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Prime Rate

also known as the Fed, National, U.S. and WSJ Prime Rate,
from the interest rate specialists at FedPrimeRate.comTM

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Odds On Another Prime Rate Increase at the End of June Jump to 72% In Response to Minutes from the May 10 Monetary Policy Meeting

Earlier today, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve released the minutes from their May 10, 2006 monetary policy meeting. Here's a snippet from today's Fed press release:

"Although the Committee discussed policy approaches ranging from leaving the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting to increasing the federal funds rate 50 basis points, all members believed that an additional 25 basis point firming of policy was appropriate today to keep inflation from rising and promote sustainable economic expansion. Recent price developments argued for another firming step at today's meeting. Core inflation recently had been a bit higher than had been expected, and several members remarked that core inflation was now around the upper end of what they viewed as an acceptable range. Moreover, a number of factors were augmenting the upside risks to inflation: the surge in energy and commodity prices, some recent weakness in the foreign exchange value of the dollar, and the possibility that the apparent increase in inflation expectations could, if it persisted, impart momentum to inflation. In addition, the economy appeared to be operating at a relatively high level of resource utilization and had been growing quite strongly, and whether economic growth would moderate to a sustainable pace was not yet clear. At the same time, members also saw downside risks to economic activity. For example, the cumulative effect of past monetary policy actions and the recent rise in longer-term interest rates on housing activity and prices could turn out to be larger than expected. Still, it seemed most likely that, with modest further policy action, including a 25 basis point firming today, growth in activity would moderate gradually over coming quarters, pressures on resources would remain limited, and core inflation would stay close to levels experienced over the past year.

Given the risks to growth and inflation, Committee members were uncertain about how much, if any, further tightening would be needed after today's action. In view of the risk that the outlook for inflation could worsen, the Committee decided to repeat the indication in the policy statement released after the March meeting that some further policy firming could be required. However, the Committee agreed to emphasize that 'the extent and timing of any such firming will depend importantly on the evolution of the economic outlook as implied by incoming information.' Members debated the appropriate characterization of inflation expectations in the statement. Low and stable inflation expectations were key to the attainment of the Committee's dual objectives of price stability and maximum sustainable economic growth. However, the apparent pickup in longer-term expectations, while worrisome, was relatively small. They remained within the range seen over the past couple of years, and the increase could well reverse before long. Accordingly, it appeared appropriate to characterize inflation expectations again as 'contained.'"

The Latest Odds On A Prime Rate Increase on June 29

The odds related to the FOMC raising the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate on June 29 have changed in response to today's Fed minutes. Right now, Federal Funds Futures traders have odds at around 72% (according to current pricing) that the Fed will vote to raise the Fed Funds Target Rate from the current 5.00%, to 5.25%. Prior to this afternoon's release of the May 10 monetary policy meeting minutes, odds on another 25 basis point increase were at 58%.

If the FOMC votes to raise the Fed Funds Target Rate to 5.25% on June 29, then the U.S. Prime Rate (Wall Street Journal® Prime Rate) will jump from the current 8.00%, to 8.25%.

The odds related to the Fed Funds Futures trade--widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate--are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds (Odds may experience a significant shift when the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics releases their Employment Situation report on Friday, June 2, 2006.)


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Homeowners Consumer Center with Some Critical Info for Anyone Shopping for a Mortgage

If you are in the market for a mortgage, then today's press release will interest you. The good folks at the Homeowners Consumer Center have put together a list of the 5 things that anyone and everyone who's in the market for a mortgage should know:

"The Homeowners Consumer Center (http://www.HomeownersConsumerCenter.com) along with its partner the Mortgage Inspection service (http://www.MortgageInspectionService.com) have called for a national consumer alert to all homeowners about the realities of the current US mortgage market, in the form of five critical consumer tips they need to know. At the same time the Homeowners Consumer Center is seeking information about locally owned mortgage firms/lenders that are tired of trying to compete against dishonest mortgage lenders. The targets of this campaign are as follow:

  • TV Pitchmen promising consumers/homeowners they will get numerous mortgage firms to compete for a mortgage deal, or that someone should have called so and so. The problem; the sales pitch does not always measure up to what the consumer actually gets ( a much higher than market interest rate, ridiculous fees or both).

    These same types of ads often times say, or talk about a 'no point' gimmick, which is not exactly 'no fees', if you are a consumer. The actual translation is the consumer just got a higher interest rate and a higher monthly mortgage payment.

