Posts tagged ‘Need’

Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin – What You Need To Know

*Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym* Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin happens to be a hot subject. Here’s Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin explained – the good, the bad, and just how to profit.
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The reality About Cryptocurrency & Investing in Bitcoin
0:18 – How cryptocurrency and bitcoin was created
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What Is The Minority Mindset?
The Minority Mindset has nothing to do with the manner in which you look or what type of family you’re from. It really is a mindset.

Supply the vast majority 0 and they’ll keep coming back with a pair of footwear. Supply the minority 0 they’ll come-back with ,000.

Believe through the mindset of a customer and be the supplier, that is the Minority Mindset. Don’t be the majority. #FTM #ThinkMinority

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Whenever Will Most Likely Cryptocurrency Go Mainstream

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I’m Ameer Rosic, and I also’m a serial entrepreneur, investor, Marketing Strategist and Blockchain Evangelist

Digital currencies, with Bitcoin within forefront, made huge advances in only the past few months. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple – the most effective three digital currencies by marketplace capitalization – have actually each cultivated significantly in expense within the last month or two. More currencies are entering the area, and brand-new organizations and establishments are cropping up all the time, compliment of a wave of preliminary coin choices, or ICOs.

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Do you need credit monitoring?

Do You Need Credit Monitoring?

The thought of a thief running up huge credit-card debts in your name is frightening. But credit-monitoring firms are banking on that fear, especially if you’re already a victim of a data breach. Before you shell out 0 (or more) per year for a credit watchdog, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Maybe you know that you won’t keep adequate watch yourself. Perhaps you’re applying for a mortgage and want to make sure your credit remains pristine. Or you could just be obsessed with the idea of credit fraud. If so, credit monitoring might be worth the peace of mind.
If you’re on the fence about whether you need credit monitoring, consider these self-serve approaches for protecting your credit:
Watch your bank and credit card statements for fishy transactions — Make a habit of scanning your financial accounts daily, or at least weekly. Some creditors will even allow you to set up your own free alerts to notify you when online transactions are made on your account or when a purchase exceeds a specified amount.
Keep an eye on your credit report — By law, you’re entitled to a free report every year from each of the three bureaus, so you might as well order a different one every four months. Scan it for abnormal activity, such as accounts or credit cards you didn’t open. You can order the report through each agency, or Don’t fall for the add-ons; you just want the score.
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do you need credit monitoring?
do you need credit monitoring?
do you need credit monitoring?

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Target says they’ll monitor the credit of more than 100 million people after a data breach last month. 22News reporter Anaridis Rodriguez spoke with people directly impacted by the breach.
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Pew Report Finds Military Checking Account Practices Need Improvement

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 28, 2014

The Pew Charitable Trusts today released its first evaluation of checking account practices at banks and credit unions on military bases, finding that some employ practices that provide transparency and protect consumers but that all of the institutions examined could do more. The report underscores the need for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to write new rules that make checking accounts safer and more transparent.

“Safe financial products are essential for all consumers, but they are especially important for Americans serving in the military,” said Susan Weinstock, who directs Pew’s consumer banking research. “Service members face unique challenges associated with repeated deployment and frequent relocations, and it is essential that financial institutions implement policies to promote transparency and protect account holders from harmful or hidden practices. We urge the CFPB to take concrete steps to improve checking account safeguards for both military and civilian customers.”

The new report, Checks and Balances, Stars and Stripes, expands to on-base banks and credit unions Pew’s analysis of the disclosure, overdraft, and dispute resolution practices at large U.S. banks, captured in the Checks and Balances report series. Pew evaluated checking accounts offered by 18 of the 31 Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) on-installation member banks and 111 of the 134 Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) on-installation member credit unions to determine how well the financial institutions’ practices align with Pew’s policy recommendations.

In the area of disclosure, Pew found that 42 percent of banks and 17 percent of credit unions do not provide any disclosure information online, making it difficult for deployed service members to access critical information about the terms and conditions governing their accounts. Yet of those banks that provide account information online, almost three-quarters of banks offer a summary disclosure box and half of the banks offer boxes that meet Pew’s criteria for effective disclosure.

