Fund – Kepplah Thu, 27 May 2021 19:01:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fund – Kepplah 32 32 3 home improvement projects that will add value Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:10 +0000

Time spent indoors over the past year has sparked an increase in home improvement projects to make the stay-at-home experience more comfortable. With the continuing effect of the pandemic, this year appears to be on the same track.

Popular mortgage renovations

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Popular mortgage renovations

Despite the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, home renovation expenses rose 3% last year to $ 271 billion, according to a new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. This year, JCHS expects spending to reach $ 281 billion.


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The planned increase in renovation spending comes amid easing foreclosure restrictions and growing signs of economic recovery. Owners benefit from savings one year of lockdown (and possibly money released by refinancing) to improve the comfort of their home.

“Many find themselves ready to adapt their homes to their new normal lifestyle,” said Nichole Straub, Managing Director of Discover Home Loans. “Many have reallocated their disposable income from travel and entertainment investments to home improvement projects.”

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed by Find out about mortgage loans are planning renovation projects this year. Of these, 83% say making their home more comfortable is their main motivator.

Mischa Fischer, HomeAdvisor’s chief home improvement market economist, notes that 40% of homeowners the company polled cited making their home more suitable for their lifestyle as the main reason for embarking on a project. renovation, compared to 25% in 2019.

The mindset, says Fischer, has changed to “the house is not just this asset that I have, it’s actually this place that has to provide all of these services for me and therefore I’m ready. to spend to get a good value on this front too.

Choosing the right renovation project

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. According to David Haas, co-founder of PowerPay, a digital lending platform providing financing for home improvement, most home improvement projects will add value to your home. Don’t expect to get back all of your investment.

According to Haas, depending on the project, expect a return on investment of between 75% and 95%. Renovations like replacing your siding with vinyl have a 75% return on investment, according to Remodeling magazine. Cost compared to 2020 value report. In contrast, replacing a garage door provided a 95% return on investment.

According to Home Advisor’s Home expenses statement report, homeowners spent an average of about $ 13,000 on home improvement and maintenance projects last year.

The key to getting the most out of your investment, says Fischer, is finding the right balance between affordability and visual impact. Your return on investment “depends on what the buyer is willing to assess this change for.”

Niche decorations or unique design features may work for you, but may not be as appealing to a potential buyer, especially if that means they have to spend money on a renovation if they don’t like it. not. In other words, have a gothic themed house it’s fine if it’s you who live there, but may not make the best impression on house hunters.

Another element of any remodeling will be quality. Fisher recommends hiring a qualified professional to perform the renovation to ensure that you get the renovation you want in a timely manner. HomeAdvisor recommends reading reviews and asking for references. If you have friends or family who have done a similar remodeling project, ask about their experience with their contractor. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few potential candidates, check their licenses and ask to see recent examples of their work.

“With a good quality professional you get a project planner, a designer, someone who is honest, with integrity, that’s the number one thing,” says Fisher.

Best home improvement projects in 2021

The most popular home improvement trends for 2021 are projects that don’t have to cost a lot, but can have a big visual impact on a home’s look and feel.

Bathroom remodeling

Redo a bathroom is the most popular planned renovation project this year, according to a HomeAdvisor survey.

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time in our bathrooms, so an upgrade that makes this important room more comfortable, efficient, and practical makes a lot of sense and can be a selling point for any potential buyer. Changing tastes will appear first in bathrooms and kitchens. Modern toilets, faucets and showerheads not only look good, they also save water and help lower the running costs of the home.

The cost of a bathroom remodel averaged $ 13,401 last year, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost report. You could easily spend a lot more, but a bathroom remodel will be more economical than, say, a kitchen remodel, which cost on average over $ 35,000.

Interior painting

It was last year’s most popular project and the second most planned project this year, according to HomeAdvisor. An interior painting project had an average cost of $ 2,007, a relatively inexpensive upgrade that can also have an eye-catching impact on a home.

