National group payday advance
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Posted by admin on 04/24/2014 | Short Link

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Sixth Circuit summarily rejects EEOC expert in Title VII challenge to credit …
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Posted by admin on 04/24/2014 | Short Link

In a harsh rebuke of the EEOCs method of attempting to prove that Kaplan Higher Education Corp.s consideration of credit history for hiring in select positions was discriminatory, the Sixth Circuit, only three weeks after oral argument, issueda decisionupholding the federal district courts order excluding the EEOCs expert opinion from evidence and dismissing the EEOCs case. The first sentence of the courts opinion pretty much tells the EEOC all it needs to know:In this case the EEOC sued the defendants for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses. Indeed, the EEOC alleged that Kaplans use of credit checks causes it to screen out more African-American applicants than white applicants, creating a disparate impact that violates Title VII.Yet, according to the court, the EEOC runs credit checks on applicants for 84 of the agencys 97 positions.

In attempting to prove that Kaplans use of credit checks to screen applicants for certain positions, including those that provide access to student financial loan information, created an unlawful disparate impact, the EEOC relied on statistical data compiled by Kevin Murphy, who apparently holds a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology.Like the district court, the Sixth Circuit was not impressed with the reliability of Dr. Murphys methodology. This time, the last paragraph of the courts opinion speaks volumes:

The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.The district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding Murphys testimony.

So, it looks like it is back to the drawing board for the EEOC on its quest to eliminate the use of credit history checks from the hiring process.It is hard to understand, however, how the EEOC can continue to justify its targeting of credit history checks when it uses them itself for the same reasons that businesses use them. It will be interesting to see whether the EEOC revises its own practices in the near future as it continues to pursue this type of litigation in other federal courts.Undoubtedly, the EEOC will need to revise its litigation strategy in those cases because it does not appear that the methods used by and opinions of Dr. Murphy will survive to fight on.While its goal of eliminating systemic discrimination is laudatory, the EEOC needs to ensure that the methods it uses to identify criteria that discriminate are reliable. Regardless, employers that use credit history checks to screen applicants for employment must recognize that the EEOCs radar is on them and that should use credit history checks only when the positions for which application is sought justifies this kind of scrutiny.

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Dave Ramsey says: Being debt-free beats having a high credit score
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Posted by admin on 04/23/2014 | Short Link

Dear Dave,

Im 20 years old, and Im trying to get out of debt. However, Im concerned about what might happen when Im older and dont have a credit score. My girlfriend says I wont be able to get a job or rent an apartment without a good one. Is this true?

Ian

Dear Ian,

No, its not true. Im sure your girlfriend is a sweet person, but she has no clue what shes talking about in this situation.

In either case, you can simply explain that the reason you dont have a credit score is because you have no debt. Since you dont have any debt, you have something known as money. That makes you very stable, and it makes you a fantastic candidate as an employee or tenant.

Listen to me, Ian. Im a landlord, and if I had my choice between a tenant with no debt and no credit score and someone with a high credit score but lots of debt, Id take the one who has no debt in a heartbeat. Why? Because thats the one who is most likely to pay.

Besides, you already have a good credit history if youve paid your bills on time. Show them proof of that, if necessary. But taking on a pile of debt to have a high credit score or increase your current score is just plain stupid.

Dave

Dear Dave,

Would it be a good idea to open CD accounts for my two small children?

Abe

Dear Abe,

No. A CD is a certificate of deposit. Basically, theyre not much more than savings accounts that carry early withdrawal penalties. They earn about the same as a regular savings account, too, which at the moment is next to nothing. Theres no reason to open them for your kids.

Now, is it a good idea to save money on behalf of your children? Of course it is. But if the idea is simply to teach and help them save money, Id recommend simple savings accounts. If youre talking about wanting to save money for them like for a college fund Id suggest an Education Savings Account with good growth stock mutual funds inside.

Even if you want to put aside college savings, Id urge you to go ahead and open regular savings accounts for each of your kids. We did that for our kids, and I can tell you from experience that youll find tons of teachable moments about saving, giving and life in general.

Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter at DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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High LTV lending increases in Q1: BoE
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Posted by admin on 04/23/2014 | Short Link

High LTV lending has increased as lender appetites for risk have grown, according to the latest Credit Conditions Survey from the Bank of England.

