This Map Shows You the Best Savings Account in Every State

Big banks like Chase and Bank of America might be as ubiquitous as Starbucks with branches and ATMs dotting every street corner, but the massive presence of these megabanks doesnt mean they have the best savings accounts  at least not when it comes to interest rates.

View full map and listing by clicking below

In a survey of more than 12,950 traditional and money market savings accounts offered by US banks and credit unions, GOBankingRates located the financial institution in every state offering the highest interest rate, finding a regional bank or community credit union took the top spot every time.

See the map below to find out where to get the best savings account rate in your state.

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Best Savings Account Interest Rates Vs. National Average

Among the best savings interest rates, several banks and credit unions stand out for offering incredibly high yields in comparison to the national average:

  • The Bank of Greene County (NY): 4.00% APY
  • Alabama Telco Credit Union (AL): 3.00% APY
  • Pioneer Mutual Federal Credit Union (TX): 2.52% APY
  • Genuine Parts Credit Union (GA): 1.76% APY
  • Win-Hood Co-Op Credit Union (IL): 1.75% APY
  • National Average (Regular Savings + MMDA): 0.15% APY

How Local Savings Rates Are Determined

When it comes to how actual interest rates are determined, banks will consider a number of market indicators and indices, such as the Federal Funds rate, treasury yields and the LIBOR rate. However, Sol Nasisi of BestCashCow noted, the way they interpret these indicators and how they decide to price depends on their own unique goals.

Nasisi pointed to the business plans of banks as a top contributing factor to how deposit pricing is determined. Banks that are looking to grow will often raise rates to help fund that growth, he said. Banks that are not looking to add assets will usually not have as much of an incentive to raise rates.

Additionally, the competition among local institutions also plays a big part in how high rates can go. Anthony Alfidi, CEO of Alfidi Capital in San Francisco, told GOBankingRates, One very compelling local factor for interest rates is the competition for deposits among major bank branches. Branch managers are paid bonuses for new accounts opened and new loans originated. They have some temporary leeway in offering higher rates on savings accounts if those new accounts can immediately be churned into loan capital.

Further, as Nasisi explained, financial institutions often temporarily raise deposit rates in an attempt to bring in new business that can then be cross-sold on additional products and services.

Savings Account Map Methodology

Data was compiled from the GOBankingRates interest rate database, which, in partnership with Informa Research Services Inc. (, aggregates interest rates belonging to more than 6,000 US banks and credit unions for various deposit accounts and loans. Although the information has been obtained from the various financial institutions, the accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

GOBankingRates examined interest rates on personal savings accounts and money market savings accounts with an assumed $10,000 opening deposit. Note that many of these interest rates are short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed.

All interest rates were last verified as of June 1, 2014. Rates are subject to change at any time at the discretion of individual financial institutions. Please verify rates before opening an account.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions and other financial services organizations. Some of the banks mentioned in this ranking are ConsumerTrack Inc. clients.

US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – new information gathering and …

  • The new FATCA rules apply to all registered and unregistered managed investment schemes. The trustees, fund managers and custodians of Australian funds will need to consider the extent to which the new regime impacts thefund.
  • Each funds internal processes and external investor interfaces (application forms, PDS etc) need to be ready to comply with the new rules from 1 July 2014.
  • From 1 July 2014, funds will need to obtain sufficient information on their new US investors to comply with new FATCA reporting obligations.
  • Funds with pre-existing investors will have additional time to identify whether they need to report on those investors who are US tax resident.
  • Funds may need to register with the US tax authority (IRS) to avoid being subject to a FATCA withholding on US sourced income.

Why are these new obligations imposed on funds?

As reported in ourFinancial Services Updateof 25 September 2013, the US enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) several years ago to enable the US tax authority (the IRS) to counter tax evasion by US taxpayers by requiring the disclosure of information about their offshore investments.

As a result of the recent signing of an agreement between Australia and the US to improve cross-border tax compliance (the Intergovernmental Agreement), Australian funds need to undertake new reporting to the ATO and check whether their systems are capable of collecting the information they are required to report.

Are these reporting requirements relevant to my fund?

