July 5, 2015 · Manage Debt · (No comments)

What is required in the medium to long-run — I am not talking even about short-run because it is not an option — is that the country builds, restores confidence in the local economy. Economic stability is also essential. You need to manage debt stock while fiscal and monetary discipline is required, Mr Bandara said.

He added that it was also a prerequisite to have policy credibility and consistency before entertaining thoughts of bringing back the local currency.

So it is a long way to go, say in the next five years. There is no way that Zimbabwe could introduce the local currency.

The growing informal sector and rising imports, instead of savings, were also indications the economy is a long way from the desired destination.

But you can work on it; to get to that required fundamental scenario that might boost the confidence of Zimbabweans so that you can come up with a different solution, but remember, nowhere in the history has a country which has introduced the dollar or dollarised, gone back, he said.

Can’t buy a house for yourself? Why not buy a house together with your friends? You get upstairs, I get downstairs. You get the back yard, I get the house. Whatever happens to work. Communes tend to connote a more rural experience–a few dozen spiritualists on drugs living off the land, poorly. What we need now are more urban communes. Sure, New York City is already rife with co-op apartment buildings, which could be considered a weak shadow of communes. But co-ops are even less affordable than the rest of the apartments you can’t afford! That defeats the point. I’m talking about you and a small group of your financially solvent friends of moderate means banding together to purchase an urban property–a brownstone, a row house, a rambling Victorian that’s been falling apart for years. And you all live in it! Even if it’s not in good shape, it’s a lot easier to buy a partial share of a decrepit old house and fix it up with a group of co-owning helpers than it is to buy a whole house and fix it up by yourself. Hell, you can even do this with apartments, provided they’re big enough. Instead of renting a room in a three bedroom apartment, buy a room in a three bedroom apartment. At least you can get some equity along with a deep, abiding hatred of your roommates.

Zoning issues? Change the zoning. Trouble getting a mortgage? Get those hippie financiers from Occupy to stop trying to buy student debt and start Occupying banking. The biggest barrier to widespread urban communal ownership is really just the will to do it. You don’t like the idea of living in a communal house owned equally by several different people? Stop being so selfish! The more upper middle class people we can drive into the ownership class, the less competition there will be on rents for lower middle class people. Plus, if you start your urban commune in an appropriately “up and coming” neighborhood while it’s still cheap, you might be able to sell the place in a decade for enough money to allow all of you to go out and buy your own apartments.

Communes: they’re not just a housing solution. They’re a state of mind.

(I personally would hate living in a commune with any of you but I encourage you to try it.)

[Photo: Flickr]

July 4, 2015 · Financial Partners · Comments Off on Thrivent Financial partners with East Cooper Habitat for Humanity to improve a …

Thrivent Financial and East Cooper Habitat for Humanity will host an event to help homeowners upgrade their homes and neighborhood through a unique partnership program called Thrivent Builds Repairs.

July 4, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on What Does It Mean to Be Pre-Approved for a Mortgage?

Wouldnt it be nice to know what you can afford before shopping for a house? With a mortgage pre-­approval, this is exactly what happens. Getting pre­-approved for a mortgage isnt required to look at properties or bid on a home but there are advantages to meeting with a lender beforehand.

Pre-approvals help eliminate the guesswork when shopping for a property. Mortgage lenders can determine early on whether you qualify for a home loan and how much you can afford. Therefore, you don’t waste time looking at houses outside your budget.

A pre­-approval also tells realtors and sellers that you’re a serious buyer. It might come as a shock, but some sellers will not accept offers from bidders who are not pre-approved. Since sellers are eager to sell their homes and move on, they don’t want to take a chance with someone who might not be able to get financing.

Pre­-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

It’s important not to confuse a pre-­approval with a pre-­qualification. Both are preliminary steps in the mortgage process, but there are differences.

A pre­-qualification is an initial assessment of whether you meet the qualifications for a mortgage, but it doesn’t guarantee financing. Pre-­qualifications are based on the information you provide on a pre-­qualifying form, which only asks for basic information like monthly income and an estimation of your credit score.

Understand, however, you cant get a mortgage off a pre-­qualification. A pre-qualification says you might be a good candidate for a mortgage. A pre-approval, on the other hand, goes a step further. Getting pre­-approved for a mortgage involves completing an official loan application with the bank and going through the underwriting process.