If you plan to paint for the purpose of reselling your home, be careful about the colors you choose. The buyer should be able to imagine their furniture in your home, so it is best to look for neutral tones that can blend well with any style.

The same can be said of the exterior paint. If the exterior paint is faulty, a new paint can make your home stand out from the crowd in the neighborhood. Remember, if your paint upgrade is to sell your house, you might not want to paint it in your favorite baseball team’s color scheme.

New floor

Replacing your old flooring is the third most planned renovation project this year. It is relatively inexpensive, with an average cost of $ 4,680.

Replacing worn carpet, tile, or wood with new flooring will not only make your home more comfortable, but can also add an interesting design feature that can make your home more attractive when it comes time to sell it.

Consider recent flooring trends when replacing your old one to see what is not only more durable, but also what can improve the value of your home. According to, in 2019, homes with hardwood floors sold 2.5% more than homes with other types of flooring and provided a return on investment of between 70% and 80%.

More from Money:

Do you dream of a DIY renovation? How to renovate without harming your pride or the value of your property

7 Simple Tips To Refinance Your Mortgage While Rates Are Still Low

How to Buy a New Home: A Beginner’s Guide

Rushing to buy a home can lead to serious regret. Here’s how not to hate your home

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Kindergarten teacher in Flint area gets a makeover with coronavirus gear Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:54 +0000

MT MORRIS TWP, MI – When Jessica Reed walked into her classroom, her eyes filled with tears.

The room has been repainted, turning white from its old dark blue. Desks were 6 feet apart, and hand sanitizer stations were located at each corner. Large print on one wall read: “This is our happy place.”

Northridge Academy plans to begin online courses and review possible in-person instruction in October. However, Reed will continue to teach virtually in his new and improved classroom.

Reed said she was excited to show her Northridge Academy Kindergarten students her new vacation-style bedroom.

“You know it’s going to be life changing for them,” Reed said.

Whitmer and Trump have different ideas about whether and how to reopen schools. But in Michigan, the plans are ultimately local.

Before classrooms were closed in Michigan due to COVID-19, Reed had a makeover in the classroom with Schoolgirl Style, a brand of classroom decorations started by a longtime educator from Genesee County , Melanie Ralbusky.

It was disappointing to put the project on hold, but once the restrictions were lifted, Ralbusky said she was able to proceed with the classroom renovation with COVID safety measures in mind. -19. A team of five was able to work all week to complete the room for a Friday July 31 reveal.

As a kindergarten teacher, Reed said she is becoming a “fun teacher.”

“When you’re a kindergarten teacher, every child comes back to your room,” Reed said.

This year, Reed faces new challenges. She will not have a normal family orientation in kindergarten. But students will see the classroom in its background when they go online.

The classroom was redesigned by a teacher Reed knew growing up.

Ralbusky grew up in the Flint area, attended the University of Michigan-Flint, and taught in Genesee County districts for most of his career. She said that designing a classroom is a passion because the atmosphere of a classroom enhances the learning experience for both teacher and students. Eventually, she created her own brand, Schoolgirl Style, to support this passion and share it with other educators.

“I did classroom renovations for deserving teachers across the country and thought it was time to come home and do something special for my hometown,” said Ralbusky.

Ralbusky knew Reed as she pursued her teaching career.

She taught Reed’s sister, Chloe, in kindergarten when Reed was in high school. After teaching Chloe for two years, Ralbusky said she got to know Reed’s family well.

When Reed decided to become a teacher, Ralbusky said she wasn’t surprised.

“I knew she would one day make a phenomenal teacher because she loved children and cared so much about children, regardless of their background or limitations,” said Ralbusky. “She was a lawyer.”

Knowing Reed and watching her grow up made this classy makeover special, said Ralbusky.

“His positivity about all kids and how all kids can learn – I’ve always been his biggest fan,” Ralbusky said of Reed. “I’m going to cry talking about her.”