In short, yes. Registration and reporting obligations, discussed below, are imposed on all applicable managed investment schemes regardless of whether they have US investors or invest in US assets. Each fund will need to need to assess whether their current processes collect sufficient information in order to enable them to form a view on their compliance obligations or whether new processes need to be implemented.

Complying Australian superannuation funds will generally fall within an exemption from the new rules.

What do I need to do?

New due diligence to be undertaken

Managed funds will be required to undertake due diligence on their pre-existing and new US investors from 1 July 2014 in order to assess whether reporting to the ATO is required.

Each fund will need to review its internal information and reporting systems (and update them accordingly) in order to obtain the information required for the due diligence process.

The purpose of the due diligence process is to enable the fund to determine which of their investors are or could be US tax resident.

New investments from 1 July 2014 will be subject to enhanced reporting requirements to identify US tax resident investors in their funds.

Due diligence reporting obligations on pre-existing investors as at 1 July 2014 will be staggered. Due diligence on high value, pre-existing individual accounts (investments over US$1m) must be completed by 30 June 2015 (and by 31 December 2014 for investments held by Australian financial intermediaries).

Although due diligence is not required on pre-existing or new investments of less than US$50,000, practically, most funds will find it necessary to implement new or enhanced information gathering processes (eg application forms) across their entire investor base rather than on a piecemeal basis.

Australian reporting obligations

A fund that has US tax resident investors will need to report this information to the ATO annually. For the first reporting period, ending on 31 December 2014, the fund will need to lodge a FATCA report by 15 July 2015.

IRS registration does my fund need to be registered?

Each fund will need to consider whether they need to register with the IRS. Registration will be necessary to avoid FATCA withholding if the fund receives US sourced income.

Registration with the IRS by 1 January 2015 as a deemed compliant foreign financial intermediary means that the fund can obtain a Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) that can be quoted to avoid a FATCA withholding on their US sourced income.

Disclosure documents

Any documentation that is sent to investors, including PDSs, IMs and Reference Guides, needs to be reviewed to assess whether additional or new disclosures are required and whether that disclosure should take the form of a supplementary or replacement PDS or an website update pursuant to ASIC Class Order 03/237.

Privacy concerns

The IGA and the legislation implementing the IGA should address many of the privacy law compliance issues previously raised regarding FATCA (in particular issues relating to disclosing information to an overseas tax authority).

However funds should review any privacy law compliance or other privacy issues that may arise as a result of their compliance with FATCA.

What if the fund doesnt comply?

The Government has released draft legislation to mandate compliance with the IGA.

Australian funds must comply with the new reporting regime or risk being subject to penalties for non-compliance with Australian domestic tax law.

If the fund fails to register with the IRS, it runs the risk of being subject to a 30% withholding on receipt of US sourced income.

What needs to be done now?

In preparation for FATCA implementation, fund managers would need to take the time to make sure that the following is in place:

  • appropriate procedures should be put into place to ensure that there are adequate systems for identifying new and pre-existing US tax resident investors. This may include updating of information collection on application forms and implementing procedures to determine which existing investors are US tax residents;
  • consider whether a update to disclosure documents (including PDSs, Information Memorandum and Privacy Policies) is required;
  • review information collection and storage procedures to ensure that due diligence, reporting and record keeping requirements under FATCA are met;
  • register with the IRS if your fund receives US sourced income;
  • undertake training for employees and contractors and ensure that third party services providers such as registry and administration providers are appropriately prepared; and
  • monitor further ATO guidance on this issue.

Scammers pose as Veterans Affairs to rip-off victims with promise of loans

CONROE, Texas The company promises a lifeline to people struggling to make ends meet.

But the KHOU 11 News I-Team discovered not only are those empty promises, the scammers on the other end of the phone are not really who they say they are.

I thought yeah, great, recalled Cindy Tyre.

The Conroe woman had gone on-line looking for a loan.

But instead of the $2,000 the Conroe woman was promised, Tyre ended up losing hundreds of dollars.

I was kicking myself in the tail, she admitted.

Tyre, fell victim to the man claiming to be from VA Loans.

