"; ?>
   

Filled Under: Financial

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Proposes New Payday Lending Rules

The aim of both rule types is to prevent debt traps, in which borrowers get stuck in a devolving cycle of more borrowing to pay off debt. Since payday loans are unsecured loans, without the ability to simply lend ever-increasing amounts to consumers, the lenders economic incentive is to help the borrower repay the initial loan.

The proposed rules would apply to any loan with a repayment period of 45 days or less, and cover both traditional storefront lenders and online lenders.

President Barack Obama will also speak about the need for increased payday loan regulations during a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, AL.com reported Monday. His comments will add heft to the agencys new proposed rules.

The rules are likely to face strong opposition from the payday lending industry, as well as Congressional Republicans. On Tuesday, House Republicans excoriated the head of the FDIC for his agencys effort to crack down on fraudulent activities in specific, high-risk industries, including payday lenders, gun dealers, assorted financial scammers and escort services.

Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, said that if it is made mandatory, forcing lenders to judge if customers can actually repay loans will help millions of borrowers avoid dangerously high-cost payday and other abusive loans. Calhoun worried that there were still loopholes for payday lenders to exploit, and noted the industrys adroitness in adapting abusive practices in response to new regulation. The Washington Posts Jeff Guo chronicled the ways payday lenders have wriggled through state laws meant to regulate payday loans, including issuing simultaneous loans to get around borrowing limits and calling themselves mortgage lenders.

The National Consumer Law Centers Lauren Saunders pointed out that while promising, the agencys proposal would permit a triple-digit six-month installment loan if payments are limited to 5% of the borrower’s gross income,
regardless of the borrower’s expenses or debts. Expenses and other debts, Saunders said, not income alone, are key to understanding if a loan truly is affordable to a borrower.

Dennis Shaul, head of the payday lending industry group the Community Financial Services Association of America, said in a statement that payday loans are a crucial, and sometimes the only, source of credit for millions of Americans, and that any new regulation should take into account decreased consumer access to credit.

In an indication of what the industrys argument against the CFPB rules might be, he also warned that new rules should be grounded in rigorous research, not anecdote or conjecture.

Franklin Financial Network raises $55M in IPO

Franklin Financial Network, the parent company of Williamson County-based Franklin Synergy Bank, made its debut on the public markets Thursday, raising $55.4 million.

Shares of the Franklin bank opened and closed at $21 on the New York Stock Exchange, climbing as high as $21.18 under the ticker FSB.

Thats the reaction we had hoped for, said Richard Herrington, Franklin Financial Network CEO. Based on what we saw today, we feel like we priced it right and we are very satisfied.

Herrington founded the bank in 2007 with the intention of taking it public and merged with Murfreesboro-based MidSouth bank in 2014. The bank, which includes $1.4 billion in assets, posted a $9.4 million profit in 2014. Herrington said the additional capital will support organic growth, and he does not have plans to acquire another bank.

Our growth has been really, really strong over the last couple of quarters, Herrington said. The reason we raised the capital to begin with is we see the growth. We like to be in front of the growth (and) have enough capital to make sure we can continue to grow.

Franklin Financial Network is the second local bank in recent weeks to go public. Avenue Financial Holdings, parent company of Nashville-based Avenue, began trading on the NASDAQ Global Market in February, raising $29.7 million. Of that, $14.7 million was new capital, and the bank subsequently redeemed $18.9 million in preferred stock.

Pinnacle Financial Partners, joined the NASDAQ in 2002, after a 2000 IPO that generated $18 million. Nashville-based CapStar Bank also is expected to pursue an initial public offering.

Franklin Financial shares were previously estimated at $24-$27, but the bank lowered its price Wednesday and increased the number of shares to 2.64 million. The amended pricing may have been influenced by weaker stock market performance in recent days, said Nashville banking analyst Jeff Davis, who describes Franklin Financial as a great growth story.

When you are pricing an IPO in a down market, particularly a market with a lot of pressure on it, most IPOs will have some pressure on the pricing, regardless of the story, Davis said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Raymond James and Sterne Agee were underwriters on the IPO and had the option of buying 390,000 shares.

