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Missouri AG Koster shuts down predatory payday loans | SEMO TIMES

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Attorney General Chris Koster announced yesterday that he has obtained an agreement with eight online payday loan operations to shut down payday loan operations in Missouri, provide $270,000 in consumer restitution, and erase all loan balances for Missouri consumers.

Koster said Martin A. “Butch” Webb acted through numerous business entities operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota, including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri. These businesses sold short-term loans with exorbitant fees and forced consumers to agree to have their future wages garnished without going through the court system as required by Missouri law.

The Attorney General’s Office received 57 complaints from consumers who were collectively charged approximately $25,000 in excess fees. The Attorney General’s investigation subsequently discovered as many as 6,300 other Missourians who may have also been charged excessive fees. One Missouri consumer was charged a $500 origination fee on a $1,000 loan, which was immediately rolled into the principal of the loan. She was charged 194 percent APR and eventually paid more than $4,000.

“These predatory lending businesses operated in the shadows, taking advantage of Missourians through outrageous fees and unlawful garnishments,” said Koster. “Webb may have thought that by operating on tribal land he could avoid compliance with our state’s laws. He was wrong.”

Under Missouri law, a payday lender cannot charge “origination” or other such fees in excess of 10 percent of the loan, up to a maximum of $75.

The judgment obtained by Koster permanently prohibits Webb or any of his businesses from making or collecting on any loans in Missouri, and it cancels existing loan balances for his Missouri customers. Webb must also instruct credit reporting agencies to remove all information previously supplied to them about specific consumers. In addition, Webb must pay $270,000 in restitution to consumers and $30,000 in penalties to the state.

Consumers who, while living in Missouri, paid excess origination fees to one of the companies listed above—even if the loan was later sold to a third party—may be eligible to receive restitution under the terms of the judgment. The Attorney General’s office will be contacting eligible consumers.

“My hope is that every Missouri consumer who took out a short-term loan with these companies gets back what they were charged in excess of Missouri law,” said Koster. “The message to online payday lenders is clear: follow Missouri law or you won’t be doing business in our state.”

[…]

Online payday loan company forced out of Missouri | FOX2now.com

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A South Dakota based online lender agrees to stop doing business with Missouri consumers. Attorney General Chris Koster is forcing the payday loan company out of Missouri.

As many as 6,300 Missouri consumers are victims. Each applied for online loans with one or more of the 8 operations run by a single individual.

Martin “Butch” Webb was doing business from a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The computer loans are short term with outragious fees and requires the consumer agree to wage garnishment if needed to ensure payback. Now, the lender must pay $270,000 in restitution and immediately stop collecting on outstanding loan payments.

Koster said Martin A. “Butch” Webb acted through numerous business entities operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota, including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri.

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[…]

Populist messaging, auditing the Fed, payday loans – Daily Kos

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

How Democratic Progressives Survived a Landslide (TAP)

Bob Moser says that populist, localized campaign messages, not the party’s own turnout strategy, saved a few key Democratic races in the 2014 midterm elections.

After every election, the losing side naturally tends to brood over where and how things went wrong. For Democrats this year, there’s no shortage of theories about the party’s avalanche of key losses in Senate, House, and statehouse contests. Perhaps it was wrong to sideline President Obama so thoroughly. Perhaps they shouldn’t have run away from the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps they still haven’t found the formula for turning out young and minority voters in midterms. Maybe it was just a bad map that couldn’t be overcome. Or maybe there had been, as the pundits chorused, no “coherent national message” for Democrats to run on.

You can find shards of truth in these tidbits of conventional wisdom, but it’s a gauzy, overgeneralized kind of truth. It’s more instructive to take a long look at what did work in 2014—at the candidates and campaigns that overcame the Republican drift. How did Democrats beat their odds in Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Michigan even as they fell short in Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, and Colorado? The closer you look, the clearer the picture becomes: They did it the way Kirkpatrick did. They ran with their populist boots on.

Roosevelt Take: Moser references Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch’s post-election analysis on winning populist messaging.

Follow below the fold for more.

What ‘Audit the Fed’ Really Means – and Threatens (WSJ)

Robert Litan explains that Senator Paul’s proposal calls on Government Accountability Office economists to go outside their expertise to report on the Fed’s activity and minimize its independence.

