Bank of America Mortgage to Lease Pilot Program

Although the foreclosure crisis is making far less headlines than it once did, it is still a big problem in America.

In fact, underwater mortgages are back to 2011 levels, currently at 11 million homes or 22.8% of all residential mortgages.

For those 11 million homeowners, an underwater mortgage represents an impossible financial situation to rectify because homeowners can’t sell their home but also can’t afford the payments and for most, it will likely be many years, at least, before they see the value of their home return if they see it at all in their lifetime.

When a homeowner can’t meet their mortgage obligation, the bank or mortgage lender holding the loan suffers because the bank still has to make the payment to the investors holding the loan.  These toxic loans aren’t draining the balance sheets of these large banks but it does affect profitability and that’s bad for business at a time when banks have underperformed the stock market since 2009.

For four years, banks have tried to get these bad loans off their books.
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President Obama Signs STOCK Act – No Congressional Insider Trading

If you’re a retail or individual investor you may feel like the little guy can’t win in the stock market.

The individual investor is a little fish in the vast ocean we call the world’s investment market and only the biggest of the investors can actually get ahead.

Many of us have said that in the past but we were hoping that it wasn’t true.  The market is supposed to be set up so everybody has the same information and although insider trading is difficult to police, some high profile cases over the past couple of years have made big investors a little less likely to share illegal information when others aren’t looking.

How does it make you feel to know that insider trading was not only legal, but your elected officials were taking part?

Thanks to the recent signing of the STOCK Act, or Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act, members of Congress can no longer profit from insider trading. Continue Reading

Visa® Black Card™ Review – A Luxury Card That’s Expensive But Full of Benefits

For years, American Express has had the luxury/executive card market to itself with its wildly successful Platinum Card®.  Visa® has entered the upscale luxury card market with its Black Card (the card is backed by Barclays Bank Delaware).

The Visa Black Card is working to differentiate itself from other credit cards with its appearance and exclusivity.

The Visa Black Card is made with carbon (no, you shouldn’t concern yourself with how a card looks but it is kind of neat that’s it’s carbon – maybe it could come in handy in a MacGuyver situation?).  Also, membership is limited in order to ensure top-quality service for members.  That’s a big distinction from most of the plastic credit cards on the market today.

Let’s take a look at the features and benefits that the Visa Black Card offers, shall we?

Visa Black Card Benefits

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Student Loan Debt Bubble – Is This Our Next Economic Crisis?

As if the student loan problem wasn’t already approaching crisis levels, it may get a lot worse.

In 2010 more than $100 billion worth of student loan debt was taken out, making the total amount that Americans owe for education now more than $1 trillion.

The average graduate leaves school with $25,250 in student loan debt and faces decades of payments.

Although the recent student loan reform may ease the burden by making it possible to lower the payments based on the borrower’s level of income, some students face loan payments that are higher than they would pay on a modest size home mortgage.
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What is Mortgage Amortization and How Does it Work?

Paying off a mortgage is an overwhelming task.

A mortgage is a big debt—almost as big as your house—so the best most of us can hope to do is to shorten the term by prepaying as much of the loan that we can as quickly as we’re able.

Why should we want to do that?

Owning your home free and clear is a good place to be.  You’re living in your home with no mortgage payment and that’s when saving money and life in general get easier.

But there’s something more.

The cumulative interest on mortgage loans makes your loan balance even bigger.

A mortgage of $200,000 will require nearly $350,000 in monthly payments over a 30 year period.  Anything you can do to shorten the term can save a lot of money.

What is Mortgage Amortization?

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New Technology Makes Shopping With Your Credit Card Easier

Most of us can’t remember a time when credit cards weren’t a part of our wallets.

Remember the Diner’s Club card?

Credit cards actually go back to the 1920’s when gas station attendants wanted to provide a system of payment for the increasing amount of automobiles on the roads.  The first cards were made out of card stock making them easy to counterfeit but as is the case with every good idea, evolution took over.

As of this year, of the households who have a credit card balance, the average amount of debt is $15,956 per household which equals total outstanding balances of $609.8 billion nationwide.

The evolution of the credit card is far from over.

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New Bank of America Fees – Savings and Checking Ain’t What it Used to Be

It’s was nice to feel like we won, at least for a short period of time.

Banks are once again dreaming up new fees to recoup losses that have come from tighter financial regulation as a result of the 2008 and 2009 financial collapse but until now it’s only been a dream.

What the Fees Are For

Happy March 1st to Bank of America (BAC:NYSE) customers who may have read the reports that the nation’s second largest bank is piloting a program in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts that would charge $6 to $9 for what they are calling the Bank Essentials program.

Taking away the marketing lingo, this means that customers will pay a monthly fee to have a checking account at Bank of America and it doesn’t stop there.

Other fees being tested by BAC include fee structures of $9, $12, $15 and $25, a price sure to turn off many customers. Continue Reading