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Jamie Pietras

In Personal Finance, Mortgages

Jamie Pietras’s work has appeared in publications including New York magazine, Time Out New York, and The Writer. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in nonfiction writing, he has also worked in e-learning, contributed to various trade publications, and written and edited young adult nonfiction.

Apps More Prevalent Than Ever, Influence Shopping Habits

Personal Finance

Apps More Prevalent Than Ever, Influence Shopping Habits

Apps More Prevalent Than Ever, Influence Shopping Habits

Half of adult cell phone users now have apps on their phones, according to a recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. This accounts for the share of adults who’ve purchased phones pre-loaded with apps, up from 38 percent in May 2010 to 43 percent in August 2011, as well as cell... Read More

Foreclosure Firm Apologizes for “Inappropriate” Costumes

Mortgages

Foreclosure Firm Apologizes for “Inappropriate” Costumes

Foreclosure Firm Apologizes for “Inappropriate” Costumes

One of New York’s biggest foreclosure law firms has apologized for employee Halloween party costumes that found their way to the op-ed pages of The New York Times, outraged housing rights activists, and did little to soften the image of an organization that has handled a reported 40 percent of the state’s foreclosure cases. “I... Read More

Millions Eligible for Foreclosure Reviews

Mortgages

Millions Eligible for Foreclosure Reviews

Millions Eligible for Foreclosure Reviews

This week, federal bank regulators rolled out details of a program intended to help homeowners whose foreclosures were processed based on erroneous paperwork. Mortgage servicers have already begun sending mailings to borrowers, explaining how they can request for an independent consultant to review their case “if they believe they suffered financial injury as a result... Read More

BofA and Fellow Big Banks Drop Debit Card Fees

Credit Cards

BofA and Fellow Big Banks Drop Debit Card Fees

BofA and Fellow Big Banks Drop Debit Card Fees

Having incensed customers, inspired nationwide consumer protests, and inadvertently given community banks and credit unions a bonanza of free marketing opportunities, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust Banks Inc., are dumping monthly debit card fees. BofA was supposed to begin its much-maligned $5-a-month fee for debit card use in 2012, but after... Read More

Spending Up, Disposable Income Down

Personal Finance

Spending Up, Disposable Income Down

Spending Up, Disposable Income Down

In the months of July through September, consumers spent three times as much as they did in the year’s second quarter, helping fuel a 2.5% rate of growth in the economy, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Taken with news of an agreement to address the debt problem in Europe, the... Read More

Delaware AG Sues Mortgage Registry

Mortgages

Delaware AG Sues Mortgage Registry

Delaware AG Sues Mortgage Registry

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden today filed suit against Merscorp, Inc., overseer of a national mortgage database used by banks when buying and selling loans. According to a statement from Biden’s office, MERS allegedly engaged in “deceptive trade practices,” knowingly obscuring information from borrowers and providing them “frequently inaccurate” information. Created by large banks, Fannie... Read More

Companies Consider Credit Card Purchase Data for Ad Targeting

Credit Cards

Companies Consider Credit Card Purchase Data for Ad Targeting

Companies Consider Credit Card Purchase Data for Ad Targeting

Earlier this year, MasterCard reportedly floated an idea to a group of ad executives regarding online ad targeting—the company was looking at ways a person’s credit card purchase history might be used as a basis for ad customization. According to The Wall Street Journal, MasterCard has shelved the proposal, which it shared with at least... Read More

Checking Fees: The Bankers’ Perspective

Personal Finance

Checking Fees: The Bankers’ Perspective

Checking Fees: The Bankers’ Perspective

In the world of consumer personal finance, the F-word, fee, has grown increasingly unpalatable. Citibank will soon begin charging $20 a month for checking. At Bank of America, it’s $5 per month to use a debit card. Wells Fargo and Chase are also charging such a fee, at $3, in selected areas. Public response to... Read More

Girl Scouts Unveil New Badges for Good Credit & Finance Achievements

Personal Finance

Girl Scouts Unveil New Badges for Good Credit & Finance Achievements

Girl Scouts Unveil New Badges for Good Credit & Finance Achievements

The Girl Scout badge has always been a sort of social barometer. There was 1913’s “matron housekeeper,” which encouraged a working knowledge of housecleaning and meat market prices. The “signaller” honor of 1920 fostered an understanding of Semaphore and Morse Code. And what of these less-than-halcyon days of consumer debt and economic crisis? Why, a... Read More

Angered by Fees, Bank Customers Looking to Credit Unions

Personal Finance

Angered by Fees, Bank Customers Looking to Credit Unions

Angered by Fees, Bank Customers Looking to Credit Unions

Bank of America’s plan for a new $5 debit card fee may be bad news for cardholders, but good news for credit unions, says Credit Unions Online. Since BofA’s announcement, several credit unions have seen an uptick in new accounts—one branch of the Arizona State Credit Union reported a 50% increase, writes Gina Ragusa. BofA’s... Read More

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