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POSTED: Monday, June 01, 2009

Feds allow short-term loans for tax credit

WASHINGTON » Thousands of first-time homebuyers will be able to get short-term loans so they can quickly make use of a new $8,000 tax credit to pay for buying a home.

The Federal Housing Administration said borrowers who use FHA loans can get advances from lenders that let them effectively receive the credit in advance, so they don't have to wait to get the money from the Internal Revenue Service.

Most borrowers will still have to come up with the FHA's required 3.5 percent down payment, unless they work through a state or local housing agency or an approved nonprofit. But there are many other potential uses, such as for closing costs and fees, or to beef up the down payment beyond the minimum level.

The FHA, which insures about a quarter of new home loans, is projected to guarantee about 2.2 million loans in the next budget year. Any buyer who has not owned a home in the past three years is considered a first-time buyer and eligible for the program. It is not available to individuals with incomes above $95,000 or couples with incomes above $170,000 and expires Nov. 30.

 

Expedia ends change and cancellation fees

Online travel booking portal Expedia.com has eliminated change and cancellation fees on all hotel, car rental and cruise reservations and on virtually all flight reservations.

Additionally, it no longer charges fees for online air booking, following a promotion-based trial of the fee elimination that began in March.

 

DTRIC offers instant quotes online

DTRIC Insurance Co. has implemented a new instant auto insurance quoting feature on its redesigned Web site, http://www.dtric.com.

It is available 24 hours a day and was introduced in response to consumer trends, the company said. “;DTRIC is always working to improve convenience and resource availability for our customers,”; said Linh DePledge, vice president of sales and marketing.

 

SEC charges Kailua broker in fraud

Travis Branch of Kailua is one of 10 brokers who has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud for falsely marketing investments in derivatives of mortgage-backed securities as safe and suitable for retirees and others with conservative investment goals.

The SEC alleges that the brokers, who worked for Irvine, Calif.-based Brookstreet Securities Corp., enriched themselves with millions of dollars in commissions and salaries while the investors suffered millions of dollars in losses.

The SEC says the brokers portrayed particularly risky types of collateralized mortgage obligations as secure investments to defraud more than 750 customers, costing them more than $36 million in losses. Meanwhile, the 10 brokers received $18 million in commissions and salaries related to their customers' investments in the CMOs.

 

Coming up

» Monday: The Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index.

» Tuesday: Automakers report U.S. auto sales for May, and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. releases second-quarter results.

» Wednesday: The Institute for Supply Management releases its nonmanufacturing index; SAIC Inc. releases first-quarter financial results; and Toll Bros. releases second-quarter financial results.