After entering her information on the internet, she received an offer, promising cash with low interest rates.

It sounded legit on the phone and the paperwork looked legit, Tyre told the I-Team.

That paperwork featured the words US Department of Veterans Affairs across the top, and contained what appeared to be a government seal.

The lender told Tyre all she had to do was pre-pay $200 to prove she could make the monthly payments.

She did.

But Tyre says instead of the money she was promised, all she received were excuses.

I had something on my credit, Tyre recalled the man on the phone telling her. And that I needed to send him some more money.

Tyre paid that money too. Then she made a third payment.

She never received a dime in return.

Neither did Virgil Redd.

I was supposed to have my money in my account within that hour, Redd said.

In all, Redd sent VA Loans more than $1,400.

Im mad at them but, I mean Im mad at myself, said Redd shaking his head in disbelief.

The Detroit-area resident hoped to use the $10,000 loan he was promised to help his sister.

She may have to have her right leg amputated, explained Redd, and we were looking at trying to get her out of her apartment complex into a home, one-level.

But instead of money, Redd said all he received were threats from VA Loans when he refused to send the company any more money.

We are going to file a lawsuit on your name, said one of the voice messages from VA Loans to Redd. If youre not going to take the call then youll be locked up and your employer and your family member will be punished for that, said another message.

So how could victims keep falling for this?

It turns out, not only were the scammers using the VAs name and logo, they were also telling potential borrowers they were dealing with a Houston-based credit union.

The credit union, which says its not affiliated with the scam, even had its actual address used on the phony loan documents sent to victims.

People are obviously being scammed out of their money, explained Monica Russo with the Better Business Bureau. Theyre being misled about the true identity of this company and their money is basically stolen from them.

Besides the complaints filed with the BBB, the Federal Trade Commission has received 358 complaints connected to VA Loans.

Those complaints range from harassing phone calls, to victims being promised money but given nothing.

So whos behind the bogus loan documents?

I believe this scam is based overseas, said Lt. Andy Colborn from the Manitowoc County Sherriffs Office in Wisconsin.

When a victim there lost $703 to VA Loans, Colborn traced the money.

He found the victims payments went to two women.

One lived in New York, the other in Illinois.

It appears that when she would receive the money, she would be paid a small fee in order to keep her working for the larger organization, explained Colborn. And the rest of the money would be forwarded to whoever (the scammer) is.

Investigators say by using accomplices to funnel the payments, the scammers lessen the chances theyre identified.

Making tracking down the money victims like Tyre could hardly afford to lose, even tougher.

Id like to slap one of them and let them know how much theyve taken away from me, said Tyre. And how bad theyve hurt me.

In a statement to the I-Team, The Department of Veterans Affairs released the following statement:

The documents obtained by KHOU are not VA issued documents. VA cautions Veterans that it does not make personal loans. In the VA home loan program, Veterans and other beneficiaries select a private lender, and the VA guarantees a portion of the loan. Veterans may contact VA at 877-827-3702 to confirm whether a lender is a participant in the Loan Guaranty program.

Additionally, the BBB warns customers against paying money upfront to receive a loan.

$15 minimum wage supporters at City Council meeting

Quick Facts:

  • City Council unanimously votes for $15 minimum wage Monday afternoon.
  • Phase-in period starts in April 1, 2015. Trainees will get lower wage.
  • The minimum wage would be highest in the nation.
  • Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant wanted higher wage in January.

Before the ink is even dry on the new, historic minimum wage law for Seattle, new resistance is coming from many sides.  Some threaten a lawsuit, some may take their ideas to the ballot, and others want to oust the firebrand who made the $15-dollar minimum wage her campaign platform.

Seattle will soon have the nation’s highest minimum wage after a historic 9-0 vote Monday by the City Council, outlining a phased-in $15 minimum wage.

Some critics say the mayors plan is not enough. Others say it will lead to layoffs and higher prices for consumers.

Immediately after the vote, the International Franchise Association President and CEO said a lawsuit would be filed against the “unfair and discriminatory Seattle minimum wage plan.”

