Berkshire Car Loans – Hudson Berkshire Experience Thu, 24 Nov 2022 01:11:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Berkshire Car Loans – Hudson Berkshire Experience 32 32 Wells Fargo, back in the hot seat, could face more than 1 billion dollars in fines | Economic news Thu, 24 Nov 2022 01:11:39 +0000

Wells Fargo appears to be back in the crosshairs of federal regulators, with Bloomberg reporting this month that the bank is set to be fined more than $1 billion by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to settle investigations into its business practices. .

Details of those investigations were not made available, and the CFPB and Wells Fargo declined to comment on NerdWallet. However, in a late October filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo said it was in “resolution discussions” with the CFPB over investigations involving auto loans, consumer deposits and mortgages.

Wells Fargo and the CFPB

This isn’t the start of Wells Fargo’s run-ins with the CFPB and other federal regulators. The bank’s fake account scandal — in which Wells Fargo admitted in 2016 to creating millions of fraudulent accounts for customers without their consent — was followed by a series of CFPB reprimands and other federal actions .

According to the most recent Bloomberg account, the CFPB is pressuring Wells Fargo to pay more than $1 billion to settle multiple investigations into the bank’s “customer abuse.” The report says a deal between the bureau and Wells Fargo “is not imminent.”

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is the nation’s third-largest bank based on domestic assets, $1.69 trillion as of September 2022, according to the Federal Reserve.

In its third-quarter results, filed with the SEC in October, the bank said $2 billion in operating losses due to “litigations, customer remedies and regulatory matters primarily related to a variety of historical matters” during the quarter, Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said during the company’s earnings call.

These losses represented a 31% decline in quarterly net income year over year. In the third quarter, Wells Fargo reported net income of $3.5 billion, according to an SEC filing. That’s down from its net income of $5.1 billion in the third quarter of 2021, according to public filings.

Scharf, who became CEO in 2019, tried to put the bank’s regulatory issues in the rearview mirror. “We still have a lot of work to do to meet our regulatory requirements, and we will likely have setbacks, but I’m confident in our ability to continue closing the remaining gaps over the next few years,” he said. during the first-quarter earnings call in April 2022.

The current action could affect even those who don’t do business with Wells Fargo, observers say. When action is taken against a bank of this size, it has ripple effects throughout the consumer credit industry, says Jim Hawkins, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

“Whenever the CFPB takes action against the bank, all the other banks are watching to see what happens,” Hawkins says. “So it’s always a cost-benefit analysis for these banks, isn’t it? They try to see how likely they are to be penalized and what the penalty will be. … When they see a billion dollar fine, they think, or their lawyers think, ‘Hey, we better keep track of what’s going on so we don’t get that kind of a fine too.’

What is the CFPB?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was launched in 2011 as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve. Its objective: to supervise consumer financial institutions and enforce laws and regulations. Under the Obama administration, Congress created the CFPB in response to the largely unchecked mortgage industry that led to the Great Recession in 2007 and 2008.

Previously, several agencies were responsible for monitoring and enforcing consumer financial market laws. The creation of the CFPB centralized these efforts. Its creation meant that banks and financial institutions had a more dedicated watchdog watching over them, Hawkins says.

“Before the CFPB, all federal regulators focused on the safety and soundness of banking. Their main job was not consumer protection. The CFPB is unique because its sole purpose is to protect consumers, while the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.] and the Federal Reserve are all trying to make sure the banks don’t go bankrupt,” says Hawkins.

If you have a problem with your bank, here’s how to file a complaint with the CFPB.

Fines and Lawsuits: The Recent History of Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s tangles with the CFPB began in September 2016, when the bank admitted that employees created around 2.1 million fake accounts for existing customers without their consent between 2011 and 2015 to meet exorbitant sales targets. . Wells Fargo paid $185 million in fines and penalties in 2016.

Since then, the bank has admitted to or been caught engaging in more fraudulent or unethical activities.

  • March 2017: The bank reaches a $110 million settlement to compensate customers affected by its fake account scandal.
  • August 2017: Wells Fargo says it created up to 3.5 million fraudulent bank accounts between 2009 and 2016.
  • February 2018: The Federal Reserve is taking unprecedented action against Wells Fargo by setting an asset cap for the institution at $1.95 trillion in assets until it “sufficiently improves its governance and controls,” it said. the Fed said in a statement. It was the first time the Fed had imposed a cap on a financial institution’s overall assets. The Fed also forced the bank to remove three board members. As of November 16, 2022, the bank was still below its asset limit.
  • April 2018: Wells Fargo is fined more than $1 billion for unethical conduct in its mortgage and auto business. The CFPB found that the bank was overcharging consumers on mortgage interest rates and unfairly adding insurance policies that added extra costs to borrowers’ auto loans.
  • August 2018: Wells Fargo is paying a $2.1 billion fine for its role in the 2008 housing crisis. The Justice Department found the bank lied to investors about the creditworthiness of mortgages it sold them.
  • February 2020: The Department of Justice and the SEC fine Wells Fargo $3 billion over its fake accounts scandal.
  • September 2021: Wells Fargo is paying $72.6 million to settle Justice Department lawsuits after the agency discovered the bank overcharged hundreds of foreign exchange customers. The bank was giving customers “fake explanations” for the wrong fees it was adding to the cost of exchanging currencies.

