent days, has been giving one set of bankers nearly everything they want.

In this case, the lucky lenders are mortgage bankers, who for months had pressed federal agencies to loosen regulations on the home loan market. The regulators, eager to increase the flow of housing credit, seemed happy to make the adjustments. Just this week, they relaxed agreements that help shield taxpayers from losses on bad mortgages, and they watered down a regulation that aimed to set safe standards for home loans.

The government is in a tight spot. Some six years after the financial crisis, thousands of apparently creditworthy borrowers are being shut out of the housing market because they cannot get mortgages. From the authorities’ perspective, it may be worth throwing the mortgage bankers a bone if it helps open up the market to deserving households. And regulators stress that they are doing so in a careful way.

“We know that access to credit remains tight for many borrowers, and we are also working to address this issue in a responsible and thoughtful manner,” Melvin L. Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said on Monday.

Bankers assert that, over all, mortgage regulation has tightened significantly since the financial crisis of 2008. And they add that the changes made this week by regulators help stop the pendulum from swinging too far toward overregulation.

“This is absolutely the most conservative framework ever in the history of this country,” David H. Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said. “What has happened in the last weeks shouldn’t be reflected as going easy on the mortgage industry.”

FMC Executes Credit Agreements Of $3.5 Billion For Cheminova Acquisition

The company entered into the new credit agreements this week.  A new term loan agreement gives upto $2 billion senior unsecured loans that can be drawn to finance the acquisition of Cheminova as well as pay associated fees and expenses. The term loan facility will expire five years after it is used to fund the acquisition.

The company also said it amended and extended the term of $1.5 billion revolving credit agreement which will now expire on October 10, 2019.

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Home buyer tips for getting the right mortgage loan

Part of the home-buying process is selecting a lender and determining which loan is right for you. There are many choices in today’s marketplace. Choose the type of mortgage loan based on your own personal situation.

First, you will need to consider the type of lender you want. Direct lenders are major banks that make mortgage loans. They are typically protective of the bank and normally only offer their own loan products. Mortgage brokers offer access to a number of wholesale lending sources. Because they normally do not hold the loan in-house, they look for the type of program to suit the individual borrower.

Most borrowers are better off working with a lender recommended by their agent. Rest assured, the agent does not get any kickbacks for the referral. Instead, the agent is assured the lender will take extra good care of their buyers to earn the next referral. The relationship benefits everyone involved in the transaction.

FHA and VA Loans

These government programs were designed to attract first-time borrowers. The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees home loans for veterans and promises to repay the lender some of the loan if the loan defaults. Qualified veterans can get a loan with no down payment.

The Federal Housing Administration insures home loans for borrowers and pays when those homeowners fail to pay. Many changes have been made in recent years for FHA loans and require a minimum 3.5 percent down payment. One reason why someone may choose an FHA loan is because the program allows for gifts to be used for the down payment.

Conventional Fixed Rate

This type of loan is, by far, the most common type of mortgage loan. The average home buyer chooses a conventional fixed rate loan for many reasons. The most important reason is a guaranteed payment for principal and interest the life of the loan. The only payments subject to increases are for taxes and insurance.

While the loans carry no guarantees for the lender if the borrower fails to repay the loan, generally they are more readily available to everyone. When the buyer makes the home purchase with a 20 percent down payment, the lender is able to make all the decisions about approval.

With less than 20 percent down, borrowers must pay for private mortgage insurance. The PMI company is a secondary lender that reduces the risk to the company taking the larger risk. Conventional mortgage loans must follow guidelines set out by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) or the Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)

Adjustable Rates (ARM)

Although a buyer can save a lot of money at the beginning of the mortgage, only about 10 percent of borrowers choose this type of loan. Part of the reason is the complexity and lack of mortgage payment stability. Beware of lenders who push an adjustable mortgage. It is perfect for some and disastrous for others.

An ARM starts with a much lower introductory interest rate. However, it is likely to change at designated intervals outlined in the mortgage documents. The low introductory rate will be fixed for a period of one to 10 years. The most popular loan product offers five years at the low rate, so it is chosen by those who are likely to be transferred to another area.

25 lenders set to fail European Central Bank’s health-check

Brussels: Twenty-five lenders in the European Central Banks euro-area bank health check are poised to fail the regulators Comprehensive Assessment, according to a draft communique of the final results seen by Bloomberg News.

One-hundred-and-five banks are shown passing the review, according to the draft statement. Of the lenders that failed, about 10 will still face capital shortfalls they need to plug, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because they werent authorised to speak publicly. That figure is likely to change as talks continue before the final results are published on October 26, said the person.

The two-part review forms one pillar of the ECBs effort to rekindle confidence in the euro zone after half a decade of financial turmoil. ECB President Mario Draghi has said banks need to fail to prove the losses of the past have been dealt with. After two previous European stress tests didnt reveal problems at lenders that later failed, the ECB has staked its reputation on getting this exercise right.

The numbers are consistent with our expectations, said Alberto Gallo, head of European macro-credit research at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group in London. Its too early to say the exercise is credible.

The key will be to see how much stress the strong banks will take, and how many of them will pass by a narrow margin. He expects 11 banks will need to plug capital gaps after measures already taken this year.

To pass the Asset-Quality Review, which scrutinises the asset side of balance sheets as of December 31 last year, banks need common equity Tier 1 capital equivalent to at least eight per cent of risk-weighted assets. In the adverse stress test, the pass mark is 5.5 per cent.

Deutsche Bank, Germanys largest lender, will pass the stress tests, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.