Get started with your pre-approval today

What a Mortgage Pre­-Approval Entails?

With a pre-­approval, the mortgage lender will pull your credit and carefully scrutinize your credit activity and debts. Youll have to submit your recent paycheck stub and tax returns from the past two years, plus provide copies of bank statements and disclose any assets you have.

Based on all of this information, the lender decides whether you’re eligible for a mortgage, and determines how much house you can afford. A pre­approval letter is the official green light to start looking for a house. If you must choose between a pre-­qualification and a pre-­approval, go with the latter. Unlike pre­-qualifications, pre-­approvals are practically written in stone, providing your credit, job status and income doesnt change prior to closing.

Avoid Jeopardizing a Mortgage Pre­-Approval

It’s important not to make any significant changes to your personal finances after getting pre-­approved for a mortgage. Something as simple as getting store financing or financing a new automobile can jeopardize a mortgage approval.

This mortgage approval is based on your debt and income at the time of applying for the pre-­approval. Getting a new auto loan or acquiring some other type of debt before closing increases your debt­-to-­income ratio. And with a higher debt-to-­income ratio, there’s the risk of being disqualified for the mortgage. So wait until after closing to apply for financing.

The lender will check your credit about one or two days before closing to ensure no changes to your credit history and score. If everything checks out fine, you can proceed with closing and get the keys to your new house.

July 4, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on Consider Applying for a Mortgage Solo If Your Spouse Has Credit Issues

When youre married, buying a home is usually a shared process with your spouse. But when it comes to getting a mortgage, it sometimes makes sense for only one of you to apply.

If your spouse has credit issues, whether its a low score or stolen identity, it might be a better idea for you to apply for the mortgage solo. This could nab you a better rate or just increase your chances of being approved. Magnify Money explains how it works:

What a bank will be most concerned with is the lowest credit score, basically calling attention to the very credit problems you wanted to hide. Lack of credit can be just as damaging to your mortgage application as bad credit is…the same goes for high credit usage or a high debt-to-income ratio. High credit usage is considered using 20% or more of your available credit, such as using 20% or more of your credit card limits. A high debt-to-income ratio is when your debt payments are more than 40% – 50% of your income. Banks have maximum requirements for credit usage and debt-to-income ratios in order to approve a mortgage application…

So if your spouse has any issues with credit, you might consider leaving him or her off the application. That is, unless you need the extra income to qualify. When you apply, you typically need two years of W2s, tax returns, and bank statements. If one of you has had a gap of employment in the past two years, you may need the other to apply, too, despite the credit issues.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you apply solo, according to Quicken Loans. First, you may be approved for a smaller loan amount, since youre applying with one income. They add that having a joint bank account with your spouse shouldnt make a difference in the approval process. Finally, if you live in a community property state, the bank might look at your spouses debts, even if he or she doesnt apply for the loan with you.

Magnify Money has additional info on how the process works, so be sure to check out their full post at the link below.

When to Apply for a Mortgage Without Your Spouse | Magnify Money

Photo by Mark Moz.

July 4, 2015 · Vehicle Lenders · Comments Off on Spireon and P360 Forge Strategic Partnership to Introduce Industry’s First …

Irvine, CA (PRWEB)
June 22, 2015

Spireon Inc., a leading innovator of Mobile Resource Management (MRM), today announced a strategic partnership with P360, Inc., a leading provider of loan-level data management and analytics. The collaboration will provide a comprehensive portfolio solution to help vehicle lenders to identify, calculate and monitor risk before it affects their business.

By coupling P360’s data-driven Mosaic loan intelligence platform with Spireon’s GoldStar CMS vehicle tracking, auto lenders can leverage business intelligence to significantly reduce risk and safely lend to previously overlooked borrowers. By increasing penetration and yield to customers in lower credit tiers, lenders can expand their overall portfolio production and performance, deploying more capital and increasing loan originations. Meanwhile, lenders such as credit unions and regional banks will be able to help their members build and improve their credit by providing better loan rates than other subprime dealers or lenders.

“As the auto finance industry evolves, our customers are demanding more sophisticated tools to measure their risk and improve their ability to expand their portfolios. Spireon is pleased to partner with P360 to be the first to offer tools that can improve decision making, increase return on capital, and streamline risk processes.” said David Meyer, executive vice president of sales for Spireon’s automotive telematics group.