Payday Loans Are Bleeding American Workers Dry. Finally, the Obama Administration Is Cracking Down. (TNR)

Danny Vinik breaks down how payday loans harm consumers: the initial loan might not be so bad, but the repeated roll-overs have a high cost. Limiting those roll-overs is one potential regulation.

The “War on Women” is a Fiscal Nightmare: Taxpayers on the Hook for Millions as Republicans Gut Family Planning (Salon)

Katie McDonough looks at Kansas as an example of where legal fees to fight for potentially unconstitutional abortion restrictions and cuts to family planning services create massive costs.

Is Republican Concern About Middle-Class Wage Stagnation Just a Big Con? (MoJo)

Kevin Drum doesn’t think this is a sign of Republican reformers succeeding in shifting the party in a populist direction, and says that the more likely explanation is an attempt to defuse Democrats.

New on Next New Deal

The Politics of Responsibility – Not Envy

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that voters are responding not to envy, but to the knowledge that everyone needs to take a fair share of responsibility for shared prosperity.

[…]

Cash-strapped Rangers need another loan

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Sport Soccer Scottish Soccer

Cash-strapped Rangers need another loan

Updated: Monday, 05 Jan 2015 11:06 | Comments

Comments The financial woes are continuing at the Ibrox club

The extent of Rangers’ immediate financial problems has been highlighted after they announced they needed a loan of up to £500,000 from shareholder Sandy Easdale to provide “working capital” in the coming days.

Rangers announced a new loan deal to the stock exchange as they confirmed that Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA basketball team, had made an approach that may or may not lead to an offer to buy the club.

Sarver’s interest had emerged on Sunday but his approach to the Rangers board came before almost a third of the club’s shares were snapped up by a combination of Dave King and the so-called Three Bears – George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park.

Easdale’s loan will be secured on income from the recent sale of Lewis Macleod, who signed for Brentford on Friday for an undisclosed fee that was reported as £1million.

Macleod has been the team’s most impressive performer this season and his displays earned the 20-year-old midfielder a place in the most recent Scotland squad, but his exit came as Rangers bid to recoup annual losses of £8.3million.

Rangers previously announced his sale had been necessary to provide funds for working capital and the urgent nature of those needs was laid bare in their most recent statement, which revealed that football club chairman Easdale’s interest-free loan of up to £500,000 would be used for “general working capital purposes over the next few days”.

The statement added: “Alexander Easdale will make available to the company up to £500,000 on a fee and interest free basis and it will be secured against the income from the sale of player announced on 2 January 2015.”

Rangers also confirmed they had received an approach from Sarver in the wake of reports detailing how the 53-year-old American businessman planned to launch an £18million bid.
Rangers said his approach “may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company”.

Their statement added: “There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which an offer may be made. A further announcement is expected shortly.”

The statement added that Sarver must make an offer or withdraw his bid by 5pm on 2 February.

Sarver’s attempt was since made far more difficult by the recent deals which saw King and the Three Bears take their combined holding to almost 35%, although they have stressed they are not working as a group.

The Three Bears have also offered £6.5m to underwrite a planned share issue.

Sarver would need to persuade 75% of shareholders to back plans for a share issue to allow the board to offer him newly-created shares.

A similar resolution was defeated at the club’s annual general meeting on 22 December.

It is understood that Sarver has had tentative talks with the Three Bears but it appears unlikely that they and King would walk away after finally getting their hands on a significant tranche of shares in the ongoing power struggle at Ibrox.

Their recent share purchases have begun to shift the balance of power, along with the Scottish Football Association’s rejection of a plea from Mike Ashley to increase his shareholding to almost 30%.

The Newcastle owner’s influence is limited to a 10% stake under an agreement with the SFA and he and the club face disciplinary action from the governing body after the club installed his close associate, Derek Llambias, as director and chief executive.

Ashley, whose Sports Direct company control the club’s retail division, had strengthened his grip on Ibrox with loans totalling £3m late last year, but the fact that the latest loan came not from him but Easdale appears to show that his interest and influence is further on the wane.

