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The Risk Didn’t Pay – Bank Closures on the Rise

The Risk Didn’t Pay – Bank Closures on the Rise

The current real estate crisis in our nation began when lax lending standards triggered a feeding frenzy of easy credit that allowed homebuyers to get in way over their heads with mortgages they could not afford. This spending spree also initiated a spike in real estate prices as demand was high. Now the dust has settled, house prices have corrected back to more reasonable values, and homeowners have been stuck with mortgages worth far more than their property. Record numbers of people have already lost their homes and hundreds of thousands more are currently at risk of succumbing to foreclosure.

While people need to be responsible for their own actions, many feel that the banks are to blame for being greedy and allowing this mess to occur. Either way you look at it, the banks took a risk handing out sub-prime mortgages, and now it seems that risk isn’t going to pay off.

Bank closures for 2010 reached the 103 mark as of July 23rd, and are on pace to exceed the 140 closures that occurred in 2009. It is expected the number of failed banks will peak this year; however, the total is likely to be the highest since the height of the Savings and Loan Crisis in 1992. Comparing these numbers to the 25 closures in 2008 (the year the financial crisis took hold), and the measly 3 shut downs in 2007; these recent figures are significant. The FDIC, the bank’s insurer who also initiates the closures after conducting audits, say they have another 775 banks on their confidential “problem” list; a jump of 73 in the last 3 months. The FDIC, which provides deposit insurance up to $250,000 for customers, expects to dole out upwards of $60 billion between now and 2014; this is on top of the $30 million laid out in 2009.

Soured loans from both the residential and commercial markets have been the main contributor to the demise of these banks; however, the global financial crisis has also been taking its toll on the beleaguered institutions as the stock market sees sharp declines and investor confidence continues to fall. While some of the bank’s woes have been alleviated by federal stimulus packages, the continued economic situation is proving to be a road block for the generation of new capital.

It seems all banks are vulnerable, regardless of size. The recent round of 7 closures saw Crescent Bank and Trust in Georgia close 11 branches, totaling $1.01 billion in assets and $965.7 million in total deposits, and the much smaller Thunder Bank in Kansas with only 2 branches, $32.6 million in assets and $28.5 million in deposits, experiencing the same fate.

So while fingers are being pointed at the financial institutions for facilitating this mess, they too are suffering from the ongoing effects of this recession.…

Wachovia Online Banking Services

Wachovia Online Banking Services

Wachovia online banking is an efficient and state of art internet platform that avails access to a wonderful basket of various financial products and services. Account holders of Wachovia internet banking can manage their multiple accounts in one single place by several clicks of the mouse. Any computer with internet connectivity can turn into a personal bank office where any banking-related tasks can be performed. Using Wachovia Online Banking customers can view the details of both present transactions and history of previous transactions up to 3 months. They are also provided with a facility to pay bills online, to invest money or plan their retirement funds.

Using Wachovia bank online from home or work premises, you get unlimited access to virtually generated statements and checks’ images. You can not only view them, but print out from a website directly. Online statements and checks can be used as usual documents with no paperwork involved. If you don’t want to print out checks and statements, you can also download them on your PC (special accountant software is required). Customers of Wachovia internet banking can also view account balance of running type from 8 a.m till 12 p.m daily.

If customers of the Wachovia bank are willing to launch a savings account, then it can be requested via online route as well. You just apply for a savings account with couple clicks of the mouse. Wachovia online banking platform also allows applying for a mortgage or a loan program remotely by using an official website. If any additional instructions are required for comfortable usage of Wachovia Online Banking, you can request them emailing an operator of the support service. Operators will also help you when you need to stop a payment, change ID or address information or report any inconveniences.

Another facility that is especially appreciated by the Wachovia online banking account holders is the bill payment device. No more writing and clearing of checks- these are the things of the past. All bills will be paid online automatically if you set up a schedule for recurring payments. If you need to receive information of your balance, then you can also use an alert facility. Any changes in your balance will be delivered to your email or cell phone. Thus, Wachovia Online Banking is an efficient and hassle free facility that helps you to control your spending day by day. It is availed completely free of charge provided that you are a customer of the Wachovia bank. To open an account you need to complete a short enrollment form and provide some ID and account information.

Wachovia online banking is one of the best internet banking platforms offered by the Wachovia Bank.…

Careers in Banking and Finance

Careers in Banking and Finance

A number of banks and financial institutions entered the Indian market in recent years. This sector now requires a lot of technical and administrative staff to further expand their operations. Plenty of jobs are available and the institutions are outdoing the packages they offer in a bid to woo the best candidates to their firm. The banking sector requires people with every kind of skill. They need people who can sell, people who have operational, managerial and IT skills.

