The work volume will be handled at Ditech’s main offices in
Bruin said the
The lease on the 3-year-old
“We will have a handful of employees remaining in
The mortgage lending sector has been hit by the housing slump, the recession and a consumer credit crunch that has constrained lending. The Valley has lost 11,600 financial services jobs since the recession started in late 2007, going from 151,200 in December 2007 to 139,600 in July of this year, according to the Arizona Department of Commerce.
The Valley’s unemployment rate for July was 8.4 percent, up from 3.5 percent in November 2007. The state’s July jobless rate was 9.2 percent, up from 4.2 percent in November 2007, according to ADOC.
Date: Nov. 6
Reason: Work to be moved to Ditech’s
HISTORY: Established 1995, acquired by GMAC in 1999
Web: www.gmacmortgage.com or www.ditech.com
As more credit-card issuers close accounts or slash borrowing limits without customers’ consent, it raises questions.
Among them: What impact do these moves have on credit scores? more…
LifeLock Inc. is preparing to roll out a new identity-theft-prevention product in light of a federal judge’s decision against the Tempe-based company.
The ruling should not result in immediate changes for LifeLock’s customers, but the company is developing an alternative to the practice that has been challenged in court, Chief Executive Officer Todd Davis said. more…
With mounting foreclosures, investors are snapping up homes and renting them to tenants at bargain rates. But in the long run, the trend could shake the stability of Valley neighborhoods and hurt cities’ efforts to promote homeownership, community leaders warn.
Some cities that have been hit hard by foreclosures are trying to wrap their arms around the problem. more…
After business dried up in May, Jodi Morris’ employer, an insurance agent, stopped sending paychecks.
Since then, the 43-year-old single mother has had to sell almost all of her furniture - her kitchen table and chairs, bed frames, dresser and armoire, and living room set - to pay the bills. more…
The first home in Arizona to get the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” treatment is for sale, the family blessed with the two-story mansion saying it is looking to escape the crushing bills that came with the house. more…
The agency that guarantees bank deposits said Thursday there are no immediate plans to borrow money from the government to bolster its insurance fund, which fell 20 percent to $10.4 billion in the second quarter.
That’s the fund’s lowest point since 1992, at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis. Some analysts have warned that the fund could fall below zero by year’s end because of the pace of bank failures. more…
Half-a-billion dollars in cash was spent on down payments and home purchases in metropolitan Phoenix last month.
That tally doesn’t include mortgages on homes. It’s the pure cash figure buyers spent on existing Valley homes in July, according to
The Valley’s commercial real-estate crisis isn’t just about buildings, it’s about everything and everyone inside.
The impact isn’t as easy to see as the fallout from the home-mortgage mess, with its sea of empty homes and for-sale signs, but it’s likely to become more noticeable to Valley consumers as the commercial crisis worsens this year, predicts
Five months into the $75 billion federal program meant to toss a lifeline to homeowners facing foreclosure, most people in need of help are still floundering.
Overall, about 15 percent of borrowers across the country who are eligible for the program have been offered help from their lender, according to a recent U.S. Treasury Department report. Of those homeowners, 9 percent have participated in a trial loan modification. President Barack Obama’s administration is calling for lenders to ramp up their efforts and help 500,000 more homeowners by November. more…
The Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture plans to nearly double its enrollment to 250 students this year, then double it again by 2011.
This exponential growth comes at a time when Americans are spending billions of dollars out of their own pockets on complementary and alternative medicine. Americans surveyed in 2007 by the National Institutes of Health said they had spent nearly $34 billion out of pocket on complementary medicines during the previous 12 months.
As the use of acupuncture and other alternative treatments increases, so does interest in careers in that industry, said Catherine Niemiec, founder and president of the 13-year-old institute. Alternative medicine is emerging as a top growth career, she said, with an estimated 10,000 students graduating from 54 colleges of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the U.S. last year.
PIHMA has graduated 91 students from its four-year program in the past decade. But now, the school is drawing about 60 new students a year.
“Our goal is to get 100 new students a year in class,” Niemiec said. “Spring is looking pretty good for next year already.”
Niemiec said PIHMA is attracting a variety of students, from yoga instructors to bankers, who will continue to boost the state’s numbers.
“We are getting more (military) veterans as well, who are using their GI money,” she said.
The college and its clinic are housed in office space at
With the increase in students comes a 22 percent increase in employees. The private college now employs 40.
Niemiec said her graduates are getting creative in the marketplace. One is offering acupuncture to help golfers improve their swing, while another has combined acupuncture with massage.
Even doctors are getting into the alternative side of medicine.
Dr. Eddie Wai, who already has osteopathic and pharmacy degrees, saw the emerging trend in alternative medicine and went back to school in
He brought back more than 500 Chinese medical books, many of which describe unique healing herbs. Some are made from unusual natural substances, including donkey hide, scorpions, deer antlers and animal droppings.
“I combine the cultures of the Western and the Chinese ways,” said Wai, adding he is not seeing insurance companies cover alternative treatments as quickly as he would like.
Some insurers, including
“The Healthy Rewards discount program, which includes discounts for acupuncture, chiropractic and massage, is available for anyone with a Cigna plan,” she said.
While Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona doesn’t cover acupuncture, it does provide discounts on chiropractic, massage and acupuncture treatments through the American Specialty Health Network, said BCBS spokeswoman Regina Frieden.
Jim Hertel, publisher of the
“Beginning with chiropractic services, many plans have added a number of complementary and alternative medical services in recent years — usually as a supplemental benefit package that can be added to an employer group’s basic plan,” he said.
Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture
Description: The Valley’s only accredited college of acupuncture and Oriental medicine
Founded : 1996
Clinic: Student and professional treatments offered to the general public
Master’s Degree in Acupuncture: $11,000 a year
Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine: $14,000 a year
Years to graduate: 4
Trying to stem potential losses that will further deplete coffers, federal regulators have placed a bull’s-eye on
Community Bank lost $6.6 million in the second quarter and charged off $4.6 million during the first half of the year. Union Bank lost $5.6 million and charged off $6 million through the first six months of the year. As the banks collapsed, their capital dried up, forcing the
As of Aug. 19, 78 FDIC-insured banks have been closed this year across the country — and with each one, regulators get more testy.
Tanya Wheeless, CEO of the
“As a bank, if you are serving
West Valley National Bank, which controls nearly $38 million in assets, has had an average of eight audits or exams each year since opening in December 2006, costing its shareholders $100,000 a year.
WVNB President and CEO Candace Wiest isn’t happy about the Barack Obama administration’s proposed new regulatory agency to monitor community banks.
“The current administration is making a bad time worse. They seem to be dead set on riding in after the massacre and shooting the survivors,” she said.
“Do the large investment firms need more oversight? Absolutely, because they create the most risk,” said Wiest, the only
But for every closure, there is a winner.
MidFirst also agreed to purchase about $11 million of assets from Union Bank, primarily cash and securities, Piazza said.
The transaction adds five branches to MidFirst’s network in the Valley, which is expected to top 20 locations by the end of the year.
The last FDIC-insured institution to fail in
MidFirst Bank: www.midfirst.com
West Valley National Bank: www.wvnb.com
Herb and Paddy Simonson insist they’re not lonely in their 25th-floor condo in downtown
The couple moved into the 44
The Simonsons live in the tallest and one of the most luxurious condo towers in the state, but they don’t have much company. Only 10 of the 196 units are occupied.
Herb, a former emergency-room doctor who still works part time at age 78, says he and Paddy paid about $1 million for their 1,900-square-foot unit. They know it’s not worth anything close to that today.
“I’m sure this has crashed in value just like everything else,” he says.
The Simonsons have no desire to sell, but there are deals to be had at 44
A two-bed, two-bath condo of roughly 1,400 square feet is listed for $355,470. One-bed units are available for less.
Ryan Zeleznak is overseeing sales at 44
“We’re starting to see more ‘real’ buyers coming through instead of curious shoppers who just want to see a unit,” Zeleznak says.
The Simonsons were an exception — sort of. They still own their previous residence a few blocks away at Roosevelt Square II because they haven’t found a buyer. That three-story, 2,500-square-foot condo is listed for $549,000. With a hint of worry in her voice, Paddy says, “We’d really like to get rid of that place.” Herb adds, “no one’s even looking.”
But the two have no regrets about buying at 44
“We get a free fireworks show every time the D-backs shoot them off,” Paddy says.
The Simonsons are exactly the type of urbanites city leaders and real estate developers are so desperate to bring downtown. The interior of their unit is straight out of the Copenhagen Furniture catalog: sleek, modern and spotless. Herb says they have season tickets to four local theaters, and they take the light rail to
“It was a dream of ours for years to be in a high-rise,” Herb says. “We still marvel at the view and love to watch the world go by.”
But living in a near-vacant high-rise does have a few drawbacks. The two say their key fobs have had to be replaced because of a few thefts in the building. Herb says he expected a few more neighbors when they moved in. They don’t have any friends in the building.
Considering the condition of the real estate market, it’s likely to be quite a while before the Simonsons have to wait for an elevator to get to their condo. But Dave Roderique, president of the
“Everything in the Valley got overbuilt, and the developers went crazy,” he says. “It’s not just downtown condos, it was retail, tract homes … everything.”
When asked about the possibility of 44
“We’re doing everything we can to fight through this,” he says. “We’re taking it day by day and hoping the market gets better.”
Paddy and Herb also are hopeful that the bustling downtown they hoped for will take shape.
“There’s so much potential here,” Paddy says. “But I don’t know if we’re going to see it all come to fruition.”
Grace Communities: www.44monroe.com
The new credit-card reform bill that started to kick in Aug. 20 is mostly a win for consumers. But as with most legislation, the new rules will result in some unintended consequences that won’t prove so beneficial. more…
Real-estate agents have been among those hardest hit by the housing collapse.
As the entire Phoenix real-estate industry remakes itself in pursuit of a recovery, agents who once sold 10 homes a week and earned six-figure salaries now tend foreclosure properties for little more than gas money while they hope for a listing. more…
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Pulte Homes Inc. succeeded in its quest to become the largest home builder in the U.S. by acquiring Centex Corp., but it already faces a challenge: Can it use brand marketing to win over home buyers? more…