Additionally, a March 2022 Bloomberg report found that Wells Fargo was the only major lender to reject more Black mortgage refinance applications than it approved during the 2020 mortgage refinance boom.

Are official “state flavors” a thing? What should New Mexico be? Mon, 21 Nov 2022 05:41:19 +0000

New Mexico should have an official state flavor, says state senator Bill Soules of Las Cruces.

Photo by Phillip Larking on Unsplash

Photo by Phillip Larking on Unsplash

The flavor he has in mind is that of “roasted green chilies”, which is… actually a very good choice.

As New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte says the smell of roasting green chili peppers is “incomparable” and “unique to our state and brings that sense of home to people who have moved.” . Hard to argue with that!

I didn’t even know official state flavorings existed. Turns out… they’re not.

Photo by Elly Johnson on Unsplash

Photo by Elly Johnson on Unsplash

A Google search for “official state aroma” and “official state scent” turned up nothing. EXCEPT the story we’re talking about here.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. The first person to say, “What this state needs is an official bird” probably got a lot of funny looks.

Like I said, roasting green chiles is a really good choice for New Mexico. But are there any other Land of Enchantment smells that should be considered? Of course there are, otherwise I couldn’t extract 250 words from this article!

Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

1.) Desert after a rain

Anywhere in the desert smells really good after a rain, including El Paso. The one from New Mexico is perhaps a little sweeter.

Photo by Budding. on Unsplash

Photo by Budding. on Unsplash

2.) Speaking of “Sweet”

Marijuana has been recreational in New Mexico for a few months now.

Photo by Budding. on Unsplash

Photo by Budding. on Unsplash

3.) However, not everything is legal.

New Mexico has really honed in on its association with what some are calling “the greatest TV show of all time.” For that reason, “meth lab in a run-down RV” should at least be on the ballot.

Did I forget something? Also, what is YOUR official flavor of the state of origin be? Let me know in the comments!

KEEP READING: See the Richest Person in Every State

An investment for the future: How to pay for freezing eggs | Economic news Fri, 18 Nov 2022 19:02:05 +0000

As Geri Diaz neared her 34th birthday, she knew she wanted to take a few more steps in her career before becoming a mom. She had been thinking about freezing eggs for over a year.

“I wasn’t in a relationship, so I wanted to get rid of the pressure of having kids,” says Diaz, a senior education consultant in New York. Prompted by friends who had their eggs frozen, she decided to research fertility preservation clinics.

In 2022, Diaz found a clinic with a high success rate for healthy births from frozen eggs. The clinic also funded the egg freezing procedure, an important consideration for Diaz that helped her decide to move forward.

Diaz is one of a growing number of millennials choosing to freeze their eggs. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, nearly 16,000 egg freezing cycles were performed in 2019 — an increase of nearly 90% since 2016 — and experts predict that number will continue to rise. But freezing eggs is expensive, and the process can be daunting.

Here’s what to know about the egg freezing procedure, what it costs and how to pay for it.

Demystifying the Egg Freezing Process

Egg cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is a method of preserving fertility at a time when eggs may be healthier. It can help those who wish to delay pregnancy for personal reasons as well as those undergoing medical treatments that reduce fertility in the future.

The process involves drugs that stimulate the ovaries for egg development over a 10-14 day cycle. This stage may require several clinic visits to ensure that egg follicle growth is on track.

Once the eggs have developed, the healthy eggs are removed from the ovaries and immediately frozen and stored. According to the Texas Fertility Center, most women freeze their eggs for five to ten years.

Freezing eggs does not guarantee that all eggs will be healthy enough to develop into an embryo. Patients may need to go through the process more than once, and success rates decrease as they get older. A greater number of eggs retrieved can increase the chances of a successful healthy live birth.

Alexa Silva, a 34-year-old lease administration manager in Dallas, recently began her egg-freezing journey. “If I never get married, I don’t want that to stop me from having children because I want to be a mother so I’m investing in my future right now. That’s exciting.”

How much does egg freezing cost?

