S.African lenders brace for increase in bad debt
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Posted by admin on 10/22/2014 | Short Link

The nations unsecured lending market is being squeezed between growth at the weakest level since the 2009 recession and rising rates as inflation feeds off a 6.3 percent drop in the rand this year. In the six months through June, banks recorded an average increase of 1.2 percent in non-performing loans compared with a year earlier, according to PwCs local unit. The firms measure of loans by the four biggest banks that may not be repaid within the terms of the borrowers contract rose to 43.2 percent by end-June.

Standard Bank Group Ltd., Barclays Africa, FirstRand Ltd. and Nedbank Group Ltd. are vulnerable as customers buckling under higher borrowing costs struggle to repay debt, according to Neelash Hansjee, an analyst at Old Mutual Plcs Cape Town- based investment unit.

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UK housing market cools further as mortgage approvals slip
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Posted by admin on 10/21/2014 | Short Link

LONDON (Reuters) – British mortgage approvals slipped a three-month low in August, according to official data, falling slightly more than expected and adding to signs the housing market has cooled in recent months.

The Bank of England said mortgage approvals numbered 64,212 last month, the weakest reading since May and down from 66,100 in July. Analysts had forecast a fall to 65,000.

Economists said the decline was a consequence of tougher checks on mortgage borrowing introduced in April.

With approvals having nudged down for two successive months and other evidence … pointing to weaker demand, the housing market resurgence seems to be running out of legs, said Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to accountants Ernst Young.

Surveys from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and mortgage lender Halifax earlier this month showed house price growth slowed significantly in August.

But despite recent signs of moderation, the housing market remains a major concern for policymakers looking for threats to Britains financial stability.

The BoEs Financial Policy Committee releases its quarterly policy statement on Thursday. In June it introduced tougher checks on mortgage lending and capped home loans to 4.5 times a borrowers income.

One thing to look out for here is any assessment from the committee on the governments Help To Buy scheme, said Investec economist Philip Shaw, referring to a programme that guarantees higher loan-to-value mortgages.

Earlier this year, the European Commission said the government should consider scaling back Help to Buy because of rising house prices, and the BoE is scheduled to report back to the government on whether the scheme should continue.

The housing market is a major political battleground ahead of a national election next May.

Britains prime minister David Cameron pledged on Saturday to build 100,000 new homes and offer them to younger first-time buyers at a 20 percent discount if his party wins.

A LONG WAY OFF PEAK

Monthly mortgage approvals are still well short of the 90,000 level seen before the 2008 financial crisis, and below a recent peak of more than 76,000 in January.

The British Bankers Association reported last week that the number of mortgages approved by its members fell to a 12-month low in August.

Earlier this year, Governor Mark Carney said that housing was the biggest domestic threat to Britains economic recovery, because of the risk of borrowers taking on too much debt.

The BoE has been seeking to cool the mortgage market since January when it refocused its Funding for Lending Scheme away from mortgage lending and dedicated it exclusively to business lending.

The BoE said lending to non-financial businesses increased by 817 million pounds in August, down from a 1.166 billion pound rise in July. Year-on-year, lending fell by 2.8 percent, the smallest decline since the series started in April 2012.

Lending to small businesses alone contracted by 301 million pounds, although the pace of decline eased from Julys 434 million pound drop.

Unsecured lending to consumers rose by 898 million pounds in August, slightly above a Reuters poll forecast for 850 million pounds. On an annual basis, consumer credit rose by 6.1 percent – its fastest rate of growth in eight years – from 6.0 percent in July.

This is consistent with high levels of confidence and strong growth in retail sales despite sluggish wage developments, said Barclays economist Fabrice Montagne.

In the months ahead, we expect a continuation of these trends, with mortgage activity consolidating while consumer lending expands further.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Can You Erase A Late Payment From Your Credit History?
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Posted by admin on 10/21/2014 | Short Link

Interested in making a big purchase like a house or car, but your credit report is marred by a history of late credit card payments? Believe it or not, there is something you can do to wipe it out.

It’s called credit card re-aging, which requires you to make an agreement with your credit card company to pay off the debt in a lump sum or make consecutive on-time payments. The process allows credit card companies or banks to record accounts as current or up-to-date, according to credit.com.

How It Works

Under such agreements, the site says, a late account that was once recorded by credit reporting agencies as late will be listed as “Paid on time.” Credit.com says some financial institution will erase entire delinquent payment histories and post them as current.