Shares of Avenue, led by CEO Ron Samuels, have climbed to $12.15 since closing at $11.88 on its first day of trading.

Reach Jamie McGee at 615-259-8071 and on Twitter @JamieMcGee_.

Fed Focuses on Shadow Banking as It Gauges Financial Risk

Worldwide, shadow banking assets have grown, while banking assets stagnated, according to a report by the Financial Stability Board, a global group of regulators. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Stanford offers admission to 2144 students, expands financial aid program

Stanford University has offered admission to 2,144 students, including 742 applicants who were accepted last December through the early action program, the Office of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid announced today.

In addition, Stanford announced that it is expanding financial aid by increasing the income thresholds at which parents are not expected to contribute toward educational costs.

Under the new policy, Stanford will expect no parental contribution toward tuition from parents with annual incomes below $125,000 previously $100,000 and typical assets. And there will be zero parental contribution toward tuition, room or board for parents with annual incomes below $65,000 previously $60,000 and typical assets.

Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances, said Provost John Etchemendy. Our generous financial aid program accomplishes that, and these enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt. Over half of our undergraduates receive financial aid from Stanford, and we are pleased that this program will make it even easier for students to thrive here.

Admits to Class of 2019

The Class of 2019 was selected from 42,487 candidates, the largest applicant pool in Stanfords history. The admitted students come from 50 states and 77 countries.

Of the admitted class, 16 percent are first-generation college students.

We are honored by the interest in Stanford and the experiences shared by all prospective students through the application process, said Richard Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid. The young people admitted to the Class of 2019 will engage their undergraduate years at Stanford with energy and initiative. Their contributions will impact the world in immeasurable ways. We are thrilled to communicate the good news to these accomplished students. The opportunities at Stanford are limitless, and our newly enhanced financial support makes these opportunities more accessible than ever before.

Students admitted under the early and regular decision admission program have until May 1 to accept Stanfords offer.

Expanded financial aid

Stanford has long been committed to need-blind admissions for US students, supported by a financial aid program that meets the demonstrated financial need of all admitted undergraduate students.

Since 2008-09, Stanford has provided two simple benchmarks that make it easy for prospective students to understand the possibilities for getting financial support from Stanford. These two benchmarks are being updated for all undergraduates for the 2015-16 year, with no parental contribution toward tuition expected for those with annual incomes below $125,000 and typical assets, and no parental contribution toward tuition, room or board expected for those below $65,000 with typical assets. Scholarship or grant funds will be provided to cover these costs in lieu of a parental contribution.

In either case, students will still be expected to contribute toward their own educational expenses from summer income, savings and part-time work during the school year. Students are expected to contribute at least $5,000 per year from these sources but are not expected to borrow to make the contribution.

Currently, 77 percent of Stanford undergraduates leave the university at graduation with no student debt.

Families with incomes at higher levels, typically up to $225,000, may also qualify for financial assistance, especially if more than one family member is enrolled in college. Financial aid offers vary by family, but the financial aid expansion for 2015-16 will allow Stanford to reduce the expected parental contribution for many families at these higher income levels.

Annual costs for a typical Stanford student total roughly $65,000 before financial aid.

This expansion of the financial aid program is a demonstration of Stanfords commitment to access for outstanding students from all backgrounds including not only those from the lowest socioeconomic status, but also middle- and upper-middle-class families who need our assistance as well, said Karen Cooper, associate dean and director of financial aid.

Media Contact

Richard H. Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid: (650) 723-2091, rhshaw@stanford.edu

Celebration Mall in Rehoboth in financial nightmare

There has been little to celebrate at Celebration Mall as far as its bottom line is concerned.

Established in March 2008, four months after the official commencement of the Great Recession, the real estate and live-entertainment enterprise in Rehoboth Beach has been beset by fleeing investors, mounting bills and litigation.

