Daily Archives: August 17, 2014

Students clueless on how to avoid debt woe

When your youngster begins college next month outfitted with a first credit card, it could be the first step on the road to bankruptcy court.

That’s because millions of American teenagers — like most of the rest of the American population, including many of their parents — tend to know little about personal finance.

“We offer sex ed in high school. We offer driver’s ed. We rarely offer financial education,” said Charles Tran, the founder of CreditDonkey.com. “We are doing very badly understanding money in comparison to young people in other countries.”

Indeed, in its most recent survey of 15-year-olds’ financial literacy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found American youngsters scored an average of 492, vs. the international average of 500.

How can American students catch up?

Advisers and credit-card experts say it can begin with establishing good spending practices when they start college. As a parent, you can help your offspring by taking these steps:

Have your kids piggyback on your credit rating

“For students with little or no credit history, we recommend they apply with a qualified co-signer to increase the chances of being approved, as well potentially help them secure a lower interest rate on a loan,” says Brendan Coughlin, head of Education Finance at Citzens Financial Group.

Then have the youngster “use a card wisely and pay it on time.”

Read on.

David Gregory got $4M to quietly leave NBC, signed a contract to not to speak out against the network

Giving the swan song for David Gregory of Meet the Press. I don’t watch any of the Sunday shows, but I do remember the late Tim Russert who was the host of Meet the Press. Meet the Press under Gregory had gone downhill ever since. And now the baton is passed to Chuck Todd of all people. Meet the Press has turned into Press the Meat. What happened to the Edward R. Murrows in journalists today?

Ousted “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory was paid $4 million to leave NBC and signed a contract not to speak out against the network, sources told Page Six.

Gregory, 43, who moderated the show for six years, was unceremoniously dumped from the political program on Thursday after dismal ratings and months of speculation about his departure.

He has been replaced by NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd.

A source said Gregory’s contract extended into next year, so NBC had to pay him for the rest of the term, plus an extra fee to ensure his silence.

Read on.

The fraud traps set by your bank

When an elderly couple were robbed of their bank card, and £300 from their account, they were shocked by their bank’s response.

Nina Branscombe, 82, and her husband Derek, 84, were robbed in a supermarket car park in Stafford in April. It was a devious crime – two men approached the elderly couple asking for directions and used a map as a shield to remove Mrs Branscombe’s purse from her handbag.

The theft only became apparent an hour later when the retired account manager realised her purse was missing. By then, the criminals had withdrawn £300 using her debit card.

The Branscombes immediately contacted the police and their bank, Santander – only to be given a shock. Even though they were clearly victims of fraud, Santander refused to reimburse the stolen money.

It argued that because Mrs Branscombe had written down her Pin in her diary, she was liable for the fraud – even though it was carefully disguised among other details. The pocket diary was kept in the purse to jog her memory. Santander presumed the criminals had guessed which number related to her card.

Read on.

BANCO ESPIRITO SANTO : Credit Suisse played role in Espirito Santo collapse: WSJ.com

Credit Suisse helped put together billions of dollars in securities that were issued by offshore investment vehicles and then sold to retail customers of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA , the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

In the article in its online edition, the newspaper cited corporate filings and people familiar with the situation, saying customers didn’t know the investment vehicles were loaded with debt issued by various Espirito Santo companies and served as a mechanism to finance the Portuguese conglomerate.

Credit Suisse was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters in Switzerland. WSJ.com said representatives of Credit Suisse and Espirito Santo declined to comment on the story.

Troubled Banco Espirito Santo is Portugal’s second largest bank. The Portuguese government said it will extend a loan of 3.9 billion euros ($5.2 billion) to the bank resolution fund in charge of rescuing Banco Espirito Santo.

WSJ’s website also said it was unclear about Credit Suisse’s direct role in selling the securities to bank customers.

Portuguese regulators investigating the Espirito Santo case have identified at least four offshore investment vehicles whose securities, mostly preferred shares, were sold with the help of Credit Suisse to Espirito Santo customers, WSJ.com reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.

