Palace has P437-million unliquidated advances
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Posted by admin on 03/03/2015 in Cash Advances | Short Link

The Office of the President (OP) has accumulated P436.9 million in unliquidated cash advances, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

In a 2013 report on the OP, the COA said cash advances to regular and special disbursing officers due for liquidation as of December 31, 2013 has reached P436,928,955.35.

Of this amount, P425,614,804.99 or 97.41 percent was not settled by previous administrations, while the current administration has yet to liquidate P11,089,554.33.

“Our analysis of the accounts Advances to Officers and Employees (148) and Other Receivables (149) showed that the total outstanding balance as of December 31, 2013 amounted to P598,117,305.18, of which 26.95 percent or P161,188,349.83 were cash advances (CAs) granted during the year, thus not yet due and demandable, leaving a balance of P436,928,955.35 as the unliquidated CAs due as of the year end,” auditors said.

“The cash advances granted under accounts 148 and 149 amounting P4,246,875.12 and P156,941,474.71, respectively, are those granted to officials and employees of the OP in connection with their official local and foreign travels, as well as confidential expenses that are not yet due for liquidation and/or yet to prescribe at the end of December 31, 2013,” they said.

Further analysis showed that P11,089,554.33 of the total amount of advances due for liquidation was for the current administration and P425,614,804.99 pertained to the previous administrations, they added.


LETTER: Time to limit interest on payday loans
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Posted by admin on 03/03/2015 in Cash Advances | Short Link

Dear Editor: Payday loans are cash advances on paychecks from lenders typically charging 17.5 percent every two weeks for every $100 dollars borrowed. The lenders hold checks from the borrowers that are post-dated to allow the loans to be covered by the borrowers next paychecks. Unfortunately, half of all Alabamians cannot pay off their payday loans in two weeks. On average, they take 212 days to remove their debt at a price beyond conscience. Repaid over a year, a payday loan results in a 456 percent interest rate.


Square offers cash advances to businesses through Square Capital
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Posted by admin on 03/03/2015 in Cash Advances | Short Link

Credit card processing giant Square is now offering financial assistance to its merchants through a new division called Square capital. Will it drive growth among small businesses using Square?


Cash Advances, Vol. 2: Checking to Improve Relative Position
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Posted by admin on 03/03/2015 in Cash Advances | Short Link

Carlos Welch returns with another installment of his Cash Advances series in which he shares cash game hands illustrating some advances in his play.

The Hand

It’s my regular $1/$2 game. The effective stacks are $300. The button straddles for $5. I raise to $20 from the small blind (SB) with and get calls from the big blind (BB), a player in middle position (MP), and the button (BTN). There is $80 in the pot.

The flop comes .

This flop is not good for most of the hands in my range (I think), and I am out of position to three players. This is not a good spot to c-bet. However, it is a good spot to check for information. Let’s see what everyone else does before I make a decision on how to proceed.

I check. BB bets $25 and gets called by both the MP player and the BTN.

On a wet flop, the BB has made a bet of just under one-third the pot into three opponents. This seems very marginal. MP and BTN just call the small bet — that seems marginal as well. Anyone with a strong hand or draw would not play this way. I think they all have either a marginal pair or a marginal draw and that they would like to keep the pot small. Time to poop on their party.

I raise to $100. BB and MP quickly fold. BTN gives a speech and then tank-folds after showing a . We will never know for sure, but MP said he folded and BB claimed he folded .

The Advance

This time last year, I would have likely bet big on this flop in order to protect my hand. There are a couple of problems with that approach.

First, I can’t protect my hand from a strong draw on this board. Even if I lead with a pot-sized bet, anyone with a strong combo draw is at least going to call. They might even shove, in which case, I’d either be slightly ahead or way behind.

Second, if I bet big to protect all my marginal hands, then my betting range will be too weak since there aren’t that many strong hands I can include to protect that range. Good players will read me like a book. When I bet big, my range will be weighted towards overpairs. When I check, I will usually have nothing.

Checking is clearly the best option because it avoids all of these range problems and it has the added benefit of improving my relative position. This is what I meant by checking for information.

As the preflop raiser, everyone will usually check to me before they make a decision. By declining to c-bet when I am out of position on a multi-way, wet flop, I pass that burden to the poor guy on my immediate left and give myself the best possible relative position. This means that even though I am in the worst possible absolute position (the SB), I get to see what the others do before I have to make a decision. Once I check in this hand, BB cannot check and force me to make the first move. He’s stuck with the hot potato.

