New Monthly Housing Scorecard Introduced by HUD

 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) are introducing a brand new scorecard for our country’s housing market. The scorecard intends to display monthly data regarding the impact of this Administration’s efforts for housing recovery and key market indicators, as well as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) assistance programs for American homeowners. This monthly report will feature data which is key to determining the health of our country’s housing market.
The American public will be able to monitor for themselves the efforts to invigorate the market which have made by this Administration, giving them the ability to hold the housing industry and the government accountable.
The goal of this Administration is to give the housing market as a whole and individual homeowners stability. As a means of helping this Administration to achieve these objectives, a comprehensive approach was developed which includes a coordinated effort between home buyer tax credits, community development and neighborhood stabilization programs, local and state housing agency initiatives, refinancings and modifications to mortgages, as well as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae support. The efforts of this Administration are built upon mortgage-backed securities issued by the Treasury and Federal Reserve purchase programs that have worked to help keep interest rates for mortgages at record lows during the past year.
FHA has also worked to help keep these rates affordable by playing a backstop role of importance by supporting refinance and new home purchase activity while the mortgage industry saw a lot of private capital leaving the market. Since April 2009, FHA has worked to help almost 400,000 home owners to keep their homes through the use of loss amelioration efforts, including options for modification. The Federal Housing Administration has also worked to take regulatory steps and administrative efforts to pursue essential reforms and tighten risk management in order to make its finances stronger, while giving homeowners access to affordable mortgage capital as a means of preventing foreclosures.
In fact, since April of 2009, servicers have reported that as many as 2.8 million homeowners have received restructured mortgages. This figure includes the over 1.2 million American homeowners that began trial modifications through the HAMP program and the almost 400,000 homeowners that saw benefits through loss mitigation. 346,000 homeowners in HAMP have also going into a permanent modification of their mortgage, saving them an average of $500 each month.
Also reported in the housing scorecard are the areas that give focus to HAMP compliance reviews as well as the scope of the compliance activities of the Treasury. The Treasury compliance activities include file reviews, reviews of NPV or net present value model applications and on-site reviews. Second look compliance-related reviews done by select services are also included for the first time as a part of this report to ensure that borrowers that might be eligible were properly solicited and evaluated for the HAMP program. The compliance activities of the Treasury will help to improve the performance of the servicers and help to improve processes that are designed to minimize the possibility that borrower applications could be overlooked, or that applicants might be denied their modifications inadvertently.

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The Driverless Car, Bringing Auto-Pilot Down From the Sky

 

Recently Google revealed the testing of the driverless car, the car which can drive itself from A to B without any input from the driver aside from entering the destination. The car works with a sensor on the roof which continuously spins 360A� to gather information of its surroundings up to 200 ft, while a sensor on the left rear wheel tracks movements to place the car on the map. The car has undertaken extensive road testing and appears to be an effective piece of technology.
This kind of development could work wonders for modern day business with the ability to use laptops and mobile phones while the car takes over driving. My personal opinion is this kind of technology would be better applied as a reserve option in case of emergency or legitimate reason to take eyes off the road temporarily, using the system to allow the car to take over.
The use of auto-pilot has for a long time been an important feature for the cabin crew aboard commercial airlines. Incorporating a similar method into a car however could be difficult with the added external factors of traffic and variable surroundings, if this is developed smoothly it would still however take years to become commonplace within the auto-motive market, it would be a tremendous luxury to have to allow the car to take over the driving while you have a break or attend to that email you should have replied to over an hour ago.
This technology could prove to be a significant development in the use of the car, with the potential for its use as an auto-pilot style system, however while this technology is still in development it is important to remember to stay focused at the wheel, thousands of accidents occur every year as people lose focus at the wheel, this can often be down to tiredness after a long week at work with consecutive late finishes and early starts or simply down to a stressful day at the office.
Remember the importance of taking a break from driving on long journeys, even if only for 10 minutes at a service station for a coffee break. The break from the repetitive cats eyes and headlights can help the mind re-focus on the task in hand, getting you home safely.

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No ROI Without Relevance

Business strategy today is focused on integrating result-oriented insights and forging an extensive plan for fulfillment. According to a report by McKinsey, companies who use customer analytics extensively are more inclined to generate above-average profits. Not stopping there, additionally, they outperform less analytically oriented peers, residing in the lead through the entire customer lifecycle and luxuriate in much superior customer loyalty. How exactly is analytics helping enterprises?