  • National Homebuilders in many to most cases exclude borrowers from getting a competitive quote from local mortgage lenders. Typically the homebuilder prices the home buyers mortgage products 25 to 125 basis points over par (par = the best available interest rate for the borrower) and frequently these transactions are loaded with junk mortgage fees. If the borrower wants to get a competitive quote he/she or they get told, 'the house will cost more,' or they will not get a 'bonus.' What the homebuilder failed to tell the consumer is that because they are a 'mortgage banker', they are not required to disclose the 'yield spread premium' to the borrower = higher monthly mortgage payment. Mortgage brokers are required to disclose yield spreads to consumers.

    A second severe problem with homebuilders is that they frequently tell appraisers what they want their homes to sell for, rather than allow the appraiser/appraisal firm to their job. 'Either hit our values,' the homebuilder wants (real or not), or they find another appraiser/appraisal firm that will. If there is a real estate bubble burst this year, it will start with homebuilders slashing their in some cases false valuations. Inflating real estate appraisals/massive appraisal fraud is the ticking time bomb that could potentially crush the US economy /real estate markets nationwide. Once again Wall Street was asleep at the switch for a disaster that could be worse than the S&L crisis of the 1980's.

  • Mortgage lead generation scams on the Internet: once again the consumer/homeowner can get taken for a ride, or ends up with a much more expensive mortgage product. Most Internet providers have gladly sold advertising space to just about any lender, honest or not.

  • Real Estate firms that also want to be the consumer's mortgage lender. We feel it is the ultimate conflict of interest for a real estate agent / firm to also be wearing the hat of mortgage lender. We believe the functions of real estate sales & real estate financing need to be separate. Next to national homebuilders blackmailing appraisal firms into unrealistic valuations, are real estate agents acting as mortgage lenders doing the same thing. Consumers are advised to steer clear of real estate agents / brokers also acting as mortgage bankers.

  • If anyone is looking to the Bush Administration, HUD, or the US Senate or House Banking Committees for help, don't hold your breath. In light of the Abramoff & Duke Cunningham Congressional bribery scandals one would hope that a consumer/homeowner friendly environment might exist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality banks and mortgage bankers are not held to the same standards as are mortgage brokers with respect to serious consumer disclosure issues. At the very top of this list are 'yield spread premiums' (a kick back for increasing the mortgage interest rate).

Many have concluded, unlike mortgage brokers, banks and mortgage bankers are not being required to disclose these kick-backs because, they are the number one contributor to US House & Senate Banking Committees. President Bush had his Gala re-election campaign party in part financed by a mortgage lender that has been ordered to pay $300+ million back to consumers.

The Homeowners Consumer Center (http://HomeownersConsumerCenter.com) and The Mortgage Inspection Service (http://MortgageInspectionService.com) want consumers / homeowners to understand these realities and at the same time they would like to partner with local, reputable mortgage firms / lenders that are interested in advancing educational campaigns in their communities so that consumers will be better educated when making application for mortgages or refinances. The goal of this campaign is to increase originations for participating mortgage firms / lenders & at the same time give the consumer an honest mortgage product / refinance.

The Homeowners Consumer Center also think it important that states and the federal government eliminate loop holes that prevent transparency in a mortgage transaction, regardless of a lenders status as broker, banker or the amount of money they contributed/paid to a politician.

Honest mortgage lenders / brokers who want to treat their customers with honesty are encouraged to contact the Homeowners Consumer Center (http://HomeownersConsumerCenter.com) for more information about a state by state campaign to get the word out about honest or hard working mortgage lenders. To join the Homeowners Consumer Center in this campaign, mortgage firms / lenders will be required to agree to a realistic consumer disclosure agreement. A straight forward approach like this is long over due in today's mortgage world. Homeowners & consumers deserve better, and The Homeowners Consumer Center and its partner, The Mortgage Inspection Service think this is a very solid step to try to cure problems associated with an out of control mortgage industry."

For more great mortgage-related information from the Homeowners Consumer Center, click here.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Fed Funds Futures Traders Have Odds On Another Prime Rate Increase @ 58%

According to today's Commerce Department release--the "preliminary" Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the first-quarter of 2006--the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 5.3% in Q1, 2006. The Fed pays close attention to a component of the GDP data: the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, which rose at a 2% annual rate in Q1. The "preliminary" GDP report contains data that's more accurate than the "advance" GDP report that was released last month. The "final" GDP report for Q1, which is due to be released on June 29--the same day that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will adjourn their next monetary policy meeting--will contain the most authoritative data for Q1.