Retail banking

A retail banker sells banking products, such as deposits, accounts, mutual funds, loans etc. You should have excellent interpersonal skills, a presentable personality, good communications skills and patience to make a mark in this field. A degree in any discipline is enough for a job as a marketing executive at the entry-level and middle level positions.

Private banking

Private banking is also known as wealth management. It caters to individuals, funds or corporate houses that can invest at least one crore rupees. MBAs with a smart personality and excellent marketing skills can enter this sector.

Corporate banking

Corporate banking caters to the banking needs of corporate houses. This involves taking charge of the trade (import and export) related aspects, funding needs etc. Good marketing skills along with people management skills are a must. An MBA or a background in chartered accountancy is the basic requirement to enter this filed.

Micro finance

Micro-banking is all about micro-credit, micro-savings and micro-insurance. Clients are usually farmers and those employed in the rural areas. This sector has witnessed rapid growth in recent years with many banks in India launching their own microfinance divisions. You must have a drive for social work and an MBA, preferably in finance.

Investment banking

Investment banking offers the most coveted jobs in banking. Candidates from top tier management institutions or a chartered accountancy background can enter this sector. Investment banking offers excellent monetary benefits. On the flip side, you have to work long hours. The job of an investment banker is to raise funds for corporations and organizations through IPOs or mergers.…

Three Ways to Create a More Eco-Friendly Office

Three Ways to Create a More Eco-Friendly Office

Managing your business is not all about profit. When you manage your business, you should also consider your impact on the environment and try your best to reduce as much carbon footprint as you can.

With the increasing awareness on environmental issues, more and more businesses are going green and adhering to a paperless office. Not only is a paperless office more beneficial to the environment, it is also cost effective as it significantly reduces your office expenses. While most people feel that going green is expensive, it is actually otherwise. There are a lot of products and services that you can use for your office that does not cost very much as well as help you go paperless and free your employees from using them. Here are three tips that will help you get started on your “go paperless project.”

– Online Banking. Most banks now offer online banking services to their clientele. Convenience was the primary reason for the introduction of this new innovation which helped people to totally have control of their finances and manage their lives. Whenever possible, sign up for online bills payment and eliminate the need to sign and mail paper checks (which is unsafe as well). Another innovation is electronic checks which can be signed and filled up online and sent to your intended recipient (as long as you know the address). This saves you time since you don’t have to hand write the checks yourself and it also saves you on postage.

– Sign up for Mail Service. Working at home is not always an option for most people but if you are among the few who have been successful with this endeavor, then it would be very eco-friendly if you would sign up for Earth Class Mail which is a company who will handle all your mail. In this set up, Earth Class Mail will provide you with an address that you can give out as your mailing address. When your client or supplier sends you mail, you will be able to view it online as a PDF file. This can be very advantageous to people who are always on the go since with this service, you will be able to view your mail even if you are halfway around the globe from your office. You are also provided with the option on what you want to do with your mail-recycle it, discard it or have them forward it to you.

– Subscribe to Online Fax. This is another smart innovation by people who only have convenience in mind. With this service, all your fax messages are received via email and you choose which messages have enough worth to be printed. If your office receives fifty pages of junk online fax, then you don’t have to deal with these since they will be received just like a regular email and you can simply delete these junk. You don’t have to buy fax papers just to receive your fax messages.…

Are You Ready For the Benefits of Online Banking?

Are You Ready For the Benefits of Online Banking?

No two banks are the same. When it comes to your finances, you probably have a list of things that you need for your bank to have. An online bank can offer you the same amount of security as a brick and mortar bank with a lot less paper, but the list of services varies. So is online banking really more convenient? Here are some questions to determine if online banking would be a better fit for your lifestyle.

1)  Do you have internet access?

The great news about online banking is that you can get inside your “bank lobby” anywhere that has an internet connection. Just make sure that you are able to use a computer with the internet as often as you need to check on your bank account. Even if your internet connection is down or you’re traveling, there are many wifi hot spots at local restaurants and coffee shops.

2)  Do you use a debit card?

Checks are typically available through online banking, but you have to buy them. If you only use checks to pay your bills, you can switch to an online bill pay system very easily. A completely electronic bank brings you the most convenience when paired with an electronic form of payment.

3)  Does your employer direct deposit your paycheck?

