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COLUMN-Beware of offers to refinance federal student loans

October 31st, 2014

LOS ANGELES, Sept 29 (Reuters) – People with federal student
loan debt now have a few options to lower their rates with
private consolidation loans, but consumer advocates warn they
could be giving up vital protections in doing so.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plcs Citizens
Financial Group recently expanded its student loan refinancing
program to include federal as well as private student loans. The
bank joins two much smaller, peer-to-peer lenders, SoFi and
CommonBond.

All three lenders say they counsel potential customers about
the consumer protections lost when federal debt is refinanced
into private loans. Those protections include access to federal
income-based repayment and forgiveness programs as well as
generous forbearance and deferral options.

Those are very important rights, said Persis Yu, staff
attorney for the Student Loan Borrowers Assistance site run by
the National Consumer Law Center.

Yu questioned whether the borrowers targeted by these
lenders understand how vulnerable they are to financial setbacks
such as job losses.

A lot of people think theyre not ever going to default,
Yu said, but there are very high delinquency rates on student
loans.

So far the lenders are wooing the lowest-risk borrowers:
graduates with steady jobs, good credit and enough income to pay
down their loans.

CommonBond, which has refinanced about $100 million in
student loans so far, restricts its prospective clients even
further to those with business, law, medical or engineering
degrees, said Chief Executive Officer David Klein.

The lenders tout variable rates that start at less than 3
percent. Fixed rates can be as low as 3.6 percent at SoFi and
Common Bond, while Citizens lowest is 4.74 percent.

By contrast, current interest rates for new fixed-rate
federal Stafford loans are 4.66 percent for undergraduates and
6.21 percent for graduate and professional students. Borrowers
with older federal debt may have rates as high as 8.5 percent.

While the best rates on consolidation loans are reserved for
the most creditworthy borrowers, Citizens has been able to lower
its typical customers rate by 1.5 percentage points when
refinancing private loans, said Brendan Coughlin, the companys
president of auto and education lending.

A one-percentage-point decrease corresponds to annual
savings of about $50 per year on each $10,000 of debt, said Mark
Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a college finance
education site. The savings generally are not enough to make it
worth giving up income-based repayment and forgiveness options,
he said.

Borrowers who struggle to pay their debt are typically
locked out of refinancing due to lenders high underwriting
standards.

Were approached by people who are having a really
difficult time with their payments, said Mike Cagney, CEO of
SoFi, which so far has refinanced about $1 billion in federal
and private loan debt. Were not a good option for them.

PARENTS MAY BENEFIT

Parents who have federal PLUS loans, however, might consider
refinancing into a private loan if they can win a large-enough
interest rate reduction, Kantrowitz said.

Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for income-based
repayment options or forgiveness, although they still offer up
to three years of forbearance and deferral options. Private
consolidation loans typically offer up to one year of
forbearance.

Generally, refinancing federal parent PLUS loans into a
private consolidation loan might be financially beneficial if
the interest rate will decrease by at least two percentage
points and the borrower has at least $20,000 in (such) loans,
Kantrowitz said.

Students, on the other hand, should still not refinance
their federal student loans into a private consolidation loan.

Parents with the high credit scores and solid incomes
necessary for a private loan consolidation presumably would be
able to make informed decisions about the necessary trade-offs
between a lower interest rate and the loss of federal education
loan benefits, Kantrowitz said.

A proposal to lower rates on existing federal student loan
debt died this summer when Senator Elizabeth Warren, a
Massachusetts Democrat, failed to get the 60 votes needed to
advance her bill. The legislation, which would have allowed
people with federal and private loans issued before 2010 to
refinance at 3.86 percent, received 56 votes for and 38 votes
against it.

(Editing by Beth Pinsker and Lisa Von Ahn)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Click For Restrictions – http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

Reed Smith Financial Services Paralegals Move to Firm Client

October 30th, 2014




Time’s up: Five tips to tackle student loan debt

October 30th, 2014

Tackling a hefty new monthly expense can be daunting, particularly for recent grads who havent found steady work.

But grads have many options for making student loan payments more manageable, even putting them off, if they qualify.

The key is to avoid missing payments, which can scorch your credit score and even lead to having your wages garnished.

The majority of students who miss payments on loans miss the very first payment, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a college planning and financing website that is owned by student loan servicer College Loan Corp.

Here are five ways recent grads can manage their student loan debt:

1. KNOW YOUR LOAN TERMS

Both federal and private student loans give borrowers a grace period of at least six months before theyre required to begin making payments. Youll need to know the terms of your loan to evaluate options for repayment, or to ask for a deferment when your grace period expires.

For example, Stafford loans have a six-month grace period, while Perkins loans give borrowers nine months before their first payment is due. Grace periods for other types of federal loans and private student loans can vary.

Ask your lender or check out this US Department of Education website, which shows how to find the lenders that manage federal loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/servicers .

If you have private student loans, youll have to contact the lender directly.

2. CONSIDER DEFERMENTS AND FORBEARANCE

Cant find a job? Cant afford any student loan payments? Borrowers with federal student loans can temporarily postpone payments by asking for a deferment or forbearance.