The Latest Odds on Another Prime Rate Increase At The End of June

The investors who trade in Federal Funds Futures now have odds at 58% (according to current pricing) that the FOMC will vote to raise the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate from 5.00% to 5.25% at the June 28-29 monetary policy meeting. If the Federal Funds Target Rate is bumped up to 5.25% , then--you guessed it--the U.S. Prime Rate (Wall Street Journal® Prime Rate) will jump from the current 8.00%, to 8.25% when the June 29 meeting adjourns.

The odds related to the Fed Funds Futures trade--widely accepted as the best prognosticator of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate--are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds, especially when The FOMC releases the minutes from the May 10, 2006 monetary policy meeting, which should happen on Wednesday (May 31.)


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Odds on Another Prime Rate Increase at the End of June Rise As A Result of Today's CPI Report

This morning, The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released their Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for the month of April, 2006. The report showed that consumer prices rose at a faster-than-expected rate last month, and since the CPI is a report that is watched closely by the Fed, many investors, academics and economists believe that there is now an increased likelihood that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will elect to raise the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate from 5.00% to 5.25% at the next monetary policy meeting, which is set to take place on June 28-29, 2006.

The Latest Odds on Another Prime Rate Increase Next Month

As you might have guessed, the folks who trade in Federal Funds Futures have shifted the odds (according to current pricing) on another rate hike by the Fed as a result of today's news: the odds on the FOMC voting to raise the cardinal Fed Funds Target Rate to 5.25% at the June 28-29 monetary policy meeting have risen to 50%. Prior to today's CPI report, odds on another 0.25 percentage point increase were at 36%.

Just a reminder: The U.S. Prime Rate = (The Fed Funds Target Rate + 3)

So, according to today's odds, there's a 50/50 chance that we'll have a national Prime Rate of 8.25% after June 29, 2006.

The current U.S. Prime Rate (Wall Street Journal® Prime Rate) is 8.00%, and, as of right now, forecasters are "on the fence" as to whether the Prime Rate will rise to 8.25% at the end of June.

The odds related to the Fed Funds Futures trade--widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate--are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds, especially when The FOMC releases the minutes from the May 10, 2006 monetary policy meeting, which should take place on May 31st, 2006.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Prime Rate Increase Today: U.S. Prime Rate Is Now 8.00%

If you have plans to access money in the near future via an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), a car loan or a shiny new variable rate credit card, then we have some news that you should know about: in accordance with all the reliable interest rate predictions and forecasts, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of The Federal Reserve has just raised its target for the benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) to 5.00%. Therefore, as of this afternoon, the de facto Wall Street Journal® Prime Rate (the U.S. Prime Rate) is now 8.00%. Many American banks have already issued a press release announcing that their prime lending rate has increased from 7.75% to 8.00%, including:

  • The Bank of America*
  • Northern Trust*
  • PNC*
  • Harris N.A.*
  • Dollar Bank*
  • National City*
  • Comerica Bank*
  • Wells Fargo*
  • KeyCorp*
  • U.S. Bancorp*
  • M&T Bank*
  • SunTrust*
  • Wachovia*
  • Sky Financial*

The Fed has raised it's target for the Fed Funds Rate 16 times in a row since June, 2004.

Prime Rate Prediction: Forecast for The Prime Rate

The economy has been moving ahead at a strong pace since the start of 2006, so predictions have been quite easy to make, as economists, academics and investors knew that the Fed would raise rates in order to control inflation. Now that certain signals are indicating that the economy may be slowing down, predictions about the Fed's next move related to interest rates will be a bit trickier.

As of right now, Fed Funds Futures traders have odds at about 42% (according to current pricing) that the FOMC will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate by another 25 basis points when the June 28-29 monetary policy meeting adjourns. Yesterday, Fed Funds Futures traders had odds at 40%.

The odds related to Fed Funds Futures trade are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds, especially when The FOMC releases the minutes from today's meeting, which should happen on May 31st, 2006.

Here's a snippet from the press release that was issued by the Fed moments ago:

"The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5 percent.

Economic growth has been quite strong so far this year. The Committee sees growth as likely to moderate to a more sustainable pace, partly reflecting a gradual cooling of the housing market and the lagged effects of increases in interest rates and energy prices.