Obviously, online banking means that there won’t be any place for you to physically deposit your paycheck. The bank could still take care of it, but you probably don’t want to go through the hassle and delay of mailing your paycheck.

Most employers will deposit your paycheck directly into your account if you bring them your account number and the bank’s routing number (a number that is unique to each bank). If this is your current situation, online banking would be a great idea for you.

If you don’t currently use direct deposit, chances are that your employer has an option for you to do this, and switching is as simple as asking your employer to do so. Direct depositing your paycheck is worth saving the trip to the bank in most circumstances, whether you bank online or not.

4)  Do you feel comfortable with online bill pay?

You can get checks from your online bank, but why bother? You can get checks from any other bank. One of the conveniences of banking online is being able to pay your bills automatically. You fill out a form online that says who you need to pay every month with the amount due, and the bank does it for you. Just be careful not to forget how much money is dedicated to bills and accidentally overdraw your account.

5)  Do you use your bank’s “extra” services very often?

There are some other things that online banking can’t do for you, such as provide a cashier’s check or a notary. Most people don’t use these services enough for it to keep them away from the convenience and benefits of online banking. If your new landlord requires that you pay your first month’s rent with a cashier’s check, ask if they’ll take a debit card. If you need a document notarized, you can simply call your local title company or car dealership to find a notary.

In short, online banking can offer a world of convenience for those who live a more electronic lifestyle. If you find yourself dealing with a lot of paper, a traditional bank would better suit you. And remember, you can always change to the convenience of an electronic financial system when you’re comfortable with it.…

How To Attain The Right CD Rates In Your City

How To Attain The Right CD Rates In Your City

If you’re in the market for a bank CD (certificate of deposit) you may have found your number of options overwhelming. These financial products can be a little confusing if you are new to the market. There are often many rules, limitations, and options for the investor as well as many choices to make. You can go for high yield CDs, risk-free CDs, maturity CDs, and CDs with callable features. When conducting your research you’ll want to make sure you’re comparing current CD rates. Bank rates change very regularly and if you’re not up to date with rates, you can sometimes be mislead. To find the best CD rates, and make the safest investing choices for your money, let’s take a closer look at the differences between bank CDs and brokerage CDs.

An investment CD can be found through either a banking institution or brokerage firm while a standard bank CD is offered through a bank or credit union. A standard bank CD also works similarly to a savings account, but with limitations and finite terms.

When an investor brings a certain amount of money into a bank or brokerage firm to open a CD, the CD account that the money is put into has a certain interest rates, maturity date, and sometimes callable features. Depending on the limitations of the specific CD, the CD will offer different interest rates and withdrawal terms. Standard terms range from 6 months to 5 years, but if you look hard enough some banks and credit unions will offer CD promotions which generally come with oddball maturities such as 9 months, 13 months or 18 months.

Brokered investment CDs are similar to regular bank CDs, but differ slightly. First, a brokerage CD is not generally found through a bank, but a specialized third-party investment firm such as a financial advisor, broker, consultant, and/or planner. These third parties remove the financial research and and legwork needed by finding the best CD rates and options for their client. Another difference is the brokerage fees. For doing this research, brokerages will generally charge a fee which could vary depending on what you are specifically in the market for.

In the end, your decision will depend on how much money you have to invest, what your financial priorities are, and how much time you a) conduct research on your own and b) sit on your investment once you’ve found the right account for you.

By investing on your own with traditional bank CDs, you will save on the fees imposed by big financial planning institutions or brokerage firms, however, with a brokerage firm, you save time and effort by allowing a financial specialist to find you the best CD rates with the highest yield (and safe investing results) that you are after.

Whichever route you decide on just make sure that you do your research. If you’re looking for an investment firm, it may be best to start with word of mouth. From there move forward with checking on what other customers say. Be sure to check out the Better Business Bureau, where you can get a rating as well as customer reviews of the institution.…

5 Internet Banking Security Threats

5 Internet Banking Security Threats

In such a way ended University of Michigan (USA) group of researchers in head of Professor Atul Prakash. He and his postgraduates Laura Falk and Kevin Borders examined 214 credit finance organization web-sites over a period of 2006.

The results have been submitted on July 25, 2010 during symposium devoted to practicable confidentiality and security in Carnegie Mellon University.

Listed design defects are not related to program errors and they cannot be recovered with a “hotfix”. The core of the issue is in the site structure and its whole planning. Widespread error is the placement of registration and authorization strings on insecure pages. One more issue is the absence of motivation that can hold any user on the page to make a lead. According to professor Prakash, many banks still have the same issues.

