Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) Shows Small Business Bankruptcies Continue Decline

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) Shows Small Business Bankruptcies Continue Decline-Image via CrunchBase

Small business bankruptcy filings declined more than 11 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to a year ago and have decreased nearly 19 percent since their peak in Q2 2009, Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) announced today.  The decrease is the fifth consecutive quarter in which commercial bankruptcies have declined based on data from the company’s quarterly research on small business activity.

Analysis from the Equifax study shows that the number of small business bankruptcy filings peaked at 37,299 during Q2 2009, compared to 30,392 during Q3 2010.  There were 34,257 bankruptcies in Q3 2009.

“For more than a year, we have seen a decline in the number of small business bankruptcies but this is the biggest percentage decrease during that period,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh, senior vice president, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions.  “Small businesses are still having a tough time.  But the numbers are beginning to indicate that some of the stresses may be abating.”

For its quarterly study, Equifax analyzes Chapter 7, 11 and 13 filings as well as its data on the more than 24 million small businesses in the U.S.  The company considers commercial enterprises with 100 employees or less as a small business.

About Equifax (www.equifax.com)

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

With a strong heritage of innovation and leadership, Equifax continuously delivers innovative solutions with the highest integrity and reliability. Businesses – large and small – rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology, marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 14 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500(R) Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.

SOURCE Equifax

New Credit Card Law to Clarify Card Offers

New Credit Card Law to Clarify Card Offers

New Credit Card Law to Clarify Card Offers-Image via Wikipedia

Credit card offers have grown increasingly complicated since 2000, when Congress required issuers to start disclosing pricing information on credit card offers. But instead of providing clarity to consumers about the true cost of their credit cards, issuers responded to this mandate by adding a confusing array of numbers to their offers, new CRL research finds.

To see the full report, go to http://www.responsiblelending.org/credit-cards/research-analysis/Numbers-Game-The-True-Cost-of-Credit-Card-Mail-Offers.html.

Specifically, CRL’s research finds that the total count of numeric disclosures in credit card direct-mail offers increased 250% from 1999 to 2009, and at the peak in early 2009 the average credit card offer contained 33 figures.  Much of the increased complexity in offers came from new penalty rates and fees.

CRL also finds that offer complexity varied widely among issuers: In most years, the most complex offer had 6 to 8 times as many numbers as the simplest offer.  This suggests that it has been issuer choice, not regulation, that has made credit card terms more confusing.

The new CARD act enacted last year appears to have made credit card contracts simpler, suggesting the law is having the intended effect of creating fair, understandable terms. But credit card pricing remains far more complicated than just a decade ago, thwarting consumers’ ability to comparison shop. CRL recommends that regulators monitor industry practices carefully to determine whether more action is needed to enhance clarity.

About the Center for Responsible Lending

The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. CRL is affiliated with Self-Help, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions.

SOURCE Center for Responsible Lending

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to Create Air Traffic System in Kazakhstan

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to Create Air Traffic System in Kazakhstan-Image via Wikipedia

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today signed a $49.9 million contract with Kazaeronavigatsia RSE, the air navigation service provider in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to deploy additional Skyline® air traffic management automation systems, and maintain this national system through 2025. This contract will create the first national air traffic management system in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

“For many years, Lockheed Martin and Kazaeronavigatsia have enjoyed a strong partnership,” said John Mengucci, president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions-Civil organization, at the signing at the 2010 Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Annual Conference and Exposition.   “We are privileged and excited to continue our collaboration to develop the region’s most advanced national air traffic management infrastructure.”

The Skyline® system is a comprehensive, commercial off-the-shelf solution that features flight data processing (FDP) and surveillance data processing (SDP) capabilities that can function as a tower, terminal area, procedural or flow monitoring system service. It provides a flexible configuration of features and functions to fit customer requirements.

This is the fifth contract awarded to Lockheed Martin as Kazaeronavigatsia enhances its capabilities to apply advanced technology to manage Kazakhstan’s national airspace. This new contract will allow for the installation of the Lockheed Martin Skyline® system in the new Almaty Area Control Center (ACC) and in thirteen airfield towers. It also will allow for upgrades of the Skyline® systems at the Astana ACC and the Aktobe ACC.