“The Seattle City Council and Mayor Murray’s plan would force the 600 franchisees in Seattle, which own 1,700 franchise locations employing 19,000 workers, to adopt the full $15 minimum wage in 3 years, while most other small business owners would have seven years to adopt the $15 wage,” CEO and president Steve Caldeira said in a statement. “These hundreds of franchise small business owners are being punished simply because they chose to operate as franchisees.

“Decades of legal precedent have held that franchise businesses are independently owned businesses and are not operated by the brand’s corporate headquarters.”

Activists with 15 Now rallied in front of City Hall at 1 pm before the full City Council’s 2 pm vote.

In that minimum wage plan, which was passed unanimously last week by a city council committee, big businesses must phase-in the new wage in three to four years.

Small businesses have four to seven years.

But activists were not happy with the following components of the plan:

? During the transition period, some businesses will be allowed to credit tips and health care as part of the higher minimum wage.

? Trainees will get a lower minimum wage and the phase-in period would be delayed until April 1, 2015.

Independent restaurant owners say tips should always be considered part of worker wages.  Angela Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants says tips are included in what is reported on her employee’s income tax reports, and so they should be included in the minimum wage requirements.  “We can show that our front of the house employees are making 35-50 dollars an hour sometimes,” she explained.

Stowell says during the seven year transition period, she and other restaurateurs will continue to press the city to reconsider their tip policy, “Some continued work is going to have to happen in order for the Seattle restaurant scene to stay lively and vibrant.”

She also says she believes many small business owners will get behind a candidate to oust Socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant next year.  Stowell says she is a progressive business owner and resents having been grouped with “corporate interests” during the minimum wage debate.  “I will be happy to support a candidate running against her [Sawant] in 2015.”  

Sawant tells KIRO 7 she has no fear of political retribution, “When businesses campaign openly against me, they will be showing where they stand.  They will be showing they are against lifting workers out of poverty.”

Sawant actually wanted a more extreme wage law.  She introduced four amendments at Mondays council meeting — one to restore the January start date.

Sage Wilson with Working Washington said while not perfect, the proposal will do.

We think though if you take a centimeter step back, what you see is this is an agreement which is going to lift up wages for 100,000 workers in the city of Seattle and thats something we want to see pass quickly, he said before the vote.

A big question is whether 15Now will continue its signature gathering campaign to bring forward a charter amendment to Seattle voters — possibly in November — to bring in a straight $15 an hour minimum wage.

The group said it has gathered 10,000 signatures and is keeping its options open.  And Councilmember Sawant told KIRO 7 she will support whatever the groups decides to do.  But on Monday, she was happy to celebrate what she called “a historic victory for workers in Seattle and workers everywhere.”

There was a victory party with dancing and food in City Hall Plaza.

Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.

Mortgage Rate Forecast : What To Expect From Mortgage Rates This Week

Mortgage Rate Forecast : What To Expect From Mortgage Rates This Week

  • Mortgage Rates

In holiday-shortened trading, mortgage rates dropped again last week.

Costs on a conventional 30-year mortgage dropped approximately 43 basis points, or $430 per $100,000 borrowed — roughly the equivalent of a one-eighth of one percent improvement to 30-year mortgage rates.

Pricing improved with VA loans and FHA loans, too, falling nearly 31 basis points, or $310 per $100,000 borrowed. This, too, is roughly equal to a 0.125 percentage point mortgage rate improvement.

Mortgage rates are now at a 12-month best nationwide. Its an excellent time to be shopping for a mortgage.

Click to get todays live mortgage rates.

Freddie Mac Survey : 30-Year Fixed At 4.12%

According to the weekly Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), for conventional mortgages, 30-year mortgage rates now average 4.12% nationwide; and 15-year mortgage rates now averages 3.21%.

Both rates are near one-year lows. To lock such low rates, though, borrowers are paying discount points.

Discount points are a one-time closing cost which lower a borrowers rate below the current market rate. 30-year mortgage rates average an accompanying 0.6 discount points as of last week. 15-year mortgage rates average 0.5 discount points.

Discount points are paid as a percentage of your total loan size such that a buyer in Boston, Massachusetts borrowing at the 2014 conforming loan limit of $470,350, and getting the 30-year rate of 4.12%, would be charged a discount point fee of $2,882.

