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CUNA in Forbes.com: Positive job numbers are 'bounce back effect'

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WASHINGTON (7/7/14)--Mike Schenk, interim chief economist and vice president at the Credit Union National Association called Thursday's jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor a "bounce back effect" indicating that consumer confidence is rising.

The jobs report showed the economy added 288,000 jobs in June and that unemployment dropped to its lowest rate since September 2008.

"The first quarter numbers were not all that encouraging, especially in terms of the economic growth numbers," Schenk said. "People seemed to be sitting on the sideline in terms of purchasing behavior. Clearly the consumer is back in the marketplace."

Schenk also mentioned CUNA's latest monthly survey of credit unions, which showed credit unions' loan portfolios increased 1.2%, the largest growth since 2005 ( News Now July 3).

"Consumers are engaged. They are not only buying more, but buying big ticket items so a lot of that pent-up demand is being expressed," he told Forbes . com.

The jobs report also indicated June was the fifth consecutive month with job growth of at least 200,000, and that the jobs created in June mean a total of 9.7 million new private-sector jobs were created over the last 52 months, the longest such streak on record.

According to the department, this is the most total jobs added in the first half of a year since 1999.

Treasury releases CDFI report for 2013

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WASHINGTON (7/7/14)--The U.S. Department of the Treasury has released the annual report for its Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, covering fiscal year 2013.

CDFIs and Community Development Entities (CDEs) made $6.8 billion in loans and investments last year, which helped finance 7,000 business, create or maintain almost 50,000 jobs and finance more than 19,500 affordable housing units.

Credit unions represent 177 out of the 811 CDFIs active at the end of 2013. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association jointly released a white paper in May to assess the impact of CDFI certification on credit unions ( News Now May 20).

The CDFI Fund is designed to foster business growth and job creation and revitalize low-income communities. Dennis Nolan, acting director of the CDFI fund, wrote in the Treasury Department's blog that 2013 was an eventful year for the program.

"It was with an eye to the future that last year the CDFI Fund began a rigorous, evidence-based evaluation of our cornerstone CDFI program to better understand its impact and to inform policy in the future," he wrote. "In 2013, we also launched the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, which has the potential to transform the CDFI industry by injecting substantial new long-term capital into our nation's most distressed communities."

"[E]ach CDFI and CDE certified, each business financed, each job created and each housing unit, daycare center, charter school, or health center developed represents a critical step in the transformation of one life, one family and one community," Nolan wrote.

The federation/CUNA white paper compares CDFI-certified credit unions with peer groups of low-income designated and mainstream credit unions. It found, among other things, that CDFI credit unions tend to focus most of their loans in economically disadvantaged communities, yet financial growth and performance tends to meet or exceed mainstream institutions.

The paper also found that CDFI certification is within reach of thousands of credit unions that "make a strategic decision and take decisive action to address the needs of these underserved communities can become eligible for CDFI certification."

Use the resource links below for more information.

Settlement site activated for Ocwen borrowers

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WASHINGTON (7/7/14)--A settlement website has been set up for borrowers who were affected by alleged abuses specific to foreclosure proceeses conducted by Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen Loan Servicing.

Last December the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia announced a settlement with three mortgage servicers that will provide approximately $125 million in direct payments to borrowers.

State and federal investigations claimed Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen Loan Servicing signed foreclosure-related documents without the presence of a notary public and without personal knowledge that the facts contained in the documents were correct. In addition, investigators claimed that Ocwen committed various errors and abuses in their mortgage servicing processes.

A National Ocwen Settlement administrator has been appointed and is responsible for handling settlement claims. The administrator has contacted foreclosed borrowers and mailed notice packages. Borrowers are eligible to submit their claims online once the materials arrive and can submit claims online before Sept. 15.

Borrowers need a personalized claimant ID number, located on the form received in the mail, to complete a submission. Claims can also be submitted by mail, postmarked before Sept. 15.

All eligible borrowers who submit valid claims will receive an equal share of the $125 million. Borrowers who receive payments will not have to release any claims and will be free to seek additional relief in the courts.

The CFPB reminds consumers that filing a claim is free, and that scammers may be contacting borrowers claiming to help with claims. The scammer may charge a fee or try to steal personal information.

Use the resource link below for more information.