“Our decision to continue cooperation with Lockheed Martin on further modernization of our air traffic management system in Kazakhstan was based on the company’s reputation and proven ability to deploy systems on time and within the budget for our Astana and Aktobe ACC’s,” said Director General Sergey Kulnazarov of Kazaeronavigatsia RSE. “The new program will guarantee flawless operations of the Kazakhstan air traffic control system throughout its lifecycle.”

This contract follows a $15.5 million contract award to Lockheed Martin in 2007 to deploy a Skyline® air traffic management system at the ACC in Aktobe, Kazakhstan and four airfield towers.

Under this contract Kazakhstan established the first regional Civil-Military Coordination Centre “Omnyx.”

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44.0 billion.

For additional information, please visit: http://www.lockheedmartin.com.

SOURCE Lockheed Martin

Next Real Estate Boom to be a Tidal Wave

Next Real Estate Boom to be a Tidal Wave

Next Real Estate Boom to be a Tidal Wave-Image via Wikipedia

The housing market, which drove the economy into ditch, could become the engine that pulls it out. So argues New America Foundation’s Patrick Doherty, along with Christopher Leinberger in a provocative cover story in the latest issue of the Washington Monthly.

A vast wave of new demand for housing is coming, note the authors, thanks to an epic demographic convergence. Baby boomers, the biggest demographic bloc in the country, are looking to downsize as their nests empty and retirement looms, while their children, the similarly numerous millennial generation, will soon want to purchase their first homes.

Neither group, however, is much interested in low-density, auto-dependent suburbs on the metropolitan fringe-the overbuilding of which helped cause the recession. Instead, these buyers are drawn to denser, lively neighborhoods in cities or inner suburbs where it’s possible to walk to stores, restaurants, and mass transit — think D.C.’s Dupont Circle area, or suburban town centers like Clayton, Missouri, outside St. Louis. Home prices in such places have soared in recent years and stayed relatively high even during the downturn. That’s a measure of growing market demand, but also limited supply: thanks to zoning restrictions and infrastructure priorities set by the federal government, too few such neighborhoods exist.

But more walkable neighborhoods could be built (and quickly, argue the authors) if the next Congress will act — for instance, by shifting federal transportation dollars from highways to mass transit. Despite what Republicans might think, such actions would not increase the deficit, but would instead draw hundreds of billions of private investment dollars now sitting on the sidelines back into the productive economy, creating millions of jobs and neighborhoods that are healthier, more energy-efficient, and in line with the way more and more Americans actually want to live.

For full article: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1011.doherty-leinberger.html.

For interview requests with Patrick Doherty, please contact Kate Brown at 202-213-7051 or brown@newamerica.net.

About the New America Foundation

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

SOURCE New America Foundation

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX)Shows Home Prices Dropped 1.5%

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX)Shows Home Prices Dropped 1.5%

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, today released its Home Price Index (HPI) which shows that home prices in the U.S. declined for the first time this year. According to the CoreLogic HPI, national home prices, including distressed sales, declined 1.5 percent in August 2010 compared to August 2009 and increased by 0.6 percent* in July 2010 compared to July 2009. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices declined 0.4 percent in August 2010.

Highlights as of August 2010

  • The top five states with the highest appreciation, including distressed sales, were: Maine (+5.8 percent), New York (+3.7 percent), Connecticut (+2.5 percent), Virginia (+2.4 percent), and South Dakota (+2.1 percent).
  • The top five states with the greatest depreciation, including distressed sales, were Idaho (-14.0 percent), Alabama (-10.4 percent), Utah (-7.3 percent), Oregon (-6.3 percent) and Florida (-6.2 percent).
  • Excluding distressed sales, the top five states with the highest appreciation were: New York (+5.0 percent), South Dakota (+4.0 percent), Connecticut (+3.1 percent), North Dakota (+3.0 percent), and Vermont (+2.7 percent).
  • Excluding distressed sales, the top five states with the greatest depreciation were: Idaho (-11.3 percent), Michigan (-7.6 percent), Arizona (-6.5 percent), Nevada (-6.3 percent) and Utah (-4.7 percent).
  • Including distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the national HPI (from April 2006 to August 2010) is -28.2 percent. Excluding distressed properties, the peak-to-current change in the HPI for the same period is -19.6 percent.