“Most time card companies do not advertise this feature,” Andrea Amir, CEO and founder of smartmoneychicks.com, an online financial advisory group, told NewsOne, “but they will discuss it if you ask about it. Most times, people don’t know that re-aging is the formal name for it and simply ask they can have late payments removed from their credit card histories.”

Most credit counseling programs use credit card re-aging to wipe out debt, she said. And the key after re-aging credit, Amir says, is to avoid falling into the trap of making late payments again.

Amir recommends re-aging to clients who are trying to improve their credit, especially those who have undergone financial hardship. In fact, she says she wishes she had used the process herself before filing bankruptcy twice in the same year near seven years ago.

“It was a lesson learned and I’ve empowered myself through financial literacy so now I can help others,” she said.

When Re-aging Isnt a Good Thing

But watch out for bad re-aging of credit, Amir said.

What is it? Well, it’s when a collection agency renews the start date of a debt with simple phone call.

Say you are beyond the statute of limitations–usually about seven to 10 years–for a debt collection when suddenly you receive a call about it. Acknowledging the debt or even making a payment arrangement with a debt collector could activate re-aging of the debt, even though you are legally in the clear, according to Credit.com. That means the debt could show up on your credit report as if you fell behind just 30 days ago and it will be another seven to 10 years before it disappears from your credit history.

But it’s illegal, a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The collection agency could be fined up to $2,500. That’s why, Amir says, it’s important to monitor your history by requesting a free copy of your annual credit report.

“Do not engage when a debt collector calls,” in this case, Amir said. “Just say stop calling and remove my name from your list. If you’ve pulled your credit report, and see that the debt has been renewed, you can change and dispute it through a credit bureau. Don’t’ bother with the collection agency. “

Further, it’s important to secure all of your agreements in writing, and follow-up in writing yourself because there is always a chance that something could get lost in the computer system, or not recorded in the first place.

“Financial literacy is about education and making informed decisions,” she said. “Once armed with information, we can all make better decisions about our money and how to spend it.”

RELATED STORY: Do You Have An Attitude About Money? Change It In 10 Easy Steps

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Mobile apps help users manage finances more efficiently
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Posted by admin on 10/21/2014 | Short Link

Ashley Bona found herself in a boatload of financial trouble when she graduated from college with $70,000 in student loans and no clue how to manage her debt.

She said she didnt have a full grasp on the amount of debt she was in after she graduated from college.

But not too long ago, Bona found a high-tech solution to her problem. She uses a couple of different mobile apps that break down her spending habits into categories and alert her to overspending.

I set a budget, whether it be monthly or weekly, of how much I want to spend on each category, Bona said. It will send me weekly alerts if Im going over, if I have room to spare in my budget and it helps me keep track of where I am with each of the things and really shows me where my money is going.

Personal financial management apps, such as the ones Bona uses, pull data daily from personal bank accounts, credit cards and even 401ks. Some of the apps feature a snapshot of the users financial standing with graphs and charts, highlighting what bills need to be paid, where money is being spent and how a savings plan is coming along.

Some of the mobile apps can also help users avoid overdraft and late fees. Other apps may alert users of opportunities to pay down a balance quicker.

Julie Conroy, research director for Aite Group Financial Services, said the financial apps can make it easier for users to handle their money.

It takes a lot of the headache out of the issue for consumers and gives you that good picture of what your money looks like without the tedious effort associated with balancing your checkbook and comparing all of your statements from all of your different online applications, she said.

Some apps can help you avoid overdraft and late fees. Others may alert you of opportunities to pay down a balance quicker.

There are a lot of different things that you can get out of this, said Mark Schwanhausser, a director of financial services at Javelin Strategy and Research. The question is, what is it that you want? What are your greatest needs? And then just go out there and find the app for it.

No matter what app you choose, checking your accounts regularly will not only keep you updated on your cash flow but alert you to any fraudulent behavior that you can immediately report to the financial institution.

Bona said she wishes she had found the financial apps sooner so that she could have managed her money better while she was still in college.

One tip for downloading a financial management app is to download it directly from the website rather than the app store. Sometimes fake apps are posted and your financial information can be taken.

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Bridge enters business rescue, cuts lending by 75%
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Posted by admin on 10/21/2014 | Short Link

HANNA BARRY: Short-term unsecured lender, Bridge, has applied for business rescue due, it says, to a lack of institutional funding caused by some risk aversion around the unsecured lending sector in South Africa after the failure of African Bank. Now ordinary people could invest in Bridge and essentially fund its lending activities, these 1200 investors or so will see their returns slashed from as high as 19% in many cases or 12% in others to just 6% so that the company can generate sufficient internal funding to remain a going concern.

