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Tailor home loan rates

FALLING interest rates are causing a surge of activity as Mount Isa area residents are looking for ways to save more money on their home loan, says Yellow Brick Road Mount Isa branch principal Steve Williams.

The Reserve Bank kept the cash rate on hold in March following a significant rate cut in February, dropping the rate to a historic low of 2.25 per cent.

Mr Williams said his branch was urging Mount Isa residents to look beyond the cuts and pay attention to where their rate fitted in comparison to the rest of the market. ‘‘Getting an interest rate that’s among the most competitive on the market is one of the best ways to make your financial goals and dreams a reality.”

Steve Williams’ top 10 tips to spend less on your loan and more on your dreams

1. Have a plan: You should plan to own your home as fast as possible, and therefore pay as little interest as possible.

2. Pay attention to the rate: Stay up to date with what the market value is on rates. Consider a $450,000 loan over 25 years. If you had a 4.95 per cent mortgage and refinanced at 4.39 per cent – your repayments would decrease by $147 a month, saving you over $55,000 in interest over the life of your loan.

3. Be prepared to refinance: To save on a mortgage, you must be prepared to go to a lender with a lower interest rate than your current one.

4. Understand the loan term: Shorter loan terms usually mean you pay less interest and pay the debt faster. Let’s say you have a $450,000 mortgage at 4.39 per cent, and you opt for a 25-year loan rather than a 30-year: you’d save $68,100 in interest alone.

5. Repayment frequency is key: The higher the frequency of payment, the slower the interest accrues and the faster you pay off the mortgage. If you pay half the monthly repayment amount fortnightly, rather than monthly, or a quarter of the monthly payment weekly, you end up saving the equivalent of an extra month’s payment each year. Consider an average mortgage of around $450,000 and a 30-year term at 4.39 per cent. You’d save around four years and four months off your loan term and more than $60,000 in interest.

6. Put windfalls into your home loan: Tax refunds, Medicare rebates and work bonuses should go into the home loan, cutting interest and speeding repayment.

7.Have the right loan: Ensure your mortgage allows you to put in lump sum amounts. Many fixed rate loans don’t allow this. If you’re offered an offset mortgage that lets you put your income directly into the loan, make sure this suits you.

8.Do it early: Increasing your repayments and putting in lump sums is most effective when you do it early in the term of the loan.

9. Know your fees: The headline repayment figure in your mortgage agreement is not the only number you should look at. Lenders charge different fees, so be cognisant of any incidentals that may not be captured in the comparison rate.

10. Beware of interest only: Don’t select an interest-only loan if you want to repay it quickly. Always opt for principal plus interest. When borrowers ‘‘set and forget’’ their mortgage, they usually pay too much interest and have the debt longer than they should.

[…]

Wonga to cut third of staff following new clampdown on payday …

Wonga is slashing about a third of its workforce to cut costs as it responds to a wider clampdown on unfair practices in the payday lending market.

The controversial lender said 325 jobs would go, mainly in the UK and Ireland. Wonga’s Dublin office will close as part of the plans, as will its office in Tel Aviv.

Related: Payday lending will shrink but only a complete ban will do

Andy Haste, the lender’s chairman, said: “Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base, which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market.

“Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce. We appreciate how difficult this period will be for all of our colleagues and we’ll support them throughout the consultation process.”

Wonga’s decision to cut jobs came on the same day that the Competition and Markets Authority announced new rules to force payday lenders into being more transparent about their charges. The CMA is hoping that it will create more competition in the market, lowering costs for millions of consumers who rely on the loans.

Wonga employs a total of 950 people worldwide, but all the job losses relate to its UK payday loans business, which employs 650 people – about 280 in the UK, 175 in Ireland, 185 in South Africa and 10 in Israel.

It is understood about 100 jobs will go in the UK alone. All jobs will go in Ireland and Israel.

The group is aiming to achieve overall cost savings of at least £25m over the next two years, following a period of rapid expansion that saw costs treble between 2012 and 2014.

When Haste was appointed chairman last July, he said Wonga would become smaller and less profitable as it scaled back the number of customers it extended loans to, imposing stricter lending criteria.

In October the company was forced by the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, to write off £220m of loans to 375,000 borrowers, who it admitted should never have been given loans.

Wonga also announced on Tuesday that its former chairman Robin Klein was stepping down from the board after eight years.

