Equifax Reports New Credit for Revolving Home Equity Loans Increases More …

ATLANTA, Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Equifax announced its latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the total balance of new credit for revolving home equity loans year-to-date in July 2014 is $65.9 billion, a six-year high and a year-over-year increase of 21.4%. Similarly, the total number of new loans in that same time is more than 670,000, a six-year high and a year-over-year increase of 16.1%.

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NHS workers ‘need two jobs’ to survive, research says


One in five health workers has more than one job because they would not survive without a second source of income, new research has revealed.

A survey of over 3,300 NHS employees by Unison also showed that just over half were overdrawn every month.

The study, published ahead of a four-hour strike by health employees on Monday, found that extra jobs included lifeguard, tourist guide, hairdresser, driving instructor, gardener and dog groomer.

Some had started their own business, or did extra hospital shifts, complaining that they could not live on their NHS salary.

Nurses, midwives, ambulance drivers, hospital porters and other health workers will walk out from 7am on Monday in protest at the Governments controversial decision not to accept a recommended 1% pay rise for all NHS staff.

Unison said its poll showed that almost two out of five health workers relied on credit cards, while 13% had resorted to payday loans.

Christina McAnea, Unisons head of health, said: The Government is refusing to acknowledge that there is a real poverty problem affecting NHS workers.

A demotivated, stressed workforce is bad for patients and bad for the NHS.

In Britain today, we have NHS workers struggling to buy food, pay for their bills and who as a result fall into a cycle of debt and despair. Morale in the NHS is at an all time low.

NHS workers work day in day out to provide vital care and support for millions of patients so they deserve fair pay. A full time hospital cleaner should not have to deliver pizzas after work to make ends meet.

Its time NHS workers get a fair deal for the invaluable work they do. The Government needs to step back from the brink and reconsider its pay policy urgently.

Unison members and midwives will be taking action in England, while members of Unite and the GMB will be on strike in Northern Ireland as well.

Rehana Azam, national officer of the GMB said: NHS staff take action with a heavy heart as their only priority is to deliver the best patient care, quality and outcomes. Even after staff voted to take strike action and action short of a strike the Secretary of State for Health has refused to meet with the unions representing NHS staffs.

The GMB has agreed with ambulance services that life-threatening and certain other categories of call (such as renal dialysis and oncology patients) will be responded to by GMB ambulance crews during the strike, while major and hazardous incident teams will remain on duty in case a major incident occurs.

Unions said most NHS workers will not receive a pay rise because only those at the top of their pay band will get the 1%.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: We are working through some of the toughest times in the history of the NHS. Throughout this long period of pay restraint and pressure on services, employers have always sought constructive discussions with unions and the Government to find a way out of this situation together. We hope progress is still possible.

We are seeing the NHS finding it difficult to manage its finances this year and staff under pressure. A pay award for all staff, on top of increments, would have cost £450 million more the equivalent of 14,000 newly qualified nurses.

Hard-pressed staff would have been put under greater pressure or may have had to be reduced. Restraining pay was a tough decision for politicians to make and I believe they did it on the basis of improving the quality of care and maintaining continuity of services.

Ahead of Monday, employers are pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption to patients and unions are co-operating with this planning ahead of the strike to ensure patients remain safe.

I know that thousands of patients will already be anxious because important NHS services, such as ambulance cover, will be under additional pressure on the day and during the week of action short of a strike that will follow it. If appointments have to be rescheduled this would cause unnecessary distress and we urge staff to reconsider taking part in the strike.

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New Credit for Revolving Home Equity Loans Rises More Than 21 Percent Year …

Equifax has announced its latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the total balance of new credit for revolving home equity loans year-to-date in July 2014 is $65.9 billion, a six-year high and a year-over-year increase of 21.4 percent. Similarly, the total number of new loans in that same time is more than 670,000, a six-year high and a year-over-year increase of 16.1 percent.

