Monday Laundry: First-time homebuyers, shaky banks, scams, students and more
My weekly list of things I meant to say, follow-ups, requests, all the personal finance news that need to be cleaned up and aired out.
The ship is coming in
State money from Florida tax receipts that will be an advance on the $8,500 tax credit for first-time homebuyers is beginning to make its way through the system. But the money is still not in the hands of anxious homebuyers that I'm hearing from in South Florida. I'm told more than $5 million has been dispersed to Broward County and 60 other local governments. More on this later.
One reader in Palm Beach says he has proof that UBS set up a Swiss bank account without his permission. Anyone else?
Small fry investor losses
That’s how we came to refer to the story I wrote for Sunday’s paper about the huge increase in investor disputes with advisors and allegations of investment fraud. I called it small fry because, gee, next to Madoff, almost any investment fraud seems small potatoes. Yet these are painful losses. My question that remains: Do small fry investors have trouble getting a lawyer to help them? Do regulators pay attention to the small fry complaints?
If you missed the story, it's here:
and here's the sidebar:
Best reaction to small fry investor losses
The reader who called to say, no, that research from FINRA on who becomes a victim of investment fraud, that didn’t apply to him. He wouldn’t’ fall for a fraud.
(The FINRA research noted that most victims of investment fraud direct their own investments, rather than use an advisor. The anonymous caller said that couldn’t possibly be true. A big problem, FINRA’s investment education foundation president John Gannon said, was getting people to believe that anyone, including the smartest, self-directed investors, could fall victim to fraud.)
Here's the link
To my commentary on Marketplace Money,
the American Public Media show on National Public Radio, that aired on Saturday.
Title: No credit card for my college-age son.
Looking for people who have experience with renting college textbooks. It’s starting to take hold and I want to know how well it’s working. Let me know if you or your student is using this service.
That FDIC report on bank earnings last week had the headline that more than one in four FDIC-insured institutions lost money in the second quarter of this year. A lot of that had to do with charge-offs for loans. There's an interesting glimpse into the nation’s personal finances included here. And it's a bit better than the picture you see of business borrowers. Both are in poor shape. But the FDIC report noted that the increase in charge-offs for commercial loans was about double the increase in charge-offs for credit cards. Commercial loan charge-offs increased 165 percent, while credit card loans charge-offs increased 84.5 percent
Overall, these are rotten records. For 52 straight months, the rate of bad loans has been rising.
Didn’t see any report from the SEC on how it mishandled Madoff and what it learned. I guess we all wait.