All Articles Tagged "economic recession"
A group of Los Angeles pastors are protesting the foreclosure proceedings on a number churches, to be executed by a black-owned bank that was created to serve a once-segregated black population.
Broadway Federal Bank started in the 1940s to provide financial services to the black community. Today, according to the Los Angeles Times, “the bank had over 12% of its loans and other assets in delinquency or foreclosure, and seven repossessed churches on its books.” The bank can no longer take on additional church clients. The church pastors have promised to stand up to the bank.
Christianity Today reports that more churches have been foreclosed on in the past couple of years, showing the toll that the economic recession is having. It’s a topic that Reuters also covered earlier this year, saying that all denominations, and both black and white churches have been impacted. The foreclosures are happening as banks, the outlet says, “increasingly lose patience” with religious organizations that have defaulted on their loans and the financial institutions want to get their balance sheets in better shape. Churches told Reuters, at the time, that they just want to negotiate.
The pastors now protesting against Broadway Federal say the bank has foreclosed on 60 churches.
The housing market may be turning the corner. In September, home prices rose the most in six years.
“U.S. home prices jumped 5% in September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since July 2006,” reports USA Today. The data, which points to a housing recovery, comes from CoreLogic, a provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government.
This is good news. In fact, states the newspaper, “Steady price increases should give the housing market more momentum when home sales pick up in the spring. Rising prices encourage more homeowners to sell their homes and entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.”
The recovery seems to be nearly nationwide, as prices increased in all but seven states. And in just 18 of 100 large cities, they declined, as indicated by the report. Home prices rose in some of the states that were hardest hit by the housing bust. In Arizona, for example, prices for houses were boosted by 18.7 percent over the past year. Meanwhile in Idaho, which saw the second greatest increase, prices jumped 13.1 percent, found CoreLogic.
There were some drops reported– Rhode Island (3.5 percent) and Illinois (2.3 percent).
Because the market seems to be turning around, “home builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in September,” states the USA Today article. “They also requested the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident that home sales gains will continue.”
Exit polling last night indicates that a feeling of overall economic improvement was a factor in voter support for President Obama. Forty percent of those surveyed said they thought the economy was on an upswing. “But in a much tighter race than the one that first swept Obama into the White House, the president hung onto his key demographics of women, young people, blacks and Hispanics,” the AP reports.
- Request payment or charge fees in advance.
- Guarantee results.
- Direct homeowners to stop making mortgage payments and instead make a payment to a third-party organization.
- Tell homeowners that they cannot deal with their lender directly.
- Request that a homeowner sign over the deed or other papers.
- Ask for personal information over the phone or email.
- Pressure the customer to perform a specific action.
Salon.com has published a story called “Can the Black Middle Class Survive?” that doesn’t so much answer the question as paint a scary picture for why we should be concerned enough to ask it in the first place.
The author, Steven Gray, who previously worked for TIME magazine, points out that in 1999, “for the first time, more than half of black Americans were considered ‘middle class.’” According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate for African Americans had fallen to an all-time low of 22.5 percent. But just a few years later, the housing crisis was taking shape, with even well-off African Americans falling prey to subprime mortgages, which has caused many to lose their homes or put their homeownership in jeopardy.
“If current trends persist, soon, barely 40 percent of African-Americans will be considered ‘middle class,’ and by 2042, the average black family will earn only 61 cents for every dollar earned by whites,” he writes.
He takes a bit of a tangential turn into his personal story of working and then not working for TIME to make the point that one million black workers lost their jobs across industries including construction, healthcare and manufacturing. Moreover, African Americans represent a small percentage of workers in some industries or are the newcomers in others, making it hard to break through in certain areas. This lessens already tight employment opportunities.
All of this comes to his point that blacks had a growing but weak hold on the middle class and both economic and cultural forces are sweeping that away. If you’ve read the article, what do you think of Gray’s argument?
These days, everyone has a credit card. And on that next trip to the mall, you may decide that you “need” that cashmere sweater (“It’s fall!”). Or that new lipstick (“It’s small!”). Or a pair of shoes (“I deserve a treat!”). Or an extra-nice lunch with wine and dessert (“We all gotta eat!”). Just as fast as you can whip out your card, you’re swiping until you can’t swipe no more. Before you go there, just stop.
Black Enterprise cautions readers against racking up credit card debt, even when we’ve worked hard and really, really, really want something. They suggest using cash and offer four tips to help you use green instead of plastic when you take a shopping trip.
“Bring a certain amount of cash with you daily and only spend that,” they suggest. If you need to carry a card, make it a gift card with a monetary value, which will keep the credit card use at bay.
For more about how to keep credit card use to a minimum, click here and read more at BlackEnterprise.com.
Dee Strum: The business was started as a sole proprietorship in 1981 and incorporated in 2001. The bigger question is “who” inspired me to start the business to get to the heart of “what” inspired me to start the business. I was influenced by the urban philosophies and work of Mr. James Rouse, a pioneer in urban redevelopment and best known now for his redevelopment and management of urban waterfronts such as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Boston’s Faneuil Hall, amongst others. But prior to these endeavors to restore America’s great cities, Mr. Rouse developed the “new city” of Columbia in Howard County, Maryland during my high school years.
DS: Our client base is largely governmental, but also includes private, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, as well as corporate foundations and other philanthropic entities that support the mission of affordable housing. Since 2000, HUD has been our largest client followed by a myriad of local public housing authorities. Our core services include urban/neighborhood planning, contract administration and construction management, physical needs assessments, cost estimating staff development training, independent and financial assessments, agency improvement plans and staff and board development training. We also served as HUD’s disaster recovery contractor for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav.