New Federal Rules for Mortgage Forms Blamed for Delaying Loans

It is taking home buyers longer to get a mortgage, which some in the real-estate industry say is the result of new federal rules meant to make mortgage terms easier to understand.

Mortgages took an average of 49 days to close in November, a three-day increase from October and the longest closing time since February 2013, according to mortgage-processing firm Ellie Mae. Behind the scenes, some lenders describe disarray as various parties in real-estate transactions carry different interpretations of the same rules.

The changes, implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October, replace the forms borrowers receive when they make an application and before they close on a mortgage. The new forms are meant to make mortgage terms and fees clear.

The rules also require lenders to give borrowers final terms of a loan at least three business days before closing to ensure they have time to understand the agreement. Lenders say that both changes resulted in large technical and training challenges.

“Everything is in turmoil right now. Nobody knows what they’re doing,” said Kelly Welch, executive vice president at lender Equity Resources Inc. in Newark, Ohio. So far, Ms. Welch said her company has closed more than 300 loans under the new regime.


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PERSPECTIVE: How to evaluate a company before you hand over your money

Why do we choose one place of business over another? Sometimes its just personal experience, recommendations from friends or an ad in the newspaper or other media. But when we know little about a business, many of us turn to other forms of recommendations.

One most people are familiar with is the Better Business Bureau. I went to their website and typed in car repair and Culpeper, VA and they gave me a single response of a shop in Petersburg. Not very helpful. The BBB has been criticized for its accreditation system. It makes virtually all of its money from companies being listed in the database. It does attempt to provide some dispute resolution assistance for consumers, which may be a cheaper way to resolve a complaint, although it has no legal authority.


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Where to Invest Money in 2016: 5 Great Ideas

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Tips on keeping your money and identification safe

In this Dec. 17, 2015 photo, a New York City Police detective holds a credit card skimmer that was used by a street gang to copy metadata from legitimate credit cards for use in the manufacture of counterfeit cards and possibly identity theft. A new trend is emerging that shows street crews and local gangs giving up more traditional activities like gun point robberies or drug running for more white-collar varieties of crime like identity theft or credit card fraud. (AP Photo/Colleen Long)


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Mabs initiative for people struggling with mortgage arrears

Debt crisis group to spearhead EUR10m initiative

A new service to help distressed mortgage holders was launched today by tánaiste Joan Burton and minister for social protection, Kevin Humphreys.

The Dedicated Mortgage Arrears service will be run by Mabs, the state’s money advice service, which has been guiding people through dealing with debt for more than 20 years.

The service will increase the supports available to people in arrears, and form part of the government’s wider range of measures to assist people with unsustainable debt.

Speaking at the launch, Burton said: “We are providing EUR10 million of additional funding over the next three years across the Mabs network to provide more targeted services to distressed home owners.

“This will see Mabs play a greater role in offering appropriate information, advice and assistance to mortgage holders through all stages of the mortgage arrears resolution process and beyond.”

There will be three key strands to the dedicated mortgage arrears services.

Firstly, the helpline will provide callers with an assessment, in order to channel them to the most relevant source of help.

Secondly, specialist advisers will assist mortgage holders in assessing which option on offer from their lender is the best and most sustainable for them and – where required – will negotiate with their lender.

Thirdly, court mentors will be available to assist home owners facing court. They will work closely with the Insolvency Service of Ireland and offer support and advice for borrowers on court proceedings, as well as direct referral back to Mabs where a case is adjourned.

Commenting on the need for court mentors, Humphreys said: “Increasingly, debtors with significant mortgage arrears are arriving at Mabs after receiving letters regarding legal proceedings.

“They need advice and support on going to court and on the range of resolution options that may be available to them.

“There is now a Mabs court mentor service at all court repossession hearings right across the country.”

Burton said: “While the most recent data available from the Central Bank shows that the number of home owners in mortgage arrears has fallen significantly as the economic recovery picks up, there is still a large number of borrowers in long-term arrears and the Mabs services will provide vital support and assistance to them.”

For more information on the Mabs’ dedicated mortgage arrears support service, call 0761 07 2000.


Renovate wisely or risk wasting your money

A long summer beckons and hardware stores will be choked as many of us use the holiday to repair and renovate our homes.

If you join the throng, think about your motivations. Has the year’s barrage of television renovation programs inspired you? Are you looking at a home makeover in preparation for selling?

Beware, say the experts. You risk overcapitalising your house by spending money on improvements that won’t deliver at sale time.

o How to win from the apartment glut
o What will your property be worth in three years?
o RBA boss relieved by cooling house price growth

It’s a tricky time to be planning work because credit is still easy to get, but growth in house prices is set to fall and values could drop.

Financial advisor Andrew Courtney of Alps Network said it’s easy to overcapitalise when renovating or extending.

The sorts of investments that you will never get your money back on are very expensive fixtures and fittings in a suburb that doesn’t quite fit this profile, building a very expensive shed to cater for your boat and toys, a brick garage as opposed to a carport and very expensive flooring like wood when laminate will most likely do the job, Mr Courtney told The New Daily.

Adding a bedroom and/or bathroom can add $100,000 in the right area and he said this is where it pays to do your homework and understand what sells in your suburb.

Know your property values

There are two important factors to consider when embarking on renovation. Where does your house sit relative to the median and average house prices within your street or suburb? And are you over or under the average?


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Dear grads: Advice for paying student loans

Drew Moody, who graduated in 2007 from Northern Illinois University with an English degree, recently finished paying off all his student loans. His strategy: making payments weekly instead of monthly. He divided his monthly payment by four so he was paying one-fourth of the amount every week.

By paying more often, Moody reduced his principal faster and therefore the amount of interest he paid.

You could also consider refinancing your student loans. Refinancing can save you money in interest if you qualify – the average borrower who refinances saves about $11,000, according to Credible, a student loan refinancing marketplace – and can make your monthly payments simpler.  

Melanie paid more than her minimum monthly payments
When you can, pay more than your minimum monthly payment to help pay off your loan faster and save on interest. Whenever you make a larger-than-required payment, tell your loan servicer to apply the extra toward your principal instead of your next loan payment to ensure your payment lowers your balance.

To earn extra money to put toward repayment, Lockert scoured Craigslist and TaskRabbit for side gigs. She’s been a brand ambassador, worked in catering, and participated in medical studies.

Lockert paid off her student loans in December 2015, making one large payment of about $11,000. She’s ecstatic to be done almost 10 years after completing her undergraduate degree.

“Debt fatigue is real,” she says. But, she adds, “realize that it is temporary.”

So, 2015 grads, we hope these stories inspire you to tackle your student debt smartly and with less stress.

— Your friends at NerdWallet

Sign up for NerdWallet Grad’s weekly newsletter to get student loan and money advice delivered right to your inbox.

More from NerdWallet:

  • Answered: Should I Refinance My Student Loans?
  • How to Start an Emergency Fund While You Pay Down Student Loans
  • NerdWallet’s Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness


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10 Trusty Tips for Taking Out Personal Loans in 2016

Personal loans are an avenue to explore if you are looking to get your hands on money to meet various needs.

Considering that these loans are extended for a defined term, consumers also like the enforced discipline of paying off the loan within a set time frame.

Here are 10 tips for 2016 for those considering personal loans.

Compare the best personal loan rates at Bankrate.com.

1. Make sure a personal loan offers you the best deal

Consumers use personal loans for different purposes.


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Leicester to offer Jamie Vardy new ‘double your money’ contract to ward off …

Jamie Vardy will be offered a new “double your money” contract to keep him at Leicester.

Premier League hot-shot Vardy, 28, has already become a pound;30m January target for Chelsea after his incredible goalscoring form.

But table topping Leicester are determined to tie down Vardy with a new pound;80,000-a-week deal which would see off interest from clubs trying to steal him away.

Vardy signed a new pound;40,000-a-week deal in 2014 and still has two and a half years left so Leicester have not been in a rush to renegotiate.

But they have seen a number of big clubs – also including Tottenham – eyeing up their prize asset and there is now a belief that Chelsea will come in during January as they look to strengthen their options.


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COP 21 Paris Climate Change Summit: the importance of putting your money where …

The Conference of Parties (COP) 21 Climate Change Summit in Paris saw 195 countries adopt a universal and legally binding global climate deal. In addition to the revamped measures that came about from the summit, the ambitious goal of mobilising USD100 billion per year until 2025 has been re-established.

The EU and its member states have committed itself to a binding target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, as laid out by the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

The Paris agreement is the first of its kind, and also officially marks serious global acknowledgement of the disastrous effects the climate could have on civil society if pollution levels are left unchecked. Pressure was higher than ever with regard to the outcome of this summit, in view of the disagreements and perceived failure of the 2009 Copenhagen climate change summit.

A global action plan has been laid out with the aim of limiting global warming to well below 2ordm; Celsius and thereby avoiding dangerous levels of climate change. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.

Key elements of the Paris Agreement: reducing emissions

The Paris Agreement is a bridge between todays policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century, reads the European Commissions COP21 page. Todays policies refer to targets laid out by the Kyoto protocol which entered into force in February 2005, as well as the EUs 20/20/20 climate change targets.