COVID-19 made the classroom design difficult, but Ralbusky said she was able to adapt and be creative.

Usually, said Ralbusky, she likes having a carpet in a room and plenty of spaces for community supplies, but with the COVID-19 restrictions, she had removed all soft surfaces. A collection of pillows was on display in the room on Friday for the photoshoot, but she said they plan to remove them when the students return. She also adjusted the storage spaces so that students each have their own space for supplies, eliminating shared items.

“I think this room is just very inspiring,” said Ralbusky. “I think whatever situation a teacher finds himself in, whatever state they are in or what their guidelines are, the room renovation reminds them that the classroom is still there and that we still have students and we can still celebrate learning. “

To help you navigate this complicated downfall, we’re happy to offer you an easier way to receive all of your education news: Our new Michigan Schools: Education in the COVID Era newsletter delivered right to your inbox. To receive this newsletter, simply Click here to sign up.

Read more:

Davison community schools plan August 17 start date

2 Genesee ISD cosmetology students tested positive for coronavirus

Flint Schools Announce New Deputy Superintendent and Trustees

Mount. Morris Schools publish back-to-school plan, preparing for online or in-person learning

Lapeer schools push back start date to fall and choose to suspend balanced calendar year

Flint’s school board plans to start practically on August 5 and possibly return to classrooms in September.

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CCJ Daily Dispatch, December 22: Second COVID relief package passed by Congress includes another round of small business loans Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

Trucking News and Memories for Tuesday, December 22, 2020:

Congress adopts second COVID relief package
On Monday afternoon, both houses of Congress passed a $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief package that, in part, reopens the paycheck protection program for small businesses.

For companies that received PPP funding in the first round, they can apply for a second loan of up to $ 2 million, provided they have fewer than 300 employees, have used or will use the full amount of their first. ready, and may show a decrease of at least 25% in revenue in a quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019, according to the Journal of Accountancy.

Loans pop over to this website will also still be available for new applicants with fewer than 500 employees.

The bill also includes a second round of direct payments to working Americans – $ 600 for each adult and child earning less than $ 75,000 per year. It also adds $ 300 per week to unemployment benefits on top of state benefits from December 26 to March 14, 2021.

With regard to road transport specifically, the bill allocates $ 10 billion for national roads.

“Since the early response to the pandemic, state DOTs have suffered severe losses in state transportation revenues as vehicle travel declines,” said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “This COVID relief bill keeps state DOTs on track and supporting the efficient movement of essential goods and services while maintaining their transportation systems. In addition, this timely federal support will help state DOTs maintain their institutional capacity and be prepared for future infrastructure investments, propelling economic recovery and growth. ”

As of Tuesday morning, the bill awaits President Trump’s signature before being enacted into force.

Truckers now recommended for third group of COVID vaccine
Following a federal advisory committee meeting on Sunday, December 20, truck drivers and other transportation and logistics personnel are now part of the third group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, only behind other essential front-line workers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (ACIP) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has placed truckers in phase 1c, based on the group trying to strike a balance between preventing deaths and preserving d ‘a functioning society.

In the first group, phase 1a, are people in long-term care facilities and health personnel. This group has already started receiving vaccine from the first vaccine shipments that were dispatched last week.

The second group, Phase 1b, is made up of people aged 75 and over and “essential frontline workers”. Phase 1c, the third group which includes truck drivers, includes people aged 65 to 74, people aged 16 to 64 with high risk health conditions and “other essential workers”.

Workers considered “essential frontline workers” in Phase 1b include first responders, teachers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, transit workers and more. Within the group of “other essential workers” are transportation and logistics workers, food service workers and more.

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West Brom captain quite impressed with ‘fantastic’ Chelsea loaner Conor Gallagher Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

Chelsea’s loan army has swelled in numbers again this season, largely due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has meant that several ‘big’ names on the team have also been sent for temporary movements, including Ross Barkley, Michy Batshuayi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

But there are several others who are on loan on standard development paths, such as 20-year-old midfielder Conor Gallagher, who is looking to move from the Championship (on loan to Charlton Athletic and Swansea City) to the prime minister. League (at West Brom).