Deferments allow you to temporarily put off making payments. During this period, the government will pay interest on three types of federal loans: direct subsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans and Federal Perkins loans. Several factors may enable you to qualify for a deferment, including economic hardship, unemployment or serving in the military on active duty during a war.

If you dont qualify, you may request a forbearance, which can generally buy you up to 12 months without making payments. However, youll continue to pile up interest on your balance, even with subsidized loans.

Estimate how much interest youll accrue on a deferment with this online calculator: https://studentloanhero.com/calculators/student-loan-deferment-calculator/ .

3. REVIEW PAYMENT OPTIONS

If you qualify, there are repayment plans on federal loans that will set your monthly payment to a level based on how much you earn or a percentage of your discretionary income.

Another option is a graduated repayment plan, which offers lower upfront payments that increase every couple of years.

You can enroll in income-based repayment plans as soon as you begin paying back your loan, but notify your lender early on, as it can take 30-to-60 days for the paperwork to be processed. Expect to provide a tax return or other income verification, said Andrew Josuweit, CEO of StudentLoanHero.com, an online student loan management site.

Federal loans are scheduled to be paid back over a 10-year period. But if you cant afford your monthly payments under that standard plan, you may be able to extend the length of time to pay back the loan up to 25 years. That will lower the monthly payment, but you will pay more over the life of the loan.

Its not just reducing your monthly payment, its increasing the total cost of the loan, Kantrowitz said.

Heres a breakdown of repayment options on federal loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans .

On private student loans, repayment options will vary from one lender to the next.

4. LOOK OUT FOR SAVINGS

Your student loan balance may seem like a fixed financial obligation, but there are often ways to carve out some savings.

For example, if you set up your monthly loan payments to be directly deducted from your checking account, many lenders will give you a slight interest rate reduction. On federal loans, its generally a 0.25 percentage point reduction, notes Kantrowitz.

At tax time, be aware that you can deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on federal and private student loans on your federal income tax return.

5. WEIGH A LOAN CONSOLIDATION

If you have several loans to repay, consolidating your payments may be a good option.

Consolidating your loans can help you manage your debt because you only need to keep track of a single, lower monthly payment for all your loans. But your loan term will also increase, which means youll be paying more in the long-run.

If youre actually trying to save money, its not always in your best interest to consolidate, Josuweit said.

In addition, you will no longer be able to take advantage of some of the perks built into federal loans, such as deferment options and the variety of income-based payment plans.

For more tips on how to consolidate your student loan, check out: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation .

Edvisors has a list of lenders offering private consolidation loans at http://PrivateStudentLoans.com .

Time’s up: 5 tips to tackle student loan debt

October 29th, 2014

Tackling a hefty new monthly expense can be daunting, particularly for recent grads who havent found steady work.

But grads have many options for making student loan payments more manageable, even putting them off, if they qualify.

The key is to avoid missing payments, which can scorch your credit score and even lead to having your wages garnished.

The majority of students who miss payments on loans miss the very first payment, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a college planning and financing website that is owned by student loan servicer College Loan Corp.

Here are five ways recent grads can manage their student loan debt:

1. KNOW YOUR LOAN TERMS

Both federal and private student loans give borrowers a grace period of at least six months before theyre required to begin making payments. Youll need to know the terms of your loan to evaluate options for repayment, or to ask for a deferment when your grace period expires.

For example, Stafford loans have a six-month grace period, while Perkins loans give borrowers nine months before their first payment is due. Grace periods for other types of federal loans and private student loans can vary.

Ask your lender or check out this US Department of Education website, which shows how to find the lenders that manage federal loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/servicers .

If you have private student loans, youll have to contact the lender directly.

2. CONSIDER DEFERMENTS AND FORBEARANCE

Cant find a job? Cant afford any student loan payments? Borrowers with federal student loans can temporarily postpone payments by asking for a deferment or forbearance.

Deferments allow you to temporarily put off making payments. During this period, the government will pay interest on three types of federal loans: direct subsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans and Federal Perkins loans. Several factors may enable you to qualify for a deferment, including economic hardship, unemployment or serving in the military on active duty during a war.

If you dont qualify, you may request a forbearance, which can generally buy you up to 12 months without making payments. However, youll continue to pile up interest on your balance, even with subsidized loans.

Estimate how much interest youll accrue on a deferment with this online calculator: https://studentloanhero.com/calculators/student-loan-deferment-calculator/ .

3. REVIEW PAYMENT OPTIONS

If you qualify, there are repayment plans on federal loans that will set your monthly payment to a level based on how much you earn or a percentage of your discretionary income.

Another option is a graduated repayment plan, which offers lower upfront payments that increase every couple of years.

You can enroll in income-based repayment plans as soon as you begin paying back your loan, but notify your lender early on, as it can take 30-to-60 days for the paperwork to be processed. Expect to provide a tax return or other income verification, said Andrew Josuweit, CEO of StudentLoanHero.com, an online student loan management site.

