Debra Stonikas: MERCY Communities: Reaching new heights

Homeless mothers are 9 times as likely as homeless fathers to be caring for at least one or more children, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

As a group, they tend to be less-educated and working minimum wage jobs. For single mothers, working more than one job is difficult.

It is a sad and difficult plight, but we have seen the very worst overcome their situations and believe there is an upside to every story.

The number of persons experiencing homelessness has decreased nationally, but as the agencies doing the work of assisting homeless...

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Thinking of Accessing Your Home Equity? Things You Should Know

Before the recession, many people were able to tap into their home equity but all this changed during the last few years. However now house prices are recovering, more people have regained access to this source of funding that can help pay for renovations or big-ticket items, or to simply reduce debt.

According to an article in, home equity lines of credit were up 27% to the year ending June 30, and this trend is expected to continue. While it’s tempting to consider using a home equity loan, there are things you need to know about this source of funding.

Over the past few years mortgage rates have been at near historic close with many borrowers getting 30 year...

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5 Top Alternatives To A Reverse Mortgage

If you’re 62 or older, you may be able to convert the equity in your home into cash with a reverse mortgage. This loan lets you borrow against the equity in your home to get a fixed monthly payment or line of credit. Repayment is deferred until you move out, sell the home, become delinquent on property taxes and/or insurance, the home falls into disrepair, or you pass away. Then the house is sold and any excess after repayment goes to you or your heirs.

Home equity loans can be problematic if not done correctly ( see 5 Reverse Mortgage Scams ) and require careful attention to the rights of the surviving spouse, if you are married. And of course, the end of the process means you or your...

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Home Equity Loans Surge amid Record-low Rates

The housing market seems to be on the right track. The origination of home equity lines of credit (Helocs) hit a five-year high this year as a result of low interest rates, rising home prices, and increasing consumer confidence in the trajectory of the market.  But while it’s a great time to be a homeowner, it might not be a good time to be a would-be homeowner.

In response to the housing market crash, mortgage lending became more rigid than ever, and has yet to rebound. Even Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve can’t refinance his home mortgage due to strict and irrational credit standards. So, why the abundant confidence on one hand and such caution on the other?


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Update: Fifth Third Bancorp’s Q3 Earnings – It Just Earned A Downgrade (FITB)

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) today reported third quarter 2014 net income of $340 million versus net income of $439 million in the second quarter of 2014 and $421 million in the third quarter of 2013. This is a substantial decline of 19.2%. Accounting for payment of preferred dividends, net income available to common shareholders was $328 million, or $0.39 per diluted share in the quarter compared with $416 million, or $0.49 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2014, and $421 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2013. One of the key drivers of a banks performance that I examine is loans and deposits. They are critical. Average loan and lease balances increased...

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Home equity loan fraud scheme lands Westampton Township man in prison

A Burlington County man was sentenced to state prison Friday for the theft of $925,000 by fraudulently obtaining six home equity loans on a single property within a span of 11 days, according to the State Attorney Generals Office.

Alfred Dennis, 51, of Westampton Township, was sentenced to a three-year term by Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines. Dennis had pleaded guilty to theft by deception on May 12.

Dennis was ordered to pay $940,339 in restitution to banks he defrauded Citizens Bank, Cornerstone Bank, PNC Bank, Susquehanna Bank, Beneficial Bank and Sun Bank.

The defendants wife, Carla Dennis, 51, had also pleaded guilty to theft by deception for her role in the fraud....

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Curing Home Equity Lines of Credit Headaches

For homeowners who took out a home equity line of credit ten years ago, their loans will be recasting soon, which means their monthly payments may nearly double as they start paying the interest and principal back.

While not paying it isn’t an option, unless you want to lose your home, there are ways to cover it even if you won’t be able to afford the heftier payment. A recasting of a home equity line of credit or HELOC “isn’t something that should sneak up on you, but it does,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at “People go through ten years making minimal payments and it can double or triple over night with a recast.”


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The Secret Worries of the White House Cyber Czar

Every few months, at least, Americans are reminded — by their bank, a major retailer and even the government — to reset their log-ins, monitor their accounts and come up with even more inscrutable passwords for sensitive accounts. The problem is: Too few of us actually do it.

Michael Daniel, who helps direct the Obama administration’s cybersecurity policy-making from his perch on the National Security Council, has made it his personal mission to understand the human factor in cybersecurity.

Related: Maybe Robots Should Run Our Cyber Security

Daniel, whose official title is special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator, sat down with Nextgov for...

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Ridge wins bid to avoid bankruptcy

Sally Ridge has won her High Court bid to avoid bankruptcy and will continue her claim for half her ex-partner Adam Parores business.

The pairs long-running legal battle resumed at the High Court in Auckland yesterday with the former Black Caps Small Business Accounting (SBA) taking bankruptcy proceedings against the socialite over $100,000 she owes him.

Ms Ridge lost her legal battle to gain half of Mr Parores business after trial last year and she was ordered to pay the six-figure costs.

But today, she tasted some success with Associate Judge Tony Christiansen granting a stay of the bankruptcy proceedings.

The judgement paves the way for Ms Ridge to take the original...

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Reverse Mortgage Or Home-Equity Loan?

If you are a homeowner and at least 62 years old, you may be able to convert your home equity into cash to pay for living expenses, healthcare costs, a home remodel or whatever else you need. Two options for doing so are reverse mortgages and home-equity loans. Both allow you to tap into your home equity without the need to sell or move out of your home. These are different loan products, however, and it pays to understand your options so you can decide which is better for you: a reverse mortgage or a home equity loan?

Reverse Mortgages

Most home purchases are made with a regular, or forward, mortgage. With a regular mortgage, you borrow money from a lender and make monthly payments...

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