I am happy to report that so far the still beautifully-haired local kid born in Surrey has taken the plunge with the confidence of a seasoned veteran.

Gallagher has played every minute of West Brom’s last four Premier League games, and although they have only collected two points from those games (to give them just three points over the season in total), Gallagher has nevertheless been awesome.

Midfielder and club captain Jake Livermore has certainly noticed the man of a decade his junior.

“Conor has been fantastic for me.

“His energy level and quality in training every day is a good deal for us and I let him guess as a top player. He wants to learn and has great ability to move forward, but on the other hand, he’s more than responsible for the follow-up and he just has bags of energy. The athleticism he has is what the game is becoming and he has it in abundance.

“He’s been very impressive and I think he can be a really important player for us this season.

-Jake Livermore; source: WBA

Gallagher was one of the best players on the pitch last weekend, as West Brom narrowly fell to Spurs, 1-0, thanks to a goalie error in the dying minutes.

Albion may be in the relegation zone for now, but with plenty of other teams battling for points at the moment – five teams under ten after eight played – there is still plenty of time to change the points. things. At the rate it is unfolding right now, Gallagher will be the key to any such effort.

And after that, maybe Chelsea’s first team will wait until next season!

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Japan grants 30 billion yen in loans to Mauritius after oil spill Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

Japan will provide up to 30 billion yen ($ 284 million) in loans to Mauritius to help its economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic and a major oil spill caused by a Japanese cargo ship last year.

The assistance agreement was signed by Japanese Ambassador to Maurice Shuichiro Kawaguchi and Renganaden Padayachy, Mauritius Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, in Port Louis, the Foreign Ministry said.

They also signed a separate agreement under which Tokyo will offer a grant of 600 million yen to aid Mauritius’ efforts to boost disaster risk reduction at sea and strengthen maritime security, according to the Japanese ministry.

The July oil spill off Mauritius last year hit the tourism and fishing sectors in the country, which was already suffering from restrictions on cross-border movement of people and goods due to the pandemic.

Since the accident, Japan has dispatched investigative teams to compile an aid program in Port Louis, including support for the local fishing industry and the restoration of damaged mangroves.

The Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. and owned by Nagashiki Shipping Co., ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25, spilling more than 1,000 tonnes of oil into the pristine environment.

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Virgin seeks help | The Economist Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

NOTO OTHER BUSINESS The figure holds a candle to Sir Richard Branson when it comes to public relations stunts. However, not all of the British entrepreneur’s hugs go without a hitch: he was rescued once by a RAF helicopter when his speedboat capsized while attempting a record-breaking Atlantic crossing. Its track record in doing business with its branded empire Virgin is also fraught with successes and failures, including Virgin Cola, Virgin Brides (an attempt to disrupt the wedding industry) and Virgin Cars (a short-lived online retailer). . Through thick and thin, the bearded mogul scrambled, armed with a high profile mark and a permanent cheesy smile. At the end of 2019, his empire was valued at over £ 4 billion ($ 5.1 billion)

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This, however, was before covid-19. The Virgin Group has been heavily exposed to shutdowns caused by viruses: its activities include two airlines, hotels, gyms and a cruise line. (Other interests include banking, mobile and broadband networks, and space tourism.) In March, Sir Richard – who owns Virgin – said its travel, leisure and wellness businesses being faced “a massive battle to survive and save jobs”.

His carefully crafted image as a lovable outsider in the corporate world took a hit. Critics shouted hypocrisy when Virgin Atlantic (Virginia), a long-haul airline, has asked the UK government for a bailout; Sir Richard had said a decade earlier when his rival BA posted a record loss, meaning that weak companies should be allowed to die. They also noted that a bailout for a tax exile could be a bit rich. Sir Richard and the group’s parent company are both domiciled in the tax and disclosure light British Virgin Islands. (Virgin says he moved there for lifestyle reasons, no taxes, and the major operating companies pay taxes in Britain.)

