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Offers of cash-back, 0% interest rates and overseas trips made to woo buyers
Mumbai, October 21:
It is Diwali time again and banks and non-banking finance companies are trying to woo customers with attractive offers such as cash-back, zero per cent interest, ultra-quick loan approvals, extra reward points, and, in some cases, even an overseas trip.
The idea: Amid weak credit demand in the financial year so far, banks are trying to grab market share when the consumer propensity to spend is high.
Private lender HDFC Bank, for instance, is trying to entice customers to spend, by offering a range of discounts on the use of debit and credit cards for purchases.
Parag Rao, Senior Executive Vice-President, Business Head – Card Payment Products & Merchant Acquiring Services, HDFC Bank, said: “During the festive season, consumer spending is at the highest and credit card transactions are usually of bigger ticket size compared to cash.
“Hence, merchants and banks promote the usage of cards with these deals.”
HDFC Bank is offering various cash-back schemes, two-wheeler financing up to 90 per cent as well as reward points on credit and debit card purchases especially through e-commerce websites and at lifestyles stores.
Since the loan demand is weak, other banks such as State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank are also relying more on reward points and various card and cash-back schemes to boost credit demand to ride on the consumer spending wave during Diwali.
India’s largest non-banking consumer finance company, Bajaj Finance, on the other hand is trying to woo customers by offering them a trip to Europe or a chance to win cars.
The Pune-based company is looking to increase its loan book size by 1.5 times during this festival period.
In the quarter ended September 30, the company reported assets under management of ?28,000 crore. Ever since the company launched a series of festive offers across the product categories, it said it has achieved 80 per cent of its target.
“With its ongoing festive sales, the company aims to increase its market share to 25 per cent (from 16 per cent now), effectively ensuring that one in every four consumer durables sold in the country is financed by Bajaj Finance,” the company said in a press note issued on Tuesday evening.
The company expects 25 lakh loan applications across product categories in a span of about a month through the promotional offers in the season. On the other hand, banks are trying to push their offers silently through the various distributors they have partnered with.
According to Rao, “HDFC Bank promotes these deals through various touch points. Customers avail these deals as they are over and above the discount offered by the merchant. Typically, the number of customers transacting in the participating merchants’ increases by two-three times during the offer period.”
(This article was published on October 21, 2014)
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Finance companies, banks cash in on the festive spirit
The issue of deducting bad debt losses has been a continuing source of controversy between individual taxpayers and the IRS for decades. Even so, you may be entitled to a tax write-off if you made what turned out to be an ill-fated loan to another party. Here’s what you need to know.
Bad-debt deduction basics
The IRS is always skeptical when individual taxpayers claim deductions for bad-debt losses. The reason: Losses from purported loan transactions are often from some other type of deal that went south. For example, you might have actually made a contribution to the capital of a business entity that turned out to be a loser. Or you might have advanced cash to a friend or relative with the unrealistic hope that you would be repaid without having anything in writing.
So to claim a deductible bad-debt loss that survives IRS scrutiny, you must be prepared to prove that the loss was actually from a soured loan transaction instead of some other ill-fated financial move.
Proving you made a loan
Over the years, the courts have identified the following factors as being relevant in proving that you made a bona fide loan.
1. Written loan document. If you don’t have one and get audited, you can pretty much kiss away any chance for claiming a bad-debt loss deduction.
2. Descriptions in other documents (for example, showing a loan receivable on your personal balance sheet).
3. Presence of a stated interest rate and a stated maturity date in the loan document.
4. Source of funds to repay the loan.
5. Your right to enforce repayment.
6. Intent of you and other party.
7. Borrower’s ability to obtain loans from other lenders.
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Tax Guy: How to write off bad-debt losses
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By Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Nathan Layne
Oct 20 (Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp said it would raise as much as $625 million through an unsecured loan and equity warrants, its third fundraising in a month, as it seeks to ease suppliers’ concerns about its finances going into the critical holiday season.
Shares of the retailer jumped 21.4 percent to $34.5 on the news.
Sears said Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, would purchase roughly half of the offering, in which the right to buy unsecured senior notes and warrants will be issued to existing shareholders.
If the offering is fully subscribed, it could bring the retailer’s total fundraising this year to $2.07 billion, double the target set in March. The additional funds “will provide confidence to our vendors and other constituents,” Chief Financial Officer Rob Schriesheim wrote in a blog post.
The move comes after some insurers who offer protection to suppliers against the risk of nonpayment had cancelled or scaled back their coverage of Sears in recent weeks due to concerns over the company’s finances, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Analysts and suppliers said the latest funding would ease, but not eliminate, worries about Sears as a credit risk.
“It helps for this year. They will still have to inject liquidity for the next year,” given how quickly they are burning through cash, said Fitch Ratings analyst Monica Aggarwal. “There is a need for cash inflow to keep the operations going.”
