Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Washington Township High School is sponsoring their annual Super Bowl Hoagie sale on Sunday, February 3rd. Call Kim Hinrichs at 582-5353 x5704 or email email@example.com for details.
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How Will These New Rules Impact You?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn't wasting any time in drafting rules and restrictions on mortgage service bureaus. How does this affect you?
The rules are geared toward consumer protection. Some should be plain common sense, yet that approach doesn't always seem to work very well.
Criteria lenders must use to determine loan qualification are spelled out. The borrower must have a reasonable chance to pay the mortgage back. Sounds like one of those duh.... moments, right?
Had this been the case, we wouldn't have had a housing crisis. Laws were enacted to allow low-income citizens the opportunity to own a home. New types of mortgages were created to make homeownership more "affordable." We saw how that worked out.
The new rule states a qualified mortgage cannot include risky features like extending longer than 30 years. They can't offer interest-only payments or negative amortization payments where the principal amount actually increases. Teaser rates are no longer permitted.
Lenders must now actually evaluate a borrower's ability to repay the loan by considering things like income, assets, credit card or student loan debt. Credit scores count. But there is no stated credit score requirement, nor minimum down payment amount included in the rule.
They can't carry fees and points above 3% of the total mortgage. Debt-to-income ratio must be lower than 43% of the borrower's pre-tax income.
Mortgage lenders can still issue loans that don't meet the new criteria. But they won't be protected from consumer lawsuits claiming a risky loan.
Consumer advocates believe these new rules will adversely impact low-income citizens who will no longer be able to afford their own home. They're at odds with other groups of consumer advocates who point out the obvious - there are people in this country who simply don't have the resources to make a mortgage payment. These counter-groups don't believe the new rules go far enough to offer true consumer protection.
New foreclosure rules will also go into affect. Servicers are prohibited from foreclosing on borrowers who are seeking loan modifications. A borrower must be at least 120 days behind on payments before the first foreclosure notice can be filed to give the homeowner opportunity to apply for a modification.
All alternatives to foreclosure must be considered. After a borrower has missed two consecutive payments, the servicer must send a written notice with examples of available alternatives, and not just those that benefit the servicer. It may include deferred payments or loan modifications. Dedicated service personnel must be available to assist troubled homeowners.
If the borrower applies for a loan modification at least 37 days before their foreclosure auction is scheduled, the servicer must consider the request and give them enough time to accept alternatives before proceeding with the sale.
There are also guidelines to make mortgage statements easier to understand. Mortgage payments must be broken down by principal, interest, fees and escrow. They must show the amount and due date of the next payment, recent transactions and fee alerts.
Rate changes on adjustable-rate mortgages must be disclosed along with how they will affect their payments. Alternatives and counseling must be provided if the new payment is unaffordable.
Mortgaged homes must be insured. If sufficient proof of insurance is not provided, servicers can buy insurance for them and charge the premiums to the borrower. This insurance can be more expensive than traditional coverage. Advance notice and pricing information must be given before putting this coverage in place. If the servicer buys the insurance and receives evidence it wasn't needed, it must be terminated within 15 days and the premiums refunded.
These new rules are effective January 2014. That gives the conflicting consumer groups plenty of time to argue their view point and any resulting modifications implemented. And the rest of us opportunity to ponder why legislation is necessary for common sense to prevail.
Super Bowl Equals Super Bucks
AFL founder Lamar Hunt knew it would become something big. Postseason college games were called "bowl" games. The new pro football championship should be called the "Super Bowl."
It has since lived up to the name, and the hype.
The first football championship game between the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) was played in 1967, but the name wasn't introduced until 1969 when it had already been decided that the two leagues would merge for the 1970 season.
The new league would be divided into two conferences of 13 teams each. The conference champions would compete in the Super Bowl, the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the victor.
Lombardi led the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls. Each team member of the inaugural event earned $15,000, the largest single-game share in the history of team sports at the time.
Fast forward to this year's event. Each player on the team who wins the championship will earn $88,000. Losers only get $44,000 for their efforts.
That's on top of what is awarded to the team. Each is reimbursed for transportation expenses equal to 200 first class airfares. The winner gets $4.3 million with $3.2 million going to their opponent.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC estimated the game will generate $185 million in direct spending for the host city of New Orleans.
Sibling rivalry adds to the drama this year's event has already displayed. The matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will be the first time two brothers have led their respective teams to the big game.
Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers, and older brother John, Ravens' coach, became the first brothers in NFL history to serve as head coaches in 2011. The two teams met for a Thanksgiving Classic game in 2011 where Baltimore emerged the victor. The two will face off against each other once again on Sunday in New Orleans.
After the Harbaugh saga, the next biggest story line would be the commercials. The Super Bowl is expected to draw a worldwide audience of 111 million people. They're betting enough of them will watch the game in real time rather than set the DVR and fast forward through commercials.
And they're betting a pretty good amount of money, too. A 30-second spot this year goes for a record $3.8 million. Way back in 2008, they went for a mere $2.7 million.
But just in case you miss their ads, companies are leaking sneak peaks in advance. GoDaddy.com is shifting away from the sexy ads to the comical. RIM will introduce the long awaited Blackberry 10. Taco Bell is back after a two year hiatus.
GM will not have an ad this year, but they're the only auto company sitting it out. Ford and Chrysler will both try to woo viewers. Audi created three different ads, and asking viewers to vote on which one they should air during the game.
Cars.com ditched the company that created last year's campaign. A second little head popping out of a guy's neck disturbed too many people. One might hope the powers-that-be who approved the ad were ditched as well.
Whether the ad is good or not, people talk about it when it appears during the Super Bowl. The adage "any advertising is good advertising" rings true here. Even the worst ads leave people talking.
The game should leave people talking, too. When it comes down to it, it isn't about the advertising. It isn't about the halftime show. It isn't about the who's who list of celebrities present or even brother vs. brother.
It's about the competition. It's about sportsmanship. The best of one conference displaying their talent against the best of the opposing conference. And that makes it Super by any standard.
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