However, discount points remain optional.

Borrowers choosing to pay zero discount points should expect to be quoted a slightly higher mortgage rate. Loans with zero points are currently being quoted near 4.25%.

Loans with 1 point or more are getting quoted near 3.75%.

Click to compare todays live rates.

Traits Which Affect Your Mortgage Rate

Its not just discount points which can raise or lower your mortgage rate. The specific traits of your loan will make an impact, too.

For example, borrowers with exceptionally high credit scores or low loan-to-value (LTV) often get quoted mortgage rates which are lower than for persons with low credit scores or high loan-to-value.

In general, borrowers with credit scores over 740 get access to the lowest mortgage rates available. Borrowers with credit scores between 580-620 are often quoted rates which are not quite as low. 

The type of home youre financing matter, too.

For loans via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 2-unit, 3-unit, and 4-unit homes are subject to mortgage rate adjustments which can add 0.25 percentage points to your quoted mortgage rate, or more.

Loans for second homes and investment properties, which includes vacation properties, retirement homes, and condotels, can also raise your mortgage rate.

If your particular mortgage is subject to adjustments because its a multi-unit; or because your credit scores are low; or because your loan-to-value is too high, consider using an FHA loan, VA loan or USDA loan instead.  

None of these program will adjust your mortgage rates higher because of a specific loan trait. Plus, qualifying can be easier, too.

Click here to comparison shop lenders.

This Week : May Jobs Report Dictates Rates

Since the start of the year, mortgage rates have been on slow, steady decline.

Since peaking January 1, rates have dropped close to one half-percentage point, which has increased home buyer purchasing power by more than 6%. It has also opened hundreds of thousands of refinance opportunities for existing US homeowners.

Mortgage rates are now down through 5 straight weeks. This hasnt happened in a year. 

However, this week, momentum could reverse. The government is releasing the May jobs reports and, whenever the jobs market is involved, mortgage rates tend to get jumpy.

This is because the US labor market is the key input for the Federal Reserves active stimulus programs — most notably, its third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

QE3 is the program via which the Fed keeps mortgage rates suppressed.  As US jobs go, therefore, so go your mortgage rates.

The May jobs report will be released Friday, June 6 at 8:30 AM ET. Wall Street expects the government to announce a net increase of 213,000 jobs in May. If the actual figures come in stronger, mortgage rates are expected to rise.

The weeks complete economic calendar is as follows :

  • Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index
  • Tuesday : Factory Orders
  • Wednesday : ADP Employment Report; PMI Services Report; Beige Book
  • Thursday : Jobless Claims; PMI Services Index; 
  • Friday : Non-Farm Payrolls; Unemployment Rate

In addition, there are several Federal Reserve members scheduled to speak, including Kansas City Fed President Esther George, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks, and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans.

Any time the members of the Federal Reserve give public speeches, mortgage rates are subject to change.

Get Todays Low Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are at one-year lows and, with little new news, rates may idle Monday through Thursday. Friday, however, with the release of the Non-Farm Payrolls report, mortgage rates may change big.

Get ahead of the market. Comparison shop todays mortgage rates at no cost, with no obligation, and with social security number required to get started. See how much money you can save.

Click here to get todays low rates.

Pending Home Sales Index Climbs In April; Low Mortgage Rates Boost Home …

Pending Home Sales Index Climbs In April; Low Mortgage Rates Boost Home Purchasing Power

  • Real Estate Sales

The housing market has bounced back after a slower-than-expected, weather-affected winter season.

More homes are going under contract as todays active home buyers sense opportunity; and, as low mortgage rates shift the Rent vs Buy equation in favor of homeownership.

With 30-year mortgage rates near one-year lows, purchasing power is up close to six percent since January.   

Click here to get todays mortgage rates.

Pending Home Sales Index : A Different Indicator Type

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a monthly report, published by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). It measures homes under contract, and not yet closed.

The Pending Home Sales Index is fundamentally different from most commonly-cited housing market metrics.