The total cost for a single cycle of egg freezing varies by fertility clinic and patient needs, but generally ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. This includes egg retrieval, pre- and post-procedure consultations, medications, and storage for five years. The possible costs of thawing and fertilizing the eggs are separate.

Many fertility clinics offer financing plans to help pay for the egg retrieval procedure. Plans don’t always cover the initial consultation, annual storage fees, and medications.

Medication is often the second largest expense after the cost of the procedure, ranging from $2,000 to $6,000. This includes fertility drugs and antibiotics after egg retrieval. Diaz says she paid about $4,400 for medication over the course of a month — costs that weren’t included in her financing plan.

Besides the financial cost, many patients experience a physical toll.

“I didn’t know what it would cost me,” Diaz says. “It’s almost as if for the whole month of September, I was just out of commission. You’re basically going to be housebound.

Diaz is now on the other side of the egg retrieval process and feels relieved.

“There’s this huge pressure to perform in my thirties, and I don’t feel the pressure to put my career on hold anymore. I think mentally and physically and even career-wise, I feel much, much better right now. .”

Financing options for egg freezing

Here are the common options to consider for financing an egg freezing procedure.

Insurance cover

According to Mercer Health, an international health and benefits consulting firm, employers are increasingly offering health plans that cover fertility treatments, including egg freezing. Silva’s employer recently added coverage for egg freezing without the need for a specific diagnosis. This contributed to Silva’s decision to go ahead with the procedure this year.

Funding of the clinic

Many fertility clinics partner with finance companies that offer payment plans to clients. These plans typically have fixed monthly payments paid over one to five years, sometimes without interest. Future Family, a fertility finance provider that works with fertility clinics, offers loans for egg freezing procedures.

“I think it’s important to review all financing issues to make sure you’re being charged for the right things and understand the terms of the agreement,” Diaz says.

Personal loans

Some clinics work directly with personal lenders who can fund the procedure. San Francisco-based NYU Langone Fertility Center and Pacific Fertility Center both partner with online lender LendingClub to provide fertility loans to patients.

Personal loans are generally unsecured, with rates ranging from 6% to 36%, depending on the borrower’s credit and income. They are available at some banks and credit unions, in addition to online lenders. Repayments are monthly, usually over two to seven years. Online personal lenders like SoFi, Discover, and Prosper offer personal loans that can be used for fertility treatments.


Individual savings can be an interest-free way to pay for egg freezing costs. Silva used money she had saved for years for her deductible and non-insurance costs, such as medication. If she could have gone back in time, she says she would have started saving earlier.

“I think you should look into it sooner rather than later and at least start making a plan or thinking about it,” she says. “That would be my advice to young women in the professional world.”

Approach costs as an investment

Freezing eggs is no guarantee. Success rates vary from clinic to clinic and not all eggs lead to pregnancy. The high cost can also be a barrier for many people.

Diaz and Silva view egg freezing as an investment in their present, as well as their family goals. Silva highlighted the mental and emotional relief she felt after freezing her eggs.

“I’m in a relationship and it’s going well, but I don’t want to have this pressure of deadlines. It’s just good peace of mind and it also takes the pressure off relationships so they can grow as they grow.

How Buffett is posing as a crook on rising interest rates Tue, 08 Nov 2022 10:14:06 +0000
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway benefits from low-cost investment funding – Image: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKb) is doing like a bandit due to rising interest rates.

For much the same reason that Warren Buffett is in the list of the 10 richest people.

It is inherent in the operation of an insurance company in fact. They end up with heaps of money – interest rates go up and that money makes more money. Interest rates are rising, Berkshire Hathaway is making more money – sounds simple enough, right?

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKb) Stock Price Chart

But this leads us to have to understand why this is happening. Because only if we get the why can we then think about the implications. So, a quick lesson on how the insurance industry works:

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Insurance Industry Insider

An insurance company collects premiums from its customers and pays out if bad things happen. That is just about everything. If he assesses the risk correctly, he profits, if he does not charge enough, he loses. But while that’s basically how insurance works, that’s not all.

To understand how Berkshire Hathaway works, we need to add time. Because, of course, those premiums are collected now – but the claims are only paid if the wrong thing happens, at some point in the future.

This means that the insurer must sit on the money between these two times. Moreover, the insurer manages to invest this money between these two moments and the profits of this activity belong to the insurer, not to the insured.

Why is this important? Because Berkshire Hathaway’s “float” — the amount it can sit on or invest — is close to $109 billion these days. That’s what funds his investments in Coca Cola, IBM and all that other stuff. Only the cash portion is currently earning $400 million in interest per quarter. As interest rates rise, this profit will also increase.

But, you know, a few hundred million here or there isn’t really that big for a company the size of Berkshire. There’s more to it than just interest – much more.