Much in the credit just for this success will be attributed to how responsive businesses today will customer needs and approximately their concentrate on establishing systems and guidelines tightly related to the customers. Analytics provide insights into customer preferences to companies, which tailor their content and messages to stay strongly related customers and await a timely chance to make offers suitable for their customers’ wishes. They use their insights drive an automobile better plus more relevant and valuable interactions turning even customers into loyal ones, to make sure they come back for further, again. They also secure the unshaken loyalty of long-standing customers through these measures.

Important ways that enterprises stay strongly related to customers range from the following:

Timeliness: The time to create relevance is the place the customer shows desire for your product, instead of at any time. Your sales plans, targets, and metrics do not have relevance to your customer. Pitch your products when a customer wants similar to it, and settle back to watch the offer getting struck.

Personalization: Use analytics to learn the mapping of any customer’s decision journey, be aware of the opportunities and parts of friction with customer interests.

Extrapolation: Extrapolate the insights provided by analytics to hide your demographic of consumers at a advanced level of granularity, employing a broad range of attributes like behavior, demographics, location, age or even the consumer’s stage within the buying journey. Use those to craft personalized messages which consult them by what they are seeking only, down to some color or size.

Segmentation: Use data to define customer segments using broad criteria and dive down deeper to produce your message personalized and strongly related to each group by its characteristics and attributes. These could be thank you notes, feedback requests, new offerings of similar products giving them a special discount or some other personalized incentives.

Employee orientation: Businesses ought to train and orient their employees to produce personalized experience to absolutely free themes, whether in providing something or giving an answer to an inquiry. They have to be prepared to learn and turn into flexible in carrying their studying under one customer interaction to a new, to revise their approach.

Understanding customer intent: Successful enterprises be able to spot positive signals of customer intent or negative signals of the refusal to get engage, employing their behavior. This power to spot a customer’s intentions and focus them right qualifies an insurer for fulfillment. Insurers today consider advantage of data from businesses, that provide a deeper clues about customer health needs, lifestyle choices and risk-taking behavior, like outdoor recreation, travel choices and even weight, to make the decision how to tailor a plan to suit a customer’s particular needs. Data today can assist businesses anticipate intent, by making use of predictive analysis depending on previous or related purchases produced by other customers which led the crooks to purchase a specific next product, encouraging upsell initiatives while offering.

Rewarding customers for volunteering data: Customers today often reveal data willingly and without incentivization. Businesses are willing to offer freebies and rewards to customers who are ready to share data which reveals their priorities, habits and tastes.

Upsell or Cross-sell flagged customers: Brands treat top grade customers differently. Customers who speak to are treated to your wide variety of options and choices because the calling agents offer them relevant services and products, and even an upgrade.

Most businesses are going to a tremendous value and multiplied return with taking this type of relevant approach. They must recognize that real insights from analytics aren’t going to be possible without collecting detailed, relevant and useful details about customers which may be converted into live business intelligence. It’s also extremely critical towards the success in the approach to supply customer-facing agents, representatives, managers yet others to subscribe towards the same attitude and approach when dealing with absolutely free themes.

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Personal Finance – Dealing With Your Finances and Eliminating Debt in 2010

 

It is the start of 2010; it is a new year; it is your chance to make a change. Do you have debt that you would like to see eliminated? If so, make 2010 your year to see debt relief. Here is how you can do it in a few easy and simple sets.
Step #1 – Consider Seeking Professional Help
Do you need to seek professional debt help? Technically no because you can deal with your creditors. On that same note, you will almost always find the best success when you are represented by a professional. In terms of getting your debt eliminated, professional assistance tends to result in a higher percentage of elimination. For example, lets say you decided to play the negotiation game with your creditors yourself, you might get 30% of your debt eliminated. That sounds nice, but a professional settlement company rarely settles for that little; they tend to aim for at least a 50% reduction in debt.
Step #2 – Work on Putting All You Can Towards Your Debt
Getting a percentage of your debt eliminated is a great way to see debt relief, but this still takes time. Lets say that you had $50,000 in debt, you might get away only paying $25,000. This is good, but $25,000 is still a lot to owe and it could still take you years. That is why it is recommended that you cut your spending down to nothing but the basics. Eliminate or reduce anything you don’t need to function day-to-day. This might free up an extra $300 or more a month! Put that money towards getting out of debt and you will see relief must faster. The good news is that these spending limitations don’t have to be permanent.
Step #3 – Be Serious
Whether you make debt relief your New Year’s Resolution or just a goal, be sure that you are serious about doing so. Regaining control of your finances doesn’t have to be difficult, but it isn’t going to be easy either. You must take a positive and proactive approach to see the best results. If you have a bad week, like where you spent more than you should have, don’t let it get you down. Brush yourself off and start over again. Debt relief will never come in 2012 or anywhere if you give up.