In the three months to early March, lenders reported that the availability of secured credit to households had increased slightly, with availability increasing #39;significantly#39; at higher LTV ratios. Demand for secured lending for house purchase was reported to have increased in 2014 Q1, and was expected to increase significantly in Q2. Spreads continued to tighten, albeit at a slightly slower pace than previous quarters. Household loan performance was again reported to have improved significantly in Q1.

The availability of unsecured household credit increased slightly in 2014 Q1. Demand for credit card lending fell significantly but demand for other unsecured lending such as personal loans increased.

Overall corporate credit availability increased in 2014 Q1, the sixth consecutive quarter that lenders reported an increase in availability. Demand for credit was reported to have increased from SMEs and significantly increased for medium-sized companies and large corporates.

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More ECB easing is coming
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Posted by admin on 04/22/2014 | Short Link

From Credit Agricole:

The ECB’s assessment of price and activity conditions was fairly unsurprising. March HICP inflation was dragged down (to a record low of 0.5% YoY) by calendar and base effects; long-term inflation remain anchored; the recovery remains intact despite external risks; and weak credit flows to the private sector are a consequence of the necessary cleaning of banks’ balance sheets. In other words, risks to the medium-term outlook for price stability might be rising, but there is no reason to panic, or so goes the ECB’s narrative. Moreover, the hope remains that an improved policy transmission will lead to a de facto easing of monetary conditions as low rates are increasingly passed on to the private sector. The surprise came from other changes to the introductory statement as well as the overall dovish tone of the press conference. President Draghi managed to avoid too large a disappointment by hinting more explicitly at those radical steps the Governing Council might take if inflation continues to undershoot. ECB median staff forecasts already at risk after one month of data.

More specifically, the second paragraph of the introductory statement was completely changed and is worth reading in full (emphasis ours):

“Looking ahead, we will monitor developments very closely and will consider all instruments available to us. We are resolute in our determination to maintain a high degree of monetary accommodation and to act swiftly if required. Hence, we do not exclude further monetary policy easing and we firmly reiterate that we continue to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time. This expectation is based on an overall subdued outlook for inflation extending into the medium term, given the broad-based weakness of the economy, the high degree of unutilised capacity and subdued money and credit creation. At the same time, we are closely following developments on money markets. The Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using also unconventional instruments within its mandate in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation”.

Finally, the reference to “inflation rates [returning] towards levels closer to 2%” was dropped from the first paragraph, a change that goes beyond the cosmetic, in our view, and highlights the growing concerns within the Council that risks to price stability will eventually shift to the downside. Whatever the reasons behind the March HICP surprise, the fact is that the staff projections already look off track after only one month of data.

During the press conference, Draghi described the “ample and rich” discussion the Council had on all those available tools, which included QE (the first “explicit” discussion they ever had on this topic) as well as negative rates, another targeted or untargeted LTRO, or a suspension to SMP. As regards the latter two options, however, the Council discussed them only “briefly” and would likely consider them only if liquidity conditions were to deteriorate more markedly.

Finally, Draghi also insisted on the fact that conventional measures had not been exhausted yet, suggesting that a policy rate cut remained very much on the table.

We think that the updated staff forecast to be published in June would provide them with the perfect excuse to ease, and therefore we continue to see room for a (small and last) rate cut in June.

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Accused Ponzi schemer charged with federal criminal contempt
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Posted by admin on 04/22/2014 | Short Link

FOX UNDERCOVER (MyFoxBoston.com) — A West Roxbury man convicted for running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in recent history was charged with federal criminal contempt Wednesday, accused of spending thousands of dollars on himself instead of setting aside the cash for victims.

Steven Palladino, 57, was charged in an information with 25 counts of criminal contempt, the FBI announced today. Authorities say between May and November 2013 he willfully violated court orders stemming from civil litigation that he deposit the proceeds of cash advances into an escrow account.

Instead, authorities say, he racked up nearly $13,000 in credit card charges and cash advances, including charges in high-end restaurants. He also obtained about $137,000 in loans for his wife, using three luxury vehicles as collateral.

Several of his victims have told FOX Undercover they fear they will receive a tiny fraction of what they invested and lost because of Palladino.

The new charges come on top of his guilty plea in January in state court to running a Ponzi scheme that lost nearly $10 million invested with him. He is serving a ten-year sentence.

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‘Lacklustre’ Tourism In 3% Room Revenue Fall-Off
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Posted by admin on 04/21/2014 | Short Link

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Tourism suffered a “lacklustre” performance in February with total room revenues off 2.8 per cent, the Central Bank of the Bahamas attributing part of the decline to weather-related cancellations.

