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By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2012
Wells Fargo borrowers potentially eligible for mortgage rate reductions under the national settlement with big banks are being notified this month, Maryland's attorney general said Friday. The lender is mailing out rate-reduction offers in waves, meaning that some borrowers already might have received their letter, said the office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. In a statement, Gansler urged homeowners to "respond as soon as possible. " Those who don't get an offer in the mail by the end of May but think they're eligible should call the bank at 800-288-3212, he added.
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NEWS
By Kat Hyland | July 14, 2014
How competent is your 18-year old? Do you trust him or her with your credit card? How about the brand new family car? Better yet, do you think he is competent enough to take out several thousands of dollars of debt with a few pen strokes? Education has long enjoyed a prominent status as the keystone in the archway to American success. What supports this idea is the concept that the barriers to higher education are surmountable, and that people who cannot afford to pay for school out of pocket can borrow money as an investment toward their future.
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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 12, 2012
About 1,000 Baltimore-area residents are expected to receive thousands of dollars each under a landmark $175 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Wells Fargo over accusations of discriminatory lending practices. Under the terms of the deal announced Thursday, Wells Fargo also will provide $7.5 million to the city of Baltimore, which federal officials credited with first raising issues of discrimination related to bank's subprime mortgages. The city alleged Wells Fargo steered minorities into subprime loans, gave them less favorable rates than white borrowers and foreclosed on hundreds of Baltimore homes, creating blight and higher public safety costs.
BUSINESS
By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun | June 23, 2014
A South Dakota-based payday lender and its California partner are to pay about $2 million under the terms of a settlement designed to address "abusive" lending and collection activities, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said Monday. Regulators first placed a cease-and-desist order on Western Sky Financial, owner Martin Webb and related entities in 2011, after complaints from consumers about interest rates of up to 1,825 percent, well above the state cap, which ranges from 24 percent to 33 percent based on the size of the loan.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | January 5, 2012
Under an agreement announced Thursday by the Maryland attorney general's office, Wells Fargo has agreed to make loan modifications and pay nearly $1 million in restitution to customers of two lenders acquired by the bank. The office's Consumer Protection Division, which reached the agreement with Wells Fargo, said lenders Wachovia and Golden West Financial used deceptive marketing in offering consumers adjustable-rate home loans. Wells Fargo will pay $940,056 to borrowers with "Pick-a-Payment" mortgages written by Wachovia and Golden West who lost their homes in foreclosure, the agreement says.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | September 19, 2011
The number of borrowers defaulting on federal student loans continues to rise in Maryland and elsewhere. But even during the long and painful economic recovery, many of these defaults likely are unnecessary. The federal government has long offered leniency for borrowers in financial hardship. But two years ago it added an income-based repayment plan that caps monthly payments based on a borrower's income and family size. If a borrower earns little or nothing, the monthly payment would be zero.
BUSINESS
By Kenneth R. Harney | July 6, 1997
IF YOU'RE ONE of the millions of American homeowners with an active credit line tied to the equity in your house, the odds are strong that you're not using the money to fix up your property, pay for college tuitions or invest in a business venture.A new national study of home-equity borrowers reveals that, while home improvement used to be the main reason people took out home equity loans, borrowers now tap their real estate equity primarily to pay off high-cost credit cards, charge account and personal loan balances with lower-cost, tax-deductible home equity dollars.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH R. HARNEY | May 26, 1996
IF YOU'RE ONE OF THE hundreds of thousands of American homebuyers or refinancers who took out a popular, cut-rate mortgage earlier in the 1990s, carrying the name "balloon reset" or "two-step," get ready to make a key financial decision.The first wave of an estimated 800,000-plus Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae five-year and seven-year mortgages originated nationwide from 1991 onward is hitting its rate-adjustment or payoff points. And in some cases, say mortgage industry experts, borrowers are unaware of the special mechanics of their loans.
BUSINESS
March 30, 1997
A recent survey for the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that almost half of borrowers think the information they receive from lenders is too much to comprehend.The survey, done by Yankelovich Partners during a three-week period that ended in mid-February, showed that 44 percent of borrowers felt that the settlement cost information was too much to understand all at once. Also, 31 percent of those surveyed said the biggest hurdle was understanding and completing the paperwork, while 17 percent had difficulty determining how much their loan would cost.
BUSINESS
By JANE BRYANT QUINN and JANE BRYANT QUINN,1993, Washington Post Writers Group | November 7, 1993
New York -- Having trouble paying bills? Falling behind on your payments to a bank or mortgage company? Every lending institution in America has some kind of policy in place for negotiating with borrowers who are financially strapped.The problem is, the lenders moan, that you don't use this service early enough. You should come clean with your creditors before black marks stipple your credit record.When you sit down to talk about your problems, they say, you'll probably be offered a temporary reduction in payments that might get you over the hump.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | December 9, 2013
Heidi Lieske's business idea came while shelling out more than $300 for a wedding-suitable outfit - for her 1-year-old son. "There has got to be a better way to do this," she thought. Her Timonium company aims to be that option for like-minded parents - people who want to dress their kids in Dior, Versace and other designer clothes for special events without the eye-popping purchase prices. Borrow Mini Couture rents dresses, suits and other outfits for ages 9 months to 4 years, priced between $30 and $99 for a five-day stint.