The payday loans industry is undergoing a major shakeup as regulators seek to make the market fairer for cash-strapped consumers.

Under the new rules announced on Tuesday, lenders will have to list their deals on price-comparison websites and make it easier for customers to compare the total cost of different loans offered by various lenders.

Payday lenders will also have to provide customers with a summary of the total cost of their loans, as well as how additional fees such as late repayment affect the cost.

The recommendations were made after a 20-month inquiry into the payday loans industry by the CMA.

The watchdog concluded that a lack of price competition between lenders had driven costs higher for borrowers, with most people failing to shop around partly owing to a lack of clear information on charges.

Simon Polito, who ran the inquiry, said: “We expect that millions of customers will continue to rely on payday loans. Most customers take out several loans a year and the total cost of paying too much for payday loans can build up over time.”

The CMA’s decision follows an earlier clampdown by the UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The authority introduced a price cap on 2 January to ensure that borrowers are never forced to repay more than double the amount of their original loan.

Interest and fees were capped at 0.8% a day, lowering the cost for most borrowers, while the total cost of a loan was limited to 100% of the original sum. Default fees were to be capped at £15 to protect people struggling to repay their debts.

Polito said: “The FCA’s price cap will reduce the overall level of prices and the scale of the price differentials but we want to ensure more competition so that the cap does not simply become the benchmark price set by lenders for payday loans.

“We think costs can be driven lower and want to ensure that customers are able to take advantage of price competition to further reduce the cost of their loans. Only price competition will incentivise lenders to reduce the cost borrowers pay for their loans.”

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust charity, welcomed the action from the CMA and FCA but added a note of caution: “This is good news for the consumer. More competition and transparency in the payday loan market will ensure that the FCA’s cap on the cost of credit remains precisely that– a cap, not the norm.

“This is a good example of regulators working together to bring about meaningful change in this sector. However, these improvements in the way that payday loans are regulated must not dilute the core message that payday lending remains an extremely expensive way to borrow,” she said.

Payday lenders will be forced to publish the details of their products on at least one price comparison website, authorised by the FCA. The CMA said on Tuesday it would work closely with the FCA to implement the new recommendations.

[…]

CMA finalises proposals to lower payday loan costs – Press releases …

The measures follow the conclusion of a 20-month investigation into the market by a group of independent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) panel members. The group published its provisional findings in June 2014 and then consulted on its intended proposals the following October.

Online payday lenders will be ordered by the CMA to publish details of their products on at least one price comparison website (PCW) which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). To ensure that they operate to appropriate standards, the CMA has recommended to the FCA that authorised PCWs should provide customers with clear, objective and comparable information on all potential loan costs, in particular the total amount payable, and have the ability for customers to compare different loans by searching easily on the most relevant features such as loan amount and duration. The CMA believes that one or more commercial PCWs will emerge and be authorised by the FCA, but if this does not happen, lenders will be obliged to set up an FCA authorised PCW.

The CMA has also made recommendations to the FCA to take steps to:

improve the disclosure of late fees and other additional charges help customers to shop around without unduly affecting their ability to access credit improve real-time data sharing between lenders and credit reference agencies ensure that lead generators – websites which sell potential borrowers’ details to lenders and through which 40% of first-time online borrowers access their loans – explain how they operate much more clearly to customers

Finally, online and high street payday lenders will be ordered by the CMA to provide existing customers with a summary of their cost of borrowing. The summary will tell borrowers what the total cost of their most recent loan was, as well as the cumulative cost of their borrowing with that lender over the previous 12 months and how late repayment affected their cost of borrowing.

The measures are designed to tackle problems identified in the final report, where the CMA found that a lack of price competition between lenders has led to higher costs for borrowers. Most borrowers do not shop around – partly because of the difficulties in accessing clear and comparable information on the cost of borrowing and a lack of awareness of late fees and additional charges. Without the pressure to drive down costs, lenders have tended to price their loans at similar levels whilst competing on other factors such as speed – often the initial priority for borrowers.

The CMA also found that many borrowers believe that lead generators are themselves lenders, rather than simply intermediaries. Even where they understand this, most customers are unaware that, rather than matching borrowers with the most suitable or cheapest loan on offer, lead generators sell borrowers’ details to lenders based on how much lenders are prepared to pay for the details, generally selling them to the highest bidder. As a result the CMA does not consider that lead generators have been effective in promoting price competition between lenders even though they have helped to promote the entry into the market of additional lenders.

