Finance Globe

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

26 "Red Flag" Guidelines for the Identity Theft Prevention Program

Creditors and financial institutions are required to develop and implement an Identity Theft Prevention Program by November 1, 2008. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a list of 26 red flags to help give businesses a starting point in developing their program; this is not meant to be an all-inclusive checklist, but rather as a guideline to aid establishments in developing their program to suit the type, size, and complexity of their business. A fraud...
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The Effect of the Housing Bust in My Neighborhood

Unfinished business in the wake of the housing bust My neighborhood is still under construction. The back of the subdivision has unfinished gravel roads, and some of them are still dirt. Empty, weed-grown lots abound, scattered with a few finished houses on a few paved roads. "Lot available" signs dot the land on what used to be acres and acres of cornfields. There were supposed to be three phases of construction, but this third phase has...
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Credit Limit Reductions

Credit cards issuers have reacted to the credit crunch by slashing credit limits.As credit cards issuers position themselves to prevent further long-term losses originating from the sub-prime mortgage mess, card holders should prepare for the possibility of some unwelcome changes in their credit cards.Card issuers are tightening their lending standards, even with consumers who have responsibly managed their debts in the past. Your FICO score and whether you have the income to support your debts have...
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President Bush Signs Housing Bill

President Bush signed the housing rescue bill into law on Wednesday.The new laws have two main objectives; to help struggling homeowners refinance into affordable loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and to give additional funding to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that buy or back about half of all U.S. mortgages. These actions are hoped to bring stability back to the housing market and give a boost to our...
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Freedom From Debt

Living from paycheck to paycheck? Using your credit cards to pay your monthly expenses? Wondering how you'll ever get on top of your debt when the credit card balances seem to grow little by little each month? You're not the only one. Though it may be possible to play the game for some time, it's important to take back control of your finances now, before the problem grows any bigger. Small steps will get you back...
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The Credit Card Protection Program

What is a credit protection plan?A credit protection plan - also known as credit insurance - is an optional add-on with many types of loans, meant to protect your credit in the case that you are not able to pay your bills due to death, disability, or unemployment. Auto loans, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards may offer a credit protection plan to consumers. It is illegal to require you to buy credit insurance to gain...
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Surviving the Credit Crunch

The credit crunchThe U.S. mortgage meltdown of 2007 started the whole process of a global credit crunch. Extreme bank losses, due to record numbers of defaults and foreclosures, put some lenders out of business, and caused many secondary mortgage markets to dry up.And, to limit losses, the financial institutions that survived the meltdown have tightened the grip on their cash, becoming more cautious in granting any type of credit, whether credit card, home mortgage, or auto...
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Ca High Gas Prices Be Good?

When I first started driving as a teenager, gas was only $.99/gallon. And the car I drove was a Chevy Chevette. Not too glamorous, but I could get to school, work, and play for about five dollars a week. Yes, times have changed, but I think they changed a lot more than any one expected in the way of gas prices. So, what now? Back to the horse and buggy days? Is there a bright side...
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Credit Monitoring Services

Credit monitoring services offer subscribers access to their credit reports and credit scores from one or all three of the major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.Many monitoring services allow unlimited access to your reports, even as much as daily. Some have other features to help you improve your credit, and may offer tips for your particular credit situation. Most services cost about $120 to $180 a year.Consumers may have different reasons for using a...
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Renting with a Roommate

One of the decisions you'll need to make when you move out on your own is whether to have a roommate. Having a roommate lets you share in the cost of having your own place, and can make an otherwise out-of-reach apartment affordable. Choose the right roommateThe right roommate can be or become a good friend, but not all your friends will make good roommates. Ensure that you and your roommate will be compatible under the...
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