[…]

5 'Band-Aid' Fixes That Hurt Your Finances

You’re short on cash, but there is something important you need to spend money on, like your mortgage or an electric bill or groceries. So you settle on what’s often called a “Band-Aid” fix. That is, you come up with a very short-term solution that solves your financial dilemma today.

The trouble with Band-Aid fixes is that they sometimes lead to further bleeding and can make your problem much worse. You may feel it’s worth the risk, but it’s still helpful to think through the possible consequences. So in the interest of being aware of potential problems ahead, here are five common Band-Aid fixes to carefully consider before applying.

401(k) loans. It’s easy to see why some people borrow from their 401(k) if they’re facing a cash shortage or need a cash infusion for, say, a down payment on a home.

“These loans are offered by many corporate-sponsored 401(k) plans at fairly low rates,” says Pam Friedman, a certified financial planner and partner at Silicon Hills Wealth Management in Austin, Texas. She adds that you can generally borrow up to 50 percent of your vested balance or sometimes up to a maximum amount, and these loans let consumers pay themselves back over five years.

“The employee pays the interest to him or herself, which makes 401(k) loans very attractive to employees,” Friedman says.

Why this may not be a good short-term fix: There’s a lot to like about this type of loan, but before you get too excited, Friedman says, “There is a hitch. Actually, more than one.”

She says if you leave the company for another job, the loan you could have taken five years to repay typically needs to be paid back within 60 days or the remaining balance will be considered a withdrawal.

What’s so bad about that? “For most workers, that means the remaining loan balance will be taxed as ordinary income of the employee’s and assessed a 10 percent penalty,” Friedman says.

She adds that even if you repay your 401(k) loan on time, you may reduce your contributions in the meantime, which hurts your retirement savings. “That’s an expensive loan,” she says.

Deferring loan payments. In this case, you contact your lender and ask permission to stop payments for a period. It’s frequently done with student loans but can also apply to car payments and even mortgages.

Why this may not be a good short-term fix. With student loans, the interest will typically still pile up and be added to the principal, which will stretch the length of your loan.

Your auto lender will usually attach the deferred monthly payment to the end of the loan, so when you reach that point and you’re ready for the loan to be paid off, you may well regret the decision — especially if you deferred multiple payments throughout the life of the loan.

With mortgages, it’s harder to get a deferral. But if you manage to get one and you’re still making monthly private mortgage insurance payments, you will likely prolong the amount of time you’re making those PMI payments, possibly by a couple years.

Payday loans. If you have a family to feed and next to nothing in your bank account, a payday loan may seem tempting. Payday loan centers aren’t concerned with your credit — they will ask for proof of employment, residency and references. Assuming you pass muster, they’ll give you cold, hard cash.

Why this may not be a good short-term fix. If you think it’s tough getting by on no cash now, wait until you have to pay back the loan. “Unless you have a solid plan to repay this kind of loan quickly, it’s most likely only going to worsen your debt situation,” says Katie Ross, education and development manager at American Consumer Credit Counseling, a financial education nonprofit based in Auburndale, Massachusetts.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the median payday loan amount is $350. The larger your paycheck, the better your odds of paying back the loan, unless you simply have too many bills to be paid. But if your paycheck isn’t much more than what you’re borrowing, you can see where the trouble starts. You may get stuck, constantly taking out loans to pay back the payday lender.

Borrowing from friends and family. This can be a great idea for you and your creditor, who gets paid. And as Ross says, “A good friend of family member is likely to offer very favorable conditions when lending money.”

Why this may not be a good short-term fix. It’s not such a great deal for your friend or family member. If you can repay the loan in short order, it may strengthen your bonds. But what if you can’t? You may not lose money in the long run, but you may still pay a high price.

“Entering a financial agreement with a friend or family member can put a significant strain on the relationship,” Ross says.

Overdrawing your account. This often isn’t done on purpose, but some consumers likely overdraw their bank account knowing that while they’ll be hit with a fee, at least they’ve made the electric company happy by paying their bill. Other consumers may find themselves playing a cat-and-mouse game with their bank account, hoping they won’t be overdrawn but betting on the fact that transactions sometimes take days to post.