Sears also announced on Monday that it would lease out seven stores to British discount fashion chain Primark for an undisclosed amount. It has been seeking to clinch such deals to earn income on underperforming space in its roughly 2,000 U.S. stores.
The fundraising marks the third time Sears has turned to Lampert for money in recent weeks. In September ESL anchored a $400 million loan, and earlier this month the fund agreed to buy $168 million out of a rights offering in Sears’ Canadian unit aimed at raising up to $380 million.
Sears said the clients of its second largest shareholder, Fairholme Capital Management, would subscribe to the latest offering. Fairholme owns 24 percent of Sears while ESL and Lampert together own 48.5 percent, Thomson Reuters data show.
Each subscription right will give the holder the right to buy one unit, comprising a senior unsecured note due 2019 and paying 8 percent interest as well as warrants to purchase common shares at a strike price of $28.41. The number of warrants will be set after the principal of the notes is fixed, Sears said.
The rally in Sears’ stock was in part due to the fact that Lampert had agreed to put in money on unsecured terms, analysts said. Last month’s $400 million loan had spooked some investors and suppliers because it was secured against 25 stores.
“I think this financing shows more of a longer-term support, and its unsecured so it’s certainly a stronger statement than the real estate financing,” said Moody’s analyst Scott Tuhy.
Tuhy said the latest financing would not ease concerns over the company’s operations.
Sears has lost almost $1 billion in the last two quarters as it struggles to cut costs to keep pace with dwindling sales.
(Editing by Kirti Pandey and Alan Crosby)
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PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
ACE Cash Express, Inc. (ACE) and Green Dot Corporation (GDOT) have signed a distribution agreement, making ACE an authorized retailer for the Green Dot Reload Network. Beginning this month, any cardholder with a Green Dot Network-enabled prepaid card can now reload cash to their card at any of ACE’s 1,500 locations in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, in 2015, Green Dot will begin selling other Green Dot-branded products at ACE locations.
Green Dot owns and operates the nation’s largest reload network. More than 200 programs representing millions of cardholders utilize Green Dot’s network for reload services through approximately 100,000 retail locations nationwide. Green Dot’s recent expansion into leading financial services center (FSC) retailers throughout the U.S. has met with strong retailer and consumer demand. In just the past twelve months, Green Dot has gone from no distribution in this important customer channel to now, with the addition of ACE, nearly 3,000 FSC locations coast to coast selling its products and services.
About ACE Cash Express
ACE Cash Express, Inc. is a leading retailer of financial services, including payday loans, installment loans, title loans, check cashing, bill payment, wire transfer, money orders and prepaid debit card services. ACE is the largest owner and operator of check cashing stores in the United States and the second largest owner and operator of short-term consumer loan stores in the United States. ACE focuses on serving consumers, many of whom seek alternatives to traditional banking relationships in order to gain convenient and immediate access to financial services. For additional information about ACE Cash Express, visit www.acecashexpress.com.
ACE Cash Express on Twitter and ACE Cash Express on Facebook
About Green Dot Corporation
Green Dot Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary bank, Green Dot Bank, are focused exclusively on serving Low and Moderate Income American families with modern, fair and feature-rich financial products and services, including prepaid cards, checking accounts and cash processing services distributed through a network of some 100,000 retail stores, neighborhood financial service centers and via digital channels. The Company is headquartered in Pasadena, California with Green Dot Bank located in Provo, Utah.
Green Dot Corporation
Green Dot Corporation
Christopher Mammone, 626-765-2427
ICR for Green Dot Corporation
Brian Ruby, 203-682-8268
ACE Cash Express
Victoria Daugherty, 972-550-5161
ACE Cash Express Joins the Green Dot Reload Network, Adding 1,500 Locations
Dear Dr. Don,
We have owned our home for five years. It’s currently valued at $325,000. We’d like to borrow $50,000 to $70,000 for college costs. Can we take out a second mortgage at a lower interest rate, or must we take out a home equity loan? We are considering paying it back within 10 years, with an earlier repayment plan in mind. If mortgage rates are lower than home equity rates, is it possible to borrow at a lower rate and retain a second mortgage?
View the lowest mortgage rates today
We would be more comfortable with a fixed rate, but would consider an adjustable-rate mortgage if we could get the first five years locked in at the initial rate. Does this seem reasonable or possible?
– Puzzled Paula
You’re incorrectly differentiating between a second mortgage and a home equity mortgage. A home equity mortgage is most often actually a second mortgage. The only time it’s not is when there’s no first mortgage outstanding when taking out the home equity line or loan.
As I write this, the Bankrate national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.01 percent, while the home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is at 4.78 percent and the home equity loan is at 6.15 percent. Although you might get a lower rate in your local market, you aren’t likely to get a second mortgage as low as 4.01 percent.
What I don’t know is how much your home is worth. That is key. Assuming you have solid equity in the home after five years, you have several choices when borrowing against that equity. These options include a cash-out first mortgage, a home equity loan and a HELOC. If you’re doing a cash-out first mortgage, you can capture that lower first-mortgage interest rate, but you’ll also have higher closing costs associated from the new first mortgage.