P360 ran live portfolio analysis models with two market-leading credit unions, and their results show that adding GPS vehicle tracking lowered risk dramatically for these financial institutions. The model showed available market size increasing by over 10%, with credit union borrowers in lower credit tiers performing at the same level as higher credit tiers.

P360’s president and CEO, Carl Meiswinkel adds, “Our clients are constantly searching for ways to deploy more capital safely. P360 and Spireon’s combined technologies allows credit unions and other financial institutions to drive better business outcomes for offering services to underserved consumer markets. These goals can be accomplished with higher yields and less risk while providing significant benefit to their members.”


Spireon Inc.

Corinna Tutor



P360, Inc.

Chris Urbaniec



July 3, 2015 · Financial Partners · Comments Off on Earnings of $0.62 per Share Expected for Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc …

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Earnings of $0.62 per Share Expected for Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:PNFP)

July 3, 2015 · Financial Partners · Comments Off on Tigress Financial Partners Upgrades NVIDIA (NVDA) to Buy

Tigress Financial Partners upgraded NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) from Neutral to Buy. Analyst Ivan Feinseth noted compelling valuation and growth in multiple business segments.

NVDA’s compelling valuation and exposure to rapidly expanding Automotive and Cloud end markets give us conviction that shares can move higher from current levels. Furthermore, NVDA’s of 3.76X EV/EBITDAR Multiple signals the market is undervaluing NVDA’s operating strength. We believe NVDA is taking the right steps to reorient the business and we anticipate higher Economic Profit and shareholder returns in the future, said Feinseth.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on NVIDIA click here. For more ratings news on NVIDIA click here.

Shares of NVIDIA closed at $21.33 yesterday.

July 3, 2015 · Small Business Loans · Comments Off on More Lenders Are Saying Yes to Small-Business Loans

Small-business loans took a hit with the 2008 recession, but there are now clear signs that alternative lenders and big banks have a growing interest in providing more capital.

A report last week was evidence of the trend. Online small-business loans platform Biz2Credit released a study showing the number of small-business loans approved by traditional banks had edged higher in May, to 21.9%.

“This is the seventh month of consecutive increase,” Biz2Credit Chief Executive Rohit Arora tells NerdWallet. “My take is small-business lending will grow in the next two years.”

MORE: Shakeup in Small Business Loans: Expert Advice

Institutional lenders, including credit funds, insurance companies and nonbank financial institutions, also OK’d 61.3% of small-business loan requests last month, up from 61.1%, the report said.

In a noteworthy twist, approval rates at alternative lenders dipped again, the report said. The Biz2Credit report said that trend coincided with the growing presence of institutional lenders in small-business loans.

‘Going mainstream’

But that doesn’t mean alternative lenders are going away. In fact, Arora says, “alternative lending is going mainstream.”

This was highlighted by other news in small-business loans this week:

  • Kabbage, a major platform for small-business loans, said it forged a partnership with UPS Capital that would allow the subsidiary of the package-delivery giant to offer its customers access to capital. Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein said in a statement that the company’s goal was “to be able to seamlessly deliver capital to millions of UPS small-business customers.”
  • Bond Street, a small-business loans startup, announced that it had secured $110 million in equity and debt financing from investors led by Spark Capital and investment bank Jefferies. Bond Street CEO and co-founder David Haber cited the growing importance of online platforms in small-business loans. “Ultimately, technology and innovation in the small-business lending market is leading to greater transparency and customer experience in the market for business owners,” he tells NerdWallet.
  • Lending Club, another major alternative lender focused on small-business loans, unveiled a partnership with Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit small-business loans company. The two firms are making $10 million in loans available to “underserved areas” in California, helping roughly 400 businesses and creating about 1,000 jobs.

The growing interest in small-business loans also became more evident this week with news that Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs was drafting plans to enter that market.

Such a move would highlight a shift in the attitude of major financial-services companies, which backed away from small-business loans after the financial crash in 2008.

That opened the door for new online lenders, which now play an increasingly significant role in the small-business loan marketplace.

Alternative funding’s wild side

It’s a trend that has raised some concerns.

“A whole host of alternative lenders have entered the space,” Eric Weaver, founder and CEO of Opportunity Fund, tells NerdWallet. “It’s a real mixed bag. It’s a real Wild West.”