The regulator, in its monthly economic report for February, said domestic economic activity was “relatively mild” due to “softness in the key tourism sector” which offset the foreign direct investment-led growth in construction output.

“Preliminary data suggest a lacklustre outturn for the tourism sector, reflecting persistent sluggishness in the high value-added stopover visitor segment,” the Central Bank of the Bahamas said.

“Based on a sample of large hotels in New Providence and Paradise Island, total room revenues declined further in February, by 2.8 per cent, partly influenced by weather-related cancellations.

“This, combined with a modest reduction in available room inventory, led to a 30 basis point drop in the occupancy rate, to 65.6 per cent, with the average daily room rate (ADR) also lower by 0.4 per cent at $250.57.”

The Central Bank’s outlook for the Bahamian economy in 2014 remained relatively unchanged, with weak credit market conditions expected to continue holding back private sector demand.

The economy was expected to keep moving in a “mildly positive” direction, aided by foreign direct investment-driven projects on both New Providence and the Family Islands.

“The performance of the tourism sector is anticipated to show some improvement over the next few months, as the key stopover segment of the market recovers – although softness in some of the major source markets, combined with sustained regional competition could dampen this outlook,” the Central Bank said.

“In this environment, a gradual improvement in employment conditions is expected, with the majority of the job gains accruing to the services sector.”

The Central Bank added that Value-Added Tax (VAT) might lead to a “modest” increase in consumer prices, although it hinted this might be counterbalanced by a projected in international oil prices.

There was also “some improvement” in the Bahamian commercial banking industry’s bad loan portfolio in February, although this was by no means the start of a steady recovery, and did not include all institutions.

” Total private sector loan arrears declined by $27.4 million (2 per cent) to $1.316 billion, and by 31 basis points to 21.5 per cent of total loans,” the Central Bank said.

“By average age of delinquencies, the short-term, 31-90 day segment contracted by $23.5 million (6.4 per cent) to $344.7 million, reducing the attendant ratio by 35 basis points to 5.6 per cent. Non-performing loans–arrears in excess of 90 days, and on which banks have stopped accruing interest–decreased marginally, by $4 million (0.4 per cent) to $971.4 million, although edging up by four basis points to 15.9 per cent of total loans.”

Breaking things down, the Central Bank said: “The improvement in total arrears was led by the mortgage component, which fell by $27.4 million (3.8 per cent) to $694.2 million, as both the short-term and non-performing components were reduced, by $26.8 million (13.3 per cent) and $0.6 million (0.1 per cent), respectively.

“The more moderate decline in the consumer category, by $2.3 million (0.9 per cent) to $261.3 million, reflected a $2.1 million (2.4 per cent) decrease in 31-90 day delinquencies and a $0.3 million (0.1 per cent) softening in non-accrual loans.

“In contrast, the commercial segment grew by $2.3 million (0.7 per cent) to $360.6 million, with a $5.4 million (7 per cent) rise in short-term arrears offsetting the $3.1 million (1.1 per cent) fall-off in non-performing balances.”

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PNB Paribas Acquires South African Lender
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Posted by admin on 04/21/2014 | Short Link

VENTURES AFRICA – The South African unit of BNP Paribas a French-based lender with a focus on emerging markets has acquired 100 percent of South Africa’s provider of unsecured loans, RCS, for R2.6 billion ($250m) in cash.

This acquisition comes after The Foschini Group (TFG), which owns RCS, recently said it had plans to reduce its stake in RCS to less than 50 percent, cutting its exposure to the unsecured lending market.

The other 50 percent of RCS is owned by Standard Bank of South Africa, which is a South African unit of Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest bank by assets with operations on 18 African countries.

RCS is an unlisted independent consumer finance firm that is focused on providing retail credit card facilities, insurance and personal loans to South Africa’s middle class. It provides these services in association with numerous retail firms in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana.

The deal is expected to be effective 31 July this year after the fulfilment of relevant conditions that satisfy competition authorities. The deal is expected to be completed on or about 1 September this year.

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Foschini sells RCS to BNP Paribas loan unit
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Posted by admin on 04/21/2014 | Short Link

Johannesburg – European personal loan firm BNP Paribas Personal Finance had acquired The Foschini Group’s consumer finance business, RCS, for about R2.65 billion, the fashion retailer said yesterday.