The government’s rejection of a bailout forced managers to develop a plan to consolidate Virginia. The shareholders (Virgin, with 51%, and Delta, an American airline, with 49%) will defer the taking of fees, such as royalties; private investors are courted for loans; the airline hopes to renegotiate aircraft leases. It cuts 3,150 jobs and closes hubs in Gatwick and Newark, New Jersey; and he’s back in talks about a government loan, or a guarantee that would prompt credit card companies to release frozen reservation payments. A spokesperson says Virginia “Stay in a stable position”.

Virgin is also looking to revive Virgin Australia, the country’s second-largest airline until it takes office in April, rendering Virgin’s 10% stake worthless. Two private equity firms are sniffing. Final offers must be submitted no later than June 22. Virgin can co-invest in a recapitalization. Neither company was in poor health even before covid-19. Virginia lost £ 26million in 2018, the last year he filed for accounts. He hired a restructuring firm to work on options, including a contingency plan for a “prepackaged” bankruptcy.

A company that hopes to operate at a higher altitude may serve as a savior: Sir Richard’s space tourism business, Virgin Galactic, which launched in New York City last year. In recent weeks, a Branson check BVI The company, Vieco 10, sold 37.5 million Galactic shares, raising $ 560 million, but reducing the tycoon’s stake from more than 50% to around 30%.

The product will be used throughout the Virgin Group to cushion the blow of the pandemic. They exceed the $ 360 million in additional cash that Virgin executives, led by Josh Bayliss, believe will be needed over the next year to ensure all companies can continue to negotiate. But that estimate has already been increased once, and the group recognizes that more will be needed for 2021-2022. Additionally, Sir Richard may be reluctant to further reduce his stake in Galactic. The activity, currently valued at $ 3.4 billion, is still widely seen as promising, although it is plagued with delays. Some 600 potential space travelers paid $ 80 million in deposits.

Covid could have come at a better time for Virgin. Had he struck right after the sale of Virgin America, another airline, to Alaska Air Group in 2016, the group would have spent more than £ 800million. Instead, it came “deep into the investment cycle,” Mr. Bayliss says. Virgin doesn’t tend to stick with sales gains for long, thanks to its owner’s relentless desire to keep trying new things.

Some of these fledgling companies looked brilliant before Covid, but are now struggling. The first ship of cruise line Virgin Voyages, a joint venture with Bain Capital, is off the coast of Florida, hijacked there on its way to a launch event in New York City when the virus hit. The price of this ship and three others under construction is 3 billion euros ($ 3.4 billion). Virgin says the fleet has sufficient funding and now hopes to launch in October.

The new hotel business, with properties open or planned in several US cities, was also crushed. Of the three already operational, only Chicago is currently accepting reservations. Some of Virgin’s older businesses are also in severe pain. Virgin Active, which operates 238 gyms in eight countries, was shut down in March. The sites are reopening, but the need for social distancing will limit their attractiveness.

Despite these tribulations, Mr. Bayliss is convinced that Virgin will be able to weather the storm. There are no plans to change the business model, which essentially consists of running Virgin as a family office for Sir Richard, with two main parties: Virgin Group Holdings, which creates activities, brings in partners and then partially divests itself. or totally; and a licensing firm, which extracts royalties from Virgin-branded companies, often long after Sir Richard has sold out. Some 35 companies around the world pay to use its brand; Virgin owns equity in less than half of them. Royalty income for 2018 was £ 94.3million, a third more than four years earlier.

The future, according to Mr. Bayliss, is to “reverse” the old Virgin method, which places the participations above the income of the brand. Royalties, he says, provide “regular and recurring liquidity, like an annuity,” while the returns from an investment only in assets may be “more lump-sum.” “The value of the brand is greater and more lasting than the value of the investment capital itself,” he says.