Your loan choice can also influence how much financial aid your child can get. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, doesn’t count the equity in your home. By contrast, it will count cash sitting in your bank account. A HELOC gives you access to the equity as needed over time. Some private schools consider the equity in your home when determining financial aid.
You might take a 5/1 ARM with a cash-out first mortgage, but I don’t see a compelling reason to do that. The typical HELOC is an adjustable-rate loan with interest-only minimum payments in the early years of the loan. The typical home equity loan is a fixed-rate amortized loan, meaning the monthly payment covers the interest expense and the repayment of principal over the loan term. Remember that additional principal payments made on any of these loans reduce interest expense and shorten the life of the loan.
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Home loan options for paying college costs
Cash flow management can be a problem for any business. The income statement may indicate a profit, but an underlying condition can show up when the business runs out of cash. The worst symptom is an overdrawn notice from the bank. A lack of operating funds is common and repeatedly the cause of business failure.
Small businesses are vulnerable to cash flow problems since they frequently operate with little or no cash reserves. Sometimes, the owner is too busy to notice negative cash flow. In its simplest form, cash flow literally refers to the movement of cash into and out of the business. Cash flow management includes identifying both the sources and uses of cash. Even if it is possible to raise more money from other sources, such as the owner’s personal funds, sooner or later the timing of cash inflows must match the outflows if the business is to survive. A good tool to have is accounting software such as QuickBooks, Sage One, or FreshBooks that allow the owner to have Internet access to financial reports. Cash flow management can easily become a daily or weekly routine. It’s crucial to enter the data correctly in the accounting software and most programs offer tutorials and online help.
A deficit needs to be addressed when there is negative cash flow. Two options exist: Spend less or increase revenues. Many small businesses struggle to get spending under control. Oftentimes, they do not have proper expense management policies in place. If spending less isn’t an option, it may be time to look at accounts receivable and inventory. Collections could be made sooner or less cash can be tied up in inventory. For certain types of businesses that have substantial accounts receivable, the owner might be able to utilize a factoring provider to gain immediate access to revenues. Trade credit is another avenue to slow cash outflows by asking suppliers if they offer extended terms or special financing.
When a mature business needs help with their current cash flow situation, sometimes another set of eyes can spot problems and offer solutions. The Small Business Development Center offers assistance to businesses that may be struggling by helping them to understand their financial statements and identify areas for improvement. Sometimes a small loan or line of credit can be in order, and a business plan will help persuade a lender. Ultimately it is about understanding the business’s cash flow cycle. A controlled cash flow will more than repay the time and effort given to achieve it. It may save the life of the business.
Gordon Smith is a business specialist at the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College. Call the center at 769-4136 or visit www.nmsbdc.org/clovis
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Cash flow management issue for businesses of any size
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President Barack Obama’s credit card was rejected in a restaurant. How often do US heads of state spend their own money, asks Jon Kelly.
It’s commonly said the Queen doesn’t carry cash. It seems her American counterpart doesn’t get his wallet out too much either. Barack Obama told an audience that his credit card was rejected in a New York restaurant last month: “It turned out, I guess, I don’t use it enough.” During his term in office, Bill Clinton once had his credit card rejected too.
In the 1995 film The American President, Michael Douglas’s commander-in-chief attempts to buy flowers but is told his cards are “in storage with the rest of your private things”. It’s a similar situation for real-life White House occupants, says presidential historian Thomas Whalen of Boston University: “Everything’s provided for them – they really don’t need money.” The Secret Service agents who are on hand at all times can provide a loan if necessary. John F Kennedy “didn’t carry any cash at all, even before he was president. His friends would have to foot the bill for the privilege of hanging out with him”, says Whalen.
Others have been less parsimonious. A wallet belonging to George Washington contained a 1776 two-thirds dollar bill and a 1779 one-dollar bill until it was stolen from a museum in 1992. Abraham Lincoln was carrying a $5 Confederate bill on the night he was assassinated. In 1984 Ronald Reagan was once photographed paying for a $2.46 Big Mac meal with a $20 note, and his successor George HW Bush once showed his American Express card (plain green, not gold) to an eight-year-old who had reacted sceptically when informed that she was talking to the president. Some 14 years later, however, his son George W Bush told a Spanish-speaking journalist that all he had in his pockets was a handkerchief. “No dinero,” Bush added. “No wallet.”
The current incumbent – who earns $400,000 (£248,000) each year and has an annual expense allowance of $50,000 – has been filmed and photographed on numerous occasions paying for food with cash. In July he paid for a $300-plus bill at a takeaway barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas, with a JP Morgan credit card (he was allowed to jump the queue). But now it appears that in New York last month the transaction wasn’t so successful. Thankfully for the president, his wife Michelle was present on that occasion to pick up the tab.
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