“To our wonder, design defects were so popular that we can meet them even on sites belonging to very big banks, – tells Prakash. – We concentrated our attention on those occasions when users tried to be careful but site structure made impossible to choose the right decision from the security point of view while Internet banking.”

These defects leaded to the “holes” in security system which can be used by hackers to get clients’ private information and get an access to their accounts.

University of Michigan website listed five main design errors that should be fixed according to professor Prakash on each banking website:

1) Authorization pages are not properly secured with SSL

This issue has been noted on 47% of all banking websites. If a hacker will use this defect, he can retarget inputted data or create a fake page to receive bank clients’ personal data. Moreover, hacker has an excellent opportunity to do -middle attack when user can see the same URL but the page is changed to hacker’ fake page. Even very watchful users can be trapped.

The solution – use SSL on pages with confidential information. User can identify a secure page which has -s after http:// i.e. https://

2) Contact pages are not protected with SSL

This defect had been seen on 55% sites. Hackers can change contact details to collect a personal information of every client who have contacted them. Clients believe that all the info on site pages is true, that is why Professor recommends website owners to place the contact information on the page secured with SSL protocol.

3) The gap in the chain between a bank and its “Trusted” partners

When a bank has a deal with third party organizations, it just sends a client to another site with another domain name. About 30% of banking sites do like that. Here a bank should inform a client that he/she will be redirected to a trusted partner page.

4) The usage of weak login and password

Some American banks allow the usage of email or social card number as a login name. It is easy to remember for a client but it is also easy to crack for a hacker. One more common error is the lack of politics concerning password creation or the allowance of weak password. There has been figured about 28% of all banking sites that allow such logins and passwords.

5) Confidential information distribution with the help of unencrypted Email messages

The important information (password or abstract of account) sent by Email was not protected in 31% of banking sites.

Talking about the abstract of account, it should be noted that banks did not inform a client about the form of the abstract (i.e. it is an abstract, a link to it or just an alert informing the user that an abstract is ready). The usage of Email except an alert seems to be not a good idea for American experts.…

CDs – A Secure Way to Save Your Money

CDs – A Secure Way to Save Your Money

Banks offer a variety of products that involve different amounts of risk tolerance and reward. Many people are turning to CDs (Certificates of Deposit) as a safe way to invest their money while getting a good rate of return. But just how do CDs work and how secure are they?

How CDs Earn You Money for Both Short and Long Term Savings Goals

A Certificate of Deposit can be bought at any time and does not constitute opening an account, the way you would with a checking or savings account. Like a savings account, a CD earns interest, however it can earn substantially more because of the way it is built. With a CD, you agree not to withdraw your money during a certain period of time. As a result, the bank, such as Aurora Bank, rewards you by paying you compound interest on your deposit every day, and putting that interest toward your balance at the end of each month.

Getting Started with a CD

Banks want your business, which is why many of them are offering great CD rates that consistently beat the national average. Terms lengths can be as short as six months, to as long as five years with many different levels in between depending on the bank of choice. You can also buy multiple CDs with different deposit amounts and maturity rates to ensure that you have access to cash when you need it, while still getting the historically higher rates that CDs offer over traditional savings accounts.

Secured by the Federal Government

Unlike some investment products, CDs are backed by the solidity of the federal government. For member Banks, the FDIC insures bank deposits for up to the maximum amount allowable per person, per bank – including CDs. Not all bank products are FDIC insured, making CDs a safe way to store your money while making it earn extra income for you. Whether your savings goals are short term, long term or both, a Certificate of Deposit is a great way to earn a nice return just by saving your money.

That’s because CDs work on the principle of compound interest. Interest is compounded daily and paid back to you every month. You can even choose to have your CD automatically rollover into a new set term at its maturity date. However, if you know what to look for, a CD can offer several advantages over a traditional savings account.…

Making the Switch From Paper Cheques to Electronic Payment

Making the Switch From Paper Cheques to Electronic Payment

Paper cheques’ days are numbered!

As anyone doing business in Europe will know, cheques are no longer used as a method of payment in most European countries. Rather, it is standard practice for companies to publish their bank details on invoices, so that payment can be made directly to their bank account.

Within North America, cheque usage is on the decline. We believe that the tipping point is fast approaching where cheques will become the exception, rather than the rule, in business-to-business (B2B) payments. A significant number of corporations are planning to migrate the majority of their B2B payments to electronic payments.