The CMA’s remedies follow the FCA’s introduction of a price cap for the sector which came into force on 2 January 2015, which is in addition to a number of other FCA measures to increase customer protection that the FCA has introduced over the past year.

Simon Polito, Chair of the CMA’s Payday Lending Investigation Group, said:

The payday lending market is undergoing substantial change as a result of FCA initiatives to eradicate unacceptable practices. Our actions complement the FCA’s measures and are aimed at making the market more competitive and further driving down costs for borrowers.

We expect that millions of customers will continue to rely on payday loans. Most customers take out several loans a year and the total cost of paying too much for payday loans can build up over time. During our investigation, we found that there was often a substantial difference in this market between the most expensive and cheapest deals.

The FCA’s price cap will reduce the overall level of prices and the scale of the price differentials but we want to ensure more competition so that the cap does not simply become the benchmark price set by lenders for payday loans. We think costs can be driven lower and want to ensure that customers are able to take advantage of price competition to further reduce the cost of their loans. Only price competition will incentivise lenders to reduce the cost borrowers pay for their loans.

Even where borrowers do shop around at present, it is difficult for them to compare prices between short-term loans given the differences between products and the limited usefulness of the APR in making comparisons. Few customers find their lender via existing price comparison websites, which suffer from a number of limitations.

To help them, we are requiring lenders to be listed on price comparison websites authorised by the FCA and have recommended to the FCA that these websites should carry all the information customers need to compare easily the total cost of different lenders’ loans. This will promote competition and provide the incentive for new and existing lenders to compete to offer lower cost loans and win borrowers’ business. It will also make it easier for new entrants that offer lower cost loans to access customers.

We have worked closely with the FCA throughout the investigation and are pleased that the FCA is fully supportive of the remedies in our final report.

In developing these measures the CMA has carried out customer research to inform the design of its remedy package and has consulted extensively with consumer groups and debt charities, lenders, intermediaries, trade associations and a range of other market participants, as well as with the FCA. The CMA will publish an order within 6 months putting in place its requirements in relation to PCWs and borrowing summaries. The FCA will consult in the summer of 2015 on the measures to be introduced in response to the recommendations. The CMA will work closely with the FCA to implement the recommendations.

The final report and all other information on the investigation are available on the payday lending case page.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission (CC) and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  2. The members of the Payday Lending Investigation Group are: Simon Polito (Chairman of the group), Katherine Holmes, Ray King and Tim Tutton. Read more on how market investigations are conducted. The OFT referred the payday lending market to the CC on 27 June 2013.
  3. All the CMA’s functions in market investigations are performed by inquiry groups chosen from the CMA’s panel members. In such investigations, the appointed inquiry group are the decision-makers.
  4. The CMA’s panel members come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and/or business. The membership of an inquiry group usually reflects a mix of expertise and experience (including industry experience).
  5. Following a market investigation the CMA may take action itself, by making an order or accepting undertakings from parties. The CMA may also recommend that action be taken by others such as government, regulators and public authorities. Where the CMA makes such a recommendation, it will be for the person to whom the recommendation is addressed to decide whether to take the recommended course of action.
  6. The FCA assumed responsibility for consumer credit regulation from 1 April 2014, having announced its proposals for regulating consumer credit in October 2013 and confirming additional rules for payday lenders in July 2014. Measures by the FCA to strengthen consumer protection have meant closer regulation of lenders over issues such as limiting rollovers, restrictions on the use of Continuous Payment Authorities to recover debt from a borrower’s bank account, the carrying out of proper affordability checks and sensitive treatment of debt problems. In November 2014, the FCA confirmed details of the price cap which was subsequently introduced on 2 January 2015. On the same day the FCA also introduced rules to address some of the concerns around lead generators identified in the final report which were first highlighted by the CMA in its provisional findings.
  7. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor, (rory.taylor@cma.gsi.gov.uk) or Siobhan Allen, (siobhan.allen@cma.gsi.gov.uk) or by ringing 020 3738 6798 or 020 3738 6460.
  8. For more information on the CMA, see our homepage, or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on markets cases.