The sharp rise in percentage terms in home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) is a result of both increasing availability of home equity that homeowners have accumulated in their homes as well as a preference shift by lenders away from home equity installment loans in favor of HELOCs, said Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax chief economist. Home equity installment loans require a higher compliance burden on lenders and for consumers home equity lines of credit offer tremendous advantages in terms of when they draw the loan money and how the payments are structured. More and more lenders are offering amortizing HELOCs in addition to their HELOCs with an interest-only term.

Cutts went on to add, While the recent increases in HELOC lending seem large, the total volume of HELOC lending is just over a third of what it was prior to the financial crisis. HELOCs will continue to gain favor in coming year as homeowners who want to renovate their homes or fund other needs will not want to do a cash-out refinancing if the interest rate on their first mortgage is very low.

Other highlights from the most recent Equifax data include:

Home finance
?The total balance of home finance write-offs year-to-date through September is $75.7 billion, 36.7 percentlower than same time a year ago; and

?Delinquent balances, those 30 or more days past due, represent 4.55 percent of outstanding balances, a decrease of 21.4 percent from the same time last year.

First mortgage
?Write-off balances on first mortgages year-to-date through September represent 0.85 percent of outstanding balances, a decrease of 31.8 percentfrom same time a year ago;

?Delinquent first mortgages, those 30 or more days past due, represent 4.69 percent of outstanding balances, a decrease of 21.8 percent from same time a year ago; and

?Similarly, the total balance of first mortgages (90-days past due or in foreclosure) is $207 billion, a decrease of 30 percent year-over-year and the lowest level in more than five years.

Home equity revolving
?The total balance of home equity revolving loans in September 2014 is $477.7 billion, a decrease of 3.9 percentfrom same time a year ago and a five-year low. Similarly, the total number of loans outstanding is 10.2 million, the lowest total in 10 years;

?Delinquent balances, those 30 or more days past due, represent 2.4 percent of outstanding balances, a decrease of 10.2 percent from the same time last year; and

?The total balance of severely delinquent home equity revolving loans (90-days past due or in foreclosure) in September 2014 is $7.5 billion, a decrease of 13.7 percentfrom same time a year ago.

Home equity installment
?The total balance of severely delinquent home equity installment loans (90-days past due or in foreclosure) in September 2014 is $2.77 billion, a decrease of 30.8 percent from same time a year ago;

?The total balance of home equity installment loans is $125.4 billion, a decrease of eight percent from same time a year ago, while the total number of loans outstanding is just over 3.7 million, a year-over-year decrease of 7.1 percent; and

?The total balance of home equity installment loans in foreclosure is $386.7 million, a five-year low and a decrease of nearly 14 percent from same time a year ago.

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Rent arrears set to soar in West Lancashire, warn council officers

Rent arrears in West Lancashire could hit £4.1 million in the next three years because of benefit changes, housing officials have warned.

In an extensive management report by officers from the housing and regeneration services at West Lancashire Borough Council, they point to the Bedroom Tax and Universal Credit as key factors in the rise in tenants failing to pay their rent.

It stated: “Since the introduction of the Social Sector Size Criteria in April 2013, [the Bedroom Tax] rent arrears for those tenants affected have increased by £93,000.

“There has also been an increase in terminations of tenancies and three/four bedroom family properties in some areas and these properties have become difficult to let.”

The report also said that with the introduction of Universal Credit this month “this could see an increase in arrears of over £4.1 million over the first three years of roll out.”

Skelmersdale North councillor Neil Furey said: “This report clearly demonstrates that the Bedroom Tax is hurting but not working. This disastrous coalition government welfare reform policy is causing absolute misery and is pushing hundreds of our tenants into rent arrears.

Help for tenants with Discretionary Housing Payments has very been limited and many tenants are now facing eviction from their homes because they have ‘spare bedrooms’.

I have repeatedly asked the Tory-run council not to evict tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax but they have refused to listen.

The council is now facing a rent arrears crisis as tenants fall behind because they can’t afford to pay. In addition we are also seeing an increasing number of three and four bedroom homes left empty and hard to let.