BNP Paribas Personal Finance is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a French bank that is one of the largest in the world.

Foschini owned 55 percent of RCS, with the remaining 45 percent of the business owned by Standard Bank. It operates its own general purpose credit card as well as private label and co-branded cards, and provides personal loans and insurance products in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

RCS has more than 1 million cardholders and services a network of more than 18 000 retail outlets including Game, DionWired, Makro, Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Clicks.

A retail analyst said the deal would give Foschini a chance to focus on its core business.

Foschini agreed, saying it would be freed up to attend more closely to fashion retail fundamentals while reducing its gearing and exposure to the unsecured lending market.

At the same time, it will remove from its balance sheet a large portion of its debt which relates to RCS, it said.

Foschini’s share of the net proceeds was expected to be about R1.4bn, which it would use to optimise its balance sheet.

RCS chairman Peter Meiring said the deal was extremely positive for all parties as the BNP Paribas unit would help realise RCS’s growth aspirations and enable it to capitalise on a number of opportunities. He added that the move by the French bank was a clear sign of confidence in South Africa.

The transaction was expected to be completed by the third quarter this year.

Evan Walker, a portfolio manager at 36One Asset Management, said Foschini and Standard Bank had indicated that RCS was not part of their core business. Standard Bank does not want to play in the unsecured lending business and Foschini has said it will prefer to do other things with its capital rather than run an unsecured book like RCS.

He said the deal would help Foschini move forward and focus on the core business.

Thierry Laborde, the chief executive of BNP Paribas Personal Finance, said the company had seized the opportunity to expand its operations into South Africa.

The transaction is in line with our international growth strategy. The potential for growth in South Africa combined with the quality of RCS management has given us great confidence to enter the market.

Walker said BNP Paribas Personal Finance was predominately looking to expand into new markets and it was interesting that Steinhoff was its biggest customer in Europe.

What has been speculated is that it needs to buy critical mass, which is what it is going to be buying from RCS, and take over other books, including JD Group’s, in future.

Foschini gained 3.12 percent to R109.04 on the JSE yesterday. – Business Report

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New regional managing partner: Robin Abraham at Clifford Chance
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Posted by admin on 04/20/2014 | Short Link

Abraham is a leading banking and finance lawyer in Middle East having being based in Dubai since 2004. His areas of practice include project finance, restructuring, Islamic finance and secured and unsecured lending. Abraham has helped build the region’s most recognised and awarded banking and finance practice and has led many of the region’s high-profile financings including acting on various restructurings for Dubai entities and advising on multi-billion-dollar conventional and Islamic facilities across various sectors in the Middle East and Africa.

He will continue to be fully involved in client work.

Abraham joined Clifford Chance in 1995 and spent nine years in the firm’s London office with a short secondment in Amsterdam. He will remain on the firm’s global finance practice leadership group, but will step down from his positions on the firm’s partnership council and audit committee.

‘I am excited to be taking on the role of regional managing partner for the Middle East. It is an honour to be elected. My experience in the region and roles on Clifford Chance’s partnership council and audit committee have given me great exposure to the global pressures our clients in the region are facing.

‘We have a strong on-the-ground team of over 120 lawyers and a solid commitment to the Middle East and I am looking forward to working with my fellow partners and the management team on our growth strategy for the region.’

Following Clifford Chance protocol, Lovett is required to step down after serving two consecutive terms as regional managing partner. Considered as one of the most highly regarded disputes lawyers in the region he will continue, alongside James Abbott, to grow the firm’s dispute resolution practice in the Middle East.

As a senior partner of the firm he will also have a particular focus on client relationship development and will remain relationship partner for some of the firm’s most established client relationships.

‘In his eight years as regional managing partner for the Middle East, Graham has overseen the growth of our Middle East presence from one office in Dubai to four offices with the addition of Abu Dhabi, Doha and most recently Riyadh. We thank him for his immense contribution and leadership,’ said Abraham.

Lovett remarked: ‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my terms as regional managing partner and thank our clients and the Clifford Chance Middle East team for all their support over the past few years. I’m looking forward to this next phase in my career which allows me to continue growing our market leading dispute resolution practice as well as supporting Robin in his new role.’

Clifford Chance has in the past three years launched offices in Riyadh, Doha, Casablanca and Istanbul as it continues to serve clients across the Middle East and North Africa. It became the first international law firm to launch a joint Saudi and foreign owned law firm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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