[…]

Comment on After Ananda Krishnan loan, 1MDB now needs government cash by Justice Ipsofacto

BY THE EDGE FINANCIAL DAILY
The Malaysian Insider
23 February 2015

1MDB was not only helped by billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan to settle its RM2 billion debt to banks, but it may also require a cash injection of as much as RM3 billion from its owner, the Ministry? of Finance (MoF), say sources.

They say the controversial debt-laden outfit is facing a cash crunch as income from its power assets is not enough for debt servicing and it has run out of borrowing options, as shown by having to turn to a businessman for help.

Ananda provided a 15-month RM2 billion loan to enable 1MDB to settle its loan with a consortium of local banks on February 13.

Sources familiar with the matter confirmed this with The Edge Financial Daily and also expressed their surprise that 1MDB president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy had dismissed media reports about the loan from Ananda as mere speculation.

Arul had announced on February 13 that 1MDB had settled the RM2 billion owed to the consortium led by Maybank and RHB Bank Bhd which was first due on November 30, 2014. The loan was settled in time to prevent the banks from declaring a default.

Arul did not explain how it raised the money in his February 13 statement, but in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia? two days later, he said reports that AK lent the money were pure speculation.

“Ananda has never said anything about this matter. This is speculation by third parties,” Mingguan Malaysia quoted him as saying.

“I don’t know how he (Arul) can claim that (AK did not help),” says a source.

“It was a simple, clean loan (with no conditions) as AK did not want to be seen as taking advantage (by setting tough conditions).”

In reply to questions by The Edge on why he could not just come out and disclose how 1MDB raised the money, Arul said: “The facts on the (settlement of the) loan will be revealed in the appropriate forum/time i.e. our next set of accounts. To demand any different is to set a different standard for 1MDB which is not only unfair, but also ignoring our right and that of our stakeholders to legal and commercial confidentiality”.

Paying off the RM2 billion debt does not solve the problem for 1MDB, which has total debts of more than RM42 billion and annual debt servicing of RM2.31 billion and a negative cash flow of RM2.25 billion in its financial year ended March 31, 2014.

Sources say that MoF is aware of 1MDB’s cash-flow problem and knows it may have no choice but to step in with a RM3 billion injection.

But in order for that to happen, approval has to be given by the Cabinet, given the large amount of money involved and all the controversy that 1MDB has generated.

The government had on February 11 and 12 raised RM2.1 billion through two treasury bill issues that money market dealers say were unusually large amounts. Sources say the MOF could be getting the money ready should it go ahead and come to the aid of 1MDB.

The cash injection will have to be done before 1MDB’s next financial year close on March 31, 2015 – which is just five weeks away.

?Despite concerns raised by so many parties, MOF officials have always insisted that 1MDB was financially healthy and that the government only had to put in RM1 million as initial capital because the company was strong enough to borrow to fund itself.

Arul, in a February 18 press release on its strategic review, said 1MDB would stop borrowing from now.

Sources say the truth is that 1MDB can no longer go to the market to borrow – whether through bank loans or bond issues.

“The size of its debt of RM42 billion, the massive negative cash flow it has experienced in the last two years plus its struggle to pay the RM2 billion makes it difficult for any bank to lend to them,” says one banker.

“Bond investors will also shy away from any new debt it wants to issue.”

1MDB recently called off a RM8.4 billion Islamic bond that it had planned to raise cash to finance the 3B power project.

Bankers say it was cancelled because of lukewarm response. Sources say bankers have also taken note of the fact that 1MDB has had difficulties proceeding with its plan to float its power assets to raise cash. – February 23, 2015.

[…]

Comment on After Ananda Krishnan loan, 1MDB now needs government cash by waterfrontcoolie

BY THE EDGE FINANCIAL DAILY
The Malaysian Insider
23 February 2015

1MDB was not only helped by billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan to settle its RM2 billion debt to banks, but it may also require a cash injection of as much as RM3 billion from its owner, the Ministry? of Finance (MoF), say sources.

They say the controversial debt-laden outfit is facing a cash crunch as income from its power assets is not enough for debt servicing and it has run out of borrowing options, as shown by having to turn to a businessman for help.

Ananda provided a 15-month RM2 billion loan to enable 1MDB to settle its loan with a consortium of local banks on February 13.