I have campaigned against the Bedroom Tax from day one and all that is wrong with this policy is now being seen here in West Lancashire. The only way to reverse this trend is for the government to repeal this unfair policy immediately.

I am deeply concerned with the roll out of Universal Credit in West Lancashire. The unemployed, sick and disabled will have to wait five weeks before they get a penny.

Just exactly what are people supposed to live on while they wait for their benefits? Under Universal Credit housing costs are paid each month direct to tenants.

Recent demonstration projects have indicated a significant increase in rent arrears from this practice. It has also revealed the council will incur additional staffing costs to chase rental payments.

Many tenants would prefer their rental costs to be paid direct to the council and the Department for Work and Pensions should allow tenants this choice.

There is no doubt that Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax will have a significant impact on future rent collection and the council must take immediate steps to help tenants with these difficulties.

The council should also call on the government to repeal the Bedroom Tax and make changes to Universal Credit.

A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “The council has worked hard on the preparation for Universal Credit going live, working in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions, Job Centre Plus and other partners to support those affected by the changes. 

The council believes that everything is in place for a smooth transition to Universal Credit.

It is too early to say what impact, if any, there will be on the council’s budget. We will, however, be monitoring the situation closely and have put processes in place to mitigate any impact.

Because Universal Credit is being phased in over a number of years, the council will be able to closely monitor the situation and will be in a better position to minimise the impact that these changes may have on budgets.

We have publicised the changes on the council’s website. We have held a landlords forum, and  have produced a leaflet which will be targeted at those who may be affected.  We have changed our processes for Universal Credit claimants, and staff have received training on the changes.

We are looking to provide a personal budgeting service for those residents in the borough who will need help and support.

We have set up systems with local partners, including Lancashire County Council’s libraries and local community facilities, to provide advice and support for those wanting to make a claim.

Again as go live is today it’s a little too early to tell what problems Universal Credit may cause, but we believe that the actions taken will support all claimants in the borough.

As far as rent arrears are concerned regardless of welfare reform changes the pattern of arrears is such that over a number of years, arrears rise at this period.

To get an accurate comparison, it is best to compare the arrears at the same point between years. The council’s income for rents is around £24M and the collection rate is currently 99.2% in the first quarter. This compares favourably with other social landlords.

We have supported tenants faced with paying rent as a result of reductions in Housing Benefit and this has been successful.

Some tenants have moved, some have obtained jobs, some have had support through Discretionary Housing Payments, some have managed to pay and stay. There are only a small number who have been unwilling to pay.

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Skelmersdale  cyclists take on Everest challenge  for Clatterbridge

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Professional Notary Services makes house calls

Its a Thursday, and youre smack in the middle of the workday when it hits you: Its time to move on. So you tender your resignation. In an instant, youre out of a job, out on your own.

Thats just about what Marcy Tiberio, now president of Professional Notary Services, did.

I had always had a job (set up) before I left a job, said Tiberio. This was the first time I left a position not really sure what I wanted to do.

Tiberios experience as a part-time notary was enough to spark a desire to run her own business, and the mobile, well come to you notary company was born.

I never disliked any of my jobs, she said. I worked a lot of hours, and I wanted to put in those hours for myself.

The goal of her firm is to free up attorneys and their paralegals from having to attend mortgage closings, giving them the opportunity to focus on other areas.

Our service allows attorneys to expand their territory, helping them generate more work, Tiberio said.

The company also works with title companies on behalf of banks and other agencies. Customized Lenders Services/Cascade Settlement Agency, a title insurance agency and settlement service provider located in Brighton, uses Professional Notary Services to witness closings.

Marcy does a great job (for us), said David Gutmann, president of Customized Lenders Services. Shes knowledgeable, energetic and very personable.

Professional Notary Services has plans to offer services in all 50 states 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and on most holidays.

Two years ago I started as a one-person company, last year I added two subcontractors, and this year I will have subcontractors in every state across the country, she said.

