Welcome Home initiative targets Hispanic soldiers

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association are teaming up to persuade Fort Carson’s Hispanic soldiers and their family members to consider a career in mortgage banking.

The Freddie Mac and MBA coalition, called Welcome Home, provides free bilingual training to increase the number of Spanish-speaking mortgage bankers and serve an expected surge in Latino home buyers.

The city’s 43,000 Hispanics made up an estimated 12 percent of the Colorado Springs population in 2002, making them the city’s largest minority group, according to Welcome Home.

Welcome Home also estimates that nearly 11 percent of the population in Colorado Springs speaks a language other than English at home.

The Welcome Home program is a free Web-based training and education program that prepares bilingual veterans and their family members for jobs in mortgage loan origination, brokering, servicing and processing.

Welcome Home members will attend the Fort Carson Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 6 at 7300 Woodfill Road.

U.S. Bank offers online service for businesses

U.S. Bank has begun offering a new online service for businesses that allows them to use an of array management services from a single point of access.

The service, called SinglePoint, enables business customers to monitor account activity, retrieve information, create reports, view check images, transfer money, initiate wire transfers and book loan transfers.

The service also contains system administration capabilities including audit, control of employee access and history reporting.

More than 100 businesses participated in the SinglePoint pilot program and reported positive feedback, according to bank officials.

Report details stronger IRS enforcement

The Internal Revenue Service announced this week that the 2005 IRS Data Book is available at IRS.gov. and that it outlines the agency’s stronger enforcement.

The publication contains tables detailing, among other subjects, the amount of revenue collected, the number of audits conducted and the number of refunds issued during Fiscal Year 2005, Oct. 1, 2004, through Sept. 30, 2005.

According to the IRS, the Data Book shows that in Fiscal Year 2005 the IRS completed more than 1.215 million audits of individuals, up almost 21 percent from the previous year’s figure of 1.008 million.

The Data Book also provides state-by-state statistics about topics such as electronic filing, which accounted for more than half of all individual income tax returns last year.

Tables in the Data Book include information about returns filed, tax collections and refunds, examination coverage, appeals, criminal investigations, employee plans and exempt organizations, taxpayer assistance, information reporting, administrative costs and personnel summaries.

Copies of the Fiscal Year 2005 IRS Data Book, Publication 55B, will be available by mid-April from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

For information about receiving a copy of the Data Book, call (202) 512-1800.

Americans seek poorly understood lottery wealth

A couple of studies from the Consumer Federation of America show that while most Americans do not have a firm knowledge of what personal wealth is, many are banking on the lottery to gain it.

Only about half of Americans said they have working knowledge of what net personal wealth is and less than half said they know how much they have, according to a study by the Consumer Federation of America.

Net personal wealth is commonly defined as financial assets plus home equity and other tangible assets minus consumer debt.

It may not be surprising that about 77 percent of financial planners think it is “very important” for Americans to understand what net personal wealth is and nearly all the rest, 22 percent, say it is somewhat important.

But, only half of Americans reported having a firm grasp of what net personal wealth is.

And, after they learn this definition of wealth, less than half, 48 percent, say they know exactly or approximately how much wealth they have.

What may be more surprising is that when a separate CFA study asked Americans how they plan to acquire wealth, nearly 21 percent answered “winning the lottery.”

About 16 percent said winning the lottery was their most important wealth building strategy.

Still, 55 percent said saving money each month for many years was their most important strategy.

FDIC ombudsman publishes latest report

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Office of the Ombudsman has posted the latest edition of its industry report.

This edition provides an overview of ombudsman outreach and case activity during the last half of 2005. It also includes links to information describing how data from the Suspicious Activity Report is used by law enforcement.

The periodic report is intended to keep industry representatives informed about the activities of the ombudsman and summarize some of the matters industry officials have identified as being of particular concern.

Access the report at www.FDIC.com.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.