Self-serve buffet

Warren Buffett is a very savvy investor, there’s no doubt about it. An excellent stock picker and buyer of whole companies. But that’s not enough to explain how rich he became. There is another element to this. This academic article explains it:

However, Berkshire’s more anomalous leverage cost is due to its insurance float. Collecting insurance premiums in advance and paying a diverse set of claims later is like taking out a “loan”. Table 3 shows that the estimated average annual cost of Berkshire’s insurance float is just 2.2%, more than 3 percentage points below the average Treasury bill rate. Consequently, Buffett’s low-cost insurance and reinsurance business gave it a significant advantage in terms of unique access to cheap and forward leverage.

This float is what Buffett has invested in for all these decades. The cost to him of financing this float is significantly less than what the US government is paying to borrow. Wouldn’t we all like that? To be able to borrow cheaper than governments and then invest that money?

Of course, we still have to make the right investments, like Warren here, but it’s much easier to turn around if your financing costs are lower than anyone else’s.

The important point here is that rising interest rates also affect this advantage – Berkshire Hathaway also benefits. Because everyone’s funding costs have been reduced over the past decade, with central banks everywhere printing money. Everyone could borrow at 1 and 2% and so on. This is one of the reasons why asset prices have risen so high.

It also means that Warren and Berkshire have lost some of their competitive edge. If everyone has access to cheap leverage, your own cheap leverage is no longer a comparative advantage, is it?

But as interest rates rise, everyone who has to borrow in the market has to pay more. Buffett still has that internal funding — $109 billion in fact — that he pays nothing on. So its opportunity cost if invested is not the cost of borrowing money, it is the price of lending – rather lower.

The higher interest rates rise, the greater this comparative advantage for Berkshire Hathaway becomes.

There is always a caveat

But, unfortunately, it’s all about investing and markets, so nothing will be that simple.

Berkshire’s earnings won’t just soar into the stratosphere as interest rates rise. There is also a clearing process here.

Saber Insurance stocks halved when they revealed the problem – inflation. So if you’re charging something now that you’ll have to pay in the future, you’ve got a problem.

Insurers write their policies based on today’s prices. But the complaints come later, after prices have risen. If you have rising or unexpected inflation, then you’re going to get screwed – Saber was, by exactly that. The company has taken out car insurance based on the current costs of repairing a car. At the time the accident happened there had been 10% inflation – often more with cars in fact. This will kill the margins.

Now, interest and inflation, there should be a relationship between the two. In fact, interest should be higher than inflation, at least in a well-ordered economy. Or, in the other direction, real interest rates should be positive – if inflation is 10%, then interest should be 11% or more. As we can all see, that’s not how it is right now.

So, inflation and inflation alone make insurers lose money – and yes, that happens inside Berkshire Hathaway too. Rising interest rates bring money to insurers, which increases the return on the float. Plus broadening competitive advantage by being able to finance investments below market rate. It is the balance of the two that will determine the overall effect on an insurer’s margins.

The really interesting point comes when interest rates exceed the rate of inflation. This will most likely happen when inflation drops – no one really predicts that even nominal, let alone real, interest rates will rise to 9 and 10% of the current inflation rate. But when that happens, when real interest rates are positive, the two factors stop pulling in opposite directions.

Inflation ceases to be a drag on profits, as interest earned more than offsets price increases between receipt of premiums and settlement of claims. Insurers – and not just Berkshire Hathaway – stand to benefit hugely at this point. The trigger is when real interest rates, adjusted for inflation, are positive. When the Federal Funds Rate, or the Bank Rate here in the UK, is above the CPI announced by the authorities.

At what point our only remaining question is when will that be? Unfortunately, these are indeed investments, markets, so we don’t know. We can either take our positions now and hope, or wait for these tow rates to converge and hope that we are not too late to capture price movement.

The underlying economy here is solid. Insurance companies profit from higher interest rates, suffer from inflation. There is an equilibrium point where the overall effect is definitely beneficial, when real interest rates are positive. The investment question is OK, when?

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Check your numbers! $2 million Powerball ticket sold in Arkansas Fri, 04 Nov 2022 17:59:36 +0000

The Powerball jackpot keeps growing. No one took home the $1.5 billion jackpot on Wednesday night, but someone in Arkansas still got a big win.

A $2 million Powerball ticket was sold in Arkansas

Crown Rewards Shop, Amazon

Crown Rewards Shop, Amazon

There was a ticket in Arkansas that was sold and it matched the first 5 numbers and the Power Play, which means someone won $2 million.

There were actually three states that sold tickets with the first 5 numbers matching the Power Play. Arkansas, Montana and New Jersey.