On the line now to discuss what the business rescue process means for investors is Cliff Coombe, executive director at Bridge. Cliff, thanks for your time this evening, why the decision to place Bridge into business rescue and not simply restructure the company to better deal with the challenges its facing?

CLIFF COOMBE: Hanna, yes, thanks for the question, I think the first thing that we need to understand is that this is not simply your run of the mill restructure, we are asking our investors to participate in this process and its fairlyhellip;it touches them where it hurts most. Its their pockets and we need a buy-in from all the investors in Bridge.

So this is where we take the mechanism of business rescue, which we believe has been developed specifically for a position like this where we can have a collective bargaining process, where everybody whos got a vested interest can come in, have their say, participate in the process and then ultimately vote on the business rescue plan, so that its not something thats just forced upon the investor, all stakeholders must play a role in this process.

HANNA BARRY: Cliff, what kind of a timeline are we looking at in terms of voting for the business rescue plan and then seeing it completed, can you give us some dates.

CLIFF COOMBE: Look, its difficult, Hanna, the plan that we ultimately decide on could be a longer-term plan, could be as long as three, four years but the business rescue process could be finalised as quickly as six months, seven, eight months. That will all depend on the participation of all the role players one, and two obviously the business rescue practitioner, Mr George Nel, is really now in control of that process. There are timeframes prescribed in law but due to the size of the business it will take a month, maybe two to get everyone together, get all the input and then hopefully vote on the plan. What we are hoping for and what we are going to be pushing for as the directors is to get this thing turned around as quickly as possible, we do not want a protracted process, wed like to get the guys in, get their input, turn it around and finish the process so that we can get on with business as usual.

HANNA BARRY: Cliff, can you give an indication as to how much money Bridge needs to raise or perhaps cut back on in order to remain a going concern, you mentioned that it spends around R17m a month to facilitate lending transactions, which enables it to then put out around R100m a month into the market in the form of loans, how are those figures going to change?

CLIFF COOMBE: Yes, Hanna, weve got two sides to the business, obviously the investor side where were paying out investor return and then on the operating expenses side, which is what youre referring to now. Now simply put, Bridge has built a business that has the capacity to put R100m a month into the market, which is not massive in terms of the size of the market but its a healthy business and that was what our planning was built and structured around. So what we now need to do is bring it down because we are essentially going to be self-funding in the next foreseeable future because we dont believe that institutions at this point will be funding this sector any further, not in the short term in any event.

So we believe that we can put R20m to R25m a month into the market from a self-funding perspective and that would then mean that we would have to adjust our infrastructure to accommodate a quarter of what it was built for.

HANNA BARRY: Would that entail potential job losses or scaling down on certain operations?

CLIFF COOMBE: Hanna, the unfortunate reality is that is a fact, it is an unfortunate thing that we will have to do but there will be job losses, there will be some of the branches. The size of the effect of it I cant speak to because we will have to decide as a group, all stakeholders have to participate in the process and then come up with a business rescue plan. So ultimately I cant give you the figures right now but the realities are that for the time that we are in, the economic cycle that were operating in, we would need to restructure the business and that would need some harsh reality issues like cutbacks on jobs.

HANNA BARRY: Lets talk about the impact on investors now, I mentioned earlier that obviously theyre going to see their interest payments cut quite significantly, could I as an investor then be seeing a return of 6% for the next five years, foreseeably?

CLIFF COOMBE: Hanna, again, it will depend on the final plan, at this point weve agreed with the business rescue practitioner that we will keep on paying a 6% return, which is to our minds related to what the banks in general would be offering. This would be the case for the next two to three months or two months while were finalising the plan, hopefully by then well have the plan and that will then ultimately determine what the final figure is and for how long that will be repaid.

In terms of the debentures that were issued 18 months ago, those debentures have a five-year term, its a legal requirement, so theres three and a half years left in terms of the running period on those and thats why were saying youre looking at probably three and a half years in terms of whatever the plan would have to entail.

HANNA BARRY: Just in terms of the loans that Bridge has issued, Bridge I think is quite confident that its lent money to people who can afford it, although it has come under fire in recent years for emolument attachment orders, which are often called garnishee orders, although incorrectly but essentially where creditors attach a part of your salary in order to be paidhellip;they attach that salary directly from your employer. You said in your business rescue statement that defaults are at a five-year low, how does Bridge define a default or a non-performing loan and what percentage of your book would you say is non-performing?