In court documents detailed for the first time, the malls primary money man, Ronald Gene Lankford, struggles to hold together Celebration Mall LLCs fraying financial lifelines.

The documents provide a glimpse into the turbulence behind the business-as-usual appearance projected by the well-kept complex at 20 Baltimore Ave. There are no for sale signs visible on the sprawling property even though it has been listed for sale since March 27, 2010.

The asking price: $5.2 million. That includes three ocean blocks of property all zoned commercial and a mere two-minute stroll from the beach, according to the Ocean Atlantic Sothebys International Realty description.

Unlike some recession-era developments, this one has tenants: a handful of art galleries, a pair of condominiums, a restaurant, a real estate office and, most notably, the Clear Space Theatre Co.

As of Oct. 4, 2013, no offers have been made on the property, according to court documents.

Its unclear whether interest has picked up in recent years as the real estate market has rumbled back to life. The real estate agent listed as the malls representative, Lankfords daughter Courtney Savage, confirmed that it was still for sale. But Savage only added that the company wasnt interested in marketing it locally before declining to comment further.

Lankford couldnt be reached for comment. He didnt return phone messages and did not attend a city advisory board hearing Monday night that resulted in a ruling in favor of his plan to set aside two parking spaces across the street for a new real estate office at the mall.

Over the past three and a half decades, Lankford has built a portfolio of properties in coastal Sussex County that includes the Breakers and Atlantic Sands hotels. A partnership with builder Schell Brothers has added residential communities to that list.

On the few occasions his name appears in Delaware court records, though, the subject is invariably the Celebration Mall project.

It was different from the start from his other ventures. Lankford bought the former Epworth United Methodist Church in 2007 for $4 million and set about renovating it into a venue with multiple uses. When the theater opened a year later, it was an immediate community icon.

I was very pleased when he kept the building and kept the past there, said Mayor Sam Cooper. For people who have been here for very long, its a nice reminder of what it was.

Lankford, too, was excited about what the project could accomplish beyond his own financial gain.

Our first motivation was to make sure that we kept the structure intact as a city landmark, he said in a 2008 interview. We think that it will become one of the premier commercial properties in the city of Rehoboth Beach and its in the ocean block to boot.

The first casualty was the theater.

Lankford was joined by three fellow investors – Frank Shuman of Rehoboth Beach; Hagop Baghdadlian of Leonia, New Jersey; and Enrique Perez of Egg Harbor, New Jersey – in creating Celebration Theatre of Arts LLC. By the end of 2009, it ceased to be.

A 2011 Chancery dispute shows Lankford fighting Baghdadlian and Shuman to recoup money he advanced allegedly on their behalf to keep the theater company afloat. With its rent bills mounting, the theater turned over its stage, lighting and props to its landlord.

Shuman argued that he paid his $22,000 share in cash and through marketing and web-design work. A trial is scheduled for June 16 on the matter.

Baghdadlian, who owed $40,000 by Lankfords account, didnt appear to respond to the case.

A separate theater company, Clear Space, has been putting on shows inside the converted church since 2010.

The property company also found itself in financial dire straits.

Lankford formed a 50-50 partnership with Baghdadlian on the venture, each chipping in $430,000 of their own money, court records show. Both men agreed that mall would need more financing for renovations and operations, but Baghdadlian stopped paying his share, Lankford contended.

In an October 2013 filing, Lankford said that his partners unpaid share of $114,000 was needed to help pay the $4.3 million mortgage with Mamp;T Bank, which was currently in default. Foreclosure proceedings were going to begin at the end of the year unless the companys obligations were satisfied.

Lankford sought to persuade the court to eject Baghdadlian and allow him to take on a new investor. But again, Baghdadlian didnt formally respond to the accusations in the two cases filed by Lankford. Last June, Lankford dropped the court battle.

As for the mall, no foreclosure claims appear against it in state court databases. Its unclear whether Lankford was able to renegotiate the loan, find a new investor without court intervention or simply dig deeper into his deep pockets to keep his dream project alive.