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How To Use Google Finance To Track Stocks

 

Tracking the stocks you have invested in is important if you want to realize continued success in the stock market. If you effectively track your stocks, you be able to make sound decisions suppose you want to make any investment changes. Several websites are available that can assist you in doing this. Some of these are the NASDAQ website, Yahoo! Finance, and Google Finance. This article focuses on the Google Finance, which provides adequate information for tracking the performance of stocks.
After signing up for Google Finance account, on the front page, you will see a chart giving a summary of how the market performed that day. This is a good place you can use for gauging the overall trend of the market. It is worth mentioning that if you have any type of tool that tracks the performance of the market, you may just stop at the front page. This page also has links to articles of some important news for the day.
If you scroll down the page, you will find that the performance of various sectors of the stock market is also included. This can assist you in having a quick glance at how your preferred sector performed for the day. For example, if you have bought stocks in the technology sector, you will be able to assess very fast how the sector is performing over time.
In any case you want to check the performance of an individual stock, you will type the ticker symbol for the stock or the name of the company in the search bar, and you will be directed to a page containing all the information you need. For instance, if you are looking for information concerning Google, you will type GOOG (stock symbol) in the search bar and you will get all the details you require about that stock.
The page of the stock you need information on has a lot of beneficial details. Primarily, the page has information on the stock price and how it was traded that day. You will know whether the value of the stock is either increasing or decreasing. Furthermore, you will also know essential information about the company. For example, you will know its number of shares and the EPS. In summary, this page gives all information about the stock in one place, and this makes it invaluable for tracking the performance of online stocks on the internet.

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Using Finance Industry Recruiters to Find Your Ideal Executive Position

 

If you are an executive in the finance industry then you have probably worked with an executive search firm at some point. Finance industry recruiters work specifically with companies needing to hire executives in the finance industry. They screen candidates ahead of time so that the business doing the hiring can focus on detailed interviewing. Finance industry recruiters have specialized knowledge of the best companies and positions in the field.
It’s quite common for recruiters to approach executives who are already employed, hoping to lure them into a better position. However, with the finance industry having taken a hit in the past few years due to the economy, there are also many unemployed executives looking for work.
What qualifications are recruiters most interested in as far as the current business climate is concerned? You might be surprised. While technical skills are very important in any field, recruiters are focused on finding executives who can manage people and work well with many different personalities. Interpersonal skills are at the top of the list for that reason. Company employees are sensitive to new management that isn’t able to merge with the business atmosphere.
Other things recruiters are looking for are:
• Leadership
Finance is a volatile industry. Executives need to be confident leaders, willing to make essential decisions without hesitation. Yet they also need to be able to work with a team. It’s a delicate balance.
• Savvy
Financial services recruiters monitor social media sites as part of their searching process. It’s essential for executives to have a social media presence. That means updating your profile on a regular basis, and joining online industry groups and organizations.
• Ethics
Unfortunately lack of ethics has proven to be the downfall for many executives. Companies need to be assured that their executives are not going to do anything that will end up embarrassing them and their shareholders.
There are things you can do to increase your chances of finding a position through a recruiter.
1. Ask contacts for an introduction. Busy recruiters may not notice you if you don’t make the first move.
2. When you do make an appointment to speak, make it a face-to-face meeting, not a phone call. You want them to remember you.
3. Prove yourself to be a good communicator, but don’t over share. This isn’t your buddy – whatever you say can be shared with a future employer.
4. Never go over the recruiter’s head. Always work through the recruiter or you are going to end up with a terrible reputation.
5. Stay in contact even when you have a position. You will be more successful with a long-term relationship than having to start at square one.