Had BB made a big bet, I would have just called it or maybe even folded to it. Had he bet and been raised by either the MP or BTN, I would have folded for sure. Had it checked around, I could have made a delayed continuation bet on some turn cards once everyone had shown weakness. As it turns out, they all showed weakness in their bet-sizing, allowing me to win a larger pot with more information and less risk than a c-bet would have.

The Lesson

Protecting your hand by c-betting big on a multi-way, wet flop is often not a good idea, especially when you are out of position. Consider checking to improve your relative position and reevaluating when you have more information instead. Pay attention to bet-sizing tells and do not be afraid to attack weakness when you sense it.


Alternative Data Is Making (Credit) History in Sub-Saharan Africa
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Credit History | Short Link

In yet another example of how mobile technology is revolutionizing service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa, application developers, data mining companies and financial institutions are using mobile usage data and social media activity to determine the credit risk of potential borrowers. These efforts are helping to surmount one of the most significant obstacles to extending credit in developing markets.

In developing markets, conducting the due diligence needed to assess a borrowers credit risk is a challenge for two main reasons: geographic inaccessibility and little to no information as to the persons credit history. First, financial institutions typically have established in cities to be closer to the higher concentration of people and capital found in urban centers. These institutions have shied away from engaging rural populations because of high transaction costs due to poor infrastructure and a widely dispersed client base. Second, a dearth of financial as well as vital records creates a significant impediment to assessing the persons credit risk regardless of whether that person lives in an urban or rural area. Considering that Africa is home to the worlds fastest growing middle class, this is a significant missed opportunity.

Some of the ways in which modern sources of data are being used to tackle these challenges in assessing creditworthiness include:

  • In partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa, Kenyan mobile network operator Safaricom created M-Shwari. An outgrowth of M-PESA, M-Shwari allows M-PESA users to save and borrow money through their mobile phones. Prospective borrowers can qualify for loans if they save regularly on M-Shwari and continuously use other Safaricom services such as Voice, DATA and M-PESA.

  • Cignifi uses mobile phone usage to assess not only a persons credit risk but also the probability that a person will use a particular financial service or product. The company is working with partners in Uganda and Ghana to expand the use of mobile financial products and services in the countries. In addition to using mobile data, First Access analyzes additional financial information (such as the individuals water, utilities and educational payments history) to assess a persons credit risk. The company has a field office and subsidiary in Tanzania and is in the process of expanding its presence across the region.

  • Lenddo offers loans and free financial education to individuals based on their LenddoScore, a creditworthiness rating that the company generates through analysis of the prospective borrowers social media activity and related data sources. Following the group accountability model used by community-based microfinanciers, the LenddoScore also is impacted by the LenddoScores of the individuals network of family and friends.

Importantly, these services allow an individual to prove their creditworthiness in a matter of weeks rather than years. By both accelerating and innovating how financial institutions determine creditworthiness, these companies and others are promoting financial inclusion and spurring economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.


3 Ways to Use Foothill’s 3.99% Credit Card Rate to Reach Your Money Goals
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Consolidating Debt | Short Link

Consolidating debt onto one affordable credit card is a simple step toward breaking the debt cycle. Credit cards in Arcadia allow for flexible spending and convenience when paired with competitive rates. Reducing high-interest debt and spending more responsibly could be achieved with Foothill Credit Unions Platinum MasterCard and Platinum Rewards MasterCard — both offering low-introductory rates of 3.99% APR.

Whether youre looking to reduce debt or find a better way to manage your day-to-day spending, the Foothill Platinum MasterCard and Platinum Rewards MasterCard provide ample benefits for card users, including Identity Theft Resolution Services, Price Protection, Extended Warranty and Travel Accident Insurance.

The following are three ways your Foothill Platinum credit card can help you achieve many of the financial goals you want to accomplish.

1. Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Low-interest rates can help you pay down debt faster, especially rates as low as Foothills 3.99% introductory rate for 12 months. After the introductory rate, your Platinum MasterCard will switch anywhere from8.75% to 17.90% APR based on your credit worthiness. Your Platinum Rewards MasterCard will range from 10.25% to 17.90% APR for qualified buyers. Consolidating your high-interest credit card debt with one of Foothills Platinum credit cards could mean a cost reduction on balance transfers and new purchases for the first three months of opening the card. Then, you have a year to pay back the balance with the low introductory rate.

