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Personal Finance News 11/2011



Haiti creating home loan system to help in crisis (AP)
AP - Haiti's struggle to rebuild homes for hundreds of thousands of quake victims may be giving the impoverished nation something it has never had: loans to help people buy them.

Allied Home Mortgage sued for lending fraud (Reuters)
Reuters - Prosecutors sued Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp and two top executives for at least $2.5 billion, accusing the company of fraudulently misleading the government into believing its risky loans qualified for federal insurance.

AIG makes $972 million TARP repayment to Treasury (Reuters)
Reuters - The Treasury Department received a $972 million repayment from American International Group , funded by proceeds from the sale of AIG'S American Life Insurance Co. subsidiary last November, Treasury said on Tuesday.

Mortgage applications barely up last week: MBA (Reuters)
Reuters - Applications for U.S. home mortgages were little changed last week as purchase demand improved but refinancing activity stagnated, an industry group said on Wednesday.

1 Retailer Showing Growth (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO - News) recently reported strong top- and bottom-line growth in its fourth quarter and for fiscal 2011. The growth in earnings was impressive since it came at a time when the global economy is hardly showing any signs of rebound and the economic environment remains mired in a web of uncertainty.

TJX: A Retailer to Watch Out for (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Although many apparel retailers are facing difficult times, TJX (NYSE: TJX - News) is an exception. Along with strong second-quarter results, there are other aspects of this stock that a value investor may find attractive.

This Automotive Retailer Looks Attractive (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - The automotive retail sector has been performing well despite difficult economic conditions. With impressive quarterly numbers and strategic expansion plans, one company in the sector, Pep Boys (NYSE: PBY - News), has caught my eye.

Sprint's Beane Ball (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - OK, I know this is probably the pettiest of petty things for most people. For me, though, it's the "Slowly I turn, inch by inch ..." kind of incident that just sets me off.

Can Gap Regain Its Mojo? (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Cost-cutting has become a patented move for U.S. clothes retailer Gap (NYSE: GPS - News). The company, which has been experiencing a general decline in sales since 2005, has managed to stay above waters through cost-control measures. Despite its efforts, Gap is forced to downsize in the U.S. Let's see if Gap will be able to maintain its profitability.

Fed lowers GDP forecast, mulls more action (Reuters)
Reuters - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday slashed its forecast for growth, raised projections for unemployment and said it was mulling the possibility of buying more mortgage debt to spur a struggling recovery.

Freddie Mac reports Q3 loss, asks for $6B in aid (AP)
AP - Government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac has requested $6 billion in additional aid after posting a wider loss in the third quarter.

Freddie Mac reports loss, seeks $6.0 billion (Reuters)
Reuters - Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said on Thursday it will seek an additional $6 billion from U.S. taxpayers following its worst quarterly loss this year.

Mortgage rates for the past 52 weeks, at a glance (AP)
AP - Mortgage rates for the past 52 weeks, at a glance

Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 4 pct. (AP)
AP - The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4 percent this week, nearly matching the all-time low hit just one month ago.

Thirty companies paid no U.S. income tax 2008-2010: report (Reuters)
Reuters - Thirty large and profitable U.S. corporations paid no income taxes in 2008 through 2010, said a study on Thursday that arrives as Congress faces rising demands for tax reform but seems unable or unwilling to act.

Investors want "secrecy" lifted in BofA MBS deal (Reuters)
Reuters - Investors want to lift the "shroud of secrecy" over the proposed $8.5 billion settlement of Bank of America Corp's mortgage-backed securities liability in the coming weeks, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

Personal finance gets engaging with new iPad app (Reuters)
Reuters - Tired of overspending? Confused about where all the money is going? A new iPad app aims to help users manage their finances.

ECB likely stepped up bond-buying program: Reuters poll (Reuters)
Reuters - The European Central Bank probably stepped up its bond-buying program, spending around 5.3 billion euros ($7.3 billion) on peripheral euro zone debt last week to help calm markets and lower bond yields, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

1 Year From Election Day: It's the Economy, Stupid (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Yesterday marked one year until the 2012 presidential elections.

SEC defends $285M settlement with Citigroup (AP)
AP - The government is telling a federal judge that $285 million is a fair penalty for Citigroup Inc. to pay to settle charges that it misled buyers of a complex mortgage investment ahead of the housing bust.

Consumer borrowing up, but credit card use falls (AP)
AP - Americans borrowed more in September to buy cars and attend college, but they charged less to their credit cards for a third straight month. The figures suggest that consumers are growing more cautious about taking on high-interest debt in a weak economy.

Consumer borrowing up, but credit card use falls (AP)
AP - Americans borrowed more in September to buy cars and attend college, but they charged less to their credit cards for a third straight month. The figures suggest that consumers are growing more cautious about taking on high-interest debt in a weak economy.

Morgan Stanley accused of misleading on mortgage debt (Reuters)
Reuters - Morgan Stanley said a group of investors had accused it of selling defective mortgage bonds contained in more than $6 billion of trusts, signaling that it may face litigation over its involvement.

Late mortgage payments up in 3Q, 1st rise in years (AP)
AP - While lawmakers in Washington debated the debt ceiling and consumer confidence dropped, more homeowners were having a harder time making their mortgage payments.

Bachmann pushes everyone-pays income tax plan (AP)
AP - White House hopeful Michele Bachmann said Monday that people who can afford to pay more in taxes should as part of a national tax overhaul that she hopes will set her apart from rivals like Mitt Romney and Herman Cain.