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Deciding To Have A Roll Up Stand

 

Setting up presentations or displays can either be very easy, or very difficult. Many factors can have a huge effect on how the whole process goes. The equipment in particular has great bearing on whether or not a display is designed to travel. In many cases, a roll up stand for a large display can be a wonderful advantage.
These stands operate the very same as a roller shade. A banner or display clicks into stand and then can be rolled out. The other end is then pulled up and connected to the top of a pole. There are some in which the roller portion attaches at the top and is pulled down, just as a projection screen.
Learning how to set one up is fairly simple. Some of them can be rather tall when fully set up, so it may actually require two people in order to do. Once getting the hang of it, these can be quickly set up. Knowing that they will not incur additional time to set up can be comforting to many managers. The ease and speed factor is something that should be considered when deciding what sort of stand to buy.
Having a stand that easily portable is a feature that is extremely valuable when needing to travel, or having to give the same presentation in several different locations. These are compact and easy to carry. Though heavier than many other stands, the fact that they are not bulky tends to make up for it. That makes it ideal to select for this purpose.
When compared to other types of display stands, these do tend to be more durable. Again, this fits very well with traveling. They will stand up to car travel, but also train or air travel. Though they should be handled with care, they can in fact take quite a beating and still work well.
As with anything, there are drawbacks. In this case, it happens to be the cost. These are time and labor intensive to create, and therefore are considerably more expensive that other stands that function in the same way. Should one require repairing, that can also become costly. Generally speaking, once damaged they need to be replaced.
Acting with care and attention when setting up and taking down a display stand such as this will avoid most damage. Acting in haste would risk tearing the display itself. Think about the issues that roller shades have when the shade does not line up properly when it goes up. It can get stuck, or even torn. The same issues persist with these stands.
The roll up stand can cost more money up front. In the event that it is damaged it can be costly to repair or replace. These are clear disadvantages. The advantages are that they travel quite easily, they are simple to set up, and they are durable. These may not be suitable for every purpose, so be certain to carefully consider what is really required for the situation.

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Qualifications and Training of Counselors

 

A counselor goes through various training schedules and grasps various academy qualifications which he puts into practice to cure a mentally sick person through his medical attention. A counselor can hold his rank after his lower education but he is authorized to get a license only after his master’s degree.
Training and Qualification: A counselors qualification requirements can vary from State Licensure to occupational specialty. A counselor must hold a master’s degree to get a license to practice his work. The education programs of a counselor can be easily seen in some departments of psychology, education and human services.
This department may be seen in various fields such as marriage, family therapy, mental health problem, addictions to various drugs, counseling in education and various other fields. These courses are often grouped into different areas which may include social and cultural diversity, relationships, group efforts and many more. The counselor has to go through 48 to 60 semester hours during his graduation study which also includes a supervised clinical experience in counseling.
Some employers are also provided training for the newly hired counselors. Others may also offer time off or tuition assistance to complete a graduate degree. Counselors can also maintain their certificates and licenses by participating in different graduate studies, personal studies and workshops.
Licensure: A counselor may hold a license but this differs from work setting, occupational specialty or may be by State. Some states require school counselors who can hold a State school counseling certification and for which the counselors must have completed their graduation whereas, some states require counselors who have cleared their master’s degree.
On the other hand some public schools require counselors who can handle both counseling and teaching certificates and also having some kind of teaching experience. A counselor who deals with marriage related problems and family stress problems must hold a master’s degree in counseling family or marriage therapy. However, if a counselor is working in certain fields or if he is specialized with his department may face a different licensure requirement.
For example, if he is a career counselor and if he is working for a private practice then he may need a license whereas a counselor working for a college center may not require a license. In addition to it counselors who deal with criteria such as addiction, behavior disorder is often governed by different State agency or board which are much different from other counselors. In getting a license the counselor may need a high school diploma to practice his own subject.
Other Qualifications: People dealing with counseling session should possess a strong positive desire to aid others and should be able to respect their clients and should be confidence about their profession. The counselors must be able to work independently or they can also work in groups. A counselor must also have strong will power to handle different people who are affected with different mental and psychological problems because dealing with these problems may cause mental stress to the counselor.