Federal loans are scheduled to be paid back over a 10-year period. But if you cant afford your monthly payments under that standard plan, you may be able to extend the length of time to pay back the loan up to 25 years. That will lower the monthly payment, but you will pay more over the life of the loan.

Its not just reducing your monthly payment, its increasing the total cost of the loan, Kantrowitz said.

Heres a breakdown of repayment options on federal loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans .

On private student loans, repayment options will vary from one lender to the next.

4. LOOK OUT FOR SAVINGS

Your student loan balance may seem like a fixed financial obligation, but there are often ways to carve out some savings.

For example, if you set up your monthly loan payments to be directly deducted from your checking account, many lenders will give you a slight interest rate reduction. On federal loans, its generally a 0.25 percentage point reduction, notes Kantrowitz.

At tax time, be aware that you can deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on federal and private student loans on your federal income tax return.

5. WEIGH A LOAN CONSOLIDATION

If you have several loans to repay, consolidating your payments may be a good option.

Consolidating your loans can help you manage your debt because you only need to keep track of a single, lower monthly payment for all your loans. But your loan term will also increase, which means youll be paying more in the long-run.

If youre actually trying to save money, its not always in your best interest to consolidate, Josuweit said.

In addition, you will no longer be able to take advantage of some of the perks built into federal loans, such as deferment options and the variety of income-based payment plans.

For more tips on how to consolidate your student loan, check out: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation .

Edvisors has a list of lenders offering private consolidation loans at http://PrivateStudentLoans.com .

Is Federal Student Loan Consolidation Right for You?

October 25th, 2014

Source: Wikipedia.

Fortunately, there is an option called a Direct Consolidation Loan, which allows you to consolidate your Federal student loans for no additional charge. However, there are a few things you should consider before applying for this program.

About consolidating
The Direct Consolidation Loan was designed to combine all of a borrowers Federal student loans into one. And unlike what youre likely to find at a bank, Direct Consolidation Loans have no application fees, and they can be repaid at any time without penalty.

Eligible loans include, but are not limited to, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Nursing Loans, and existing consolidation loans. Private student loans cannot be combined with Federal loans in a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Most borrowers are eligible for consolidation as soon as they graduate, leave school, or when their enrollment drops below half-time. And, the application process can be started by logging on to StudentLoans.gov.

There are some good reasons to consolidate
Perhaps the best reason to consolidate your student loans is that it makes your life a whole lot easier. Instead of several different payment amounts and interest rates to worry about, a Direct Consolidation Loan combines all of your loans into one bill.

And, you can actually lower your monthly payment amount. Depending on your total loan balance, consolidating can increase your repayment term from the standard 10 years to as long as 30 years. On $50,000 worth of student loans at 6% interest, this can mean the difference between monthly payments of $555 and $300.

If any of your loans are on variable interest rates, consolidation gives you the chance to switch to a fixed rate. This can be a huge benefit, especially now, when interest rates are still near historical lows. All Direct Consolidation Loans have fixed rates based on the weighted average of the interest rates of all of the loans being consolidated.

However, make sure you know what youre agreeing to
There are some potentially negative aspects of consolidating. For example, while a longer repayment term can definitely lower your payments, it can also mean youll pay thousands more in interest over the life of the loan.

For example, if you have $30,000 in outstanding student loans at 6% interest, youll end up paying just under $10,000 in interest over the course of your repayment. However, if you switch that to, say, a 20-year repayment plan, the amount of interest youll end up paying soars to about $21,600. So, even though your monthly payment will be about 33% less, the total cost of borrowing the money becomes more than twice as expensive.

And, you could lose any borrower benefits specific to your original loans, such as interest rate discounts or some loan cancellation benefits. These do not stay with the loan when your balances are consolidated.

However, this does not include benefits of income-sensitive repayment plans like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Direct Consolidation Loans are eligible for these repayment plans, such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay-As-You-Earn, and are eligible for any benefits specific to those repayment plans.

Its permanent, so be 100% sure before you agree
Before you make a decision, I should definitely stress that a Direct Consolidation Loan is not reversible. Just like when you refinance a mortgage, the original loans are paid off and dont exist any longer.

Consolidating your Federal student loans definitely has its advantages, especially if you have a bunch of individual loans, or if any of your student debt has a variable interest rate. Just make sure consolidating wont do you more harm than good before you agree to it.

Is Federal Student Loan Consolidation Right for You?

October 25th, 2014

If you took out student loans during most of your college career, odds are you ended up (or will end up) with a bunch of individual loans. This could cause lots of confusion, involving everything from your repayment options to how much interest youre accruing.

Source: Wikipedia .

Fortunately, there is an option called a Direct Consolidation Loan, which allows you to consolidate your Federal student loans for no additional charge. However, there are a few things you should consider before applying for this program.

About consolidating
The Direct Consolidation Loan was designed to combine all of a borrowers Federal student loans into one. And unlike what youre likely to find at a bank, Direct Consolidation Loans have no application fees, and they can be repaid at any time without penalty.

Eligible loans include, but are not limited to, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Nursing Loans, and existing consolidation loans. Private student loans cannot be combined with Federal loans in a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Most borrowers are eligible for consolidation as soon as they graduate, leave school, or when their enrollment drops below half-time. And, the application process can be started by logging on to StudentLoans.gov .