2. Manage Finances Better

Spending responsibly is a key component of managing your personal finances better. Not only do you not want to carry a balance on the card from month to month, but paying your balances within the 25-day grace period will essentially give you a free loan every billing cycle. Tracking your expenses is even easier when using your Foothill Platinum credit card to monitor spending online, so you know exactly where your money is going. Foothills cards have no annual fees or cash advance fees, which will help keep your credit card affordable for the long term.

3. Earn Rewards for Cash, Travel or Gift Cards

If youre going to use a credit card, you might as well get rewarded for all the purchases you make. Foothills Platinum Rewards MasterCard allows cardholders the ability to accumulate points toward cash rewards, gift cards for major retailers and restaurants, and travel points to visit more places across the globe. The rewards program is streamlined so you can get the most from your Foothill Platinum Rewards MasterCard, allowing you to spend your rewards on the things you want most.

Foothill Credit Union is a GOBankingRates client.

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee


Talk money before the wedding bells ring
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Credit History | Short Link

Unless you and your spouse-to-be have spent a significant amount of time discussing how you plan to handle finances after the honeymoon, you may be setting yourselves up for a rough go — at least in the beginning and maybe for your entire time together. Studies have shown that money is a frequent topic of arguments in many marriages. One of the reasons may be that couples don’t spend enough time talking about money before the “big day.”

Marriage is a many-splendored thing, but when you begin to peel away the layers, one important thing you find is a business arrangement — that’s just one reason why it’s called a marriage “contract.” And as with any business arrangement, in a marriage you have money flowing in and money flowing out. As long as the inflow exceeds the outflow, the arrangement usually works. But a marriage isn’t a typical business — there’s an emotional aspect to everything, including the couple’s finances. To help get the discussion started, here are some issues you should address together before you tie the knot.


Some say that the key to financial success is to spend what you have after saving, rather than saving what’s left after spending. Once you sit down and estimate your monthly income and expenses as a couple, it then becomes a matter of budgeting to control expenses and setting money aside to help achieve your goals.

Combining accounts

As engaged individuals, you probably already have your own savings, checking, and brokerage accounts. But as a couple, do you want to combine everything into joint accounts or keep them separate? Having separate accounts lets each of you feel independent, knowing that you can tap your finances whenever the need arises. On the other hand, joining accounts can help unite your goals and create a more effective investment program.


If each of you already own real estate, you will need to face issues with housing, including: Will you live in one spouse’s home, or sell both homes and purchase a new one together? What will be the likely tax consequences of selling – especially if the sale will result in substantial capital gains or losses?

Financial goals

In today’s economy it’s important to set aside money for emergency expenses in case of sickness or job loss – experts recommend saving three to six months’ living expenses. That’s why it’s important to establish financial goals and determine your priorities as a couple. Do you want to dine out often, or eat in and save? How much do you want to spend on traveling and entertainment? How about for buying and decorating a home, leasing a car, etc.?


Some people are raised to never borrow money unless it’s absolutely necessary. Others are taught that it is acceptable to take out a loan – even for a luxury item. Differing attitudes toward debt accumulation is just one reason it’s important to know before the wedding what, if any, debts each of you is bringing to the marriage. If there is debt, decide whether to combine it or to keep separate credit histories and records. Many experts recommend that each individual retain his or her own credit cards and credit history. Doing so helps ensure financial independence and provides greater flexibility if either of you finds yourself alone at some point in the future. Also, if one of you has a poor credit history, it may be advisable not to commingle debt in order to retain the other’s better credit rating.

Estate planning

Addressing estate planning is vital, regardless of your age. When two people commit to legal responsibility for each other, it’s appropriate to talk about how they want to provide for an orderly transfer of assets. Included in the discussion should be considerations of the financial implications of life insurance and what would happen if a wage earner or work-at-home spouse were lost. Pay particular attention to beneficiary designations on life insurancepolicies, IRAs and 401(k) plans. These designations will supersede instructions for distributing assets included in a will or trust. Each provider – insurance company, financial institution or plan administrator – needs to be contacted to update the beneficiary designations on these valuable assets. (This step is particularly important in the case of a second marriage.)

