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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Household Hazardous Waste Event

California Integrated Waste Management will be holding a free hazardous waste event June 20th at Yosemite High School in Oakhurst from 9am to 1pm. This event is FREE for residents of Madera County.

Allowable items include: motor oil and filters, antifreeze, brake flued, battery grease, flourescent lamps and tubing, insect spray, weed killer, pool chemicals, pesticides, ammonia based cleaners, drain cleaners, aerosol cans, oven cleaners, spot removers, household batteries, wood preservatives, solvents, art supplies, paint remover, photographic chemicals, televisions, VCR's, computers and monitors, sharps and needles.

Quantities are limited to 15 gallons of liquids of 125 lbs of solids.

For more information on this free event contact (559) 675-7817.

Be Wary of Reverse Mortgages

Article courtesy of

U.S. regulator: Be wary of reverse mortgages

OCC's John Dugan says the loans aimed at older homeowners could target a vulnerable segment.
June 8, 2009: 1:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Reverse mortgages could be the next subprime mortgage product to experience rapid growth while taking advantage of a vulnerable segment of the population, top U.S. bank regulator John Dugan said Monday.

Dugan, who heads the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and supervises some of the nation's largest banks, said regulators are crafting guidelines to ensure that robust consumer protections are in place for reverse mortgages.

"While reverse mortgages can provide real benefits, they also have some of the same characteristics as the riskiest types of subprime mortgages -- and that should set off alarm bells," Dugan said in prepared remarks to an American Bankers Association conference.
Reverse mortgages are complicated loans targeted at homeowners who are at least 62 years old, and allow older Americans to live off the equity in their homes as they age.

In a reverse mortgage, the homeowner receives money from the lender, which does not have to be repaid as long as the borrower lives in the home.

Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500), the largest provider of U.S. home mortgage funding, had about a 90% share of the reverse mortgage market at the end of 2008. Many large banks such as Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) are big providers of reverse mortgages.

The great majority of reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and pose limited credit risk. But Dugan said a different class of reverse mortgages -- "proprietary" products -- offer less consumer protections.

Dugan said that as the elderly American population grows, there could be a significant pickup in demand for proprietary reverse mortgages, which he said bear significant similarities to the type of subprime products that helped fuel the housing boom and bust, resulting in a widespread credit crisis and recession.

"I believe the critical lesson here is the need to act early, before problems escalate," Dugan said.
He said regulators need to set more standards for proprietary reverse mortgages. Regulators also need to be vigilant about misleading marketing and need to crack down on any lenders who try to bundle a reverse mortgage with other financial products, such as an annuity or life insurance product, Dugan said.

If those actions are not enough, Dugan said "more definitive regulatory standards may need to be adopted, and the OCC is prepared to do that."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stay the Course

Stay The Course by BJ Gallagher

Our journey of life is about progress, not perfection. It's not about doing one thing 100% better -it's a matter of doing 100 things, 1% better each day. Progress is evolutionary not revolutionary, and most days we measure our progress in inches, not miles. What matters most is showing up for your life whether you feel like it or not. Ask yourself, "What two or three little things can I do today that would move me forward?" You'll be amazed at how much distance you can cover by taking it in increments. The little things add up; the inches turn to miles; and we string together our efforts like so many pearls. Before long, look what you have -a whole strand!