There are some good reasons to consolidate
Perhaps the best reason to consolidate your student loans is that it makes your life a whole lot easier. Instead of several different payment amounts and interest rates to worry about, a Direct Consolidation Loan combines all of your loans into one bill.

And, you can actually lower your monthly payment amount. Depending on your total loan balance, consolidating can increase your repayment term from the standard 10 years to as long as 30 years. On $50,000 worth of student loans at 6% interest, this can mean the difference between monthly payments of $555 and $300.

If any of your loans are on variable interest rates, consolidation gives you the chance to switch to a fixed rate. This can be a huge benefit, especially now, when interest rates are still near historical lows. All Direct Consolidation Loans have fixed rates based on the weighted average of the interest rates of all of the loans being consolidated.

However, make sure you know what youre agreeing to
There are some potentially negative aspects of consolidating. For example, while a longer repayment term can definitely lower your payments, it can also mean youll pay thousands more in interest over the life of the loan.

For example, if you have $30,000 in outstanding student loans at 6% interest, youll end up paying just under $10,000 in interest over the course of your repayment. However, if you switch that to, say, a 20-year repayment plan, the amount of interest youll end up paying soars to about $21,600. So, even though your monthly payment will be about 33% less, the total cost of borrowing the money becomes more than twice as expensive.

And, you could lose any borrower benefits specific to your original loans, such as interest rate discounts or some loan cancellation benefits. These do not stay with the loan when your balances are consolidated.

However, this does not include benefits of income-sensitive repayment plans like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Direct Consolidation Loans are eligible for these repayment plans, such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay-As-You-Earn, and are eligible for any benefits specific to those repayment plans.

Its permanent, so be 100% sure before you agree
Before you make a decision, I should definitely stress that a Direct Consolidation Loan is not reversible. Just like when you refinance a mortgage, the original loans are paid off and dont exist any longer.

Consolidating your Federal student loans definitely has its advantages, especially if you have a bunch of individual loans, or if any of your student debt has a variable interest rate. Just make sure consolidating wont do you more harm than good before you agree to it.

What to do with the money you save by consolidating
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The article Is Federal Student Loan Consolidation Right for You? originally appeared on Fool.com.

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Black Knight Financial Services’ "First Look" at September Mortgage Data …

October 24th, 2014

Black Knight Financial Services’ “First Look” at September Mortgage Data: Foreclosure Inventory Lowest Since February 2008; Delinquencies Decline

– Delinquent inventory declines by 117,000, nearly reversing August increase
- Foreclosure starts rise nearly 12 percent in September
- Seriously delinquent inventory (90 or more days past due) lowest since August 2008
- Foreclosure inventory down over 400,000 since last year
October 24, 2014: 09:00 AM ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Data and Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services reports the following “first look” at September 2014 month-end mortgage performance statistics derived from its loan-level database representing approximately two-thirds of the overall market.

Total U.S. loan delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure): 5.67%

Month-over-month change: -3.90%

Year-over-year change: -12.22%

Total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: 1.76%
Month-over-month change: -2.20%

Year-over-year change: -33.02%

Total U.S. foreclosure starts: 91,000

Month-over-month change: 11.52%

Year-over-year change: -16.51%

Monthly Prepayment Rate (SMM): 0.94%

Month-over-month change: -1.96%

Year-over-year change: -10.25%

Foreclosure Sales as % of 90+: 1.80%

Month-over-month change: 4.60%

Year-over-year change: -13.04%

Number of properties that are 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure: 2,878,000

Month-over-month change: -117,000

Year-over-year change: -388,000

Number of properties that are 90 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure: 1,118,000

Month-over-month change: -25,000

Year-over-year change: -213,000

Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory: 893,000

Month-over-month change: -20,000

Year-over-year change: -435,000

Number of properties that are 30 or more days past due or in foreclosure: 3,771,000

Month-over-month change: -137,000

Year-over-year change: -822,000

Top 5 States by Non-Current* Percentage

Mississippi: 14.41%

New Jersey: 12.17%

Louisiana: 11.16%

New York: 10.76%

Florida: 10.55%

Bottom 5 States by Non-Current* Percentage

Minnesota: 4.03%

Montana: 3.89%

Colorado: 3.72%

South Dakota: 3.64%

North Dakota: 2.43%

Top 5 States by 90+ Days Delinquent Percentage

Mississippi: 5.34%

Alabama: 3.60%

Rhode Island: 3.53%

Louisiana: 3.52%

Massachusetts: 3.26%

Top 5 States by 6-Month Improvement in Non-Current* Percentage

Florida: -12.81%

Nevada: -12.34%

Hawaii: -11.01%

District of Columbia: -9.19%

Oregon: -8.88%

Top 5 States by 6-Month Deterioration in Non-Current* Percentage

West Virginia: 11.25%

Alaska: 9.64%

Wyoming: 8.38%

Mississippi: 7.60%

South Dakota: 6.05%

*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.
Notes:
1) Totals are extrapolated based on Black Knight Financial Services’ loan-level database of mortgage assets.
2) All whole numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand.