When appropriate, include your financial adviser, tax adviser and attorney in financial discussions before you say, “I do.” Open and honest communication before your wedding day may help you avoid money arguments and financial problems in your marriage.

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Dustin Schofield, vice president of The Schofield Group Investment Management. Contact him at 435-674-3601 or


Blog: You Say You Want A Dissolution: An Overview Of The Formal Corporate …
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Filing Bankruptcy | Short Link

Winding Down. If a corporations board of directors decides that thebusiness needs to be wound down, there are a number of legal paths to consider. Determining the best approach is fact-dependent, and the corporation and its board should get legal advice before making a decision. Sometimes a bankruptcy filing is needed, either a Chapter 11 reorganization (perhaps to complete a going-concern sale) or a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy (in which a trustee will be appointed to liquidate the business). In other cases, an assignment for the benefit of creditors might be a good choice.

A Delaware Corporate Dissolution.This post takes a high-level look at another, often simpler option: the corporate dissolution. It assumes that the business is a Delaware corporation, sincemany corporations incorporate there. The laws of the state of incorporation govern the dissolution process, so its important to remember that the process described below will differ if the business is incorporated in another state.

Why A Corporate Dissolution?Corporations typically choose to do a corporate dissolution when they dont need bankruptcy protection (and prefer to avoid filing bankruptcy) but want to have the corporation formally wound down. The dissolution process can be less expensive than other alternatives, particularly when litigation or disputes over claims is unlikely.

  • When properly conducted, a dissolution can bar late claims against the corporation and provide directors with protection from personal liability to claimants.
  • Unlike a bankruptcy filing (but similar to an assignment for the benefit of creditors), a dissolution requires shareholder approval; that often makes it a better fit for privately held corporations.
  • A dissolution typically requires at least one director to supervise the process and at least one officer to manage the wind down and liquidation, although some professional firms will step into those roles.
  • Corporations often elect to dissolve at a point when they anticipate being able to pay creditors in full and return some funds to shareholders or, if they are insolvent, find their creditors generally to be cooperative. If the corporation has a bank or other secured creditor, it helps if they arewilling to work with the corporation to liquidate the assets without a foreclosure.

A Corporation In Dissolution. Under Delaware law, once the dissolution commences the corporation is no longer permitted to operate as a normal business. Instead, as the Delaware statute provides, the corporation continues only gradually to settle and close their business, to dispose of and convey their property, to discharge their liabilities and to distribute to their stockholders any remaining assets, but not for the purpose of continuing the business for which the corporation was organized. The corporation is allowed up to three years to complete the dissolution process; if more time is required, a request has to be made to the Delaware Court of Chancery (although a corporation in dissolution remains in existence,without having to go to the Chancery Court,to complete lawsuits that are pending when the three year period expires).

Key Aspects Of A Dissolution. To give you a sense of the process involved, below is a list of some of the main steps in a dissolution. However, please note that important details go beyond the scope of this post. Examples includespecial voting procedures that may be required if preferred stock has been issued,possible alternatives to the claims process, establishing reserves for claims, payment of the costs of the liquidation, winding down subsidiaries, and the impact of foreign affiliates. It bears repeating: a corporation considering a dissolution should get legal advice on all aspects of the process.

With that caveat, a dissolution generally involves the following:

  • Board approval of a decision to dissolve and adoption of a plan of liquidation;
  • Shareholder approvalof the dissolution and plan of liquidation inrequisite majorities as provided under thecorporations then-current Certificate of Incorporation;
  • Filing of a Delaware Annual Franchise Tax Report and payment of franchise taxes, including a partial-year final franchise tax report;
  • Filing a Certificate of Dissolution with the Delaware Secretary of States office;
  • Timely reporting to the Internal Revenue Service of the dissolution;
  • A formal claims process, with at least 60 days notice to potential claimants of the dissolution and deadline to file claims, together with publication of the notice in required newspapers;
  • Review of filed claims, with appropriate offers to claimants or rejections of claims;
  • Resolution of any lawsuits, including any timely-filed by claimants whose claims the corporation rejected;
  • Liquidation of remaining corporate assets in accordance with the plan of liquidation;
  • Preparation and filing of all final tax returns;
  • Withdrawals or surrender of qualifications to do business in other states; and
  • Final distributions to creditors and, if funds remain, to applicableshareholders.