There are numerous advantages to using electronic payment methods such as electronic funds transfer (EFT) to pay your suppliers and employees:

Security and internal control is significantly strengthened, reducing chance of fraud and theft. EFT payment approvals utilize strong on-line banking security, instead of much weaker paper-based signature approvals

Paper cheque stock no longer needs to be stored and secured

Clerical work and errors are reduced through automated efficiency

Ability to manage and forecast cash flow is improved. Payments can be set up with various due dates, and post-dated for up to 35 days

Stale-dated cheques are no longer a possibility

Bank reconciliations are simplified, as there will be no outstanding cheques to account for

Cheque printing, mailing and handling costs are eliminated

Payment approval process is streamlined. Payments are ready for approval immediately upon entry into the EFT system. Payments can be approved from anywhere, at anytime, by authorized signing authorities

EFT is environmentally friendly. Paper & ink used in producing cheques and envelopes is eliminated, as is the carbon footprint resulting from the physical distribution of cheques.

There are also a number of benefits to vendors and employees of implementing EFT payables. These include:

Assurance of prompt payment directly to vendor’s bank account

Vendors have improved ability to manage and forecast their company’s cash flow

Time and cost of handling and depositing cheques is eliminated

Risk of lost, stolen or damaged cheques is eliminated

The process to convert to EFT payables is relatively straightforward. Begin by gathering written authorizations from your suppliers to pay them electronically. This information can be collected on a single page form and includes your supplier’s banking information, along with their agreement that payments will be made to the specified bank account. The supplier also agrees to notify you if they wish to change the account to which payment is to be made. These forms should be kept on file in the event of any dispute concerning where funds have been deposited.

Each bank has their own web portal and systems to enable their customers to process EFT transactions via the internet. Security tokens or USB keys, along with a user ID and password, are given to each person requiring access.

Multiple signing authorities can be easily accommodated, as each signing authority is given their own security token and access credentials. Before a payment transaction can be released for payment, all necessary approval authorities must first have signed on and approved the transaction. This is one reason why EFT is considered to be a far more secure method of payment than paper cheques.

Does your organization still pay its suppliers using paper cheques? If so, you may wish to consider joining the growing number of organizations that have converted their payment method from cheques to electronic payment, in the process realizing significant benefits.…

A Simple Guide To The Different Types Of Business Taxes

A Simple Guide To The Different Types Of Business Taxes

If you have a business to open, be sure that you know you are going to pay for business taxes soon as part of the requirement of owning a business. Business duty is to be paid in order to give support to the nation’s budget. All citizens have the duty to pay for taxes and not only the businessmen.

There are various taxes that are paid by business owners. The obligation is dependent on the kind of operation the business has and also its size. Another thing that can affect the kind of tax the business pays is the number of workers working in the company. Large business taxation has a different scheme than that of small business taxation.

There are 4 standards business fine that is stated in the law of taxation. These are the Excise fine, Self-Employment, Employment, and Income ones. Various guidelines govern the payment scheme of each type of tax for business. To know more on the four kinds of business taxation, read the information below.

The first kind of tax is called the Employment tax. Many businesses with a number of employees working in it are paying the employment fine. Business owners are often required to pay for the taxes of the employees such as the Federal income obligation, Social Security tribute and Medicare. However, this will depend largely on the kind of business you are running. Some do not apply to all of the business sectors.

Income ones also apply to business and its owners. Everybody pays the income obligation and so business firms are no exception to the rule. There is an equivalent percentage of tax that businesses pay and this percentage is deducted on the annual earnings of the company. All businesses are required to pay the income tribute to the government because it is stipulated in the law.

A company may pay for the income taxes of their personnel by subtracting a corresponding amount on the employees’ wages. This payment is an obligation that citizens must fulfill. If individuals or businesses do not pay the corresponding fee, they can be filed with an evasion case.

The third kind that will be paid by businesses is the Excise tax. It is called in such manner because it is the type of tax that is excess and not included in the standard type of obligation a company pays. Excise taxes are for businesses providing special services or special goods. There are some fees on special goods and therefore, businesses are obliged to pay for it.

The last kind of duty is called the Self-Employment tax. Those business owners that do not have any employees and are the sole owner of their business pay for self-employment tax. Examples of this tax are social security tax and Medicare fine and paying it helps the business owner because they will receive retirement benefits in the future. Therefore even if the individual is not working under a company, they still get retirement benefits if they pay the taxes.

If you do not know what kind of tax your business should pay, be sure to ask experts on the matter first or go to the internal revenue. They will give instructions and information on which tax to pay for. Be sure to pay for your business taxes on time so that you will not have any problems later on.…