Simple Mistakes That Can Hurt Financial Aid Prospects

Now is the time to find the most financial aid possible to help with the costs of school. It can be a challenge, though, to find financial aid, especially given the fierce competition and limited amount available.

It all starts with the FAFSA, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. Then it includes the hunt for scholarships and grants. Finally, it ends with potentially taking out student loans. But what if none of these were options? What if a simple mistake made it impossible to get financial aid? It happens, and it can make financing college difficult.

Here are the top mistakes families make when it comes to preparing and applying for financial aid.

NotFiling The FAFSA

The biggest mistakes families can make when it comes to financial aid is simply not filling out the FAFSA.Mark Kantrowitz,Senior VP at Edvisors.com,lays it out in uncertain terms: “You can’t get aid if you don’t apply.”

Many families, however, think they may not qualify for aid and simply don’t apply. But then circumstances change, maybe a job loss or other unexpected event, and financial aid becomes necessary.

Regardless of your financial situation, all families should fill out the FAFSA, even if little potential of receiving a financial aid award. This should be done through every year of school, even if no aid was awarded in the past years.

The Surprising Power of a One-Page Financial Plan

In other words, no one knows where the market is headed. No one can tell you exactly what financial moves to make. And no one knows where they are going to be 40 years from now.

Here is what you can do: Make your best guess and muddle through life the best you can. Thats the thesis of The One-Page Financial Plan, the new book by New York Times columnist Carl Richards.

Rather than over thinking everything to the point of paralysis, just jot down a few general goals, get started, and dont beat yourself up over past mistakes. Reuters sat down with Richards to talk about the surprising power of simplicity.

Q: Personal-finance experts usually dont talk about uncertainty. Why was that important for you?

A: The giant fantasy of financial planning is that we all know exactly where we will be in 40 years, so we just need to sit down and plan for it. That gives people a false sense of precision.

The reality is that most of us dont even know where we will be six months from now. We dont know what our utility bills will be in the future, let alone when we are going to retire or when we are going to die. So the natural human reaction is to say, aw, just forget it. But thats not a good choice either.

Q: So what should people do?

A: Call it what it isguessing. Give yourself permission to let go of all this anxiety, and just make the best guess you can and be committed to the process of guessing.

Q: Your book is called The One-Page Financial Plan. So whats on that one page?

Sunday Sitdown: Sheila S. Aleman on financial awareness for women

Sheila Aleman is a senior financial analyst for Simonds International in Fitchburg by day, and co-owner of All That Events wedding disc jockey and event services on nights and weekends. She also serves on the Worcester County Commission on the Status of Women, where she volunteers to provide financial education. Ms. Aleman speaks to womens groups and individuals about budgeting and gaining control of their personal finances. She recently led a workshop for International Womens Day at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts in Worcester.

What is the biggest thing that people dont know that they should about managing their money?

I think the number one thing is their credit score. They dont even know what their credit score is; they dont know what it means if they do know what it is.

How does that affect them?

I was actually showing the ladies in that group that we did at the Y the difference in a mortgage and a car loan between, lets say, an average credit score, a very good credit score or a poor credit score. I took an average of a $150,000 or $200,000 house; it literally was $500,000 or $600,000 difference (in mortgage interest) between the very good score and the very poor score.

If someones score isnt so great, what do you tell them to do to improve it?

The first thing is to get their credit reports from all three bureaus and just look at inaccuracies. I think something like 78 percent of credit reports have errors. You can raise your score almost immediately by correcting some of the errors.

Youre entitled to a free credit report once a year. The government has a website (http://www.annualcreditreport.com/) where you go onto that website and get all three together, at no charge.

Are there common traps that people fall into?

Today I think the big trap is that credit card companies almost prey on college students, and I really think it should be outlawed that theyre even allowed on college campuses.

Theyll go and set up tables on college campuses with applications. These kids have no income and its contributing to the suicide factor too because they have these $30,000, $40,000 worth of credit card bills, they dont know how to tell their parents and they end up committing suicide. Ive seen that several times.