Other than refinance mortgages, Professional Notary Services can help with contract paralegal services, consolidation, extension, and modification agreements, home equity loans, purchases, new construction, commercial loans and more. Documents can be scanned and uploaded on the companys website over a secure server and returned when completed. Tiberio also makes house calls.

I understand that people work during the day, and they arent able to come downtown to sign paperwork, she said. I ask what time is good for them, and I stop by when theyre free. They love it.

With an expanded network, Tiberio will no longer have to turn away work. Shes come a long way from the moment when she decided to work for herself.

Things are going great, she said. I am truly grateful for all the support I have received. I am truly blessed.

Russo is a freelance writer covering the Rochester area.

Marcy Tiberio on running a business

Run it with integrity and be grateful for every opportunity.

Share your success by giving back to the community.

Keep apprised of the changes in your industry and continue to expand your knowledge base.

Dont be afraid of trying different things. You may not get the result you expected but you may get the outcome you needed.

Believe that you will succeed.

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NZD: Eyes On The RBNZ Financial Stability Report

NZD: Eyes On The RBNZ Financial Stability Report

The release of the RBNZs Financial Stability Report on November 12 is the biggest event for the kiwi this week. The market is looking for guidance on the RBNZs plans for its macro-prudential tools that are cooling the property market, which could have implications for monetary policy and the NZ dollar.

The bank introduced the limits on risky housing lending to prevent the formation of a property bubble by limiting upward pressure on house price inflation. The traditional method of cooling inflation is through the use interest rates. However, the RBNZ wanted to reduce its incentive to raise interest rates by using other methods to cool the property market, thereby decreasing the attractiveness of the kiwi to yield seekers.

Last year the RBNZ outlined that retail banks would be restricted to having only 10% of total new home loans with initial deposits of under 20%. Prior to this, low-equity mortgages accounted for around 25% of all home loan at the major banks. Now, they only account for around 7-8% and upward pressure on house price inflation has eased substantially (house price inflation has fallen to around 6% from 10% a year ago).

While some of this success can be attributed to higher interest rates, the LVR restrictions are clearly working. In fact, it may be time for the bank to consider loosening the limits. Its unlikely the RBNZ will completely remove the restrictions for fear that it will stoke another push towards low-equity loans. Instead, the bank may push the LVRs up to 15-20% of total home loans.

The impact on the kiwi

The removal or easing of these restrictions may theoretically put more pressure on the RBNZ to raise interest rates sooner. However, the outlook for interest rates in NZ is very data dependant and the RBNZ isnt going to risk removing the LVR limits if it thinks it will just have to raise rates to compensate, as this would put unwanted upward pressure on the NZ dollar. In saying that, we expect a positive reaction from the commodity currency if the RBNZ mentions the possibility of easing the limits.

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Home Equity Loans Surge amid Record-low Rates

The housing market seems to be on the right track. The origination of home equity lines of credit (Helocs) hit a five-year high this year as a result of low interest rates, rising home prices, and increasing consumer confidence in the trajectory of the market.  But while it’s a great time to be a homeowner, it might not be a good time to be a would-be homeowner.

In response to the housing market crash, mortgage lending became more rigid than ever, and has yet to rebound. Even Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve can’t refinance his home mortgage due to strict and irrational credit standards. So, why the abundant confidence on one hand and such caution on the other?

According to Don Frommeyer, CEO of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, it boils down to risk. “Banks are much more confident lending to those who already have substantial equity in the form of a home,” says Frommeyer. “They’ve been through this before, and they don’t want to risk another meltdown.”

The nature of Helocs is also responsible for the surge. Borrowers don’t often use their Helocs in full, meaning homeowners take portions of the approved line of credit for a specific purchase such as new windows or a college tuition payment. Mortgages especially second mortgages on the other hand, are traditionally used to consolidate loans and lower interest rates. The risk for the lender is great, especially because the lender for the first mortgage gets paid first in the event of default.

So what does this mean for the future of the housing market?

“This could have negative long-term consequences,” Frommeyer warns. “If qualified buyers aren’t being approved for first-time mortgages, the market will slow again and home prices will stop rising.”