Million dollar bill sold in Texas

Someone in Texas matched 5 numbers and won $1 million.

Arkansas $100,000 bill

There’s another ticket in Arkansas that matches 4 numbers plus the Powerball with the Power Play that’s worth $100,000

Have you checked your numbers yet?

You might want to check your numbers right now and maybe double check just to make sure.

The winning numbers for Wednesday evening, November 2, 2022 were:

02 – 11 – 22 – 35 – 60 PO 23

How much is the next drawing worth?



Now get ready because Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot is now at an all-time high estimated at $1.6 billion!

Can you imagine? Seriously, what would you do with that money? Of course, you would take care of family and friends. So what? Would you like to buy a current company? Start a new business? Give it all to charity? How about traveling? Charter a cruise ship or two large planes and invite your 500 closest friends and family to go on a trip around the world. Perhaps all of this and more. We all know you can’t buy happiness, but wouldn’t it be nice to test this theory?

25 richest families in America

To find out which clans hold the most wealth, Stacker compiled a list of America’s 25 richest families using 2020 data from Forbes.

KEEP READING: See the Richest Person in Every State

NJ ‘Lunch Break’ Killer Admits Harassment, Murder, Cover Conspiracy Wed, 02 Nov 2022 22:26:30 +0000

A man accused of murdering a co-worker in his Plainsboro home and then planning another murder in prison has admitted to those crimes, while sharing what happened in the victim’s final moments and the efforts what he was willing to do to avoid conviction.

Kenneth Saal, 33, appeared before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Carolyn Byington, 26, as well as second-degree burglary and harassment in the fourth degree.

In court, Saal said that in April 2019 he copied Byington’s house key while she was at work and used the key to enter her apartment on several days over the following months.

He had also planted hidden cameras to record the victim at her home and spy on her until she unexpectedly found Saal, then married and a new father, in her apartment on June 10, 2019.

Caught during the victim’s lunch break, Saal brutally killed her and left her lifeless body for the police to eventually find.

Officers conducted a wellness check that evening at the request of Byington’s other colleagues at the Princeton firm, where Saal was an accountant.

Murder on account of prison

Saal also admitted that in an effort to derail his trial before a December start date, he tried to hire another inmate to carry out a ‘copycat murder’ to make it look like Byington’s real killer was n had not yet been arrested.

He even had a “plan B” to try to avoid his trial.

Saal also confessed to having alternate plans of having one of the two witnesses who would testify killed while framing them with a fake suicide note, claiming responsibility for the murder.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Saal faces 55 years in state prison, 85% of which he must serve before being eligible for parole.

The former Lindenwold resident is due to be sentenced on January 23, 2023.

Saal previously turned down a 30-year prison plea deal, before the murder-for-hire plot was uncovered by prosecutors, as reported by

Byington’s family established a memorial fund after his death to which donations were made to Weill Cornell Medicine’s Children’s Brain Tumor Project.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

KEEP READING: See the Richest Person in Every State

New Jersey’s Most Terrifying Serial Killers

New Jersey Nightmares – Notorious Serial Killers

These NJ Cities Have The Highest Rates Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Looking at data compiled by the Ministry of Health in 2019, the most recent year for which reports are available, we determined the rate of STDs per 1,000 people in each municipality. The data combine reports of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. For a different look, you can check out this article for a list of cities in New Jersey that have seen the highest increase in STD/STI cases in recent years.

Say you’re from Jersey without saying you’re from Jersey

These are everyday expressions that only someone from New Jersey would understand. What else should be on this list?

WATCH: What are the odds of these 50 totally random events happening to you?

Stacker took the guesswork out of 50 random events to determine the likelihood of them actually occurring. They drew their information from government statistics, scientific articles and other primary documents. Read on to find out why parents-to-be shouldn’t rely on due dates — and why you should be more worried about dying on your birthday than living to 100.

RANKED: Here are the 63 smartest dog breeds

Is the breed of your trusty pup on the list? Read on to see if you’ll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog’s intellectual prowess the next time you walk your fur baby. Don’t worry: Even if your dog’s breed isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy – some traits just can’t be measured.

Report: China targets 2 diplomatic allies with Pacific aid | Economic news Mon, 31 Oct 2022 07:41:06 +0000

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Beijing was targeting its Pacific aid to new diplomatic allies, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, as Chinese financial support in the region continued to decline, the Lowy Institute reported Monday in its latest annual analysis of regional aid.

China’s aid to the Pacific has fallen from a peak of $287 million in 2016 to $187 million in 2020 – the lowest level since 2008, when the Sydney-based international policy think tank reported began to quantify support for developing Pacific island nations.