The other trap is Christmas. Poor planning or something goes on during the year and then all the credit offers come out at Christmastime. They dont want to disappoint the kids, they dont want to disappoint family, so they get in over their head.

If they are in over their head, whats the safest way to build a foundation back?

If theyre in over their head and theyre not able to pay their bills, they should contact their creditor first. But theres also the nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service; every county has one. They all have a bureau that doesnt charge you any money; its all volunteer.

The ones that charge money I would tend to stay away from. Theyre going to negotiate the same way you would with your creditor for a lower bill, theyre going to pay that bill and then theyre still going to have you pay them a higher amount, so its just a trap to get you to think they have better leverage than you do. Theyre getting the saving but theyre not passing it on to the consumer.

In the old days, women would often let their husbands handle the money and then theyd find themselves widowed or divorced and helpless. Do you find that women now are as empowered or knowledgeable about money as they should be?

Theres still a traditional structure that you see with people, but you see nowadays women more and more are the ones paying the bills.

For women facing domestic violence, is their financial situation one of the things that traps them in a dangerous relationship?

Its statistical. Some of them are stay-at-home, or some of them have a lesser job so they feel they have no way out

Also too, a lot of women that arent involved in the family budgeting can get themselves into a financial mess that their husband made for them and theyre still financially obligated because theyre married to them.

I encourage women to not distrust your husband but be aware and be involved.

Why do you think people arent as knowledgeable about their money as they should be?

They dont have home ec in high school anymore, so thats a really important thing that kids are missing out on right from the beginning.

Secondarily: Out of sight, out of mind. If they dont have to think about it its not real yet. Once they put pen on paper, black on white, then the monster is out of the closet.

By putting the budget to paper, a lot of times they have more than they think they do. And sometimes it comes out the other way where its a little short; but then its defined, its not this huge thing. You know, Im only $10 short. Ill get a part-time job, not stop for Dunkin Donuts on the way to work. Theres lifestyle adjustments that can be made to accommodate that.

You cant tackle the problem until you know what the problem is.

What got you interested in doing this volunteer service?

Ive always volunteered. Im a conservative person, a conservative Republican and I dont see a lot of us volunteering. I think we volunteer in churches and things like that, but I really think we need to get involved in the communities that are disadvantaged.

A lot of time we say to people, If youre in this situation you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and fix it. But the problem is, if they werent raised in a household that budgeted, that knew how to take care of money, its just like a language. They need to learn that language. So they need to be taught that language just like anything else you need to be taught.

Theres a lot to be said about people budgeting and starting to be responsible for their finances. It really reverberates throughout their life and it also contributes to their self-confidence.

Also we know, too, finances are a huge strain on relationships. Theyre a huge factor in domestic violence issues. A very large percentage of why theyre arguing is about money.

It really is a foundation to your life and it really affects a lot of things.

Anything else people should know about managing their money?

Just not to be shameful about it. More people would rather reveal what their weight is than what their FICO score is.

The only way that something can get fixed is by pulling it out of the closet, looking at it, fixing it. Its not going to get fixed by kicking the can down the road.

And everybody has struggles. If people seek help, thats the most important thing. Then you dont have that monkey on your shoulder thinking about it every day.

Contact Susan Spencer at susan.spencer@telegram.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanSpencerTG.

‘FAIR’ DEAL?: 4-H not likely to receive financial help from Floyd County

Of the 72 projects offered to youth, only 10 deal with animals. In the past five years, 4-H programs have touched an estimated 3,500 youth in the city and county. Programs are expanded yearly, which include technology, and many are showcased at the annual 4-H Fair in the summer.

It all sounds great, and encouraging, but there is one problem, or two depending on how you look at it.

The 4-H Fairgrounds along Green Valley Road in New Albany is in need of a facelift, and the 4-H Fair Board could use some financial help from county government.

Neither seem to be a sure thing this year or in the immediate future.