NEWS
November 18, 2013
Local government officials aren't the only ones who have to worry about meeting the stormwater pollution reduction targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its Chespaeake Bay pollution diet. The State Highway Administration also has a massive infrastructure of outmoded stormwater management systems that need upgrading, not to mention thousands of lane-miles of impervious surfaces that contribute to the flow of polluted water into the bay. Acheiving that is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars during the next five years.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | August 2, 2013
With the start of classes just weeks away, Maryland financial aid directors sighed with relief that Congress has finally reached an agreement on student loan interest rates that will lower costs for borrowers this academic year. "We have been getting calls from students," said Zhanna Goltser, director of financial aid at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. "It's great that it will save money for students who are borrowing now. " "Now" is the key word. Under a new formula created by lawmakers, the rate on certain federal loans could go up significantly in a few years.
NEWS
July 24, 2013
After months of partisan haggling and finger-pointing, the Senate is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would keep interest rates on college student loans from doubling. Actually, the rate already has doubled - from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent - because Congress missed a June 30 deadline to avoid an automatic increase in borrowing costs that was scheduled to kick in if lawmakers didn't act. Now senators and representatives are rushing to play catch-up before students report to campus, in hopes that they won't be blamed for yet another failure to act in the national interest.
NEWS
By George Liebmann | March 11, 2013
There is a sharp disconnect between the image and reality of the O'Malley administration's fiscal policies. The image features pension reforms, reduced structural deficits, a rainy day fund, and protection of programs. The reality includes deferred maintenance, transfer of costs to local governments, "Medicaid cuts" that shift costs to hospitals and the privately insured, revenue bond financing for core functions, failure to curb pensions and health benefits, raids on open space and Injured Workers' Insurance Fund revenues, over-reliance on gambling (both literally and within the state's pension funds)
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2013
A Baltimore County police union is suing the county retirement system's board of trustees over a $25 million loan the county took from the pension fund to update recycling facilities in Cockeysville. In a lawsuit filed last week in Circuit Court, the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 claims the deal reflects a breach of duty, and the board did not get enough advice on the consequences of the loan or obtain adequate security. "We have a responsibility to the people we represent, and quite frankly, all county employees should be concerned about this," said union President Cole Weston.
BUSINESS
By Kenneth R. Harney | January 15, 1995
Washington -- The federal government has just put the finishing touches on rules that spell out key rights you have as a borrower once your mortgage loan has been closed.Though the regulations focus primarily on the servicing of your loan -- the collection of monthly principal, interest and escrow payments by your original lender or another firm -- they also govern how questions or disputes should be handled on your mortgage account.Issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
NEWS
By Alan M. Collinge | August 29, 2007
For four months this year, while Congress was overhauling student loan laws, I traveled the country in a beat-up RV meeting with citizens and legislators. My mission was simple: Persuade Congress to restore consumer protections to student loan borrowers. After 22,000 miles, 42 states and five flat tires, I can't help but feel that my efforts were a waste of time. And gas. Sure, the House and Senate passed the College Cost Reduction Act. The bill includes some attractive provisions for those headed back to campus this fall, including interest rate reductions, loan forgiveness for public service, Pell grant increases and income-contingent repayment plans for future graduates.
BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar and The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2013
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is not happy that the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency settled with 10 mortgage servicers this week, putting an end to the Independent Foreclosure Review that the government required the firms to organize. “I am deeply disappointed that the OCC and the Federal Reserve finalized this settlement and effectively terminated the Independent Foreclosure Review process before providing Congress answers to serious questions about how this settlement amount was determined, who these funds will go to, and what will happen to other families who were abused by these mortgage servicing companies, but have not yet had their cases reviewed,” said Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in a statement following the settlement announcement Monday.
NEWS
December 11, 2012
President Barack Obama shares responsibility equally with the U.S. House of Representatives on the financial issues facing this country ("The GOP's cynical debt limit ploy," Dec. 10). He has not had a budget passed (or even got one vote in the Senate) and he has not proposed one fix to either Medicare (except taking dollars from Medicare in the Affordable Care Act) or Social Security (except helping bankrupt it sooner by his 2 percent reduction in withholding); both programs will be bankrupt within 20 years, and the time to fix that is now. The biggest social injustice in this country's 237 years is President Obama's borrowing 40 cents on every dollar to run the country.
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