For a more detailed view of this month’s “first look” data, please visit the Black Knight newsroom at http://www.bkfs.com/CorporateInformation/NewsRoom/Pages/20141024.aspx 

The company will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report, which includes an analysis of data supplemented by in-depth charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations. The Mortgage Monitor report will be available online at http://www.bkfs.com/CorporateInformation/NewsRoom/Pages/pressreleases.aspx by Nov. 3, 2014.

For more information about gaining access to Black Knight’s loan-level database, please send an e-mail to dataanalyticsinfo@bkfs.com.

About Black Knight Financial Services, LLC
Black Knight Financial Services, a Fidelity National Financial (NYSE:FNF) company, is the mortgage and finance industries’ leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the mortgage lifecycle.

Black Knight Financial Services is committed to being the premier business partner that lenders and servicers rely on to achieve their strategic goals, realize greater success and better serve their customers by delivering best-in-class technology, services and insight with a relentless commitment to excellence, innovation, integrity and leadership. For more information on Black Knight Financial Services, please visit www.bkfs.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/black-knight-financial-services-first-look-at-september-mortgage-data-foreclosure-inventory-lowest-since-february-2008-delinquencies-decline-900174748.html

SOURCE Black Knight Financial Services

 

Citizens Financial Services, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Earnings

October 23rd, 2014

Citizens Financial Services, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Earnings

October 23, 2014: 05:46 PM ET

MANSFIELD, Pa., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Citizens Financial Services, Inc. (OTC BB: CZFS), parent company of First Citizens Community Bank, has released its unaudited financial performance for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2014.

For the three months ended September 30, 2014, net income totaled $3,368,000 which compares to net income of $3,512,000 for the third quarter of 2013. This represents a decrease of $144,000, or 4.1%. Impacting the comparison is the recognition in the third quarter last year of $305,000 of interest income from a loan that paid off that was previously on non-accrual status.  Earnings per share of $1.11 for the third quarter compares to $1.15 last year.  Annualized return on equity was 13.59% and 15.42% for the three months ended September 30, 2014 and 2013, while return on assets was 1.48% and 1.58%, respectively.      

For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, net income totaled $9,909,000 which compares to $10,079,000 for the same period last year. This represents a decrease of $170,000, or 1.7%. Earnings per share of $3.26 decreased less than 1% from $3.29 per share last year.  Annualized return on equity for the comparable periods was 13.64% and 15.13%, while return on assets was 1.46% and 1.52%, respectively.

CEO and President Randall E. Black stated, “We continue to be challenged by the lack of loan demand, margin compression, and ongoing and increasing regulatory burdens.  While managing all of these challenges, our financial performance remains strong and continues to compare very favorably to peer.  We are committed to remaining a strong, well-capitalized, local community bank dedicated to serving our communities and customers, as well as providing exceptional shareholder return and value.  During the third quarter, significant progress has been made on the construction of our new branch location in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania.  We anticipate a successful expansion of our branch network due to our strong community banking focus and ongoing commitment to customer service.” 

Net interest income, before the provision for loan losses, increased 1.5% from $22,409,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, to $22,736,000 for 2014.  While interest income decreased $776,000, interest expense decreased $1,103,000 from last year’s first nine months resulting in an overall increase in net interest income of $327,000 over the comparable periods.  “The margin compressed slightly from 3.89% last year to 3.85% this year.  Yields on interest earning assets, on a tax-effected basis, declined from 4.67% last year to 4.43% this year.  As interest earning assets roll off or re-price, they are being replaced with lower yielding assets due to the continued low interest rate environment.  We have been able to mitigate this impact by also decreasing the overall cost of interest bearing liabilities, both through a decrease in interest bearing deposits and by managing the rate and term of borrowed funds.  The overall yield on interest bearing liabilities has declined from .93% last year to .71% this year” added Mr. Black.  

At September 30, 2014, total assets were $913 million, up from total assets of $899.4 million as of September 30, 2013 and down slightly from total assets of $914.9 million at December 31, 2013.  The investment portfolio has decreased $9 million from year-end 2013.  Net loans of $536.9 million as of the end of September have increased $3.4 million, or .6%, compared to the end of last year.  Since September 30, 2013, net loans have increased $21.6 million.  Loan quality remains strong and continues to improve from the end of last year.  At September 30, 2014, non-performing loans as a percent of total loans was 1.38%.  This compares to 1.63% as of December 31, 2013 and 1.78% as of September 30, 2013.  The annualized net charge-offs to average loans remains low at .19%.

