Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Mary Tomkins is a freelance writer located in Spartanburg, SC, with emphasis on economic news and research on the financial industry.

FTC: Avoid Home Repair Rip-Offs

As Hurricane Irene slams into the East Coast and leaves damage and destruction in its wake, the government warns consumers to be alert for potential scams.Crooks often take advantage of natural disasters to prey upon people who need repairs done to their homes - during a time when the demand for qualified home repair contractors is likely to exceed the supply. Homeowners and landlords may find that every legitimate contractor they call is booked for months...
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Capital One: Small Business Gain Modest Confidence

Some small business owners in the second quarter of 2011 are feeling better about the economy and expect a gradual but continued improvement, according to a survey released by Capital One Bank on Thursday."Our second quarter survey results suggest that many small businesses are seeing sustained improvement in business performance. This is a trend we've seen developing over the last few quarters and, while the pace has been modest, it has been generally consistent and that's...
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Home Prices Fall in Over Half of States for 2nd Quarter

The housing market is showing no signs of improvement as high unemployment and tough lending standards prevent many from buying a home. Mortgage applications fell 2.4% last week, according to a report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday. Very few applications were for the purchase of a new home - 79.8% of all applications were from borrowers who wanted to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates and refinance the loan on their current...
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BLS: Summer Jobs for Students

BLS: Summer Jobs for Students
Though getting a summer job has been a student tradition for generations, the tough jobs market has particularly affected young people looking for employment. Youth job participation in July - normally the peak employment month for people ages 16 to 24 - was the worst since the government began keeping track in 1948. Among the civilian noninstitutional population, less than half (48.8%) of young people were employed last month, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics...
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FTC: "Debt Relief" Agency Halted, Files Bankruptcy

An operation that allegedly claimed it could help struggling borrowers eliminate debt and clean up their credit histories has been halted by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency reported on Tuesday.The FTC has been working hard at putting a stop to crooks who take advantage of consumers in financial distress - “companies” that lure consumers into paying up-front fees in the thousands of dollars, only to actually do little to help the borrower and in many...
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BBB: Skimming is on the Rise

Before swiping their card at any credit or debit card terminal, such as an ATM, DVD rental kiosk, or gas station, consumers should take a moment to inspect the machine to check if it’s been tampered with. Card skimming is becoming more common, the Better Business Bureau warned on Friday. Skimming is a criminal practice that involves stealing the information from a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip using a small electronic device. Once the information...
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Housing Starts and Building Permits Dip in July

New home permits and starts dipped slightly in July after showing some signs of strength the month before, according to a government report released on Tuesday.Permits for new homes - an indicator for future building activity - fell 3.2% after a small increase in June. Housing starts - which represents current building activity - dipped 1.5% in July after a large increase the month before, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau reported. Economists had expected a...
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Capital One: Back-to-School an Opportunity to Teach Kids About Money

As the new school year kicks off, most parents consider their student’s basic needs such as book bags, clothes, and writing supplies to be just another of the many expenses in raising kids.But teenagers and parents generally have different ideas about exactly how much money parents are going to spend on these supplies, according to an annual survey released by Capital One Bank on Monday. For the survey, kids aged 11-17 are considered to be “teens.”While...
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Capital One to Acquire HSBC

Capital One Bank announced on Wednesday that it has plans to acquire HSBC’s $30 billion domestic credit card business. The McLean, VA-based bank will pay a premium of 8.75% over the value of the loans, which was estimated to be approximately $2.6 billion at the end of June 2011. Capital One expects to realize cost synergies of approximately $350 million and incur restructuring costs of approximately $420 million in connection with the deal. "The acquisition of...
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Treasury: Credit Downgrade Based on S&P's $2 Trillion Mistake

Credit reporting agency Standard & Poor’s announced on Friday that because Congress didn’t do enough to fix the country’s debt problem, they dropped the stellar AAA credit rating of the U.S. down by one notch to AA+ with a negative outlook. S&P had warned in April that a downgrade was likely if Congress didn’t deal with the debt ceiling and fixing the budget. The downgrade can increase the cost of borrowing for the U.S., which would...
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