Meanwhile, pandemic response measures boosted Pacific aid to a record $4.25 billion in 2020, a 47% increase from the previous year, according to the Lowy’s report. Pacific Aid Map.

Only 5% of Chinese aid to the Pacific has been allocated to pandemic-related support, according to the report.

The institute does not yet have full data for 2021, but preliminary results suggest the decline in Chinese aid has continued.

Pacific Aid Map project director Alexandre Dayant said China was investing more in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati – Pacific countries that switched their diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019 – than Taiwan had provided.

“Chinese aid remains a key diplomatic tool for Beijing in the Pacific,” Dayant said.

“New development finance has become narrowly targeted to specific countries,” he added, citing Kiribati and the Solomons.

While Taiwan had provided $8-9 million a year to the so-called Solomons Constituency Development Fund, Beijing was now contributing $11-12 million, Dayant said.

The funds are allocated directly to legislators to spend and are criticized as a source of corruption.

Beijing has also increased the scale of infrastructure planned for the Solomon Islands to host the Pacific Regional Games next year, Dayant said, describing China’s investment in the Solomon Islands as low but growing rapidly.

China also planned to fund an airliner for Kiribati to boost its tourism industry under a deal that would have breached the rules of Taiwan’s aid package, Dayant said.

Australia’s new government has promised greater engagement with its Pacific neighbours. He blames his predecessor’s negligence for China’s conclusion of a bilateral security deal with the Solomons earlier this year, which sparked fears of establishing a Chinese naval base in the South Pacific.

Australia, the largest aid donor to the Pacific, last week announced in the government’s annual budget an additional 900 million Australian dollars ($570 million) in aid for the Pacific region.

The Lowy researchers pointed to several reasons for the decline in Chinese aid to the region, including the slowdown in the domestic economy.

Pacific leaders were becoming wary of China’s “white elephant” infrastructure projects and falling into potential debt traps, Dayant said.

As the United States and its allies tried to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific, Pacific leaders now had more potential development partners to choose from.

Lowy’s Pacific Islands program manager, Meg Keen, noted that Papua New Guinea hasn’t taken out a new Chinese loan in three years.

Samoa had recently given up borrowing from China to modernize its port.

“We are seeing different assessments of risk and return, different modes of operation, but most importantly, Pacific island countries are making choices about what will best serve their development interests, and they have more choices because there are competition,” Keen said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Loan losses just skyrocketed at Ally Financial; Did Warren Buffett make a mistake? Wed, 19 Oct 2022 16:57:00 +0000

Credit quality may still be pristine in many large traditional banks, but it is deteriorating much faster in Allied Financial (NYSE: ALLY), a large consumer digital bank specializing in auto loans. Loan losses and delinquencies — which have been extremely low thanks to the pandemic stimulus and hoarding of savings — began to rise in the third quarter faster than some might have expected.

Ally got a big thumbs up this year when Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway opened a position in the first quarter, then bought more in the second quarter. Ally is a relatively small stake in Berkshire’s huge stock portfolio, but the conglomerate now owns nearly 10% of Ally’s outstanding shares.

As credit weakens and a recession looms, did Buffett and Berkshire make a mistake?

What happened during the quarter

Analysts and investors are watching Ally’s credit quality closely, as the bank has issued numerous auto loans with larger aggregate loan amounts, due to strong demand for vehicles amid the shortage of semis. -drivers caused by the pandemic. Used car prices have been 60% higher than pre-pandemic levels this year.

Image source: Motley Fool.

In the third quarter, Ally saw net write-offs — debt unlikely to be collected, a good indicator of actual loan losses — hit $276 million, an increase of more than 80% from the second quarter. Almost all of the increase came from an increase in charges in the bank’s automotive retail portfolio, which doubled from the previous quarter. The net write-off rate as a percentage of total loans fell to 0.85% from 0.49% in the second quarter, now on par with the levels Ally saw in the third quarter of 2019.

And there could be more trouble on the horizon. The percentage of loans past due for 30 days or more fell from 2.52 percentage points in the second quarter to 2.93 percentage points. Loans overdue by 60 days or more and delinquent contracts also increased sharply.

Watching what’s to come

Ally has built up its reserves for future loan losses by $133 million and now has a total provision equivalent to 2.71% of its loan portfolio, including a coverage ratio of 3.56% for its portfolio. retail car loans. That’s significantly above net charge levels right now and well above the coverage Ally had at the end of 2019.

Management expects credit to begin to normalize in its automotive book and has previously said it expects used car prices to drop 30% by next year. The company also still expects the net write-off ratio to increase to 1.6% and then begin to stabilize around mid-2023. This means that its coverage ratios are currently still healthy for what management expects. that the credit ends up directing itself.

The other good news for Ally is that the bank has extended auto loans at much higher levels than in the past, which can help protect margins and potentially offset higher loss activity.

For example, with a similar projected net funding cost and write-off rate, Ally originated retail auto loans in the third quarter of 2019 at an average yield of 7.5%. By the third quarter, that yield had risen to 8.75%. On the company’s earnings call, CEO Jeffrey Brown said: “We really like the loans we’re putting on the books today and believe they’ll prove to be very profitable over time.” , even taking into account higher loss rates.

Did Warren Buffett make a mistake?

I’m still pretty optimistic that Ally’s management is in control when you look at its coverage ratios and the loans the bank is originating.

I expect the next two quarters to be risky, but I also think the stock’s valuation today is factoring in some very tough economic scenarios. Ally only trades at 78% of its tangible book value, or net worth, which is a very low valuation for a bank, even in the times we are in – and given that Ally is still generating solid profitability and has healthy levels of capital.

Buffett tends to like value opportunities like this. And Ally’s management has tried to prepare investors for the deterioration in credit quality, even if it comes sooner than expected. While we won’t know for a while what steps Buffett and his team are taking now, it’s reasonable to assume they’re still optimistic about Ally’s potential.

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Ally is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool Company. Bram Berkowitz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool holds positions and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool recommends the following options: $200 long calls in January 2023 on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), $200 short puts in January 2023 on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and short calls of $265 in January 2023 on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Tesla investors are trying to look past Elon Musk’s many distractions – KION546 Sun, 16 Oct 2022 11:44:13 +0000

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

Elon Musk now wants to buy Twitter after all. While this is good news for long-suffering Twitter shareholders, Tesla investors are hoping there is still time for them. They also need a little help.

Of course, Musk still has plenty of fans on Wall Street and behind the wheel. But some are fed up with how the richest person in the world can’t focus more on the business that provided them with the bulk of their wealth.

Tesla reports results after Wednesday’s close. Shares are down more than 35% this year on concerns that Tesla recently announced weaker-than-expected third-quarter production and delivery numbers.

Wall Street still expects extremely strong sales and earnings growth, with consensus forecasts calling for a more than 60% increase in revenue and earnings. But analysts have cut those estimates in recent weeks.

That’s partly because Tesla faces increasing competition in the United States from GM, Ford, Volkswagen and other EV newcomers such as Rivian and Lucid.

There are also big challenges in China, with Tesla taking on local rivals like Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto. There’s also BYD, a Chinese auto company backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

To be fair, the entire automotive sector is struggling this year due to growing concerns about a global recession, soaring energy prices and, of course, tough competition.

All major US, European and Japanese automaker stocks are down about 20% to 45% this year. And shares of pure play electric vehicle companies (in the US and China) have each fallen by around 60% to 80% in 2022.

too many distractions

Gary Black, managing partner of the Future Fund and Tesla shareholder, was Tweeter For the past few weeks, concerns about Twitter have been a headache for Tesla investors.

In a tweet, Black said there are several problems for Tesla due to Twitter. Two of the biggest? The overhang of a potential Tesla stock sale by Musk to fund the deal and distraction for Musk, especially since “Elon’s main skill is engineering/tech” and Twitter is more of a media company focused on advertising.

Tesla also doesn’t have a chief operating officer. That means Musk has to take a hands-on approach at Tesla while being distracted by his many other businesses, such as SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink and potentially Twitter.

The disappointing shipments and production numbers also underscore how a slowing global economy (and possible recession) could hurt Tesla.

“Are we sure that the problem is only related to supply and not (partially) to demand? Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas asked in a recent report.

Jonas added that it “would be unreasonable to assume” that the company can continue to raise prices without demand suffering, especially if the economy slows.

Demand could also suffer as Tesla faces even more competition in the United States.

“To improve its competitive position, Tesla will need to expand its product lineup to accommodate a significantly larger number of models from established global automakers and start-ups by the end of 2025,” S&P analysts said. Global Ratings in a recent report. .

S&P analysts are confident Musk can do just that. They even recently upgraded their credit rating on Tesla. But they conceded it won’t be easy. The margin of error is slim. S&P estimates that the number of electric vehicle models available in North America will exceed 100 by 2026, more than four times current levels.

“Over the next 3-5 years, a few of them could become formidable competitors for Tesla,” the analysts said.

Streaming Merge

Netflix investors know a thing or two about what can happen when a market you were once the undisputed leader of goes mainstream. Shares of the streaming giant have plunged more than 60% in 2022, making it one of the worst performers in the S&P 500.

The company will release its third-quarter results on Tuesday and investors will be watching whether Netflix is ​​able to stem the bleeding after losing subscribers in each of the first two quarters.