This is because most housing market metrics report on how housing performed during a given historical period. For example, the Existing Home Sales report counts home sales from months prior; and years prior. 

By contrast, the Pending Home Sales Index suggests how US housing will perform at some point in the future.

The Pending Home Sales Index is forward-looking. It tallies US homes recently gone into contract and uses the result to project future, closed home sales. This is possible because the National Association of REALTORS® knows that 80% of homes under contract close within 2 months of contract.

The April Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.4 as compared to March, climbing to 97.8.  It marks the second straight month of improvement after eight consecutive declines dating back to last July.

The Pending Home Sales Index continues to lag its neutral reading of 100, however. Values over 100 indicate that homes are going to contract at a faster pace than they did during 2001, the first year the index was published.  2001 is generally considered a good year for US housing. So far, 2014 lags that benchmark .

The April Pending Home Sales uptick suggests that the May Existing Home Sales report will read between 4.7-4.8 million homes sold on an annualized basis. This would be the highest annualized reading since the end of last year.

Click here to get todays mortgage rates.

Mortgage Programs For Home Buyers

First-time home buyers account for nearly one-third of todays home buyers and many first-time buyers are buying with the help of low- and no-downpayment mortgage programs.

Among the most common low-downpayment mortgages is the FHA home loan.

FHA home loans are loans given by local banks, and insured against loss by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The FHA has been insuring loans since 1934. Its biggest draw for buyers is that the program requires a downpayment of just 3.5 percent.

FHA mortgages are available in all 50 states and FHA mortgage rates are often as low, or lower, than comparable 30-year mortgage rates via Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — both of which typically require 5 percent down or more.

Another common loan choice among first-time buyers is the VA loan via the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans require no downpayment whatsoever and can be used by most military members and veterans of the armed services.

A third popular option is the 100% mortgage via the USDA.

USDA mortgages are available in many suburban and rural areas nationwide, and allow for 100% financing. USDA mortgage rates are often the lowest of all common first-time home buyer programs.

Lastly, there are special loan programs which minimize the amount a buyer needs for downpayment. These programs include the FHA Good Neighbor Next Door loan and the Fannie Mae HomePath loan, which both require less than $500 down; and a number of construction-type loans including the FHA 203k loan.

Get A Live Mortgage Rate Quote

US homes are going to contract at a quickening pace. Home sales are moving higher and so are home prices nationwide. Thankfully, mortgage rates are down. Since the start of the year, homeownership costs have steadily dropped.

Compare todays live mortgage rates and see for what youll qualify. Rates are available online at no cost, with no obligation to proceed, and with no social security number required to get started. 

Click to get todays mortgage rates.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), recent developments: May …

VA Issues Interim Final Rule Defining Qualified Mortgages

On May 9th, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued an interim final rule as required by the Dodd-Frank Act to define which types of VA loans qualify asqualified mortgages(QM) for purposes of the CFPBs new Ability-to-Repay Rule.1 The Ability-to-Repay Rule generally requires creditors to make a reasonable, good faith determination of a consumers ability to repay a mortgage loan and establishes certain limitations from liability under this requirement for QMs that meet specific requirements. The interim final rule issued by the VA specifies which VA-guaranteed loans are QMs and enjoy either safe harbor protection or a rebuttable presumption that the borrower has an ability-to-repay. In general, all VA loans will enjoy safe harbor QM loan status, except for a subset of VA streamlined refinancings. The interim final rule is effective May 9, 2014.

CFPB Responds to DOJ/FDIC Enforcement Action against Sallie Mae

On May 13th, Holly Petraeus, the CFPBs Assistant Director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs, issued a statement regarding the US Department of Justices and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations consent orders with Sallie Mae, the nations largest student loan servicer.2 According to the consent orders, Sallie Mae was alleged to be violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and also engaging in general student loan servicing misconduct. The SCRA caps the interest rate on pre-existing student loans at six percent while servicemembers are on active duty and specifies the manner in which servicemembers are to inform their lenders when they exercise this right. Salle Mae was allegedly not providing servicemembers with clear and accurate information about these SCRA protections and their loan repayment options in general. Under the consent order, Sallie Mae will pay $96.6 million in restitution and penalties.