“Price declines are geographically expanding as 78 out of the largest 100 metropolitan areas are experiencing declines, up from 58 just one month ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

Full-month August 2010 national, state-level and top CBSA-level data can be found at http://www.corelogic.com/About-Us/ResearchTrends/Home-Price-Index.aspx.

* July 2010 data was revised up from no growth to 0.6 percent. Revisions with public record data are standard, and to ensure accuracy, CoreLogic incorporates the newly released public record data to provide updated results.

About CoreLogic

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government. The company combines public, contributory and proprietary data to develop predictive decision analytics and provide business services that bring dynamic insight and transparency to the markets it serves. CoreLogic has built the largest U.S. real estate, mortgage application, fraud, and loan performance databases and is a recognized leading provider of mortgage and automotive credit reporting, property tax, valuation, flood determination, and geospatial analytics and services. More than one million users rely on CoreLogic to assess risk, support underwriting, investment and marketing decisions, prevent fraud, and improve business performance in their daily operations. Formerly the information solutions group of The First American Corporation, CoreLogic began trading under the ticker CLGX on the NYSE on June 2, 2010. The company, headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., has more than 10,000 employees globally with 2009 revenues of $2 billion.  For more information visit www.corelogic.com

SOURCE CoreLogic

Keenan & Associates, the largest privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm in California, has announced a program to assist public agencies in applying for participation in the new Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The research, analysis and application for program certification requires some 170 hours to complete, an imposing challenge for agencies with limited internal resources.

Timeliness and accuracy are critical, because DHHS will send any incomplete or insufficient applications back to the end of the line, reimbursement requests are processed on a first-come/first-served basis, and program funding is limited.

Keenan offers comprehensive, step-by-step assistance in completing the application and certification process. In the first months of the program, Keenan has already helped 20 agencies become eligible for over $8 million in reimbursements. Of those that have completed the application process with Keenan to date, 100% have been approved. And the turnaround time for application approval from DHHS has averaged just two to four weeks.

For example, the Monterey County Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG) is a multi-employer schools health insurance pool serving nearly 6,000 participants, one-third of whom are retirees. Like most other school-based organizations, they are juggling a cascade of pressing issues including health care reform, mental health parity, ARRA and HIPAA.

“In a time of escalating health care costs when our participants are struggling to meet their out-of-pocket medical expense obligations and our member schools are facing their most difficult budget challenges ever, becoming certified to participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was not an option for us, it was a necessity. We simply could not risk rejection of our application,” said Sherrell Freeman, MCSIG Executive Director. “Keenan provided comprehensive value from completion and filing of the application to collection and presentation of the claims for reimbursement, which will total approximately $1.4 million during our first two years in the ERRP program.”

Keenan support encompasses the entire process, including acquisition of data from carriers (including HMOs); review of data, projections and policies; legal support in interpreting subsidy regulations; assistance in the final reconciliation process; and participation in any potential audits. Most other services offered to plan sponsors, such as those from by insurance companies and health plans, are only partial in nature.

The Keenan technical and legal teams have been directly involved with DHHS on the ERRP program since before the regulations on the subsidy were issued. This proactive approach has resulted in rapid success for Keenan clients.

In addition, Keenan expertise in the full lifecycle of ERRP requirements, from plan design and cost reduction components to actuarial analysis and administrative provisions necessary to accurately complete the application, translates into a streamlined application process.

“Current economic conditions and revenue outlook are already putting extreme budget pressures on local agencies. This early retiree health care subsidy is a significant opportunity to relieve some of that pressure,” said John Scatterday, Keenan Senior Vice President and Public Agency Employee Benefits Practice Leader. “Our goal is to help these agencies participate in and gain important financial benefits from this program as soon as possible.”