Sources familiar with the matter confirmed this with The Edge Financial Daily and also expressed their surprise that 1MDB president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy had dismissed media reports about the loan from Ananda as mere speculation.

Arul had announced on February 13 that 1MDB had settled the RM2 billion owed to the consortium led by Maybank and RHB Bank Bhd which was first due on November 30, 2014. The loan was settled in time to prevent the banks from declaring a default.

Arul did not explain how it raised the money in his February 13 statement, but in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia? two days later, he said reports that AK lent the money were pure speculation.

“Ananda has never said anything about this matter. This is speculation by third parties,” Mingguan Malaysia quoted him as saying.

“I don’t know how he (Arul) can claim that (AK did not help),” says a source.

“It was a simple, clean loan (with no conditions) as AK did not want to be seen as taking advantage (by setting tough conditions).”

In reply to questions by The Edge on why he could not just come out and disclose how 1MDB raised the money, Arul said: “The facts on the (settlement of the) loan will be revealed in the appropriate forum/time i.e. our next set of accounts. To demand any different is to set a different standard for 1MDB which is not only unfair, but also ignoring our right and that of our stakeholders to legal and commercial confidentiality”.

Paying off the RM2 billion debt does not solve the problem for 1MDB, which has total debts of more than RM42 billion and annual debt servicing of RM2.31 billion and a negative cash flow of RM2.25 billion in its financial year ended March 31, 2014.

Sources say that MoF is aware of 1MDB’s cash-flow problem and knows it may have no choice but to step in with a RM3 billion injection.

But in order for that to happen, approval has to be given by the Cabinet, given the large amount of money involved and all the controversy that 1MDB has generated.

The government had on February 11 and 12 raised RM2.1 billion through two treasury bill issues that money market dealers say were unusually large amounts. Sources say the MOF could be getting the money ready should it go ahead and come to the aid of 1MDB.

The cash injection will have to be done before 1MDB’s next financial year close on March 31, 2015 – which is just five weeks away.

?Despite concerns raised by so many parties, MOF officials have always insisted that 1MDB was financially healthy and that the government only had to put in RM1 million as initial capital because the company was strong enough to borrow to fund itself.

Arul, in a February 18 press release on its strategic review, said 1MDB would stop borrowing from now.

Sources say the truth is that 1MDB can no longer go to the market to borrow – whether through bank loans or bond issues.

“The size of its debt of RM42 billion, the massive negative cash flow it has experienced in the last two years plus its struggle to pay the RM2 billion makes it difficult for any bank to lend to them,” says one banker.

“Bond investors will also shy away from any new debt it wants to issue.”

1MDB recently called off a RM8.4 billion Islamic bond that it had planned to raise cash to finance the 3B power project.

Bankers say it was cancelled because of lukewarm response. Sources say bankers have also taken note of the fact that 1MDB has had difficulties proceeding with its plan to float its power assets to raise cash. – February 23, 2015.

[…]

Sitrade Italia-Spa Recognized as Fastest Growing Cash Handling Equipment Manufacturer

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ResearchMOZ

In the fourth segment, the market size data of the 80 largest manufacturers of cash handling equipments in the world are compared.

Albany, NewYork (PRWEB) February 11, 2015

ResearchMoz has announced the addition of a new market study that offers an analysis of the cash handling equipment manufacturers worldwide. The research report, titled “Cash Handling Equipment Manufacturers (Global) – Industry Report”, offers an analytical report with a detailed study of 140 major manufacturers of cash handling equipment across the global cash handling equipment market, including their market strategies and their penetration level in the global cash handling equipment market.

Read The Full Report With TOC @ http://www.researchmoz.us/cash-handling-equipment-manufacturers-global-industry-report-report.html

Cash handling is the procedure of dispensing, tracking, and counting cash in a bank, cheque en-cashing, payday loan/advance, retail, casinos, and other business environments through specially designed software and hardware to prevent losses, theft, and to reduce management time for errors in cash drawer operations. Cash handling equipment include automatic teller machine (ATM), cash dispenser, cash validator, cash recycler, loose coin validator, rolled coin dispenser, and intelligent banknote neutralization system.

This research report on cash handling equipment manufacturers across the world is categorized into various sections and contains both written and graphical information of the global cash handling equipment manufacturers, all of it updated exhaustively.