He says some lenders are “using very high-pressure sales tactics and un-transparent pricing and borderline deceptive marketing to offer very short-term, very high-cost financing.”

“They’re lending to anybody with a pulse,” Weaver says.

Karen Gordon Mills, former administrator of the Small Business Administration, examined opportunities and potential issues with changes in the small-business loans market in a Harvard Business School research paper.

“There is already concern that, if left unchecked, small business lending could become the next subprime lending crisis,” she writes.

Haber of Bond Street underscored this point: “I would encourage business owners to be discerning about whom they work with in the space. Not all lenders are entirely transparent with their rates and fees.”

A positive trend

Arora of Biz2Credit says maintaining high standards is also a long-term concern in the small-business loans market.

“The worry is a lot of money is starting to come in and the underwriting standards can come down,” he says. “But we’re far away from that. … Small businesses have been credit starved for a long time.”

In an interview with NerdWallet, Mills also says, “The growth in the online and alternative-lending sector is on the whole a positive for small businesses in that it increases the points of access they have when it comes to getting the capital they need. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t do their homework.

“My advice to any small-business owner is, take the time to dig into the details,” she says, “and make an informed decision that’s right for you and the type of capital your business needs.”

To get more information about funding options and compare them for your small business, visit NerdWallet’s best business loans page. For free, personalized answers to questions about financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.

Benjamin Pimentel is a staff writer NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: bpimentel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benpimentel

Image via iStock.

July 2, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on Regulatory layering threatens to bar more consumers from getting a mortgage

Regulatory layering threatens to bar more consumers from getting a mortgage

Successive reforms by UK and EU regulators are weighing down on lending recovery and stifling consumer access to mortgages, according to a new report by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).

Regulators’ determination to reform the UK mortgage market has resulted in a ‘layering’ effect and the sheer volume of new rules may unwittingly tip the balance too far away from consumer choice.

The IMLA report assesses the cumulative impact of new financial regulations at a time when the mortgage market is preparing to implement the EU Mortgage Credit Directive, following last year’s Mortgage Market Review (MMR) rule changes.

The report acknowledges and accepts the need and ‘inevitable’ cost of improving the safety of the banking sector and preventing a repeat of the financial crisis.

There are concerns over regulators’ potential ‘bias to action’ where they perceive a high cost to their reputation if they are seen to be too permissive, compared with a low risk of being too restrictive. IMLA cites the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) decision in June 2014 to impose interest rate stress tests and limit high loan-to-income (LTI) mortgage lending¹ as an example of this bias.

The actions came at a time when the effect of the MMR on the market was still unclear, and saw the fledgling recovery of 2014 followed by a subsequent downturn in mortgage activity that brought eight successive months of approvals falling year-on-year (see graph 1). Despite the slowdown, the FPC was given further powers in February 2015 to cap loan-to-value and debt-to-income levels for mortgages. These powers are as-yet unused.

Graph 1: Mortgage activity in the wake of FPC action in June 2014

Source: Bank of England

IMLA suggests these actions support the view that regulators perceive a ‘normal’ mortgage market to be significantly smaller than that which existed before 2007, which has implications for access to homeownership as the UK population grows.

To prevent regulatory layering from choking off the recovery, IMLA calls on the Bank of England to maintain an ongoing review of the new regulatory framework to identify unnecessary overlap and costs. One solution it proposes is a joint Bank of England industry panel that specifically focuses on identifying areas where regulations are unnecessarily complex or duplicative.

Peter Williams, executive director for IMLA, commented: “No-one is questioning the need for continued caution or the regulators’ responsibilities to put boundaries in place to ensure the mortgage market is sustainable in the long term. You could also argue that regulators and industry will naturally have differing views about what constitutes ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ activity – and this is exactly why it’s in consumers’ interests to put a permanent forum in place where the two can put the vast tomes of new regulation under the microscope.

“We must ensure that future regulatory changes bring genuine benefits that warrant their costs, and do not weigh too heavily on consumer access. Every new set of rules takes us further into unchartered territory and heightens the risk of unintended consequences.

“Getting the right balance between safety, efficiency and choice is the biggest challenge facing the UK mortgage market and it will take a collective effort to hit the mark.”