As yet, the run-up in the prices of energy and other commodities appears to have had only a modest effect on core inflation, ongoing productivity gains have helped to hold the growth of unit labor costs in check, and inflation expectations remain contained. Still, possible increases in resource utilization, in combination with the elevated prices of energy and other commodities, have the potential to add to inflation pressures.

The Committee judges that some further policy firming may yet be needed to address inflation risks but emphasizes that the extent and timing of any such firming will depend importantly on the evolution of the economic outlook as implied by incoming information. In any event, the Committee will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to support the attainment of its objectives.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Susan S. Bies; Jack Guynn; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Mark W. Olson; Sandra Pianalto; Kevin M. Warsh; and Janet L. Yellen."

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Strong Consensus Among Rate Watchers: U.S. Prime Rate Will Increase to 8% Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)--the interest rate setting body within the Federal Reserve system--will hold their third monetary policy meeting of 2006. This is just a quick note to remind everyone that a 0.25 percentage point increase to the Prime Rate is fully expected by a wide range of rate watchers, so you can bet your bottom dollar that the Prime Rate will go from the current 7.75%, to 8% after tomorrow's FOMC meeting adjourns.

Prime Rate Forecast

Many economists are predicting a cooler U.S. economy in the coming months; earlier today, the National Association for Business Economics published a survey indicating that the economy will experience a slowdown this quarter. Of course, the Fed will pay close attention to the latest government reports on the economy, and if the Fed divines that economic activity is indeed cooling-off, then some economists believe that the FOMC may choose to pause their rate-raising regimen at the June 28-29 monetary policy gathering.

The Fed is looking to get to what's called the "neutral rate" for the Federal Funds Rate: the neutral rate can be described as a Fed Funds Rate that neither stimulates nor inhibits U.S. economic growth. The Prime Rate can be expressed as:

U.S. Prime Rate = (The Fed Funds Rate + 3)

Fed Funds Futures traders now have odds at about 40% (according to current pricing) that the FOMC will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Rate by another 25 basis points after the June 28-29 monetary policy meeting adjourns. Four days ago, Fed Funds Futures traders had odds at 48%.

Hang onto your wallets and purses, folks: borrowing is about to get more expensive.

The odds on future Prime Rate increases will most likely change when the FOMC--as usual--releases a statement when tomorrow's monetary policy meeting adjourns, so stay tuned for the latest odds.


How to Avoid Becoming A Victim of Predatory Mortgage Lenders

Thanks to consumer-friendly interest rates, the U.S. housing market has been hot these past couple of years. Lots of Americans have been getting some excellent mortgage and mortgage refinance deals from reputable companies, but the hot market has also been a boon for predatory lenders.

In today's mortgage-related press release, the good folks at Great Financial Mortgage offer some tips on how to avoid being scammed by lenders who employ bait-n-switch lending practices, e.g. you should always ask a lender for a good faith estimate. Further details below:

"When shopping for a new loan or simply needing to refinance, then be aware – be very aware of whom you do business with, warns Gavin Fenske, president Great Financial Mortgage, Inc., www.greatfinancialmortgage.com. What is promised to save you hundreds of dollars can end up costing thousands.

The housing bubble hasn’t burst, the market is still hot and predatory lenders are finding easy prey on innocent consumers looking for the best rate either on a new home loan or to refinance. Fenske describes how one client who came to him after a horrifying ordeal with a nationally known lender; the client thought she was getting a good deal, but when it came time to sign the loan documents she got a real shock: the paperwork came, the fees were a lot different and the payment was no where near what had been discussed initially...It was about $1,000 more a month. Not only that, the fees skyrocketed to nearly 10,000 dollars more. Fenske explains that the client was a victim of bait and switch and--it’s happening all too often.

Here’s an example of how it works: the lender baits by saying you’re getting a 30 year fixed-rate loan at 6.5% with no points, no pre-pay penalty, and no fees. Then somewhere in the process, either at the very end or right before the end when you're ready to sign paperwork, the loan is switched for something else. You’re now faced with an 8% loan and you're paying 1 point, along with other 'administrative' costs, which makes the monthly payment more expensive than what was originally quoted. In many cases, this precludes homebuyers from qualifying or for those refinancing, to think twice. But with unscrupulous agents, it doesn’t end there. To make it worse, should you decide to proceed, you are most likely unaware that you will have to pay five thousand or more just to get the loan. And since there is a pre-payment penalty, you cannot re-finance until the pre-determined time, without paying a hefty penalty. This could cost you thousand and thousands of dollars.

