June 20, 2013 in Business

Banks slow to help struggling homeowners

From Wire Reports
 
Associated Press photo

This combination shows Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s signatures from 2011, top, and 2013.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – A new report says homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure must wait too long for their loan modification applications to be reviewed by some of the nation’s top mortgage servicers. Such delays can plunge borrowers deeper in debt.

Joseph A. Smith, the independent monitor of last year’s national mortgage settlement, said Wednesday that while the banks are doing a better job complying with new mortgage servicing rules, more needs to be done.

The settlement between 49 states, federal government agencies and lenders JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial set new rules for how banks handle troubled home loans.

The settlement helped close a difficult chapter of the financial crisis when home values sank and millions edged toward foreclosure. Many firms had processed foreclosures without verifying documents.

Improved signature to appear on currency

WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew won’t win any prizes in penmanship, but his official signature which will go on the nation’s currency is at least a slight improvement over the loopy scrawl he had a few months ago.

The Treasury Department unveiled the new signature on Tuesday, via Twitter. It takes the Bureau of Engraving and Printing about 18 weeks to put the new engraving plates into production. That means Lew’s signature will not show up on the various currency denominations until sometime this fall.

Lew’s signature had been so bad that President Barack Obama joked that unless it improved it would “debase our currency.”

Men’s Wearhouse fires founder Zimmer

NEW YORK – Men’s Wearhouse doesn’t like the way its founder looks anymore.

The men’s clothier said Wednesday that it fired executive chairman and face of the company George Zimmer, 64, who has appeared in many of its TV commercials with the slogan “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”

The company announced the move in a terse statement that gave no reason for the abrupt firing of Zimmer, who built Men’s Wearhouse Inc. from one small Texas store using a cigar box as a cash register to one of North America’s largest men’s clothing sellers with 1,143 locations.

Zimmer said in a written statement that over the past several months he and the board of directors disagreed about the company’s direction.

“Over the last 40 years, I have built The Men’s Wearhouse into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at The Men’s Wearhouse,” he said in a statement. But he noted that “instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the boardroom that has, in part, contributed to our success, the board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns by terminating me as an executive officer.”

The firing comes a week after Men’s Wearhouse reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit increased 23 percent.


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