Read on.

Check Out JPMadoff.com — The True Horror Series Starring Fraud Street and You!


Forget House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Madmen, and all the other series you can’t wait to restart. There’s a new series out that beats them all. It went live yesterday on this channel. It’s free for the viewing, well, actually for the reading. It’s as shocking and scary as anything you’ll see in The Walking Dead.

No, there no pretend zombies eating your mother-in-law. Instead, there are real-life, crooked felons eating your lunch. They star, in Season 1, the JPMorgan Chase bankers who spent two decades laundering Bernie Madoff’s money without a single one going to jail or, it seems, even losing his job. Season 2 may feature other JPMorgan bankers (all of whom are not just walking the streets, but still managing people’s money) whose financial malfeasance has produced over $28 billion in JP Morgan fines over the past four years. Seasons 3 and beyond? No one knows. But Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs and their bankers will, no doubt, play leading roles.

The authors of this new page-turner — JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook – are Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer. Chaitman is one of the top lawyers in the country. She represents a large number of Madoff victims and knows the Madoff fraud inside and out – in part because she’s spent the last five years interviewing Madoff himself. Gotthoffer is one of our nation’s top litigators.

The book is serialized because the miscarriage of justice by Wall Street, better known as Fraud Street, is ongoing. How we react to this ongoing victimization will determine how the series ends.

And here is the JPMadoff.com website:

In the past four years alone, JPMorgan Chase has paid out $28,902,150,000 in fines and settlements for fraudulent and illegal practices. You could be next. – See more. Click here.

Elmwood Park bank sues Bank of America over loan servicing

* Says Bank of America lacked diligence on mortgages

Add Spencer Savings Bank to the legions who have accused Bank of America of shoddy mortgage servicing.

The Elmwood Park-based bank says in a federal lawsuit that the megabank’s “abject lack of diligence” in servicing 42 problem loans that the community bank acquired about nine years ago from Countrywide Home Loans Inc. has resulted in “increased foreclosure expense” with “mounting real estate taxes, property maintenance … and legal fees.”

According to the lawsuit filed in May and moved last month from state Superiour Court in Hackensack to federal court in Newark, Bank of America took over a servicing agreement with Spencer when it acquired Countrywide in 2008, and assumed massive liabilities from what was then the country’s largest mortgage lender.

Spencer terminated the loan servicing agreement in June 2012, and “after an exhaustive review of the loan files” Spencer demanded in March that Bank of America buy back the problem loans, which have a total outstanding balance of $10.8 million.

According to Spencer, the servicer did not respond, hence the lawsuit.

Bank of America, which declined to comment on the suit, this week filed a motion to dismiss the suit, which does not address the merits of the complaint, according to Red Bank lawyer Helen Davis Chaitman, who is representing Spencer Savings.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/spencer-sues-servicer-1.1068384#sthash.1FF6xczX.dpuf

UK government-owned Northern Rock sues UBS over toxic mortgage products

The Government could sue Swiss banking giant UBS for $48.5m for selling toxic mortgage products to Northern Rock ahead of the UK lender’s collapse.

Northern Rock Asset Management (NRAM), the institution salvaged from the ashes of the bank, and now owned by the UK tax payer, has petitioned a New York court to hear its case against UBS in order to claw back some of the failed lender’s losses.

According to court documents seen by The Telegraph, NRAM claims UBS “knowingly packaged impaired” financial products, including collateralised debt obligations and residential mortgage-backed securities, and sold them to Northern Rock for a high price even though it knew they were shoddy.

UBS has tried to distance itself from the collapse, arguing Northern Rock promised to do its own due diligence on the products, and that it was sophisticated enough to take responsibility for the error. It also pointed out that it made disclaimers warning Northern Rock not to rely on its marketing materials

NRAM argues that the Swiss bank withheld information which the UK lender would have no way of knowing, “even with the most searching enquiry”, and that it “affirmatively lied” about the level of protection it could offer Northern Rock, and “actively concealed” problems.

Read on.