Why this isn’t a good short-term fix. This short-term fix often leads consumers to take out loans, defer payments and borrow from friends and family.

According to the CFPB, the median bank overdraft fee is $34. Rack up a few of those every month, and the amount of money you’re forking over starts to look obscene. If you’re really having trouble managing your money, the best fix is to contact your creditor and explain your situation, says Jay Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, a division of Customers Bank, headquartered in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

“Nine times out of 10, they will be empathetic to your issues and grant you the grace period you are looking for with no penalties or cost to you,” Sidhu says. Based on his 20-plus years in banking, he says first-time offenders generally get a break. However, “make sure you don’t make this a habit,” he cautions.

But what if relying on short-term fixes to solve your money problems is becoming a habit? The diagnosis isn’t pretty, and you may need far more than bandages. You may need the equivalent of a doctor or a hospital — a new budget, a new job and a new way of thinking about money.

FinanceLoansstudent loans […]

Money Mart defends 50% cash-for-gift-card offer

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 3:46PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 5, 2014 11:13AM EST

TORONTO — Money Mart is defending its practice of exchanging cash for gift cards at half of their face value as a “convenient” service.

The payday loan company hired a New York public relations firm to respond after Ontario’s New Democrats called Money Mart a Grinch for launching the cash-for-gift-cards scheme.

A statement it released from the company says “Money Mart believes it is offering customers a convenient, value-added product though this service.” The payday loan company has branches across the country and says the service is available at select outlets.

Many charities give clients gift cards during the Christmas season, and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Money Mart is “greedily” grabbing half of the money meant for very vulnerable people.

The provincial Progressive Conservatives accused Money Mart of “highway robbery,” and like the NDP, demanded the Liberal government immediately stop the practice.

Consumer Minister David Orazietti says he’ll look at regulating cash-for-gift-card plans, but calls it a tough issue because people trading something they own for less than face value may not be any of the government’s business.

Money Mart said Friday that it would be up to the American public relations firm ICR to respond to questions about it makes money off the gift cards or if it sells them back to the original retailers.

The statement issued by ICR early Friday morning did not directly address Thursday’s accusations from politicians that Money Mart was preying on the most vulnerable members of society.

“Money Mart, like other retailers, is offering a service under which it purchases merchant gift cards from customers who don’t want to purchase the products offered by the gift card merchant,” said the statement.

“The service… includes gift cards from a wide variety of merchants, including hardware and sporting goods stores, fast food and apparel outlets.”

[…]

Wonkblog: Soaring mortgage fees could cost first-time buyers hundreds of dollars more a month

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The fees borrowers must pony up for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration have gotten so high that consumer advocates and the housing industry’s most prominent trade groups want the agency to consider lowering the costs.

FHA loans have been a popular source of financing for first-time home buyers and low-income families because they require a down payment of only 3.5 percent. Even borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 can qualify if they put more money down.

But when the FHA’s finances took a hit after the housing bust, the agency tried to beef up its cash cushion by raising the “annual premiums” it charges borrowers. Those fees, which are tacked onto the monthly mortgage payment, were raised five times since 2010. They jumped from .55 percent of a loan’s value to 1.35 percent.

This surge translates into big bucks for FHA borrowers, and shuts too many people out of the housing market, the industry says.

For instance, a borrower who took out a $200,000 loan paid an annual premium of $91.66 per month before 2010. This year, a borrower who gets a loan of that size pays $225 per month in premiums. That’s a 145 percent increase.

The FHA does not make loans. It insures lenders against losses should the loans go bad, and it uses borrower fees to cover those losses. But last year the agency’s cash reserves fell so low that it had to turn to taxpayers for help for the first time in its 80-year history. It drew $1.7 billion from the Treasury.

The FHA’s finances have improved since then. The agency recently announced that its cash reserves are back in the black for the first time in two years. Now, consumer groups — including the Center for American Progress and Enterprise Community Partners — are pushing the FHA to consider lowering its borrower fees.