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What You Must Know About A Lease Vs Buy Business Finance Decision For An Equipment Lease

 

Business owners and financial managers in business finance are always faced with the same decision in acquiring an equipment lease, namely should we buy or lease. Technically this is referred to in the finance books as the infamous ‘ lease vs. buy ‘decision.
Let’s examine some of the key points and facts you need to consider in that decision. Naturally the good news is that an equipment lease can be used to acquire almost any type of equipment or asset – that includes equipment, machinery, buildings, etc. More often than not it pays to seek a business financing advisor who is well versed in the benefits and nuances of equipment finance.
Working capital and cash flow tend to be the main drivers of the lease vs. buy decision when we talk to clients. It goes without saying that most Canadian leasing companies probably have a lower cost of capital then your firm based on their borrowing capacity and the way they are funded. Therefore that lower cost of capital becomes a positive advantage in the lease vs. buy decision.
In many cases the lease vs. buy decision will be very close and the actual non financial benefits of an equipment lease will drive your final decision. For example, although you might be in a position to construct a favorable buy versus leasing model you might not want to use business lines of credit to access the cash needed to acquire the asset.
Also one of the key tenets of finance is that you should use long term funds to fund long term assets – that just makes common sense. Simply speaking you don’t want to purchase an asset as opposed to l easing it and find out you might not be able to make payroll on Friday because your line of credit is maxed out!
As we said, some of the pure mechanical decisions around the lease vs. buy tool (there are numerous on line calculators which are references as lease vs. purchase analysis tool) can often be over ridden in your analysis by non financial considerations. For example, let’s say you clearly don’t want to keep the asset at the end of the term of its useful economic life. That’s where an equipment lease makes total sense, as it gives you the ability to return, extend, or even purchase the asset if in fact you end up deciding to purchase and keep it if your circumstances change.
Business owners might want to consider talking to their accountant or a business financing advisor on larger capital asset acquisitions. Some of the inputs required in the lease versus buy model include items such as the actual interest rate the lease company is charging you, your tax rate, the projected increase in profit via use of the asset, the depreciation expense you can take on the asset and your overall cost of capital which is calculated by analyzing your debt and equity in the business. Whew!! That’s some fancy accounting and it can best be left to your accountant or advisor on larger asset financing acquisitions. However the good news is that a simple computer spreadsheet handles all this for us nicely!
In summary the leasing versus buy tool in business finance can be a great asset in your financing decisions for new assets. Adopt Warren Buffets key approach, which is simply to determine if the asset financing opportunity delivers a solid return on equity for your business.
Yes our tool we outlined is important, but at the end of the day use business common sense to analyze the equipment lease opportunity and blend it into your overall business financing strategy.

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Does GM Have the Subprime Answer?

 

It is evident that GM needs to do something to improve sales. And a robust expansion into the subprime lending market might just be the right prescription. It is a field ripe with potential for the company. After all, it is a huge segment of the U.S. auto market. Sharon Terlep, a writer for the Wall street Journal, quotes Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit for Experian Automotive as saying, “By not financing [subprime] consumers, they are locking out about 40% of the U.S. population”.
GM is way behind the pack this year with regard to year-over-year sales increase. After all, Ford, their rival across town, is already up over 30 percent. Honda and Toyota are seeing better increases as well. And, when it comes to lending, all three are getting much better results than GM in the subprime arena.
GM does have a severe barrier to subprime lending though. Ford owns their own finance arm, as do Honda and Toyota. Attracting more buyers is easy. When sales need a boost, all these three automakers need to do is tell their lending arms to relax their qualification standards. GM can’t do this.
In 2006, when GM was in need of cash, they sold 51 percent of GMAC to a private organization led by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. This group ran into struggles of their own with subprime mortgages in 2008 and was bailed out by the government. The federal government now owns 56 percent of Ally Financial, Inc., formerly GMAC, and 61 percent of GM.
When GM needs a shot in the arm for sales they can’t demand Ally to loosen the lending requirements because they don’t own the bank. However, they are a bit boot-strapped because the Government has named Ally as GM’s primary lender. Ally finances almost 40 percent of GM’s total sales.
Now we wonder, will GM open its own finance company? A few months ago the company researched this notion. However, research now shows that, for the near term, the company does not plan to open a lending arm or try to take back control of GMAC.
So, what will GM do? An article by Ken Thomas of the Associated Press cites GM spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem, “We are developing relationships with other financial sources on a selective basis for specialized financing needs, such as leasing and subprime financing.” So, if you have less than perfect credit, say below a 620 score, you may soon be in luck.
We know GM needs a sales boost. Their North American president, Mark Reuss, was quoted last month saying the company wants to expand their subprime lending power. So, the millions of car buyers with less than perfect credit scores, who are looking for a new car, may be in luck. If you fall into the class of shoppers who worry their credit may block them from owning a new car, don’t worry, GM may soon have a vehicle and lending that is perfect for you.
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