The first section presents a thorough study on the global cash handling equipment market. This segment consists of manufacturers that are the leaders in the market in both sales as well as financial might. Ingenico GmbH has been ranked as the best trading partner in the global cash handling equipment industry.

The second section analyzes the sales growth and reviews the fastest developing and fastest shrinking manufacturers among the 140 key cash handling equipment manufacturers across the globe. Sitrade Italia-Spa is one of the fastest developing cash handling equipment manufacturers in the world.

The third section evaluates the gross and pre-tax profit statistics over the past ten years. In this section, a profitability synopsis is presented by comparing profits in the global cash handling equipment industry against small, medium, and large cash handling equipment manufacturers over the world.

Request A Sample The Report @ http://www.researchmoz.com/enquiry.php?type=sample&repid=240213

In the fourth segment, the market size data of the 80 largest manufacturers of cash handling equipments in the world are compared. This comparison is carried on the basis of the previous year’s market size and the most recent figure.

Among the next two segments, the first one ranks the top 50 cash handling equipment manufacturers on the basis of their market share, growth rate in sales, and gross and pre-tax profit. The other one determines the best performing cash handling equipment manufacturers according to their strong financial conditions and outstanding sales growth rates during 2014.

The last segment focuses on profile analysis of companies and provides a comprehensive study of the largest global cash handling equipment manufacturers within the industry.

About Us

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[…]

Wells Fargo, JPMorgan settle mortgage kickbacks probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to pay more than $35 million combined to resolve claims that loan officers at the two banks received kickbacks in exchange for steering mortgage borrowers to a Maryland title company.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday that JPMorgan and Wells Fargo each agreed to consent orders filed in federal court to settle the claims.

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $24 million in civil penalties and $10.8 million to consumers affected by the scheme. JPMorgan is to pay $600,000 in penalties and about $300,000 in redress.

The CFPB and the Maryland attorney general found that loan officers at the banks referred borrowers to a now-defunct title company, Genuine Title, in exchange for cash and marketing services.

Federal law prohibits giving anything of value in exchange for a referral of business related to a real estate settlement service.

According to the CFPB, loan officers at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan sent homebuyers financing a mortgage through the banks to Genuine Title, which provided real estate closing services.

In return, the title company, which went out of business last April, provided the loan officers with cash, as well as consumer information and marketing services aimed at helping them drum up more loan business, the CFPB said.

“These banks allowed their loan officers to focus on their own illegal financial gain rather than on treating consumers fairly,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The CFPB noted that more than 100 Wells Fargo loan officers in at least 18 branches, mainly in Maryland and Virginia, participated in the scheme, referring thousands of loans to Genuine Title.

The agency also contends that Wells Fargo failed to stop the scheme, even though it had multiple warnings of what was going on, including a federal lawsuit that alleged the bank’s loan officers had illegal arrangements with the title company.

In a statement, Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda said the bank has fully cooperated with the CFPB, fired the employees who were involved in the scheme and taken steps to enhance its procedures to provide greater oversight and monitoring of both the process and its employees.

The agency found that at least six Chase loan officers in three different branches in Maryland, Virginia and New York were involved in the scheme.

Jason Lobo, a spokesman for Chase Mortgage Banking, said the bank’s own investigation into the kickback scheme found six of its mortgage loan officers received marketing services, though not any cash, in return for steering borrowers on 191 loans to Genuine Title.

“We also found no evidence that borrowers incurred title fees in excess of the market rates,” he said.

Four of the Chase loan officers had left the bank when the scheme was uncovered. The bank fired the two others who remained, Lobo noted.

FinanceLoansJPMorgan Chase […]

HFF, Inc. Declares Special Cash Dividend for Shareholders of Record as of February 2, 2015

PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

HFF, Inc. (NYSE:HF or the Company) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a special cash dividend of $1.80 per Common Share, payable February 13, 2015 to shareholders of record on February 2, 2015. The aggregate dividend payment will total approximately $67.8 million based on the number of shares of Class A Common Stock currently outstanding. This follows special cash dividends paid in December 2012 and February 2014 of $1.52 per share and $1.83 per share, or approximately $56.3 million and $68.2 million, respectively. When paid in February 2015, the combined special cash dividends paid by the Company since December 2012 will total approximately $192.3 million.