“It’s time for FHA to do as deep an analysis as possible on this issue,” said Julia Gordon, CAP’s director of housing finance and policy. “We’re very concerned that people are being unnecessarily shut out. It’s important for taxpayers to be protected. But at the same time, the people being shut out are also taxpayers.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors have been saying the same thing for months. The Realtors group estimates that the high fees may have kept up to 375,000 potential buyers from using FHA loans last year, some of whom could not secure other financing. The group also says that the share of people who use FHA loans to buy their first homes shrank from 56 percent to 39 percent during the past four years.

In a report submitted to Congress last month, FHA put a positive spin on how much it helped first-time buyers, emphasizing that 81 percent (or 480,000) of the home purchase loans the agency insured last fiscal year went to that core market.

But that’s 46 percent less than in 2010 (when FHA’s popularity soared) and 30 percent less than in 2000 (more normal times), said Brian Chappelle, a banking industry consultant and a former FHA official. It’s unlikely that the high fees are the only reason behind the drops. Other factors are holding back potential buyers, including tight lending standards and a weak job market. But the fees couldn’t be helping, Chappelle said.

This chart shows that the number of FHA-backed loans for first-time buyers has been shrinking in the past few years:


In its report to Congress, the FHA also said it is trying to scale back its role in the housing market in hopes that the private sector will fill the void. The chart below shows that the agency’s share of the market has diminished. In 2010, the agency had 40 percent of all home purchase loans. It now has about 22 percent.

FHA acknowledged that even as it’s pulling back, the home-buying market has not returned to normal. The volume of loans used to buy single family homes was 44 percent lower in 2008 through 2013 than it was from 1996 through 2001 – the pre-housing bubble era.

Housing officials have not said much about their future plan for borrower fees, even after the report was released. “FHA has made no decisions regarding the premiums,” said Cameron French, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes FHA. “We are regularly evaluating a number of factors to ensure our premiums are at the right levels. As a result of the most recent annual report, we are looking through new information and will use that to inform any future decisions.” The FHA is in a tough spot as it weighs what it should do next. While it said it no longer needs taxpayer help, its cash cushion still remains well below the level required by law. That cushion should equal 2 percent of all the loans backed by the agency. Instead it equals just 0.41 percent. The FHA has not hit the required 2 percent level since 2009, and an independent audit of the agency’s finances predicts it won’t reach that target until 2016. If the agency’s leadership lowers the premiums before boosting its cash reserves to the mandated level, it may please consumer advocates and the housing industry. But it’s likely to anger lawmakers who control HUD’s budget. That leaves the agency in a Catch 22, Chappelle said. The agency had to raise its fees to help increase its cash reserves, but its cash reserves stayed low because it did less business when it raised its fees.

Dina ElBoghdady covers housing policy for The Washington Post.

[…]

University Bancorp Signs Agreement to Acquire Final 20% of Midwest Loan Services for $3.1 Million

ANN ARBOR, MI–(Marketwired – Nov 24, 2014) – University Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQB: UNIB) announced that it executed an option agreement that gives it the right to acquire the final 20% of Midwest Loan Services Inc. that it does not own for total consideration of $3,101,463.57. The consideration to be paid at closing will be:

Cash of $521,389.89; 309,361 newly issued shares of University Bancorp common stock valued at $6.95 per share, or $2,150,061.40, approximately 6.11% of the pro forma issued and outstanding shares of University Bancorp’s common stock; and Additional potential interest earn-out from interest on our zero interest rate cost mortgage subservicing escrow deposits of $430,012.28, as discussed below.

Currently University Bancorp owns 100% of University Bank which owns 80% of Midwest Loan Services, a residential mortgage subservicing firm based in Houghton, Michigan which manages over 100,000 residential loans totaling over $15.8 billion for over 360 financial institutions nationwide. The American Bankers Association, through its Corporation for American Banking subsidiary, recently exclusively endorsed Midwest Loan Services to provide an array of residential mortgage subservicing services to member banks and their borrowers nationwide. Midwest is known for friendly, responsive service and industry-leading technology that help lenders retain customers, reduce costs and ensure regulatory and operational compliance. The ABA’s exclusive endorsement was based on both Midwest’s superior technical solution and its superior customer service. Midwest’s customers have 14x fewer complaints than the industry average for the nine months ended September 30, 2014 according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau consumer complaint database, despite the fact that 58% of all the complaints in the CFPB database relate to residential mortgage servicing. Since 2001 Midwest has grown its mortgages subserviced at 26% per annum compounded.