CLIFF COOMBE: Hanna, yes, again, the business rescue plan and the reason why we went into business rescue is to ensure a sustainable future. This touches on capital preservation for all those investors, we want to make sure that even though the guys are taking less of an interest rate they can sleep sound in the fact that their capital will be preserved for the remaining period.

Now being a strong business and having a sustainable future obviously depends on the fundamentals and Bridge has never had any issues on the fundamentals, we believe that it is a good business thats got a good positioning in the market, we have a strong client base, we have an 18% bad debt average, which we are quite happy with, its coming down and its the simple fact that there are that many clients in the market looking for loans that the quality of loans are certainly improving. So were confident that the business model is as strong as it was 18 months ago when this process was kicked off.

The only issue that we are dealing with is a funding issue, so were looking at the economic climate and the cycle around this and were saying if were not going to get funding in the short to medium term immediately now we have to become self-funded, we need to reinvest, the operating expenses need to cut down, reinvest that and also reinvest a portion of our investors returns into our own assets to make sure that we are a sustainable business in the future.

HANNA BARRY: Cliff Coombe is an executive director at Bridge.

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Fears about unsecured lending persist
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Posted by admin on 10/21/2014 | Short Link

JOHANNESBURG – Measures taken by South Africas leading retail banks to tighten lending criteria and slow down growth in unsecured lending may not be enough if tough economic conditions continue, a new index warns.

Speaking at the release of the Boston Consulting Groups (BCG) Retail Banking Performance Index for South Africa, Michael Seeberg, principal at BCG, said banks will probably have to take further steps if the muted economic environment persists, especially since trends in consumer lending books is a lead indicator of what might change in the credit quality of other asset classes like mortgage and vehicle finance.

The South African Reserve Bank placed African Bank under curatorship in August after the unsecured lender said it needed billions more in capital and its share price collapsed. The banks demise has raised questions about the health and sustainability of unsecured lending and the implications for retail banking in South Africa.

Seeberg said it is important for banks to ensure that risk management practices are adequate to manage loan books and that they can provide early warnings. They should be in a position to identify trends in their books and have good collection processes in place. At a more granular level, banks also have to be conscious of where they do business, how the market is evolving and whom they lend money to, he said.

Dr Klaus Kessler, senior partner and managing director at BCG, said the next big thing is the industrialisation of risk management, something he believes is also on the cards for South African banks.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is requiring European banks to not only look at risk and risk management from an operational perspective, but to add a strategic dimension. This means every bank is requested to come up with a five-year risk strategy plan that defines its risk appetite over the next five years, he said.

European banks are also required to report how they plan to match the increasing risk with a set of capabilities that include tools, people and structures.

Kessler said he is pretty sure that this approach will be globalised fairly soon which means it would also be applicable to South African banks.

Seeberg said the Regulator has been very prudent in the past. Since South Africa is a G20 country that is interested in foreign direct investment, a stable banking sector is an element of key interest for the Reserve Bank.

But despite the woes of unsecured lending, Seeberg still believes retail banking in South African is a profitable sector that is well-capitalised.

Kessler said that in general African banks are managing the risk on their books pretty well and in a much more proactive way than Greek banks did in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

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Reynolds endorses Fry
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Posted by admin on 10/20/2014 | Short Link

#x201c;Dear House District 27, Rep. Fry is aware and focused on the challenges facing Iowa taxpayers and employers.

During his time in the Legislature, he has worked to lessen the burdens Iowans face at the state level. He#x2019;s supported policies that encourage Iowa employers to invest in the workforce through increased funding for workforce training and community college funding.

He was a leader in passing Iowa#x2019;s largest property tax cut and fought against any retreat on this measure. And he#x2019;s brought smart budgeting policies to state government. Under Rep. Fry#x2019;s leadership, the state no longer spends more than it takes in.

Please join me in voting for Rep. Joel Fry on Nov. 4.#x201d;

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Adobe Simply Is A Cash Machine (ADBE)
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Posted by admin on 10/20/2014 | Short Link

The intrinsic value of a company is based on its future free cash flow stream. After discounting a companys future free cash flow stream and summing each annual cash flow, one adds (or subtracts) the firms net cash (or net debt) position to that sum. The result is equity value and compares directly to a firms market capitalization (price). Dividing each of these measures by shares outstanding gets to intrinsic value per share and the companys share price, respectively. Comparing the companys intrinsic value to its share price determines whether a company is undervalued or overvalued. Lets do this process for Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE).

