CF Staff Report
“These programs offer assistance to help stabilize communities and to help making buying a home easier,” according to Pam Brandt, senior vice president and mortgage director at The Coastal Bank. “We’re delighted to provide a wide range of financing options when it comes to buying a home.”
The Community Stability program provides up to $7,500 in down payment and closing cost funding to first-time homebuyers or non-first-time homebuyers for the purchase or purchase and rehabilitation of an existing home in a neighborhood targeted for stabilization by a government entity, special district, or authority.
Funding is provided as a 4-to-1 match, with homebuyers contributing a mandatory down payment of $1,000. The home must also be located in a neighborhood targeted for stabilization by a federal, state or local government entity or any special district or authority.
The Foreclosure Recovery program provides up to $15,000 per homebuyer in down-payment and closing-cost funding for the purchase or purchase and rehabilitation of an existing home from the Real Estate Owned (REO) inventory of a member financial institution. This option can include single family residences, town-home, Fannie Mae and FHA-approved condos and new construction held in a member bank REO inventory. The funding is available to both first-time and non-first-time homebuyers and is provided as a 4-to-1 match with a required $1,000 deposit.
Applicants must be prepared to live in the home for five years and complete the prescribed homebuyer counseling, debt management planning and default prevention programs provided by Credability, a nonprofit credit counseling and education organization. If the buyer sells or refinances the loan within five years, a pro-rated share of the grant must be repaid. After five years, the grant is forgiven.
Income guidelines for program funding are determined per county and family size. Bryan, Chatham and Effingham County income limits are determined by 80 percent of the adjusted median income, which means a one-person household cannot earn more than $33,600 annually to be eligible for funding; or a four-person family cannot earn more than $48,000 annually to be eligible for funding.
To receive funds for the Community Stability program or the Foreclosure Recovery program, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines and apply for funds through a participating member financial institution.
“It is our hope that the Community Stability and Foreclosure Recovery programs will offer additional financing options for our customers and for the community at large,” said Jim LaHaise, executive vice president and chief banking officer at The Coastal Bank. “We are continuing to find new ways for our customers to take advantage of the help that is available.”
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Part of the fun of the holidays is searching out the perfect gift for each person on your list. But if you stretch your finances beyond their limits, your holiday shopping sprees can come back to haunt you later. With some simple precautions, it can be easier to rein in what you spend and still find great gifts.
People tend to spend more when they purchase using credit cards. Keep these things in mind before you pull out the plastic this holiday season:
• You could end up paying more for your gift. If the charged balance is not paid in full, finance charges will add extra costs to the original purchase amount.
• Overspending or maxing out your credit cards on gifts could negatively impact your credit. High outstanding debt accounts for nearly 30 percent of your credit score.
• Discounts can cost you your credit score. Before you accept a discount on your purchase for signing up for a store credit card, remember that simply applying for new accounts may hurt your credit score.
To avoid having to use credit for holiday gift purchases, start saving as early as possible. Mentally mark certain funds as "off limits" for anything other than gift purchases -- or even set aside funds in a savings account that you know you won't touch until shopping time comes. When you're ready to hit the mall (or the web), you can set yourself on the path to prudent spending by limiting yourself to a list and setting a budget. Both will help you stay focused on who you're buying gifts for and how much you planned to spend. If you must use your credit card, only charge what you can afford to repay.
If you do make some missteps, however, there are smarter ways to get your finances back on track after the holidays. Follow these steps to get out of debt faster:
• Don't ignore your bills. Putting things off might seem like the easiest solution when you're feeling overwhelmed, but it's important not to fall into the procrastination trap. If you let your bills slide past the due date, your interest rates might increase, you could incur late fees and late payments will be reported to credit rating agencies.
• Get smarter about paying off your debts. If your holiday purchases spanned multiple cards, you need to figure out a plan to pay down the debt quickly and most efficiently. To help get you started, consider financial products like Debt Wise from Equifax, which can help you prioritize your debts in order to pay them off faster. A Debt Wise Fast Pay Plan can be created online in as little as 10 minutes, and will allow you to automatically track your progress with alerts, tips and tools.
• Go beyond the minimum payment due. The more money paid toward the balances, the faster you can pay off your debts. Or, better yet, pay the balance in full to limit the amount of interest you have to pay every month.
It's easy to get caught up in the generous spirit of the season, but none of your gift recipients wants you to go into debt on their account. Starting your holiday shopping with some easy-to-follow spending guidelines is the ideal way to approach the gift-giving season – and coming out of it debt free will feel like a present to yourself.
– Source: ARA Content
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What Every Borrower Should Know
CF Special Report
Given these challenges, it’s critical for current college students, new or soon-to-be graduates, and workers to know about new benefits that go into effect July 1, 2010 to make student loan payments manageable for millions of Americans. From eliminating wasteful subsidies to private bankers and switching to a system of direct lending of federal student loans to increasing the maximum Pell Grant scholarship, to reducing the monthly payment borrowers must pay back on their loans, this Democratic Congress has made historic investments in our economic future – all at no cost to taxpayers.
Specifically, borrowers will see the following changes go into effect. As of July 1, 2010:
Additionally, Pell Grants will reliably increase with the cost of inflation beginning in 2013, by linking the scholarship to the CPI. By 2017, it is expected that the maximum grant will reach $5,975.
All new federal student loans will be originated through the Direct Loan program, instead of through lenders subsidized by taxpayers in the federally-guaranteed student loan program. Unlike the private lender-based program, the Direct Loan program is entirely insulated from market swings and can therefore guarantee students access to low-cost federal college loans, in any economy.
One hundred percent of Direct Loans will be serviced by private lenders and unlike loans made by banks, Direct Loans can only be serviced by workers in the U.S., guaranteeing borrowers high-quality customer service and keeping good jobs in America.
Cheaper interest rates on need-based (subsidized) federal student loans. The interest rates on subsidized federal student loans decreases from 5.6 percent to 4.5 percent. This is the third of four annual cuts in this interest rate.
Starting in 2014, new borrowers who are eligible for Income-Based Repayment will be able to cap their monthly loan payments at just 10 percent of their discretionary income. Borrowers who responsibly make their monthly payments will see their remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of repayment.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Graduates who enter into public service careers, such as teachers, public defenders and prosecutors, firefighters, nurses, non-profit workers and more, are eligible for complete loan forgiveness after 10 years of qualifying public service and loan payments.
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Resilience 101: Turning Tough Economic Times Into Teachable Moments With Your KidsMotherhood is tough. It’s tough even in the best of times, when the school-job-homework-dinner-bath-bedtime juggle is at its absolute smoothest (which, face it, is rarely all that smooth).
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