Conclusion. In the right situation, a dissolution can be the best approach to formally wind down a corporations business and corporate existence. As with all corporate governance matters, however, the corporations board and management should get legal advice tailored to the corporation, its business, and creditors, and guidance throughout the dissolution process.

Image courtesy of Flickr by JBrazito

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The Easiest Way to Check Your Credit—Fast
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Credit History | Short Link

As part of our 10-day series on Total Financial Fitness, weve got six quick workouts, inspired by the popular exercise plan that takes just seven minutes a day, that will help kick your finances into shape. Today: The 7-Minute Credit Check.

To get a handle on your credit history and credit score in just a few minutes, grab a credit card, sit down at your computer, and start the clock.

0:00 Theres only one legit site to get your report: annualshy; Click Request yours now!

0:07 The form is super easy: Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address. (Dont worry: Using your Social Security number is safe here.)

1:03 When youre finished, hit next to pick which reports you want. Youre eligible for one free report per year from each of the three agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transshy;Union. Opt for just one for now.

1:55 Next, verify some personal info. The questions vary, but expect to confirm details like names of previous employers or your bank.

2:02 Hit submit and presto: your credit report, with pages of information on your borrowing and credit history. Save a copy to scan for errors later.

3:00 Now youre ready to get your actual score. Some card issuers, including Citibank and Discover, offer it free, so start there.

3:37 No luck? Surf over to, where you can buy it for $20. Pick FICO standard and check the box next to the agency you picked for your credit report. See that promo code box? Google myfico promo code. Enter the best discount you find: We snagged 20% via


How Fast Can a Secured Credit Card Improve My Credit?
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Posted by admin on 03/02/2015 in Credit History | Short Link

If youre trying to build credit for the first time or improve a credit score damaged by past financial problems, you may have heard advice about using a secured credit card. Using a secured card can be an effective way to establish a positive credit history, but its not a one-size-fits-all strategy. For some consumers, using a secured card can help their credit within as little as six months of opening the account — for others, notable improvement can take much longer.

A secured card is, as the name suggests, secured by a deposit — say, $500 — that serves as your credit limit. If you fail to make a payment, the card issuer can take your deposit. Besides that, it works just like an unsecured credit card, or what you might consider a normal card. To build credit using the card, you should use as small a portion of your available credit as possible, because a low credit utilization rate will help your credit score, and you need to make your payments on time. Payment history has the greatest effect on your credit score, so you want yours to be free of missed payments.

You may want to get a secured card if you have no credit history or have a poor credit history — basically, if you cant get any other kind of credit card, this is your ticket to getting your credit score up. How things progress from that point depends heavily on whats in your past.

My general experience is that someone who has no credit is likely to benefit more quickly from a secured card, because theres no negative information — there’s just no positive information, so in as little as six months someone who is just building credit can get an unsecured credit card, said Gerri Detweiler, Credit.coms director of consumer education. There are few products that allow you to graduate from a secured credit card to an unsecured one, but once youve worked your way up to a good score, you can apply for a card you can reasonably expect to qualify for. (Here are some of the best secured credit cards in America for you to consider.)

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What If You Have Bad Credit?

The person with a messy credit history doesnt have it so easy.

Someone with negative or bad credit has more going against them, because its not that they just need this positive reference, which they do, it’s also that the negative information is still carrying a lot of weight on their credit, Detweiler said.

To know whether or not youve reached the point where you can get an unsecured credit card, you need to track your progress. You can do that by getting a free credit report summary every month on

As much as you may want an unsecured credit card — secured cards sometimes have annual fees, plus theres the deposit you have to put down — keep in mind that a secured card isnt going to affect your credit differently than an unsecured one.

The score doesn’t look at a secured card any differently than an unsecured card, said Barry Paperno, a credit score expert who has worked with FICO and Experian. It will look at the fact it’s a credit card, when the card was opened, the credit limit and the balance, and of course the payment history. In that way it will help establish credit just like an unsecured card.

If you have a history of delinquencies, collection accounts or any other negative information on your credit report, it could take a while for the secured card activity to turn around your credit score, but its worth the time and effort. Credit scores have a serious impact on many aspects of your finances, so it pays off to improve and maintain a good credit score.

More on Credit Cards:

  • 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
  • How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit
  • How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit

Image: iStock

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