Recently, board members, 4-H kids and Melissa Meridia, 4-H educator and county extension director, gave a presentation to the Floyd County Council, just like in past years. However, there is one difference. The $10,000 they asked for was not given a favorable vote. They were told to come back at a later date, and if the council had the money, it would give it to them.

But that will be a stretch. The council already must cut $1.2 million from its general fund budget, so 2015 looks lean, with very little extra money lying around.

The 4-H board uses the financial gift from the county each year to pay for insurance on the 4-H property. Last year, the county also declined providing the money, and this year it looks like the 4-H will once again have to try and raise the funds unless a donor steps forward or a grant is secured.

“We don’t have the money, we just don’t have it,” said County Council President Matt Oakley.

Oakley said the county has been “very” supportive of the 4-H in the past, including leasing the fairgrounds property for $1 a year.

“I think the 4-H is a great organization, and do a whole lot of good for the kids in the county,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of great organizations in Floyd County and the county council is not in position to be making donations this year.”

Last year, 4-H held fundraisers and used the money paid to rent Newlin Hall to pay the insurance and utility bills. Oakley told the group to “raise as much money as possible” again this year since the board will likely have to foot the insurance bill again.

Not only does the county lease the land to the 4-H for $1 a year, it also helps with mowing the grass.

Floyd County Commissioner Chuck Freiberger said he has always supported helping the 4-H financially, and still does. He is not happy the council said no to the 4-H board’s request.

“I have voted to make sure funding was appropriated to the 4-H for their programs,” he said.

Meridia said while Newlin Hall is rented throughout the year, the annual fair is the 4-H’s biggest fundraiser of the year. And crowds have been lacking in recent years. This year, the fair will be held a week earlier than normal, June 28 through July 4.

“The fair for many years has struggled with participation, but we are trying to build the fair back up,” Meridia said. “We want to make it a strong community event. But it takes money to make money.”

Meridia said since there is no charge to attend the fair, there are usually anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 a day who visit the exhibits, barns and midway. She said Wednesday through Saturday are usually the bigger days attendance wise.

Meridia also said thanks to the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, new bleaches were installed at the fairgrounds. But there are many needs, she added.

She said the restrooms and kitchen at Newlin Hall need to be renovated, and the barns on the grounds are aging.

“We have had a lot of discussions about what can we do to make [Newlin] the hall more attractive,” Meridia said. “There are a lot of needs there.”

Meridia said it cost about $120 a day to operate the 4-H Fairgrounds, and most of that is electricity which operates security lights on the grounds, on top of the liability insurance.

“It’s important that it is a safe area. A lot of people walk or jog through there or walk their dogs,” she said. “It is at the rear of Community Park. We want it to be safe.”

Meridia said the 4-H board plans on having a rodeo at this year’s fair as well as demolition derby.

“We are not only in need of money for the fairgrounds, but we want everyone to embrace the fair again,” Meridia said. “We want to build it up so people will keep coming back.”

While there has been some talk of looking for a new location for the fairgrounds, Meridia said she likes the Green Valley Road spot. She said it is easily accessible and surrounded by neighborhoods.

Commissioners Steve Bush, whose daughter has been involved in 4-H projects, said he as always been “passionate” about what 4-H offers the youth of the city and county. He said he would like to see the county get “even more involved with the fair and fairgrounds.”

Lawrence Public Library to host financial literacy clinic

The Lawrence Public Library will again offer the Financial Wellness Clinic, a free financial literacy series, in partnership with Housing and Credit Counseling Services, Inc.

The clinic will consist of a five-part series of workshops, which will provide basic money management and investing information. Each workshop will take place from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Lawrence Public Library auditorium every other Tuesday, starting April 7 and ending June 2.

The April 7 workshop is “Money You: Let’s Get Started”; the April 21 workshop is “The Good — the Bad — and Ugly in Your Credit Report”; the May 5 workshop is “Is it Better to Rent or Buy?”; the May 19 workshop is “Teaching Your Kids About Money”; and the June 2 workshop is “Basics of Investing.”

Copyright 2015 The

Lawrence Journal-World.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
We strive to uphold our values for every story published.