In her statement responding to the consent order, Assistant Director Petraeus said the following: Todays action should serve as warning not just to the student loan servicing industry, but to all institutions that provide or service loans to the military. Federal agencies will be vigilant about holding all financial institutions accountable for providing the protections that our servicemembers have earned through their selfless service to our nation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, implements and enforces federal consumer financial law. Greenberg Traurig monitors the CFPB#39;s activities, including the almost daily movement on multiple industry fronts that the CFPB makes as it redefines consumer finance law. An entirely new system has been and is being created for the consumer financial services industry. Once complete, the question will be, How does our clients business match up? Our GT CFPB Team regularly observes and analyzes the actions of the CFPB in order to advise clients in best practices, risk management and compliance procedures.

Home Loans: Current Mortgage Rates at HSBC, US Bankcorp May 26, 2014


30 year loan dealshave been quoted at 4.210% at HSBC Bank (NYSE:HBC)and APR of 4.290%.The best 30 year FHA FRM interest ratesstart at 4.000%and an APR of 4.163%.The VA 30 year fixed rate mortgagesare published at 4.000%and APR of 4.168%.

Popular 15 year loan interest ratesstart at 3.375% at the banktoday yielding an APR of 3.511%.

5/1 ARM interest ratesare 3.210% at HSBCshowing an APR of 2.982%.7 year ARM loansare being quoted at 3.340% todayand the APR is 3.095%.The 10/1 ARM interest ratesstart at 3.700% currentlyshowing an APR of 3.407%.

US Bankcorp

30 year fixed rate loan interest ratesat US Bankcorp (NYSE:USB) are being offered for 4.500%yielding an APR of 4.673%.The lower FHA 30 year loan interest rateshave been listed at 4.375% at the bankwith an APR of 4.879%.30 year jumbo loan dealsat the bank are being quoted at 4.625%and an APR of 4.777%.

30 year VA loansstand at 4.500%and an APR of 4.846%.

Inside Business: Hiring a new employee is like buying a new home

I looked at my wife and asked, “Why was this so hard?” I remember suffering a great deal of pain after that.

In many ways, hiring employees and buying a home are very similar. Both searches require that you clearly define what you are seeking, realize that you might have to compromise on some things, and once you have found what you are seeking, make a decision.

A business owner once told me that he really needed to hire someone to help lighten his load, but when it came right down to what he needed specifically, he just wasn’t sure. It didn’t take long for him to realize that without specific job expectations, there really wasn’t any way I could help him. After discussing the need, we were able to figure out just what type of help he required, develop a job profile, and even figured out an organizational chart to understand where this new position fit within the company.

For a realtor to be effective in finding that “perfect” home for you, she needs to know some basics — how many bedrooms you need, how many bathrooms, size of the home, size of the lot, how much you plan to spend and so on. But they also need to know some other qualitative information, such as how much work you are willing to do on the house, whether the age of the home matters, the neighborhood and whether there are certain schools you want to be near. Often, these requirements are more important to a buyer than some of the quantitative basics.

Of course, all these options are limited by the inventory available. If your criteria are specific, your realtor may only be able to find you a limited number of homes that fit all your wants, leaving you with only a few choices, or waiting until what you are really looking for becomes available. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee when that might be.  So you have to be able to prioritize which features are the most important, and which you are able to live without if needed.

In the same way, I recently worked with a company that had specific personnel needs. The industry in Fairbanks is rather limited and the skills required were not easily found, but trainable. The business owner was willing to train someone, but only if they were committed and a good fit with the company.  Together, we were able to identify some basic skills that indicated aptitude for the specific work along with behavioral traits that fit with the company such as motivations, decision making processes, and soft skills that were extremely important. 

One of the other important lessons of home buying that can be applied to hiring is: Once you find it, stop looking. When you find the home that meets your criteria, make an offer and move in. In the same way, when you find the individual who fits the position and company criteria, make an offer and hire them. If you keep looking, you risk losing the individual to some other company and potentially the prospect of having only lesser qualified individuals from which to choose. That’s why it is so important to be able to clearly communicate what you need to fill a position. Not only will you be able to tell your recruiter what you are seeking, you’ll be able to recognize it right away.