ERRP offers reimbursement of 80% of the portion of early retiree claims paid in the plan year totaling between $15,000 and $90,000. The program is available to virtually all self-funded and fully insured employment-based plans (other than Federal plans), without regard to the source of funding. For program details, visit http://errp.gov/.

For information on Keenan insurance brokerage and consulting programs, visit www.keenan.com.

Barclays Loses Arbitration with Investment Banker

Barclays Loses Arbitration with Investment Banker-Image via Wikipedia

A 20-year investment banker, who alleged Barclays used the collapse of former employer Lehman Brothers to seek to renege on a compensation agreement, has prevailed in arbitration proceedings against the London-based banking enterprise.

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel ordered Barclays Capital Inc. to pay $715,000, plus interest, FINRA filing fees, and other costs, according to Outten & Golden LLP, counsel for Thomas D. Whalen, who filed the claim.

Attorney Laurence S. Moy, of Outten & Golden, who tried the case with Juno Turner, also of the firm, said, “Mr. Whalen was recruited to Lehman in 2006 to build and lead its healthcare investment banking group, and Mr. Whalen succeeded. His group exceeded its revenue goal for 2007 and successfully competed for several major underwriting transactions scheduled for 2008 and 2009.”

Mr. Whalen alleged that Barclays, through its words and conduct – including a general commitment in its asset purchase agreement with Lehman to pay bonuses to legacy Lehman employees for services provided in 2008 – impliedly agreed to pay Mr. Whalen a bonus. After working all of 2008 and transitioning his book of business to Barclays, the firm told Mr. Whalen in early 2009 that it would not pay him any bonus.

Mr. Moy, co-head of Outten & Golden’s Securities and Financial Services Industry practice group, added, “Barclays, like many securities firms, argued the bonus was completely ‘discretionary,’ but the arbitrators clearly saw the case for what it was: an attempt by Barclays to ignore its obligations. Mr. Whalen honored his part of the deal and expected Barclays to do the same.”

The case is “Thomas D. Whalen vs. Barclays Capital Inc. and Barclays Bank PLC,” FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration No. 09-03587.

Attorney Contacts: Laurence S. Moy and Juno Turner, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, 212.245.1000, www.outtengolden.com.

SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP

HomeInspector.com is a new resource for home buyers, sellers, and owners who want to make smart and savvy home buying, purchasing, and inspection decisions.

This exciting free resource offers a wealth of information through its article bank and nationwide home inspector database. Sellers and buyers can visit Home Inspector and enter the property zip code to be instantly connected with qualified home inspection services in their area. Home inspectors can quickly and easily connect with interested customers to provide free quotes. “Buyers and sellers are able to share experiences and best practices, pass along valuable information, and learn from each other through the interactive site,” states a HomeInspector.com spokesperson. Moreover, customers have the chance to receive a free quote on home inspection services from qualified local inspectors in their property area.

Sellers who are working towards an advantageous home sale can discover how to maintain and prepare their home to get the best price for the market. Home buyers can learn more about why a home inspection is so important, what services come with a home inspection, how to read the home inspection report, issues to watch out for, and how to locate and hire a qualified home inspector. Home inspectors can learn more about trainings and new information to stay current in their field, and newcomers to the field can learn how to be trained to become a home inspector, as well as valuable tips for starting a successful home inspection business.

About HomeInspector.com
HomeInspector.com was started in late 2009 by Benjamin Evans to serve customers in the Real Estate and Home & Garden industry. One of the most exciting features of HomeInspector.com is the real time connection that facilitates an instant connection between seller, buyer, and home inspector. Home inspectors have the ability to build up their sales leads through connecting directly with customers through and customers can also instantly find a home inspector. For more visit http://www.HomeInspector.com

Contact information:
Benjamin Evans

CNN/Money Magazine Report Seattle 'Burbs as Best Place to Live

CNN/Money Magazine Report Seattle 'Burbs as Best Place to Live-Image via Wikipedia

The Seattle metropolitan area consistently ranks among the best regions to live and work in the country, as illustrated recently by CNN/Money Magazine’s 2009 “Best Places to Live” list. Three Seattle suburbs – Mukilteo, Sammamish and Newcastle – were ranked 10th, 12th and 17th respectively in the prestigious annual list of the best small towns in America.