There are no hidden cameras to catch these predators in action. So how do you protect yourself from such lenders? Fenske says it’s imperative that everyone get a good faith estimate - in writing - from the lender right at the beginning of the process. He notes that a good faith estimate is going to show how many points you're paying for the loan, how much the escrow fees are and how much the title fees are. 'It's basically a summary of all the fees and it should within plus or minus $500 of what the final figures are,' he explains. 'But even before the estimate be sure and research the different types of loans, be wary of low rate deals, shop around and always know whom you are doing business with. It doesn’t hurt to check up on companies through the Better Business Bureau.'

To learn more about Bait and Switch protection, please contact Great Financial Mortgage at www.greatfinancialmortgage.com.

About Great Financial Mortgage:
Great Financial Mortgage is based in Fullerton, California. A top originator of mortgage loans, Great Financial Mortgage offers a wide range of home lending services to homeowners and prospective buyers throughout the state of California via person-to-person attention and its website, www.greatfinancialmortgage.com."


The IRS Makes It Harder for Some to Find That All-Important Down Payment

We all know that finding or saving enough cash for a down payment on a mortgage is the hardest part of acquiring the American dream of homeownership. Well, according to a press release issued by mortgage expert Chip Cummings today, the IRS has recently made it even more difficult for some to find the cash needed for the down payment on a mortgage. Further details below:

"A recent ruling by the IRS against several major 'non-profit' agencies will eliminate them from participating in providing down-payment "gifts" for FHA loan home buyers.

'For most new homeowners, the largest obstacle in getting into a home is the down payment itself,' says Chip Cummings, CMC, a 23-year mortgage industry veteran and best-selling author. 'Without the tax-exempt status, these organizations will no longer be able to provide funds directly to borrowers – keeping them from realizing the dream of home ownership.'

Over the last 5 years, more than 625,000 home buyers have taken advantage of the availability of gift-funds to purchase a new home. Now that these agencies will no longer be able to provide these funds for FHA-insured loans, there will be a scramble to try and fill the gap. Here are some other ways that potential homeowners can still obtain assistance for the down-payment and other required closing costs:

  • Gifts from family members, relatives, churches, and other non-profit organizations can be used to finance up to 100% of the required funds.

  • Several conventional programs allow for up to 100% financing on a home, even with marginal credit scores.

  • Many lenders are combining first and second mortgages up to and even exceeding 100%, with an attractive 'blended' interest rate.

  • Several state and local governments have programs that provide 'forgivable loans' or grants.

  • Several State housing development agencies provide second mortgages and special programs for low to moderate income families.

Chip and his new upcoming book 'The Mortgage Myth – 77 Insider Secrets That Will Save You Thousands on Home Financing' have received critical acclaim from media, industry experts and consumers from around the country. A 23-yr. mortgage industry veteran and international speaker, he has been featured on radio, TV and print media, and has authored dozens of articles. He’ll provide your audience with an 'insider look' at specific strategies for saving money and their credit, and provides an informative, entertaining look into the world of finance. To reach Chip for more details or other home buyer tips, call (616) 977-7900."


Monday, May 08, 2006

Here's An Interesting Argument: Paying Down Your Mortgage with Extra Payments May Be Bad for Your Financial Wellbeing

In you're a homeowner, then at some point in the past, you've probably been advised to make extra principal payments on your mortgage so that you reduce the total interest that you'll pay on your loan in the long term. Makes sense, right?

But lately I've been reading--from varied sources--of financial experts advising clients to forget about the old "pay down your mortgage" adage, and instead focus on liquidity. After all, the argument goes, making extra mortgage payments translates to less cash in your bank account, cash that could be used to make wise and safe investments, or to pay down credit card debts that have high interest rates associated with them. And let's not forget about the all important rainy-day cash that we all should have tucked away in case of emergencies.

With all the mortgage refinancing going on these days, I think it's safe to conclude that many folks...well...get it.

For more, check out the today's press release snippet featuring comments by Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist Robert D. Ashby:

"Paying additional principal toward your mortgage, or even getting a bi-weekly mortgage program, could be detrimental to your financial health.

That’s right. In most cases, instead of paying extra principal, there may be a better way to pay that mortgage off and experience financial freedom faster. 'The truth is, you may never want to pay off your mortgage,' says Robert D. Ashby, President of Solid Rock Mortgage Corporation.