Regarding overdraft policies, the vast majority of the banks and credit unions that Pew studied do not protect their customers by automatically declining transactions at an ATM or the point-of-sale that would overdraw an account. Further, more than half of banks and three-quarters of credit unions reorder at least some transactions in a manner that can create more overdrafts. Pew found that the median overdraft fee was $ 35 for banks and $ 29 for credit unions; however, two-thirds of the banks do not charge an overdraft fee for a de minimus withdrawal or purchase, typically $ 5.

For dispute resolution, Pew found that 65 percent of banks include mandatory arbitration clauses in their account agreement documents, limiting customers’ legal recourse by requiring arbitration in the event of a significant dispute. On the other hand only 6 percent of credit unions employ these clauses.

Pew urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to require all financial institutions to:

    Summarize key information about terms and fees in a concise, uniform format.
    Provide account holders with clear, comprehensive terms and pricing information for all available overdraft options.
    Make overdraft penalty fees reasonable and proportional to the financial institution’s costs in providing the loan.
    Post deposits and withdrawals in a fully disclosed, objective, and neutral manner that does not maximize overdraft fees.
    Prohibit pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration clauses in checking account agreements, which prevent account holders from accessing courts to challenge unfair and deceptive practices or other legal violations.

To analyze these accounts, Pew attempted to collect the account agreements from each of the listed AMBA- and DCUC-member financial institutions, and was able to do so for banks and credit unions operating on 71 percent of all domestic Department of Defense installations.


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What You Need to Know About Free Credit Repair

Free credit repair is when you do not pay a services agency to fix your report. It is simply a do-it-yourself process which involves being conversant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which are the laws regulating the system.

Other than these, you need to understand how long negative accounts can remain on your file. For instance, late payments, collection accounts and charge-offs should not spend more than 7 years on your file. Though collection accounts and charge-offs have a 6-month extension in addition to the 7 years after which they should be deleted.

Take a situation where you are required to repay your bank a minimum of 500 dollars monthly until you pay the total debt. The first time when you are late in paying the expected monthly 500 dollars, it will be recorded on your file with the reporting agencies. It does not matter if you are late in subsequent months after the first late payment. The late entry that is reported to the bureaus is the first one.

Now let us imagine a situation where you are to make monthly payments to your bank for a period of 12 months, that is, January to December. Let us again imagine that you defaulted in paying on time for the month of February, which is the second month during the period of repaying the loan. Again, you did not pay on time for the months of July and November. What this means is that you made late payments on three occasions.

However, the way it works is that the 7 year period during which this late payment will stay on your file is from the first late payment which is February and not those of July and November. These are the kind of things you need to understand when you choose to go with the free repair process as against paying a services agency to do the fixing for you.

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Credit Rating Agencies – Need For Reform

1. Crisis – Spotlight on Credit Rating Agencies

“Credit-rating agencies use their control of information to fool investors into believing that a pig is a cow and a rotten egg is a roasted chicken. Collusion and misrepresentation are not elements of a genuinely free market ” – US Congressman Gary Ackerman

The smooth functioning of global financial markets depends, in part, upon reliable assessments of investment risks, and Credit Rating Agencies play a significant role in boosting investor confidence in those markets.

The above rhetoric, although harsh, beckons us to focus our lens on the functioning of credit rating agencies. Recent debacles, as enunciated below, make it all the more important to scrutinize the claim of Credit Rating Agencies as fair assessors.

i) Sub-Prime Crisis: In the recent sub-prime crisis, Credit Rating Agencies have come under increasing fire for their covert collusion in favorably rating junk CDOs in the sub-prime mortgage business, a crisis which is currently having world-wide implications. To give some background, loan originators were guilty of packaging sub-prime mortgages as securitizations, and marketing them as collateralized debt obligations on the secondary mortgage market. The agencies failed in their duty to warn the financial world of this malpractice through a fair and transparent assessment. Shockingly, they gave favorable ratings to the CDOs for reasons that need to be examined.

ii) Enron and WorldCom: These companies were rated investment grade by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s three days before they went bankrupt. Credit Rating Agencies were alleged to have favorably rated risky products, and in some instances put these risky products together for a fat fee.