Business Comments

“Due to the extraordinary effort expended by the entire HFF Team during 2014 and the strong cash position resulting from such passion and dedication in satisfying our customers’ capital markets objectives, we are pleased to announce our Board of Directors has declared its third special cash dividend in the amount of $1.80 per Class A Common Share,” said Mark D. Gibson, the Company’s chief executive officer.

“As we have continually communicated to our shareholders and the market, we believe in three guiding principles relative to managing our cash position and returning capital to our shareholders. These three guiding principles are to 1) maintain sufficient working capital to operate the HFF platform commensurate with a ‘best in class’ real estate capital markets service firm, 2) maintain sufficient cash reserves to not only survive a downturn such as during 2008 and 2009, but also to thrive in such a downturn given the significant opportunities for growth generally afforded well-capitalized firms in difficult times, and 3) maintain sufficient cash reserves to grow our business pursuant to our strategic initiatives and to take advantage of unexpected opportunities as they arise. We have clearly demonstrated our commitment to returning capital to shareholders once we have satisfied our three guiding principles, as evidenced by the payment of $192.3 million to our shareholders through the three special dividends since December 2012,” said Mr. Gibson.

“As we stated in previous releases, if, in the future, we find ourselves in a similar position and can fully satisfy the three guiding principles outlined above, it would be our current intention to recommend to our Board of Directors to return capital to our shareholders in some amount depending on the competitive position of the Company and other strategic options that might be available to the Company, as well as the macro and micro economic conditions and the legal and regulatory environment at that time. Therefore, it is important to note that future special dividends, if declared, may vary in timing and amount as it relates to previous dividend payments,” said Mr. Gibson.

About HFF, Inc.

Through its subsidiaries, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. and HFF Securities L.P., the Company operates out of 23 offices nationwide and is one of the leading providers of commercial real estate and capital markets services, by transaction volume, to the U.S. commercial real estate industry. The Company offers clients a fully integrated national capital markets platform including debt placement, investment sales, advisory services, equity placement, loan sales and commercial loan servicing.

Certain statements in this press release are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Statements about our beliefs and expectations and statements containing the words “may,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “estimate,” “target,” “project,” “intend” and similar expressions constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results and performance in future periods to be materially different from any future results or performance suggested in forward-looking statements in this press release. Investors, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and, except to the extent required by applicable securities laws, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any of them to reflect actual results, any changes in expectations or any change in events. If the Company does update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that it will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: (1) general economic conditions and commercial real estate market conditions, including the recent conditions in the global markets and, in particular, the U.S. debt markets; (2) the Company’s ability to retain and attract transaction professionals; (3) the Company’s ability to retain its business philosophy and partnership culture; (4) competitive pressures; (5) the Company’s ability to integrate and sustain its growth; and (6) other factors discussed in the Company’s public filings, including the risk factors included in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Additional information concerning factors that may influence HFF, Inc.’s financial information is discussed under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” and “Forward-Looking Statements” in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as in the Company’s press releases and other periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such information and filings are available publicly and may be obtained from the Company’s web site at www.hfflp.com or upon request from the HFF, Inc. Investor Relations Department at investorrelations@hfflp.com.

HFF, Inc. Contact:

HFF, Inc.

Mark D. Gibson,

214-265-0880

Chief Executive Officer

mgibson@hfflp.com

or

Gregory R. Conley,

412-281-8714

Chief Financial Officer

gconley@hfflp.com

or

Myra F. Moren,

713-852-3500

Director, Investor Relations

mmoren@hfflp.com […]

Easyhome Enters Into Binding Agreement To Buy Cash Store Locations

By RTT News, January 18, 2015, 07:59:00 PM EDT

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(RTTNews.com) – easyhome Ltd. (EH.TO) announced that its subsidiary, easyfinancial Services Inc., has entered into a binding agreement to purchase the lease rights and obligations for up to 47 retail locations across Canada, together with certain related assets at certain locations from The Cash Store Financial Services Inc.

Upon completion of the Transaction, these retail locations will be opened as new easyfinancial branches providing consumer loans to Canadian consumers.

easyfinancial noted that it submitted its proposal in accordance with Cash Store’s secondary sale process conducted under Cash Store’s proceeding under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada). The Agreement and the completion of the Transaction remain subject to Court approval in Canada and the satisfaction of certain closing conditions customary to transactions of this nature. The Company anticipates closing the Transaction within the first quarter of 2015.