Mr. Ashby continues, 'Why? Your home’s equity is not a safe investment. Equity has no rate of return and has no liquidity. You cannot access your equity without qualifying for a mortgage of some kind, which requires you to pay fees, and borrow your equity on the banks’ terms, plus you must prove you can qualify.' This is especially true in cases of job loss or some other financial crisis.

Additionally, by taking the money normally put toward extra principal and investing them in other safe investment vehicles, families can increase their liquidity, and realistically be able to pay off their mortgages faster. Families may even want to take out a new loan or refinance their current loan to increase safety, liquidity, and rate of return.

The majority of Americans carry huge credit card balances with high interest rates and most do not have enough money in savings to tide them over in a financial emergency. For this reason, refinancing or taking out a new loan may be even more beneficial for them by increasing their cash flow, which can then be invested to create a college savings plan, vacation plan, or even increase their retirement plan.

There are several strategies for the homeowner to consider that can allow them to experience financial freedom sooner than trying to pay off their mortgage as quickly as possible. Obviously, these strategies will not be advisable to everyone, so seeking the guidance of a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist to find out which strategy is the best is a wise decision."


Friday, May 05, 2006

0.25 Percentage Point Increase to The Prime Rate Very Likely on May 10

With the next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) monetary policy meeting just 5 days away, it's probably a good time to post the latest Prime Rate predictions.

The Latest Odds Related to Future Prime Rate Increases

The investors who trade in Federal Funds Futures are still predicting with odds at a confident 100% (according to current pricing) that the FOMC will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate by another 0.25 percentage points when The FOMC convenes their third monetary policy meeting for 2006 on May 10th. A quarter point increase to the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate would, of course, trigger a nationwide Prime Rate increase from the current 7.75%, to 8.00%.

The odds on another 0.25 percentage point increase after the FOMC adjourns their fourth monetary policy meeting for 2006, which is set to convene on June 28-29, 2006, are now "on the fence": Fed Funds Futures traders are now predicting (according to current pricing) a 48% chance that The FOMC will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Rate by 25 basis points when the June 28-29 meeting adjourns (odds were @ 34% two days ago.)

The odds that have been referenced in this blog entry change on a regular basis, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

The current national Prime Rate (Wall Street Journal® Prime Rate) is 7.75%, and the consensus among investors, economists, academics and Wall Street rate watchers is that the U.S. Prime Rate will rise to 8.00% after the FOMC adjourns their monetary policy meeting on May 10th, 2006.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Free, 16-Page e-Book About Reverse Mortgages

For those of you interested in learning more about reverse mortgages--and there's plenty to know!--you might want to check out a new, free, 16-page e-book about reverse mortgages that's just been released.

For the impatient souls out there, click this link to jump directly to the free e-book, and use the password reverse mortgage when prompted (include the space between the words "reverse" and "mortgage" when you type the password.)

Or, for some background about the release of this e-book, check out the snippet from today's press release below:

"Reverse mortgages are one of the hottest tools around for enhancing retirement income. The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) reports that March 2006 saw a record number of new reverse mortgages originated. This trend is sure to continue as baby boomers reach retirement age, many not having set aside enough savings to enjoy a secure retirement.

But as popular as reverse mortgages are, they are also complex and very costly loans in many situations. Put simply, reverse mortgages are not for everyone. A free 16-page e-book now available at www.reverse-mortgage-information.org, will help baby boomers nearing retirement, senior citizens looking for additional income, or children with elderly parents determine whether or not a reverse mortgage makes sense for them.

Based on his own family’s experience, author Tim Paul lays out seven specific questions that should be answered by anyone considering a reverse mortgage:

  • Am I the right age for a reverse mortgage?

  • How long do I expect to stay in my home?

  • How long do I expect to live?

  • How much additional income do I need?

  • How much equity do I have and how much can I borrow?

  • Have I considered other options?

  • How important is it to me to leave an estate?

The book provides specific tips, resources, worksheets and other guidance for reaching answers to each question.

'Working through the questions and steps in this book will clarify the issues that are most important and prepare the reader to make an informed decision about a reverse mortgage,' Paul notes.

The free e-book, Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for Me? can be downloaded at http://www.reverse-mortgage-information.org/is-a-reverse-mortgage-right-for-me/. The book is also available for distribution."


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