Stockholders’ equity totaled $99.2 million at September 30, 2014, which compares to $92.1 million at December 31, 2013 and $90.4 million September 30, 2013.  Net income of $9.9 million was offset by cash dividends of $5.4 million.  As a result of changes in interest rates impacting the fair value of investment securities, the unrealized gain on available for sale investment securities increased $2.7 million from the end of 2013.  The regular, quarterly cash dividend of $.40 per share was paid on September 26, 2014 to shareholders of record on September 19, 2014 and represents an increase of 40.4% over the quarterly cash dividend paid a year ago.  Additionally, the Board of Directors also declared and paid a one-time, special cash dividend of $.60 per share.  The special one-time cash dividend was also paid on September 26th to those shareholders of record on September 19, 2014.  The sustained outstanding financial performance and strong capital position has permitted us to increase our regular dividend as well as pay this one-time special dividend.  The attractive dividend reflects the Board of Directors’ desire to provide total shareholder return to our shareholder base.  Both Citizens Financial Services, Inc. and First Citizens Community Bank remain well-capitalized under regulatory capital guidelines. 

Citizens Financial Services, Inc. has over 1,500 shareholders, the majority of whom reside in Potter, Tioga, and Bradford Counties, Pennsylvania and Allegany County, New York, where their 18 offices are located.

Note: This press release may contain forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results and trends could differ materially from those set forth in such statements due to various factors. These factors include operating, legal and regulatory risks; changing economic and competitive conditions and other risks and uncertainties.

 

 

CITIZENS FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET

(UNAUDITED)

September 30

December 31

September 30

(in thousands except share data)

2014

2013

2013

ASSETS:

Cash and due from banks:

  Noninterest-bearing

$           10,889

$           8,899

$          10,956

  Interest-bearing

434

1,184

2,800

Total cash and cash equivalents

11,323

10,083

13,756

Interest bearing time deposits with other banks

5,712

2,480

2,480

Available-for-sale securities

308,283

317,301

318,452

Loans held for sale

753

278

260

Loans (net of allowance for loan losses: $6,816 at September 30, 2014;

    $7,098 at December 31, 2013 and $7,070 at September 30, 2013)

536,939

533,514

515,262

Premises and equipment

11,773

11,105

11,259

Accrued interest receivable

3,689

3,728

3,815

Goodwill

10,256

10,256

10,256

Bank owned life insurance

15,045

14,679

14,554

Other assets

9,272

11,510

9,302

TOTAL ASSETS

$         913,045

$       914,934

$        899,396

LIABILITIES:

Deposits:

  Noninterest-bearing

$           94,049

$         85,585

$          89,716

  Interest-bearing

673,993

662,731

668,940

Total deposits

768,042

748,316

758,656

Borrowed funds

37,729

66,932

43,163

Accrued interest payable

753

895

971

Other liabilities

7,361

6,735

6,226

TOTAL LIABILITIES

813,885

822,878

809,016

STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

Preferred Stock $1.00 par value; authorized

  3,000,000 shares at September 30, 2014, December 31, 2013 and September 30, 2013; 

    none issued in 2014 or 2013

-

-

-

Common stock

  $1.00 par value; authorized 15,000,000 shares at September 30, 2014, December 31, 2013 and

  September 30, 2013;   issued 3,335,236 shares at September 30, 2014; 3,305,517 shares at 

  December 31, 2013 and September 30, 2013

3,335

3,306

3,306

Additional paid-in capital

25,140

23,562

23,545

Retained earnings

77,252

74,325

72,190

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

1,513

(1,225)

(816)

Treasury stock, at cost:  293,332 shares at September 30, 2014; 290,468 shares at

  December 31, 2013 and 289,040 shares at September 30, 2013

(8,080)

(7,912)

(7,845)

TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

99,160

92,056

90,380

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND

   STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

$         913,045

$       914,934

$        899,396

 

 

CITIZENS FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME

(UNAUDITED)

Three Months Ended

Nine Months Ended

September 30,

September 30,

(in thousands, except per share data)

2014

2013

2014

2013

INTEREST INCOME:

Interest and fees on loans

$       7,094

$      7,521

$     21,200

$    21,799

Interest-bearing deposits with banks

25

8

51

27

Investment securities:

    Taxable

805

905

2,542

2,804

    Nontaxable

844

850

2,526

2,563

    Dividends

40

23

159

61

TOTAL INTEREST INCOME

8,808

9,307

26,478

27,254

INTEREST EXPENSE:

Deposits

1,092

1,279

3,291

3,894

Borrowed funds

142

283

451

951

TOTAL INTEREST EXPENSE

1,234

1,562

3,742

4,845

NET INTEREST INCOME

7,574

7,745

22,736

22,409

Provision for loan losses

150

90

480

315

NET INTEREST INCOME AFTER

    PROVISION FOR LOAN LOSSES

7,424

7,655

22,256

22,094

NON-INTEREST INCOME:

Service charges

1,098

1,145

3,239

3,313

Trust

151

169

528

539

Brokerage and insurance

141

120

398

333

Gains on loans sold

40

75

110

236

Investment securities gains, net

242

91

488

385

Earnings on bank owned life insurance

124

127

366

377

Other

128

124

337

328

TOTAL NON-INTEREST INCOME

1,924

1,851

5,466

5,511

NON-INTEREST EXPENSES:

Salaries and employee benefits

2,790

2,856

8,600

8,456

Occupancy 

313

302

967

956

Furniture and equipment

86

157

280

372

Professional fees

289

187

731

604

FDIC insurance

116

112

345

337

Pennsylvania shares tax

101

183

485

548

Other

1,372

1,168

3,750

3,411

TOTAL NON-INTEREST EXPENSES

5,067

4,965

15,158

14,684

Income before provision for income taxes

4,281

4,541

12,564

12,921

Provision for income taxes

913

1,029

2,655

2,842

NET INCOME

$       3,368

$      3,512

$       9,909

$    10,079

PER COMMON SHARE DATA:

Net Income – Basic

$          1.11

$        1.15

$          3.26

$        3.29

Net Income – Diluted

$          1.11

$        1.15

$          3.26

$        3.29

Cash Dividends Paid 

$        1.000

$      0.281

$        1.772

$      0.829

Number of shares used in computation – basic

3,035,214

3,054,226

3,038,973

3,059,520

Number of shares used in computation – diluted

3,036,700

3,055,709

3,040,400

3,060,808

 

 

Financial Highlights

Three Months Ended

Nine Months Ended

September 30

September 30

2014

2013

2014

2013

Performance Ratios and Share Data:

    Return on average assets (annualized)

1.48%

1.58%

1.46%

1.52%

    Return on average equity (annualized)

13.59%

15.42%

13.64%

15.13%

    Net interest margin (tax equivalent)

3.84%

3.93%

3.85%

3.89%

    Cash dividends paid per share 

$               1.000

$               0.281

$              1.772

$            0.829

    Earnings per share – basic

$                 1.11

$                 1.15

$                3.26

$              3.29

    Earnings per share – diluted

$                 1.11

$                 1.15

$                3.26

$              3.29

    Number of shares used in computation – basic

3,035,214

3,054,226

3,038,973

3,059,520

    Number of shares used in computation – diluted

3,036,700

3,055,709

3,040,400

3,060,808

Balance Sheet Highlights (dollars in thousands):

September 30, 2014

December 31, 2013

September 30, 2013

Assets

$             913,045

$           914,934

$          899,396

Investment securities:

    Available for sale

308,283

317,301

318,452

Loans (net of unearned income)

543,755

540,612

522,332

Allowance for loan losses

6,816

7,098

7,070

Deposits

768,042

748,316

758,656

Stockholders’ Equity

99,160

92,056

90,380

Non-performing assets

9,078

10,154

9,786

Non-performing assets to total loans

1.67%

1.88%

1.87%

Annualized net charge-offs to total loans

0.19%

0.02%

0.01%

Average Leverage Ratio

10.78%

10.42%

10.29%

Common shares outstanding

3,041,904

3,015,049

3,016,477

Book value per share

$                 32.10

$               30.64

$              29.20

 

 

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/citizens-financial-services-inc-reports-third-quarter-2014-earnings-853276140.html

SOURCE Citizens Financial Services, Inc.

 

Beach Business: Beginning Oct. 23

October 22nd, 2014

Lumber Liquidators opens new store

With the opening of its newest store, at 1431 West Knox St. in Torrance, Lumber Liquidators has brought its low-cost, no-middleman flooring approach to South Bay homeowners and construction professionals.

Lumber Liquidators is the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring and offers more than 340 flooring varieties, including laminate, solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo, cork, vinyl wood plank and the premier brand of Bellawood Prefinished Hardwood Floors, with a transferable 100-year warranty.

“Our goal is to make sure every Torrance area customer gets a beautiful new floor that’s right for them, and at incredibly low prices,” said Tom Sullivan, founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators. “We cut out the middleman and deal directly with the mills, and that allows us to pass the savings on to our customers. Plus all of our store associates are flooring experts ready to help.”

The 5,128-square-foot store offers virtually anything a flooring project requires, such as molding and trim, underlayments, grills and vents, adhesives, floor-care accessories and a full line of flooring tools to help do-it-yourselfers and professionals save even more.

Additionally, Torrance’s new Lumber Liquidators location has a variety of floors installed so customers can walk on different styles and types of wood. Shoppers can scan in-store QR codes, take home free flooring samples and consult with Lumber Liquidators flooring experts at every turn to assist with their important flooring decisions. Customers can also use Lumber Liquidators’ online Designer Toolbox, which has various tools to compare floor colors, finishes and prices. They can also view before-and-after photos and visualize how more than 340 different floors will look when theyre installed.

For more information, please visit LumberLiquidators.com.

Hometown hero gives back to El Segundo

When right-handed pitcher Nigel Nootbaar was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 12th round (361st pick overall) on day three of the Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft, he decided to give back to the community. So, until Spring Training begins in March of 2015, Nootbaar has agreed to coach kids with special needs at the Beach City Baseball Academy (BCBA), located at 430 E. Grand Ave. in El Segundo.

“As an El Segundo native who played for El Segundo High School, Ive known about BCBA ever since I started playing baseball when I was 5,” Nootbaar said. “Back then, it was called Total Baseball, but Ive been using the facility my entire life. I remember being in the camps at a young age.”

As Nootbaar got older, he started working as one of the instructors for the same camps that he grew up being a part of.