As per the terms of the Agreement, easyfinancial will assume the lease rights and obligations for up to 32 retail locations currently occupied by Cash Store immediately upon closing, subject to, among other conditions, Court approval. Additionally, the Company will also assume the lease rights and obligations for up to a further 15 retail locations currently occupied by Cash Store upon successful negotiation of lease extension or new agreements with the relevant landlords. The purchase price will not be disclosed until the Transaction closes.

“We are excited by the opportunity to acquire additional locations in Canada,” said David Ingram, easyhome’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This acquisition will allow us to accelerate our retail footprint at easyfinancial as we were able to carefully select the best locations to match our unfilled targeted geography. The timing aligns very well as consumer demand for an alternative to banks and payday loans has grown significantly over the last 12 months and these branches will provide further access and convenience.”

The Company expects the Transaction to be accretive to earnings over the long term, as it accelerates loan book growth and provides further economies of scale. As a result of the Transaction, easyfinancial will increase its 2015 new easyfinancial openings from 40-45 to 60-65 branches and the loan book target for 2015 will increase from C$260 million -C$270 million to C$280 million- C$295 million.

In the short term, the new store drag associated with the incremental 20 store openings is expected to reduce earnings per share in 2015 by approximately C$0.10, but increase earnings per share by approximately C$0.15 in 2016 and add C$0.25 in 2017.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com

http://www.rttnews.com

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Payday loan caps come into force | Money | The Guardian

Well over a million people will see the cost of their borrowing fall now that new price caps on payday loans have taken effect.

However, early indications are that many of the sector’s bigger players will be charging the maximum amount allowed to under the new regime, rather taking the opportunity to set their fees below the cap.

Interest and fees on all high-cost short-term credit loans are now capped at 0.8% per day of the amount borrowed. If borrowers do not repay their loans on time, default charges must not exceed £15.

In addition, the total cost (fees, interest etc) is capped at 100% of the original sum, which means no borrower will ever pay back more than twice what they borrowed, said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has introduced the new rules.

Someone taking out a £100 loan for 30 days and paying it back on time will not pay more than £24 in fees and charges.

Payday lending is a multibillion-pound sector: the Competition & Markets Authority said there were 1.8 million payday loan customers in 2012-13, while the FCA estimates that in 2013, 1.6 million customers took out around 10m loans. However, some lenders quit the market before the changes took place. These include Minicredit, which ceased its lending on 10 December.

Consumer organisation Which? said the new regime “comes not a moment too soon”. Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “The regulator has clearly shown it is prepared to take tough action to stamp out unscrupulous practices, and they must keep the new price cap under close review.”

Which? carried out research into the amounts payday lenders were charging just before Christmas, to see if they had cut the cost of borrowing ahead of the price caps taking effect. It found that some of the bigger payday lenders had already brought their charges in line with the price caps. Wonga, QuickQuid, PaydayUK and MyJar were charging the maximum £24 to borrow £100 for 30 days, with default fees charged at £15.

When the Guardian checked some of the lender websites on 31 December, it found some had not yet updated their pricing. Peachy.co.uk’s website was quoting a cost of £135 for a £100 loan over 30 days, while Quid24.com showed a cost of £134.70 and Safeloans quoted £130.

Which? said London Mutual credit union was the only payday loan provider it looked at that charged less than the maximum allowed under the cap, with borrowers having to pay just £3 in interest on a loan of £100 over one month, with no default fees.

Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, said the new caps would make the cost of a loan cheaper for most consumers. “Anyone who gets into difficulty and is unable to pay back on time, will not see the interest and fees on their loan spiral out of control – no consumer will ever owe more than double the original loan amount,” he added.

However, it appears the new regime will not spell the end of the huge annualised interest rates quoted on payday loan websites. Despite the changes, Wonga is still able to charge a representative APR of 1,509%, while QuickQuid’s site was promoting an APR of 1,212%.

New rules covering payday loan brokers have also taken effect after the regulator was deluged with complaints over practices such as imposing charges that consumers often knew nothing about until they checked their bank account.

These firms cannot now request an individual’s bank details or take a payment from their account without their explicit consent first. Payday loan brokers will also have to include their legal name, not just their trading name, in all advertising and other communications with customers, and state prominently in their ads that they are a broker, not a lender.

[…]