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Financial News Roundup: Black Friday Trends, States Grapple Unemployment

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Top Financial News Headlines from Around the Web

States grapple with unemployment interest payments
The deadline to repay loan interest is looming for states that borrowed from the government to fund unemployment benefits to its citizens. Businesses will face the brunt of the payments and join nearly 31 states in repaying the estimated $1.4 billion in interest.

Homeowners could lose one more option for fighting foreclosure
It may sound like a technicality, but according to consumer advocates and attorneys, a proposed change to the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) proposed by the Federal Reserve would take away the most powerful weapon consumers have to stop wrongful foreclosures: the right of recession.

Weak profitability forces 5,000 U.S. banks to close branches
Nearly 41 million Americans will not have access to traditional banking institutions by 2015, as decreased profitability will force banks to close some 5,000 branches over the next year and a half. New regulations, consumer debt reduction, decreased loan demand and slashed revenue from banking fees may not only prompt banks to close branches, but possibly lead to more layoffs.

Shoppers respond to early Black Friday deals
Retailers are seeing an increase in November shopping activity from last year’s figures, attributing discounts, free shipping offers and purchase incentives to the strong sales. Analysts are at odds about whether the heightened sales activity will remain consistent through Black Friday, with some raising projections and others saying unemployment will hold many consumers back.

No holiday cheer for credit card issuers
Retailers are posting higher than usual holiday sales figures, but credit card issuers may not reap the rewards, as more consumers are paying with cash or debit card. Data from the Federal Reserve of New York shows the number of open credit card accounts declined 24 percent since 2008.

Health insurers required to devote more revenue to improving medical care
A new federal mandate will require small- and large-market health insurers to allocate 80 and 85 percent of premium revenues, respectively, to improving medical care. The law, which will go into effect in 2011, is expected to benefit 75 million Americans and will require health insurers who fail to comply to pay a rebate to consumers.

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