Governments agreed to a number of targets with the ultimate goal being to reduce emissions. A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2deg;C, above pre-industrial levels has been agreed. In addition to this, there has been agreement to limit the increase to 1.5deg;C, as climate change scientists and researchers believe this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

A bone of contention in the 2009 Copenhagen summit was the lack of definition for a basis of when global emissions would peak and then start to come down. This time around, governments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, and acknowledged the fact that this will take longer for developing countries.

A number of nations, including the EU and encompassing all 28 member states, submitted a holistic national climate action plan. Many NGOs and climate change scholars have criticised the submitted plans as they are not enough to keep global warming below the desired 2deg;C. Others have argued that the agreement paves the way to achieve this target in a concrete and manageable way.

Transparency and global stock take

As part of sticking to emission reduction targets, governments have agreed to come together every five years and report to each other and the public on the progress and implementation of such targets. They also agreed to set more ambitious targets as required by scientific developments during these gatherings.

A transparency and accountability system has been agreed upon for the purposes of tracking progress towards the long-term goal.

Adaptation

Governments have agreed to strengthen societies ability to manage the impacts of climate change, and also provide continued and enhanced international support for adaptation to developing countries.

The impacts of climate change is expected to be extremely costly, making it very difficult for developing nations to cope with new targets and the changes of climate change. The expected desertification of Africa for example, will come at a great cost to an already struggling continent.

Loss and damage

The agreement acknowledges the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

It also acknowledges the need to adopt early warning systems, emergency preparedness and risk insurance as a consequence of climate change.

This is significant as it formally recognises the danger that is posed by the global effects of climate change. This fact is no longer being disputed and allows for concrete and decisive action.

Support

Developed countries, inclusive of the EU have committed themselves to provide assistance to climate change impacts in developing countries, in view of the fact that they do not have the same resources and financial flexibility. They have also committed themselves to support climate action to reduce emissions in developing countries.

The existing goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year until 2025 has been re-established through the commitment of developed countries.

Climate finance: cornerstone of the Paris Agreement

Proposed initiatives in order to reverse the effects of a heavily industrialised world and the ensuing climate catastrophe that is sure to follow would be unmanageable without the appropriate financial backing.

In October, the European Parliament called on the EU and its member states to agree on a roadmap to scale up finance towards their fair share of the overall target USD 100 billion by 2020. It also proposed earmarking a portion of the EUs Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) allowances as sources of climate finance, as well as revenues from EU and international taxes on aviation and shipping emissions.

Showing solidarity and a willingness for the COP21 Paris summit to pave the way for meaningful change, The World Bank Group announced it will increase climate financing to potentially USD 29 billion annually through the support of its members. This has provided a substantial boost to global efforts to help countries manage the impacts of climate change and move towards the desired low-carbon growth.

The announcement was made during the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru in a private meeting. This meeting was attended by government ministers who came together to discuss climate financing ahead of the Paris summit.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said that 20 per cent of the Bank Groups funding is climate related, and that it could rise to 28 per cent in 2020 in response to client demand. This would represent a one-third increase in climate financing.

Through direct funding and leveraging co-financing for clime-related projects, this together could potentially amount to USD 29 billion annually.

The position of the European Parliament

Climate change is viewed in the EP as a key focus, as it builds on EU landmark legislation and urges forward-thinking climate policy.

In addition to the 20/20/20 EU targets, which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2020 among other measures, MEPs have turned their focus on the next level of initiatives which need to be addressed.

MEPs have adopted plans to freeze the auctioning of some CO2 permits from the European Emissions Trading System, and to create a stability reserve for the purpose of restoring the incentive effect of the scheme and encourage firms to invest in low-carbon innovation.

A press release published ahead of the Paris climate summit stated that new energy efficiency legislation will help consumers cut their energy bills and the EU as a whole to hit its climate change target of using 20 per cent less energy by 2020.

It has also been said that the EP approved mandatory energy-saving measures, such as renovating public buildings, energy-saving schemes for utilities and energy audits for large firms, could save euro;50 billion per year and create thousands of new lsquo;green jobs.

Building codes in the member states will require all new buildings to have near-zero energy consumption, and impose regular inspections of boilers and air-conditioning systems. Mandatory energy labelling for household appliances will help consumers to assess running costs, it said.

The role of the EU

The EU has been stepping up its efforts to become the leaders in the fight against climate change. It has been building a broad coalition of both developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that has shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference. Seeking to propose policy through evidence based research, the EU, through institutions such as the Joint-Research Centre has had the ability to have its proposed measures coming from cutting-edge scientific research facilities.

The EU was the first major economy to submit its intended contribution to the new agreement in March 2015, seeking to lead by example and mobilise other countries to do the same. It new goal of reducing emissions by at least 40% by 2030 is already underway, and efforts to limit the effects of climate change are continually being stepped up.

The agreement will be deposited at the UN in New York and opened for signature for one year on 22 April, 2016. The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries, which account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification.


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