Mike Calvin is an employment consultant with 1st Fruits Consulting and helps organizations with their hiring needs including full life-cycle recruiting, candidate sourcing, selection process, interviewing and assessments, and win-win negotiating. Based in North Pole, Mike can be contacted by email at

30-Year Mortgage Rates Fall For 5th Straight Week, Reach 4.12%

30-Year Mortgage Rates Fall For 5th Straight Week, Reach 4.12% Nationwide

  • Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have made another new low.

According to Freddie Macs weekly mortgage rate survey of 125 banks nationwide, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell 0.02 percentage points last week to reach 4.12%.

Its the fifth straight week that current mortgage rates have dropped and marks the longest mortgage rate winning streak in more than a year.

Looking for low mortgage rates? Todays the day to find them.

Click to get a live rate quote now.

Mortgage Rates Drop For 5th Straight Week

Conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped for the 5th straight week this week, falling to 4.12%. The rate is available to borrowers willing to pay 0.6 discount points at closing and is an average rate nationwide.

Many mortgage applicants are locking rates even lower than 4.12% — some are locking in the 3s. Its the second-lowest weekly reported rate since 12 months ago.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell last week as well, moving to 3.21 percent with an accompanying 0.5 discount points to be paid at closing. This, too, approaches a one-year best for the benchmark rate.

Freddie Macs reported mortgage rates are available borrowers of prime credit quality where prime is defined as having a credit score of 740 or higher; showing a loan-to-value of eighty percent or lower; and using the loan to make a  purchase of a home. 

For other borrowers, such as those doing a refinance to lower mortgage rates, or using special loan programs such as the HARP loan and the 5-10 Properties program for investors with more than 4 properties financed, mortgage rates will be minimally higher.

Mortgage rates will also be different for loans which are not conventional; that is, backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This includes mortgage rates for FHA loans, for VA loans, and for USDA loans. Rates for these loan types are similarly low, however.

US lenders are currently quoting FHA mortgage rates, VA mortgage rates and USDA mortgage rates in the 3s.

Click for todays live mortgage rate quote.

How Far Will Mortgage Rates Fall?

For todays home buyers and refinancing households, the current mortgages rates are an unexpected surprise. 2014 was supposed to be the year that mortgage rates moved to 5 percent and higher. Maybe they still will.

For now, however, US mortgage rates are in the midst of a winning streak. Rates are down for five straight weeks and appear headed for a sixth week of decline, too.

Its been nearly 90 weeks since mortgage rates dropped 6 weeks in-a-row. Its been nearly three years since theyve dropped through seven. The market does has momentum, however.

Of course, none of this was supposed to happen at all.

At the start of the year, the Federal Reserve announced it would taper QE3, its mortgage rate-suppressing stimulus program. The Fed had been purchasing $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) monthly.

As the scope of QE3 shrank, reduced demand for mortgage bonds was expected to to send bond yields higher, which would boost consumer mortgage rates. The mortgage bond market is where mortgage rates are made, if you didnt know.

Well, today, the Feds QE3 purchases amount have been halved to $20 billion monthly. Yet, mortgage rates are dropping. This is because outside investors are entering the mortgage bond market faster than the Fed can leave it.

Global economic uncertainty and the potential for war have boosted demand for mortgage-backed bonds, and US consumers are benefitting. 

Rates may continue to drop as QE3 continues it taper. You may not want to gamble on that, though.  At todays mortgage rates, 1-point rise in mortgage rates will reduce your maximum home purchase price by 12%.

Compare Todays Live Mortgage Rates Now

2014 mortgage rates are defying expectation. Wall Street said rates would rise this year. US consumers said mortgage rates would rise this year. And, practically every surveyed loan officer nationwide said mortgage rates would rise this year

Thus far, though, mortgage rates are not rising. After five straight week of declines, theyve moved to near one-year bests. Its a great time to compare todays rates. 

Get a live mortgage rate quote now. Rates are available online at no cost, with no obligation, and with no social security number required to get started. 

Click here to compare todays rates.