Adobe Systems Investment Considerations

Investment Highlights

bull; Adobe Systems business quality (an evaluation of our ValueCreation and ValueRisk ratings) ranks among the best of the firms in our coverage universe. The firm has been generating economic value for shareholders with relatively stable operating results for the past few years, a combination we view very positively. Adobe has one of the highest rated Economic Castles in our coverage universe.

bull; Adobe is one of the largest software companies in the world. The firms flagship offering in its digital media business is Adobe Creative Cloud, which allows customers to download the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite products (like Photoshop). The firm also continues to focus on digital marketing solutions.

bull; Adobe Systems has an excellent combination of strong free cash flow generation and low financial leverage. We expect the firms free cash flow margin to average about 28.5% in coming years. Total debt-to-EBITDA was 2 last year, while debt-to-book capitalization stood at 18.4%.

bull; Adobe continues to gain significant traction with respect to Creative Cloud subscriptions. Growing from just 195k in the third quarter of 2012, Adobe anticipates exponential growth in coming quarters and will round out fiscal 2014 with 2.8 million-plus paying subscribers. We love this recurring, subscription-based model.

bull; Adobe Marketing Cloud is quickly becoming a favorite of Chief Marketing Officers as digital marketing bookings continue to expand at a nice clip.

bull; Adobe registers a Valuentum Buying Index rating of a 6.

Business Quality

Economic Profit Analysis

The best measure of a firms ability to create value for shareholders is expressed by comparing its return on invested capital with its weighted average cost of capital. The gap or difference between ROIC and WACC is called the firms economic profit spread. Adobe Systems 3-year historical return on invested capital (without goodwill) is 201.6%, which is significantly above the estimate of its cost of capital of 10.6%. As such, we assign the firm a ValueCreation rating of EXCELLENT. In the chart below, we show the probable path of ROIC in the years ahead based on the estimated volatility of key drivers behind the measure. The solid gray line reflects the most likely outcome, in our opinion, and represents the scenario that results in our fair value estimate.

Cash Flow Analysis

Firms that generate a free cash flow margin (free cash flow divided by total revenue) above 5% are usually considered cash cows. Adobe Systems free cash flow margin has averaged about 34.3% during the past 3 years. As such, we think the firms cash flow generation is relatively STRONG. The free cash flow measure shown above is derived by taking cash flow from operations less capital expenditures and differs from enterprise free cash flow (FCFF), which we use in deriving our fair value estimate for the company. At Adobe Systems, cash flow from operations decreased about 52% from levels registered two years ago, while capital expenditures fell about 10% over the same time period.

Valuation Analysis

Our discounted cash flow model indicates that Adobe Systems shares are worth between $52-$78 each. Shares are trading at roughly $63 each at the time of this writing.

All value is based on the future free cash flow stream. The future will always be unpredictable to a degree. The larger the unpredictability of a companys future free cash flow stream, the bigger the margin of safety around a companys fair value. The margin of safety around our fair value estimate is driven by the firms LOW ValueRisk rating, which is derived from the historical volatility of key valuation drivers.

The estimated fair value of $65 per share represents a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of about 115.1 times last years earnings and an implied EV/EBITDA multiple of about 41.4 times last years EBITDA. Our model reflects a compound annual revenue growth rate of 13.3% during the next five years, a pace that is higher than the firms 3-year historical compound annual growth rate of 2.2%. Our model reflects a 5-year projected average operating margin of 28.3%, which is above Adobe Systems trailing 3-year average.

Beyond year 5, we assume free cash flow will grow at an annual rate of 5.2% for the next 15 years and 3% in perpetuity. For Adobe Systems, we use a 10.6% weighted average cost of capital to discount future free cash flows.

We understand the critical importance of assessing firms on a relative value basis, versus both their industry and peers. Many institutional money managers – those who drive stock prices – pay attention to a companys price-to-earnings ratio and price-earnings-to-growth ratio in making buy/sell decisions. With this in mind, we have included a forward-looking relative value assessment in our process to further augment our rigorous discounted cash flow process. If a company is undervalued on both a price-to-earnings ratio and a price-earnings-to-growth ratio versus industry peers, we would consider the firm to be attractive from a relative value standpoint. For relative valuation purposes, we compare Adobe to peers Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL).