It remains to be seen what the value of this brand will be once the crisis has subsided. By then, one or two valuable assets may need to be sold. It would not be the first time. Sir Richard has a history of sacrificing business to keep the empire afloat. In 1992, after a vicious fight with BA, he was forced to get rid of his beloved Virgin Records – the label behind bands ranging from the Sex Pistols to Simple Minds. He later admitted to crying when the sale closed.

Editor’s Note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The economist today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, check out our coronavirus hub

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Still smiling, Captain?”

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Black Knight Updates Capture Solution to Help Initiators Increase Production and Resume Operations as Retention Rates Rise to Record Highs Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

JACKSONVILLE, Florida, March 30, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today, Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE: BKI) announced an update to its Capture Lead Analysis platform that helps lenders and managers identify specific loans in their service portfolio or prospect database that could benefit from ” refinancing based on current equity positions and / or prime rates. As borrower retention rates in Q4 2020 hit record low despite record origination volumes, Black Knight has now integrated Capture with its leading pricing product and engine, Optimal Blue PPE, to help lenders increase growth and retention – and gain an edge in an increasingly competitive environment.

“Borrower retention remains a major concern for many lenders as market recovery rates continue to decline,” said Scott Happ, President, Black Knight Secondary Marketing Technologies. “Building on Black Knight’s best Optimal Blue PPE, Capture directly addresses this challenge by enabling lenders to more effectively identify exploitable leads, determine the right time for outreach, and calculate custom pricing by. timely.”

Capture helps increase payback rates for lenders and services by automating lead generation and calculating near real-time pricing scenarios through the Optimal Blue EPI. Scenario calculations include borrower-specific attributes and current lender prices – including the most up-to-date market and margin structure – to provide very accurate results.

When combined with Black Knight’s Servicing Digital solution, service agents can also present these same loan scenario calculations to existing customers. Refi can be accepted into Servicing Digital, and can be automatically directed to Borrower Digital, Black Knight’s full point-of-sale application. Black Knight offers digital origination solutions to help the loan officer support the borrower through the application process, identify regulatory issues, and perform close and remote online electronic notarization. For customers using the Black Knight MSP service and Empower loan creation system, the necessary data is automatically extracted and uploaded to these platforms.

According to January 2021 Black Knight Mortgage monitor report, only 18% of refinancing borrowers were retained in the fourth quarter of 2020, despite a record high from such origins. Among higher credit quality rate / term GSE refis, borrowers who refinanced with another lender received on average more than an eighth of a percent lower rate than those who refinanced and stayed with their current manager. Providing accurate and dynamic pricing scenarios and engaging borrowers at the right time is critical to business retention. Capture solves this problem by constantly monitoring a manager’s portfolio and a loan officer’s main database to determine the exact time a borrower should be contacted based on the lender, the rate environment. and other market triggers.

“Despite record levels of lending activity, 2.3 million refinancing borrowers were lost to market competitors in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone,” Happ said. “The seamless integration of Optimal Blue PPE with Capture will help creators retain the business they worked so hard to win, and when combined with our powerful service and origination solutions, it will serve yet another example of Black Knight delivering advanced capabilities that meet market needs. ”

About Black Knight
Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE: BKI) is an award-winning software, data and analytics company that drives innovation in the mortgage lending and services and real estate industries, as well as the financial and secondary markets. . Businesses leverage our robust and integrated solutions throughout the homeownership lifecycle to help retain existing customers, gain new customers, mitigate risk and operate more efficiently.

Our customers rely on our proven, comprehensive and scalable products and our unwavering commitment to providing superior customer support to achieve their strategic goals and better serve their customers. For more information on Black Knight, please visit

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Former transportation secretary did not disclose foreign cash loan: NPR Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood admitted to federal prosecutors that he accepted a loan from a foreign billionaire and did not disclose the check on government forms.