We are acquiring the shares from Ed Burger, former Founder and CEO of Midwest, who recently retired. Midwest’s President & CEO is currently Peter T. Sorce, a credit union and banking industry veteran with 23 years of experience in the mortgage servicing industry. Since Mr. Burger owns 20% of Midwest, this places a value on Midwest of $15.5 million versus Midwest’s shareholders equity as of 9/30/2014 of $10.75 million. Our legal counsel is unaware of any regulatory requirement to seek approval of the transaction since it would result in a 100% owned subsidiary of the Bank, however we are in the process of confirming with our regulators that no approval is required, and if we receive that confirmation we intend to immediately close the acquisition. If the transaction had closed 9/30/2014, we currently estimate that the book value per share of common stock of University Bancorp would have increased from $2.174 to $2.466 per share, or an increase of $0.292 per share.

President Stephen Lange Ranzini noted, “The book value of Mr. Burger’s shares in Midwest Loan Services as of 9/30/2014 was $2,150,061.40; therefore, the bank would pay a premium of approximately $950,000 for his shares, which is reasonable considering the long history of profitability and growth of the firm and that it controls about $190 million in zero interest escrow deposits. Midwest and the zero interest rate cost mortgage subservicing escrow deposits that it controls are a cornerstone of the Bank’s profitability and owning 100% of the firm greatly enhances the value of the Bank and its earnings as interest rates begin to normalize from record low levels.”

With respect to the $430,012.28 interest earn-out, we will pay to Mr. Burger in cash following each month-end period, 20% of the amount of the average monthly balance of Midwest escrow deposits held at University Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, or any other depository where University Bank actually receives the benefit of interest earned on these escrow deposits, times the Fed Funds interest rate minus 0.5% with a floor of 0%, until the cumulative sum of $430,012.28 is paid. If interest rates never rise, no amounts will be owed. For example, if the Fed Funds rate is 1.0% and the sum of the average monthly balance of Midwest escrow deposits held at University Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis continues to be $190,000,000, then the monthly payment would be $15,833.33 (20% x $190,000,000 x (1%-0.5%)/12) until the cumulative sum of $430,012.28 is paid. If interest rates rise, University Bank will continue to benefit from 80% of the increase until the contract is fulfilled and then 100% after. The Federal Reserve Bank currently projects that the normalized Fed Funds Rate is currently 3.75%.

Because there is an insufficient number of authorized and unissued shares of common stock to complete the deal, the board of directors has authorized and has the authority to create a new series of convertible stock that would be issued to Mr. Burger, and plans to call a special shareholder meeting to increase the authorized number of shares of common stock so that these convertible preferred shares can then be converted into common stock. We hope to both close the transaction and call the shareholder meeting prior to year-end.

Shareholders and investors are encouraged to refer to the financial information including the audited financial statements, Company strategic plan and prior press releases, available on our investor relations web page at: http://www.university-bank.com/bancorp/.

Ann Arbor-based University Bancorp owns 100% of University Bank which, together with its Michigan-based subsidiaries, holds and manages a total of over $16 billion in loans and assets and our 336 employees make us the 9th largest bank based in Michigan. Founded in 1890, University Bank® is proud to have been selected as the “Community Bankers of the Year” by American Banker magazine and as the recipient of the American Bankers Association’s Community Bank Award. University Bank is a Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. The operating subsidiaries of University Bank which are members of our corporate family, ranked by their size of revenues are:

University Lending Group, a retail residential mortgage originator based in Clinton Township, Michigan; Midwest Loan Services, a residential mortgage subservicer based in Houghton, MI; University Islamic Financial, an Islamic banking firm based in Farmington Hills, MI; Community Banking, based in Ann Arbor, which provides traditional community banking services in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area; Ann Arbor Insurance Centre, an independent insurance agency based in Ann Arbor.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning future business development, pre-tax income and net income, budgeted income and capital levels, the sustainability of past results, and other expectations and/or goals. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors affecting our operations, markets, products, services, interest rates and fees for services. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

[…]

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Do US presidents carry cash?

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18 October 2014 Last updated at 00:33

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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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