For more information, visit www.namb.org.

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Colonial Heights man hit by hackers twice has warning about free credit monitoring

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. A Colonial Heights man assumed a credit monitoring service would alert him if his accounts were compromised after his credit card information was stolen by hackers in two high-profile data breaches.

Jim Tash said he trusted a letter stating that his credit would be monitored for a year following a breach, but what Tash did not realize was that the monitoring did not mean he would necessarily be protected from hackers.

“This has really got me scared – and everybody should be scared,” said Tash, who is one of more than four million people whose information at his doctor’s office, Community Health Services, was stolen by hackers.

Tash then received a letter stating that he would be provided with a year’s worth of free credit monitoring.

When he went to buy furniture a week later after receiving the letter, he was in for a shock.

“I gave my credit information and they ran it and they came back and they told me I was approved for $10,000… poof, just like that.”

The very next day another company that he had paid to monitor his credit called contacted him and showed that he or someone had applied for credit at the store – which was supposed to happen.

As for the company providing the free monitoring, they never raised a red flag. Their report showed “no activity.”

When he contacted the company, they blamed the gaffe on the fact that they only check one of three credit agencies.

Tash then received a similar letter from Home Depot saying that his information was stolen in their data breach and that he would also have free credit monitoring. But when Tash checked into the service, it was through the same company that only monitored one credit agency.

After Tash complained to Home Depot, the company called and told him all three credit agencies would be monitored.

Some folks, like Pam Rodgers, are now rethinking using any type of credit card. She said shes basically only carrying cash these days.

Insurance companies are now offering inexpensive ways to protect yourself. Added to our homeowners insurance, that service costs about $20 a year. Its about $200 a year for a small business.

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Car Loans for Bad Credit: Don’t Get Ripped Off

According to the most recent data, 27% of all car loans made in the US last year went to subprime borrowers, or those buyers with FICO credit scores below 620. While this can be a good thing if the loans are done right (substantial down payment and a fair price), as it gives more people access to reliable transportation, many times car dealers prey on customers with subpar credit, knowing they may have limited options for financing.

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Reverse Mortgage Or Home-Equity Loan?

If you are a homeowner and at least 62 years old, you may be able to convert your home equity into cash to pay for living expenses, healthcare costs, a home remodel or whatever else you need. Two options for doing so are reverse mortgages and home-equity loans. Both allow you to tap into your home equity without the need to sell or move out of your home. These are different loan products, however, and it pays to understand your options so you can decide which is better for you: a reverse mortgage or a home equity loan?

Reverse Mortgages

Most home purchases are made with a regular, or forward, mortgage. With a regular mortgage, you borrow money from a lender and make monthly payments to pay down principal and interest. Over time, your debt decreases as your equity increases. When the mortgage is paid in full, you have full equity and own the home outright.

A reverse mortgage works differently: Instead of making payments to a lender, a lender makes payments to you, based on a percentage of your home’s value. Over time, your debt increases (as payments are made to you and interest accrues) and your equity decreases as the lender purchases more and more of the equity. You continue to hold title to your home, but as soon as you become delinquent on your property taxes and/or insurance, the home falls into disrepair  – or you move, sell the home or pass away – the loan becomes due. The lender sells the home to recover the money that was paid out to you (as well as fees). Any equity left in the home goes to you or your heirs.

Note that if both spouses have their name on the mortgage, the bank cannot sell the house until the surviving spouse dies – or the tax, repair, insurance, moving or selling-the-house situations listed above occur. Couples should investigate the surviving-spouse issue carefully before agreeing to a reverse mortgage.  For more, see Is A Reverse Mortgage Right For You?  and The Reverse Mortgage: A Retirement Tool.

Home-Equity Loans

Like a reverse mortgage, a home equity loan lets you convert your home equity into cash. It works the same way as your primary mortgage – in fact, a home equity loan is also called a second mortgage – in that you receive the loan as a single lump-sum payment, and you make regular payments to pay off the principal and interest, which is usually fixed-rate.

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