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Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood admitted to federal prosecutors that he accepted a loan from a foreign billionaire and did not disclose the check on government forms.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took $ 50,000 from an associate of a billionaire who was running an illegal scheme providing foreign contributions to U.S. campaigns, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. LaHood subsequently failed to disclose the check on two government ethics forms, as required.

LaHood, the transportation secretary during former President Barack Obama’s first term, received a check for $ 50,000 from Virginie Toufic Baaklini’s businessman in 2012. According to the Department of Justice, LaHood has “ understood ”that this money actually came from the Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury.

LaHood did not disclose the loan because he did not want to be publicly associated with Chagoury. The DOJ said in a statement that LaHood was facing financial problems when he accepted the check. The former secretary then attempted to mislead federal agents investigating Chagoury and did not disclose the check or who gave it to him.

Chagoury, with the help of Baaklini and other associates, ran a complicated and illegal ploy channeling foreign money into US elections. According to prosecutors, Chagoury provided $ 180,000 to people in the United States who donated money to four federal political candidates from 2012 to 2016. These candidates are not named.

LaHood was not involved in the scheme, prosecutors said.

In one non-prosecution agreement signed in December 2019, LaHood agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation, refunded the $ 50,000 and paid a fine of $ 40,000.

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Emani Nichols Wins $ 25,000 in TBS HBCU Cash Out Contest Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

(Photo provided by Emani Nichols)

When the news arrives from inside our home, we are more than happy to amplify it! Our Emani Nichols, Atlanta-based video director and multimedia reporter at Atlanta’s voice and a 2020 Morehouse College Graduated with a BA in African Studies is one of four winners of the very first TBS HBCU Cash Out ™ interactive social media competition!

Throughout Black History Month, TBS and Ambassadors Lance Gross (“Star”, “MacGyver”) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (“The Cosby Show”, “House of Payne”), aims to financially empower recent graduates of historically black colleges and universities. From February 8 to March 8, attendees creatively shared a 60-second video via Instagram, Twitter or YouTube on how attending an HBCU helps them achieve their goals.

“This is a great initiative that I hope is starting a trend in the corporate world to help eliminate student loan debt,” Nichols said. “No one should be burdened with wanting to advance their studies!”

Impressed by the many innovative and thoughtful nominations, as well as the critical need to help black Americans reduce student loans, TBS increased the number of three grand prize recipients from $ 25,000 to four, for a total of $ 100,000.

Today, Lance and Keshia appeared on “GMA 3: what you need to know and revealed the grand prize winners of $ 25,000 each: Anastacia CC Davis (Alabama State University), Emani Nichols (Morehouse College), Kevin Perry (Delaware State University) and Kalen Robinson (Howard University).

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How will borrowers with large mortgages fare once rates rise? Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:43 +0000

The Reserve Bank says it still has no plans to increase the cash rate until 2024, but new research suggests many Australians believe lender interest rates will rise much sooner. With that in mind, one expert says now might be a perfect time for borrowers to reduce their mortgage debt, when interest rates are low.

How will those who have taken on large mortgages at historically low rates handle once rates inevitably rise? Image source:,

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has decided to leave the official treasury rate hanging at an all-time low of 0.10% today, helping to keep mortgage rates low. RBA Governor Philip Lowe reiterated today that the central bank has no plans to raise the cash rate until inflation and wage growth figures improve not – probably in 2024 “at the earliest”.

But a new study from Canstar ^ shows that 40% of Australian adults surveyed believe interest rates on home loans will rise by the end of 2022.

The top three reasons for anticipating a hike in interest rates were forecasts that the Australian economy will recover by then (42% of respondents), inflation will rise (39%) and growth in house prices. should be slowed down (33%).

Another 24% of respondents believe mortgage rates will increase because the RBA has said the cash rate will increase.