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Margin of Safety Analysis

Our discounted cash flow process values each firm on the basis of the present value of all future free cash flows. Although we estimate the firms fair value at about $65 per share, every company has a range of probable fair values thats created by the uncertainty of key valuation drivers (like future revenue or earnings, for example). After all, if the future was known with certainty, we wouldnt see much volatility in the markets as stocks would trade precisely at their known fair values. Our ValueRisk rating sets the margin of safety or the fair value range we assign to each stock. In the graph below, we show this probable range of fair values for Adobe Systems. We think the firm is attractive below $52 per share (the green line), but quite expensive above $78 per share (the red line). The prices that fall along the yellow line, which includes our fair value estimate, represent a reasonable valuation for the firm, in our opinion.

Future Path of Fair Value

We estimate Adobe Systems fair value at this point in time to be about $65 per share. As time passes, however, companies generate cash flow and pay out cash to shareholders in the form of dividends. The chart below compares the firms current share price with the path of Adobe Systems expected equity value per share over the next three years, assuming our long-term projections prove accurate. The range between the resulting downside fair value and upside fair value in Year 3 represents our best estimate of the value of the firms shares three years hence. This range of potential outcomes also is subject to change over time should our views on the firms future cash flow potential change. The expected fair value of $88 per share in Year 3 represents our existing fair value per share of $65 increased at an annual rate of the firms cost of equity less its dividend yield. The upside and downside ranges are derived in the same way, but from the upper and lower bounds of our fair value estimate range.

Pro Forma Financial Statements

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(click to enlarge)

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In the spirit of transparency, we show the latest study of the Valuentum Buying Index here. Past results are not a guarantee of future performance. Thank you for reading!

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5-year forecast projects steady district finances
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Posted by admin on 10/20/2014 | Short Link

South-Western City Schools finances are projected to be healthy over the next five years.

School district Treasurer Hugh Garside presented a five-year forecast to the school board at its Monday, Oct. 13, meeting, with the board subsequently voting to approve the document.

Districts are required to present a five-year financial forecast each October and May, Garside said, and the October document now will be sent to the Ohio Department of Education.

Its a financial roadmap of where we think our district will be over the next five years, he said.

The forecast covers the current fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2019.

Overall, district revenue will remain roughly the same over the five years while expenditures will increase by a projected $43 million over the five years, Garside said.

Overall, our cash balance is strong and positive through the five years, he said.

The district is projected to have a cash balance of more than $40 million at the end of fiscal year 2019, Garside said.

Garsides presentation included a review of some assumptions regarding revenue and expenditures for the next five years.

South-Western saw an increase of about 6.5 percent in state funding from 2012-13 to 2013-14, due to the biennial state budget, Garside said.

For the current fiscal year, the district should see an increase of about 2.6 percent in state funding, he said.

In the spring, the next state biennial budget will be under construction, and Garside said he expects South-Western will see some increase in state funding. He cautioned, though, that he always takes a Ill believe it when I see it attitude toward funding for education in state budgets.

The district ranks 11th out of the 16 Franklin County school districts in the total millage of all property tax levies, he said.

South-Western also is in the bottom third among districts in expenditures per pupil, he said, adding that reflects the districts aim to provide a good education at a reasonable cost.

The district negotiated three-year contracts with all three of its bargaining units that will expire in fiscal year 2016, Garside said. Each agreement provides a 2 percent pay increase each year of the existing contract.

Garside said he is projecting a 2 percent annual increase for the years beyond the contracts as well, as a what-if placeholder.

About $2.5 million in added annual expenditures is projected starting next school year when district will implement all day, every day kindergarten classes, he said.

South-Western will see a 10 percent increase in its health insurance premiums for employees, a trend that is expected to continue through the period of the forecast, Garside said.

The cost of supplies and materials is expected to increase about 4.5 percent over the next five years, he said.

Much of that is due to the purchase of fuel for the districts buses, Garside said.

Each 30 cent increase in the price per gallon represents about $100,000 in increased costs annually, he said.

Right now, fuel prices are down, so thats good, Garside said.

The new elementary school buildings are more energy efficient, but they are also air-conditioned, so the electricity costs for the buildings will roughly be a wash, he said.

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Credit history session will feature experts
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Posted by admin on 10/20/2014 | Short Link

YOUNGSTOWN

Experts from Huntington Bank will be on hand from noon to 1 pm Oct. 23 to show participants how to read a credit report and how to build and repair their credit history at YWCA of Youngstown, 25 W. Rayen Ave.

By the end, participants will be able to identify ways to build and repair their credit history, recognize how to correct errors on their credit report, recognize how to guard against identity theft and more.

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