Netflix’s woes led the company to do what was previously unthinkable: announce plans last Thursday for a cheaper ad-supported subscription plan. Netflix will launch the ad-based version (also known as old-school TV) in November. It’s a bold move that may not materialize.

“We see the decision to offer an ad-supported tier by the global incumbent streaming player as defensive and not offensive and fraught with… risk that continues to be underestimated,” said Jeffrey Wlodarczak, analyst at Pivotal. Research Group which has a “sell” rating. on the stock market.

Recession worries are causing many consumers to cut back on the amount they plan to spend on streaming services, of which there are now plenty. This is bad news especially for Netflix.

Goldman Sachs analyst Eric Sheridan, who also has a ‘sell’ on Netflix, said in a report that he remains ‘concerned that additional subscriber offerings could lead to a ‘drop’ in the most popular packages. cheaper by users in any potential consumer recession over the next 6-12 months.In other words, users are dropping the most expensive plans for less profitable and cheaper subscriptions.

Plus, Netflix isn’t the only struggling streaming game anymore. Shares of Disney, which also offers an ad-based version for Disney+, are down nearly 40% this year.

In addition to Netflix and Disney+, there’s also Disney-controlled Hulu, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple TV+, Peacock, Paramount+, and HBO Max. (CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, owns HBO Max.)

The nervousness of the economic downturn has hit the entire media sector hard, as investors fear consumers will balk at paying more monthly subscriptions and corporate advertising budgets may also dry up.

The owner’s shares of Peacock, Comcast, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery have all fallen by around 40% to 50% this year.


Monday: Earnings from Bank of America, Charles Schwab and BNY Mellon

Tuesday: US industrial production; China’s GDP; revenues from Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Albertsons, Lockheed Martin, Truist, State Street, Hasbro, United and Netflix

Wednesday: housing starts in the United States; inflation in the UK and Europe; revenues from Procter & Gamble, Abbott Labs, Travelers, Baker Hughes, M&T Bank, Ally Financial, Citizens Financial, Northern Trust, Comerica, Winnebago, Tesla, IBM and Alcoa

Thursday: weekly jobless claims in the United States; sales of existing homes in the United States; revenues from Ericsson, AT&T, American Airlines, Dow, Philip Morris, Union Pacific, Alaska Air, Nokia, Whirlpool, CSX, Snap and Boston Beer

Friday: inflation in Japan; revenues from Verizon, American Express, HCA and Schlumberger

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Company. Discovery. All rights reserved.

I forgot the gold! Here’s how I would invest £25,000 today to aim for a million Mon, 10 Oct 2022 11:18:55 +0000

Image source: Getty Images.

Over six months, the metal is down just over 13%. And over the past year, it’s just over 3% less. But it has increased by 32% in five years.

However, gold investors with a longer time horizon fared better. In two decades, the price of shiny items has increased by 435%.

A development opportunity in action

But historically, the price of gold has struggled to rise when interest rates are on the rise. So, I forget about gold after its long rise and focus on stocks and shares.

Gold could rise in the months and years to come. But I think my best chance of realizing significant long-term gains from a £25,000 investment is to pick stocks carefully.

The stock market has been volatile since the pandemic hit. And the war in Ukraine caused more difficulties which added to the problems. But valuations have fallen for many companies. And this situation has led to what looks like a decent opportunity to buy cheap stocks.

My plan would be to hunt good companies now with the goal of holding onto their stock for the long term. I would look for businesses that have the potential to increase revenue in the years to come. And I would aim to buy now when their valuations are depressed. However, there is no guarantee of a long-term positive outcome with any business. They can all experience operational difficulties from time to time.

Still, Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, had some words of encouragement for investors recently. He said history shows that those with long-term horizons tend to experience favorable returns. And that’s because year-to-year swings in returns, positive and negative, “to smooth out the longer period”. And he added that the effect “applies to both active and passive investment styles”.

Impressive earnings

Meanwhile, super-investor and billionaire Warren Buffett offers us a good example of what Sandven is talking about. Each year in its letter to the shareholders of Berkshire HathawayBuffett highlights America’s compound annual gain S&P500 index. And it’s interesting because the index includes 500 major publicly traded companies in the United States. And it’s often considered one of the best indicators of the stock market as a whole.

According to Buffett, the compound annual gain of the S&P 500 between 1965 and 2021 was 10.5% with dividends included. And that suggests that even passive investing in index funds has the potential to generate significant returns over time. Although future positive results are never certain.

However, Buffett has done much better over this long period, generating a compound annual gain of just over 20% from his investments in Berkshire Hathaway.

I may not be able to invest in stocks and shares with the same consistent success that Buffett achieved. But that won’t stop me from investing £25,000 today to aim for a million over time.