Whenever rates go up, whether soon or in a few years, some regulatory and consumer groups worry about how borrowers who have taken on large mortgages at historically low rates will manage after the rates will inevitably increase.

Canstar’s money expert Effie Zahos said the best thing borrowers could do right now to protect themselves financially is to increase their ‘cushion’ by focusing on debt reduction mortgage.

“The point is that after borrowing for a house, many of us take out car loans, credit cards or buy now pay later, accumulating even more our personal debts, ”said Ms. Zahos.

“We have this period of potentially a few years up our sleeves where rates are low. If you don’t focus on reducing that mortgage debt, you really only have a small buffer to protect yourself in the event of a market downturn.

“We have seen house prices continue to rise, so there is a fear of missing out. We also have historically low mortgage interest rates, responsible lending changes are on the horizon and banks continue to reduce their service cushions, ”Ms. Zahos said of the current environment for borrowers. .

When a customer applies for a home loan, banks use the service rate as a kind of “stress test” to determine whether the person could afford the repayments on the amount borrowed if the interest rate rises. the future. The National Australia Bank, for example, lowered its floor rate to 4.95%.

Lower service floor rates may make it easier for some borrowers to qualify for a home loan, and in some cases even borrow much more, Zahos said, at a time when people are already deep in debt.

Canstar research analysts analyzed the numbers to determine how increases in the spot rate could affect borrowing power going forward.

They established that a hypothetical owner-occupant on the current average full-time salary in Australia (around $ 89,000 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics) would have borrowing power of around $ 604,000 at the average floor rate of the big banks, assuming they qualified for the cheapest home loan rates on our database for a 20% down payment. Our analysts also calculated that person’s borrowing authority and repayments if they did not borrow at full capacity but borrow $ 100,000 less.

They found that an increase in the spot rate of 0.25% could save people who borrowed $ 100,000 less to save $ 379 in monthly repayments, compared to what they would pay if they borrowed the maximum amount. , assuming their bank passes on the rate hike in full.

If what happened after the global financial crisis – where the cash rate was increased six times between October 2009 and May 2010 – were to happen again in three years, the monthly repayments could be $ 440 more for that borrower. average if he took out a loan. at their maximum borrowing power now, compared to if they borrowed $ 100,000 less.

Regardless of how the cash rate might move in the future, Zahos said borrowers looking for peace of mind could refinance at a better rate and consider locking in a record long-term rate.

“It’s a big myth that fixed rates aren’t always flexible. Ask your lender if you can make additional payments, and some fixed rate loans still have a Compensation account. Of course, if you plan to sell during that fixed period, it doesn’t make sense to lock yourself out due to the break fees that often apply. “

For borrowers who are torn between fixing their home loan or going for an adjustable rate, there is another option that offers a mix of the two that may be worth exploring: a fractional home loan.

Interest rates change in March

According to the latest figures, Canstar has 179 home loans at interest rates below 2% in its database. Of these, 157 are fixed and the other 22 are variable.

The lowest variable rate in our database for a $ 400,000 loan for homeowners paying principal and interest is 1.77% (1.86% comparison rate) with a 60% loan-to-value ratio (LVR), while for an LVR of 80%, the lowest variable rate is 1.99% (comparison rate of 2.05%) and the average is 3.28%.

The lowest three-year fixed rate in the database for homeowners paying principal and interest at 80% LVR is 1.75% (comparison rate 2.22%) and the average is by 2.28%.

Here is a summary of the evolution of mortgage interest rates in Canstar’s database over the past month:

  • 12 lenders reduced 30 variable rates by 0.16 percentage points on average.
  • 2 lenders increased 2 variable rates by an average of 0.04 percentage point.
  • 25 lenders reduced 186 fixed rates by 0.23 percentage points on average.
  • 13 lenders increased 67 fixed rates by 0.21 percentage points on average.

^ Survey of 980 Australians aged 18 and over. Commissioned by Canstar and produced online via Qualtrics in March / April 2021.

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