There may be other over-rated Enron’s and WorldCom’s waiting to go bust. The agencies need to be reformed, to enable them pin-point such cancer well-in-advance, thereby increasing security in the financial markets.

2. Credit Ratings and Credit Rating Agencies

i) Credit rating: is a structured methodology to rank the creditworthiness of, broadly speaking, an entity, or a credit commitment (e.g. a product), or a debt or debt-like security as also of an Issuer of an obligation.

ii) Credit Rating Agency (CRA): is an institution, specialized in the job of rating the above. Ratings by Credit Rating Agencies are not recommendations to purchase or sell any security, but just an indicator.

Ratings can further be divided into

i) Solicited Rating: where the rating is based on a request, say of a bank or company, and which also participates in the rating process.

ii) Unsolicited Rating: where rating agencies claim to rate an organisation in the public interest.

Credit Rating Agencies help to achieve economies of scale, as they help avoid investments in internal tools and credit analysis. It thereby enables market intermediaries and end investors to focus on their core competencies, leaving the complex rating jobs to dependable specialized agencies.

3. Credit Rating Agencies of note

Agencies that assign credit ratings for corporations include

A. M. Best (U.S.)

Baycorp Advantage (Australia)

Dominion Bond Rating Service (Canada)

Fitch Ratings (U.S.)

Moody’s (U.S.)

Standard & Poor’s (U.S.)

Pacific Credit Rating (Peru)

4. Credit Rating Agencies – Power and Influence

Various market participants that use and/or are affected by credit ratings are as follows

a) Issuers: A good credit rating improves the marketability of issuers, as also pricing, which in turn satisfies investors, lenders or other interested counterparties.

b) Buy-Side Firms : Buy side firms such as mutual funds, pension funds and insurance companies use credit ratings as one of several important inputs to their own internal credit assessments and investment analysis, which helps them identify pricing discrepancies, the riskiness of the security, regulatory compliance requiring them to park funds in investment grade assets etc. Many restrict their funds to higher ratings, which makes them more attractive to risk-averse investors.

c) Sell-Side Firms: Like buy-side firms many sell side firms, like broker-dealers, use ratings for risk management and trading purposes.

d) Regulators: Regulators mandate usage of credit ratings in various forms for e.g. The Basel Committee on banking supervision allowed banks to use external credit ratings to determine capital allocation. Or, to quote another example, restrictions are placed on civil service or public employee pension funds by local or national governments.

e) Tax Payers and Investors: Depending on the direction of the change in value, credit rating changes can benefit or harm investors in securities, through erosion of value, and it also affects taxpayers through the cost of government debt.

f) Private Contracts: Ratings have known to significantly affect the balance of power between contracting parties, as the rating is inadvertently applied to the organisation as a whole and not just to its debts.

Rating downgrade – A Death spiral:

A rating downgrade can be a vicious cycle. Let us visualise this in steps. First, a rating downgrade acts as a trigger. Banks now want full repayment, anticipating bankruptcy. The company may not be in a position to pay, leading to a further rating downgrade. This initiates a death spiral leading to the companys’ ultimate collapse and closure.

Enron faced this spiral, where a loan clause stipulated full repayment in the event of a downgrade. When downgrade did take place, this clause added to the financial woes of Enron pushing it into deep financial trouble.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is another case in point which was pressurised by aggrieved counterparties and lenders demanding repayment, thanks to a rating downgrade. PG&E was unable to raise funds to repay its short term obligations, which aggravated its slide into the death spiral.