SanDisk Faces Solid Problems (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Flash-memory maker SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK - News) saw its third-quarter earnings fall by a disastrous 28% even though revenue was in line with analyst expectations. So what happened?

Bank Transfer Day: A Resounding, If Unanticipated, Success for Credit Unions (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - Frustrated by one too many nickel-and-diming fees from her bank, LA gallery owner Kristen Christian created a Facebook event on Oct. 4 that called for people to move their money from banks to credit unions. Titled "Bank Transfer Day" and scheduled for Nov. 5, the event struck a chord with a large number of people. More than 70,000 RSVP'd in the month leading up to the action, and its rapid spread and synergy with the burgeoning Occupy movement ensured it a flurry of (mostly) favorable media coverage.

Fannie Mae loss widens, asks taxpayers for $7.8B (AP)
AP - Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is asking the federal government for $7.8 billion in aid to covers its losses in the July-September quarter.

Fannie Mae taps $7.8 billion from Treasury, loss widens (Reuters)
Reuters - Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, on Tuesday said it needed a further $7.8 billion in federal aid to stay afloat as a shaky housing market widened its third-quarter loss to $5.1 billion.

Fannie Mae loss widens, asks taxpayers for $7.8B (AP)
AP - Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is asking the federal government for $7.8 billion in aid to cover its losses in the July-September quarter.

Mortgage applications jump on refinancing demand: MBA (Reuters)
Reuters - Applications for U.S. home mortgages surged last week, driven by increased refinancing demand as interest rates dropped, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Goldman faces lawsuits over $15.8 billion in mortgages (Reuters)
Reuters - Goldman Sachs Group Inc faces lawsuits over $15.8 billion worth of mortgage securities, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday, a more than 30-fold increase from the amount disclosed three months earlier.

The Terrifying, No Good, Very Bad News for the Banking Sector (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - I'm not much of an "I told you so" type of guy, but I can't help it because in this case I told you so at least a handful of times.

Mortgage rates for the past 52 weeks, at a glance (AP)
AP - Mortgage rates for the past 52 weeks, at a glance

Rate on 30-year mortgage below 4 pct. for 2nd time (AP)
AP - The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 4 percent for just the second time in history.

Judge halts H&R Block's plans to acquire TaxACT (AP)
AP - A federal judge is stopping H&R Block's plans to acquire the creator of TaxACT software because she found it would reduce competition in the do-it-yourself tax preparation market.

Regulator says Fannie, Freddie bonuses necessary (AP)
AP - The government regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Thursday that million-dollar bonuses paid to executives at the companies were necessary to keep the mortgage giants running.

Fannie Mae Wants Another Bailout at Taxpayers' Expense (ContributorNetwork)
ContributorNetwork - COMMENTARY | In a surprising move, Fannie Mae has asked taxpayers for $7.8 billion in aid to help offset $7.6 billion in losses.

5 Questions with Military and Veteran Advocate Holly Petraeus (The Motley Fool)
The Motley Fool - On this day, Veteran's Day, America pauses to honor those whom we should be honoring every day -- the military personnel who put their lives on the line for our country. One way the government is honoring them is by including in the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- which has as its mission making financial services and products work better for Americans -- an Office of Servicemember Affairs. The OSA's focus is on military personnel, and its assistant director is Holly Petraeus. Here are five questions I recently posed to her along with her answers.

Consumer sentiment rises on better outlook in November (Reuters)
Reuters - Americans became more hopeful about the economic outlook in November, pushing consumer sentiment to a five-month high, though they still have a gloomy view of personal finances, a survey released on Friday showed.

House panel moves to block Fannie, Freddie pay (Reuters)
Reuters - The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would crack down on the pay packages for executives at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .

House panel moves to curb Fannie, Freddie pay (Reuters)
Reuters - A bill to block multi-million dollar executive pay packages at government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac moved forward on Tuesday even as their regulator defended them as needed to retain top talent and limit taxpayer losses.

Congress moves to end Fannie, Freddie bonuses (AP)
AP - Congress is seeking to end the practice of paying million-dollar bonuses to executives at government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie, Freddie cut lenders' risk in refinance program (Reuters)
Reuters - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the largest sources of U.S. housing finance, both said on Tuesday they would relieve lenders from certain risks associated with refinanced loans in an effort to help a government program reach more distressed homeowners.

Mortgage applications fall in latest week: MBA (Reuters)
Reuters - Applications for U.S. home mortgages dropped last week, erasing the gains of the week before as demand for refinancing evaporated, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Gingrich acknowledges Freddie Mac consulting fees (Reuters)
Reuters - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich acknowledged Wednesday that he had received consulting fees from troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac for providing "strategic advice."

Fannie, Freddie chiefs defend pay packages (Reuters)
Reuters - Top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday defended their companies' pay practices from attack by lawmakers angry that the government-controlled firms were paying out nearly $13 million in executive bonuses.

Top shareholder cuts stake in Japan's disgraced Olympus (Reuters)
Reuters - Olympus Corp's biggest shareholder, Nippon Life Insurance, has reduced its stake in the 92-year-old Japanese firm which is now battling to keep the support of its lenders and survive a massive accounting scandal.

Government closes mortgage scams tied to Google (AP)
AP - The federal government has shut down dozens of Internet scam artists who had been paying Google to run ads making bogus promises to help desperate homeowners scrambling to avoid foreclosures.

Japan insurer reduces scandal-ridden Olympus stake (AP)
AP - Nippon Life Insurance, the top shareholder in scandal-ridden Olympus Corp., said Thursday it reduced its stake in the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker that now risks being kicked off the Tokyo Stock Exchange.



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