Freedom Financial Serv. opens second location

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

Moving day is over for Freedom Financial Services.

The financial services organization has completed its expansion into its second location near Union and Academy boulevards.

Freedom Financial purchased a 15,500 square foot building at 5455 North Union Blvd.

Springs Title has leased 4,000 square feet in the building.

Freedom Financial President Roy Clennan said the building gives the business a corporate base large enough to make the loan experience easier for the customer and more efficient for Freedom.

Clennan said Freedom Financial’s Chapel Hills Mall location will remain open.

Freedom opened in 1995 and became a direct lender in November 2000. Since that time, it has increased its volume of business an average of 30 percent per year, Clennan said.

IRS seeks comment on form

The Internal Revenue Service is accepting public comment about a draft of Form 8888, which allows taxpayers to split their refunds among accounts.

Tax professionals and taxpayers have 30 days to make suggestions. The draft Form 8888 is posted on the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, under the tax professional section. Comments may be submitted electronically to the IRS by selecting “Comments on Draft Forms and Publications.”

With Form 8888, which will be available in January, taxpayers can split refunds among up to three checking or savings accounts and three U.S. financial institutions.

Taxpayers can continue to use the direct deposit line on Form 1040 to electronically send their refunds to one checking or savings account.

Prudential settles allegation

The nation’s second-largest life insurer, Prudential Financial, has agreed to pay $600 million to settle investigations of improper mutual fund trading.

The settlement is the second-largest penalty in what is now a three-year-old industry probe.

The U.S. Justice Department entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Prudential this week.

Under deferred prosecution, a company agrees to change its business practices and prosecutors don’t take the case to trial.

In September 2003, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused four firms of allowing improper trading.

In related cases, industry regulators have reached civil settlements with more than two dozen mutual fund and brokerage companies and more than 30 current and former executives.

Total penalties will now exceed $5 billion, but Prudential will be the first company that was part of the investigation to settle under threat of federal criminal action.

Regulators have alleged Prudential allowed Boston-based brokers to make trades that benefited hedge fund clients at the expense of long-term mutual fund investors.

Two former brokers at Prudential Securities, which was sold to Wachovia Corp. in 2003, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges last year after prosecutors said they used fake identities to skirt controls and make fraudulent trades on behalf of favored clients.

Prudential has set aside at least $900 million for settlement and litigation costs since 2003. The Wall Street Journal reported the $600 million figure in a story on its Web site Aug. 25.

FDIC’s teen money guide

For most of us, saving money is usually not as much fun as spending it, and that’s probably more so the case for teenagers.

With that in mind, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is focusing its latest issue of FDIC Consumer News on money management tips for teens and pre-teens.

The FDIC says that although the guide is written for teens, it also can be used by parents and teachers to help them talk about money management.

The publication, entitled “Start Smart: Money Management for Teens,” features simple, real-world guidance about how to:

  • Save more money. The FDIC explains that saving gets easier if it’s done regularly and the money is left untouched in an interest-earning account that gradually builds over time.
  • Decide where to keep their money. There are many good reasons for teens to have bank accounts, including protection against loss or theft, and the different options for saving money and earning interest.
  • Spend money wisely. To avoid impulse buying, the FDIC suggests setting a spending limit or make a shopping list and sticking to it before leaving home.
  • Borrow money responsibly. While parents may be a teen’s first lenders, young people also may be able to get access to a credit card or bank loan on their own or, if they are under 18, most likely with a parent or other adult.
  • Protect against ID theft. Adults aren’t the only people whose identity is being used by criminals to steal money. Young people can be targets, too. The FDIC offer advice about how teens can protect themselves. Among the recommendations: Don’t give out bank account numbers or other personal information in response to an incoming call or e-mail from a stranger or an advertisement on the Internet, no matter how legitimate it may appear to be.

The goal of the quarterly FDIC Consumer News, which is primarily for adults, is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information on financial matters, free of charge.

The guide for teens can be read or printed online at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnsum06.

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