5. Credit Rating Agencies as victims

Credit Rating Agencies face the following challenges

a) Inadequate Information: One complaint which Credit Rating Agencies have is their inability to access accurate and reliable information from issuers. Credit Rating Agencies cry, that issuers deliberately withhold information not found in the public domain, for instance undisclosed contingencies, which may adversely affect the issuers’ liquidity.

b) System of compensation: Credit Rating Agencies act on behalf of investors, but they are in most cases paid by the issuers. There lies a potential for conflict of interest. As rating agencies are paid by those they rate, and not by the investor, the market view is that they are under pressure to give their clients a favourable rating – else the client will move to another obliging agency. Credit Rating Agencies are plagued by conflicts of interest that might inhibit them from providing accurate and honest ratings. Some Credit Rating Agencies admit that if they depend on investors for compensation, they would go out of business. Others strongly deny conflicts of interest, defending that fees received from individual issuers are a very small percentage of their total revenues, so that no single issuer has any material influence with a rating agency.

c) Market Pressure : Allegations that ratings are expediency and not logic-based, and that they would resort to unfair practices due to the inherent conflict of interest, are dismissed by Credit Rating Agencies as malicious because the rating business is reputation based, and incorrect ratings may lower the standing of the agency in the market. In short reputational concerns are sufficient to ensure that they exercise appropriate levels of diligence in the ratings process.

d) Ratings over-emphasised: Allegations float that Credit Rating Agencies actively promote an over-emphasis of their ratings, and encourage corporations to do like-wise. Credit Rating Agencies counter saying that credit ratings are used out of context through no fault of their own. They are applied to the organizations per se and not just the organizations’ debts. A favourable credit rating is unfortunately used by companies as seals of approval for marketing purposes of unrelated products. A user needs to bear in mind that the rating was provided against the stricter scope of the investment being rated.

6. Credit Rating Agencies as Perpetrators

a) Arbitrary adjustments without accountability or transparency: Credit Rating Agencies can downgrade and upgrade and can cite lack of information from the rated party, or on the product as a possible defence. Unclear reasons for downgrade may adversely affect the issuer, as the market would assume that the agency is privy to certain information which is not in the public domain. This may render the issuers security volatile due to speculation.

Sometimes eextraneous considerations determine when an adjustment would occur. Credit rating agencies do not downgrade companies when they ought to. For example, Enron’s rating remained at investment grade four days before the company went bankrupt, despite the fact that credit rating agencies had been aware of the company’s problems for months.

b) Due diligence not performed: There are certain glaring inconsistencies, which Credit Rating Agencies are reluctant to resolve due to the conflicts of interest as mentioned above. For instance, if we focus on Moody’s ratings we find the following inconsistencies.

All three of the above have the same capital allocation forcing banks to move towards riskier investments like corporate bonds.

c) Cozying up to management: Business logic has compelled Credit Rating Agencies to develop close bonds with the management of companies being rated, and allowing this relationship to affect the rating process. They were found to act as advisors to companies’ pre-rating activities, and suggesting measures which would have beneficial effects on the companys’ rating. Exactly on the other extreme are agencies, which are accused of unilaterally adjusting the ratings, while denying a company an opportunity to explain its actions.

e) Creating High Barriers to entry: Agencies are sometimes accused of being oligopolists, because barriers to market entry are high, as the rating business is reputation-based, and the finance industry pays little attention to a rating that is not widely recognized. All agencies consistently reap high profits (Moody’s for instance is greater than 50% gross margin), which indicate monopolistic pricing.

f) Promoting Ancillary Businesses: Credit Rating Agencies have developed ancillary businesses, like pre-rating assessment and corporate consulting services, to complement their core ratings business. Issuers may be forced to purchase the ancillary service, in lieu of a favorable rating. To compound it all, except for Moody’s, all other Credit Rating Agencies are privately held and their financial results do not separate revenues from their ancillary businesses.

7. Some Recommendations

a) Public Disclosures: The extent and the quality of the disclosures in the financial statements and the balance sheets need to be improved. More importantly the management discussion and analysis should require disclosure of off-balance sheet arrangements, contractual obligations and contingent liabilities and commitments. Shortening the time period, between the end of issuers’ quarter or fiscal year and the date of submission of the quarterly or annual report, will enable Credit Rating Agencies to obtain information early. These measures will improve the ability of Credit Rating Agencies to rate issuers. If Credit Rating Agencies conclude that important information is unavailable, or an issuer is less than forthcoming, the agency may lower a rating, refuse to issue a rating or even withdraw an existing rating.

b) Due Diligence and competency of Credit Rating Agencies Analysts: Analysts should not rely solely on the words of the management, but also perform their own due diligence, by scrutinising various public filings, probing opaque disclosures, reviewing proxy statements etc. There needs to be a tighter (or broader) qualification to be a rating agency employee.

c) Abolition of Barriers to Entry: Increase in the number of players may not completely curtail the oligopolistic powers of the well-entrenched few, but at best it would keep them on their toes, by subjecting them to some level of competition, and allowing market forces to determine which rating truly reflects the financial market best.

d) Rating Cost: As far as possible, the rating cost needs to be published. If revealing such sensitive information raises issues of commercial confidence, then the agencies must at least be subject to intense financial regulation. The analyst compensation should be merit-based, based on the demonstrated accuracy of their ratings and not on issuer fees.

e) Transparent rating Process: The agencies must make public the basis for their ratings, including performance measurement statistics, historical downgrades and default rates. This will protect investors and enhance the reliability of credit ratings. The regulators should oblige Credit Rating Agencies to disclose their procedures and methodologies for assigning ratings. The rating agencies should conduct an internal audit of their rating methodologies.

f) Ancillary Business to be independent: Although the ancillary business is a small part of the total revenue, Credit Rating Agencies still need to establish extensive policies and procedures to firewall ratings from the ancillary business. Separate staff and not the rating analysts should be employed for marketing the ancillary business.

g) Risk Disclosure: Rating agencies should disclose material risks they uncover, during the risk rating process, or any risk that seems to be inadequately addressed in public disclosures, to the concerned regulatory authority for further action. Credit Rating Agencies need to be more proactive and conduct formal audits of issuer information to search for fraud, not just restricting their role to assessing credit-worthiness of issuers. Rating triggers (for instance full loan repayment in the event of a downgrade) should be discouraged wherever possible and should be disclosed if it exists.

These measures, if implemented, can improve market confidence in Credit Rating Agencies, and their ratings may become a key tool for boosting investor confidence, by enhancing the security of the financial markets in the broadest sense.

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American Consumers Say they Need Help on Household Budgeting

Boston, MA (PRWEB) May 03, 2012

According to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling American consumers could use some support when it comes to sticking to a household budget. Conducted during Financial Literacy Month, the survey found 25 percent of respondents reported an increased need for further education in the areas of daily and monthly budgets, while 20 percent expressed a need for information on understanding credit and credit scores.

In a recent ACCC web poll at, just 8 percent reported an increased need for education on how to save for retirement or college, while only 14 percent were interested in learning more about saving in general.

These results follow a recent report by the credit bureau Equifax indicating an 11 percent decline in total consumer debt from a peak of $ 12.4 trillion in October 2008 to $ 10.9 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

What were seeing here is an increased interest and understanding of the importance of financial education, especially in the areas that consumers face the most challenges, credit and budgeting, said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, Mass. Despite the recent numbers showing a decline in consumer debt, consumers need to continue to arm themselves with financial education and resources. As someone who has been in this industry for more than 20 years I can confirm that the single biggest difference between financial success and financial failure is education.

When it comes to actual big-ticket spending, the survey found, Americans feel they need little guidance. Only 3 percent of all those polled by ACCC said they need further education on how to make large purchases, while only 16 percent indicated an increased need for education on setting short and long term goals.

Budgeting and spending go hand in hand, Trumble said. So while consumers may feel comfortable in the decisions they make on large purchases, those decisions are certain to have an impact on their overall financial health.

The financial education poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2012 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics. American Consumer Credit Counselings certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

???????? For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571

???????? For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924

???????? For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180

???????? For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x708

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About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nations leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to or visit