Money Matters - Simplified


Foreclosures Huff, Puff, and Blow Housing Market Down

Foreclosure data released last week showed that the Big Bad Wolf is once again at the housing market's door. Reflecting on the poor homebuilders, the banks, and their houses made of subprime straw, I wondered: Have things ever been worse for these little piggies?

How Would You Like a 3.99% Mortgage?

Fed Chief backs Obama’s stimulus package

Washington, January 14: Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, publicly appreciated the efforts being made by the President-elect Barack Obama to bail out the economy from the quagmire it finds itself in.

Calling struggling homeowners: FHA may rescue you

Avoid This Company Like the Plague

Online person-to-person lending seemed like a terrific concept. People with a bit of available cash could have the opportunity to loan their money to folks who needed it. Without the expensive branches and staffs, an online intermediary could keep its costs low. In theory, that would result in higher than bank interest returns for the folks who could lend cash and lower than bank interest costs for the people who needed to borrow it.

Dear FDIC: I Want a Better Mortgage, Too

In real estate, you typically see cycles between buyer's markets and seller's markets. But the credit crunch has brought a new term to the forefront: a borrower's market.

Making Up for Missed Payments

Mistakes, snafus, grievous errors -- we've all made them. But Mom's advice to "say sorry" only helps so much when you're talking about costly mistakes that may harm your credit. And with financial institutions on life support, you can't expect much leniency.

Tripple-digit interest trapping borrowers

Chicago -- More American are going to payday loan companies to help make ends meet amid rising U.S. gas prices and the subprime mortgage crisis, experts say.

Many middle-class Americans are seeking online payday loans despite their triple-digit interest rates, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.

"It's insane. It is growing like wildfire," said Henry Coffey, a stock analyst based in Baltimore who tracks the payday loan industry.

He said one factor in the growth of online loans, which charge as much as 2,000 percent interest, is that they effectively hook borrowers, often forcing people to take second and third loans to cover ballooning debts.

"If you are paying over 1,800 percent interest, you will never get out of that debt," said Elizabeth Schomburg, an official with Family Credit Managing Services, a Rockford, Ill., credit counseling agency.

Bank Overdraft Fees: Gotcha!

Bouncing a check can lead to ridiculous charges. Just by going a few dollars over your available balance, you can end up spending hundreds in overdraft fees.