The rankings are reflective of the continuously improving quality of life conditions in the Puget Sound region as a whole, which includes the Tacoma and Pierce County area just south of Seattle and King County. “The quality of life, economy and employment opportunities that the Greater Seattle area offers is simply unbeatable,” says Pierce County Realtors from Windermere Puyallup Real Estate. “This is why the Puyallup, WA real estate market hasn’t been as hard-hit by the recent economic downturn as other areas in the West Coast.”

Associates from Windermere Puyallup also cite past and recent home sales figures from Trulia regarding the local market. “While the median sales price in Puyallup has been experiencing a decline from 2007 until early 2008, overall, the sales price here has appreciated by 21.5% from 2004 to 2009.”

Puyallup has also been diversifying its economic base in the past few years. Its downtown area is currently undergoing revitalization and Boeing recently opened an aircraft assembly plant in the city’s South Hill area. The plant has been projected to bring in more than 10,000 additional jobs to the city over the course of the next several years.

Windermere Puyallup specializes in Puyallup real estate along with surrounding areas, including the cities of Tacoma, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Parkland, Spanaway, Graham, Roy and the areas South of King and Thurston Counties. For more in-depth information on Puyallup, its different neighborhoods, and its neighboring areas, visit windermerepuyallup.com, where up-to-date listings on Puyallup, WA homes for sale and other area properties are also easily available.

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier-Image via Wikipedia

The Internet and technology are rapidly bridging the information gap between new home agents and buyers, empowering home buyers with the tools and technologies needed to make informed decisions all from the convenience of their home PC or PDA. The days of being dragged from one new home development to another by a well meaning but all too human real estate agents may be over as technology and the internet make buying a new home online easy and informative.

One builder is betting on online technology to create buyer urgency, drive sales, reduce upfront sales and marketing costs, and obtain the number of reservations necessary to secure new construction funding, by incorporating First Release Homes Virtual Reservation Services, VRS™. (http://www.TheWarrenSacramento.com) This revolutionary online approach replaces the costly, traditional offline sales and marketing process by providing powerful online virtualization tools and technologies that provide a real world, home buyer experience online. “The VRS technology provides home buyers with the tools necessary to replicate the offline home buying experience by offering virtual technologies that gives the buyer the same experience as if they physically drove to the new home development and individually walked the homes they were interested in touring.

Traditionally, the new home buyer would have to wait for either a new home development to be built, a sales office to be available and drive by the development to get a feel for the neighborhood and location. Thereafter, the prospective buyer would then find out when the sales office is open, call to schedule an appointment with an agent for a tour. The challenge is if the development is not completed, the home buyer would have to select a home from a paper floor plan, virtual tour, or walk the pre-built model homes and should they decided to purchase, hope and prey that their views from their new home are not obstructed and satisfactory, basically purchasing site unseen. However, if the development is built, the buyer will then likely have to spend several hours, researching, scheduling an appointment to meet with an agent, walking from home to home or take multiple trips back to the development with family members in order to decide on the perfect home.

“By utilizing our cutting edge VRS™ Service, Home buyers can now research the new home development, take a virtual tour of the new home development, walk the neighborhood, review local amenities and restaurants, take virtual tours of all the homes offered, check out the views from each home, see other home buyers taking tours online in real time, have questions answered via live chat and ultimately purchase their pre-constructed home all online and without establishing a relationship with a buyers agent or leaving the comfort of their home computer. ” says James Uberti, VP of Sales and Marketing for First Release Homes, Inc.

For builders the benefits are upfront savings, the required interest necessary to secure funding via online reservations, reduced selling times, reduction of agent commissions, interest savings and HOA fees paid by selling out their project quicker than traditional sales and marketing methods. Builders and developers can now offer the same homes for a lower price while maintaining the same, if not higher profit margins, Said Uberti.

About First Release Homes, Inc.
First Release Homes, Inc., is one of the largest “coming-soon and just-released” new home resources for homebuilders seeking the best value and return on investment for advertising and marketing new homes and condos online. For more information about First Release Homes, visit them online or call 888-907-7770.

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