“Now that I am finished with my first professional season in the Orioles minor league system, Richard Murad, the general manager and his staff of instructors, brought to my attention the Special Needs clinic and asked if Id be willing to help these kids as well. After all that this community has done for me to help get me where I am now, I feel its only right to give back in any way possible.”

As a USC student, Nootbaar was a standout player for the Trojans. He made 43 appearances, striking out 69 batters through 99 complete innings with three saves. He also made 11 career starts. As a sophomore in 2013, he struck out a career-high 12 batters vs. Fresno State.

In 2014, Nootbaar was mostly used out of the bullpen, and finished with a 0-1 record and a 2.81 ERA. He made nine appearances overall, with two starts. He struck out 14 batters through 16 complete innings of work.

Nootbaar is the first Trojan to be drafted by the Orioles since the club took second baseman/outfielder Damon Buford in the 10th round of the 1990 draft.

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions relocates

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions recently moved its US aerospace sales and marketing operations along with its life sciences team to a new larger facility in El Segundo. An inauguration and ribbon cutting ceremony recently took place to commemorate the move.

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is one of the world’s leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of precision seals and bearings with more than 20 production facilities and more than 40 marketing companies worldwide. In the US, the new offices will strengthen its network of manufacturing sites, Ramp;D centers and marketing companies. The relocation is a strategic move to leverage the city’s rich history in aerospace, aviation, petroleum and more recently, life sciences and medical devices.

 “As a leading global supplier of engineered solutions, we are excited to be neighbors of so many formidable aerospace and life science companies,” said Peter Hahn, President of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Marketing Americas. “Both of these industries continue to be high growth market segments for us. We look forward to continuing the momentum and leveraging our global presence, but delivering a local reach. Bringing together all of our life sciences experts under one roof, including pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology and patient care fields, will further enhance the company’s unique shoulder-to-shoulder engineering and design approach. It will also enable our customers to leverage a total value of ownership.”

Xceed financial celebrates 50 years

This is a celebratory year for Xceed Financial Credit Union since the company opened its doors 50 years ago as a credit union for the employees of Scientific Data Systems, which was later acquired by the Xerox Corporation. To acknowledge its members’ role in reaching this milestone, the Credit Union will host member appreciation events at Financial Centers across the country during its October anniversary month.

Xceed Financial kicked off a year-long series of celebratory activities earlier this year, beginning with a 50th Day of the Year event in Financial Centers on Feb. 19. Carrying the theme into its promotional products, Xceed Financial launched a special 50-month term auto loan at a rate as low as 1.29 percent APR in April, and a 50 percent APR reduction on all personal loans, consolidation loans and personal lines of credit opened during May 2014. The Credit Union is also encouraging members and associates to donate their time in honor of its anniversary–for each volunteer project an Xceed Financial member or associate completes in 2014, the Credit Union will donate $50 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

In addition, Xceed Financial is sharing a series of “50 Ways to Save” personal finance tips in weekly email newsletters to members and via social media, and collecting stories from long-time Xceed Financial members to publish on its website, in promotional materials, and in a commemorative anniversary book.

We couldn’t have reached this significant milestone without the unwavering support of many thousands of members over the years, so planning our celebrations around member appreciation and charitable giving made perfect sense,” said Teresa Freeborn, president and chief executive for Xceed Financial. “As we look back on 50 years of helping members reach their financial goals, we’re humbled by the trust they place in us and excited about helping to make many more dreams come true in the years to come.”

El Segundo Chamber networking

Join the El Segundo Chamber for its lunchtime networking,Lets Do Lunch! at Deluca Trattoria on Richmond Street in downtown El Segundo.

For $25, the event features lunch, an opportunity to share information about your business, a raffle drawing, a spotlight speaker, a business-card drawing and networking.

RSVP to the chamber at (310) 322-1220. Participation is reserved to the first 25 people making their reservation.

AltX Adds Conifer Financial Services to its New On-Line Network For Hedge …

October 21st, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Conifer Financial Services is the latest addition to AltXs expanding partner list, Conifer President and CEO Jack McDonald and AltX Co-founder Sam Hocking announced jointly today.

Launched successfully over the summer, AltX is the only cloud-based data analytic network to combine sophisticated financial analytics with behavioral dimensions. These innovations help investors and funds discover one another, by creating new ways to view and evaluate investment opportunities and gather better insights. 

Conifer, a leading independent asset services firm, has over 200 clients worldwide, representing more than $100B in combined assets under administration (AUA). Their success derives from the firms broad experience offering front-to-back capabilities across all asset classes for hedge funds, pensions, endowments, foundations, funds-of-funds, family offices, private equity and venture capital.

Mr. McDonald believes his firm and its clients will benefit from the AltX platform.  The combination of Big Data, intelligent analytics and intuitive search creates a more efficient discovery and capital allocation process. We particularly value products that save our clients time and money. AltXs layer of behavioral science and its broad market views intrigue McDonald, because he recognizes that better understanding investor expectations and biases can help funds establish more satisfying investment relationships. 

Mr. Hocking is equally enthusiastic about his brainchild. AltX is designed in such a way that it provides value each time a subscriber uses it.  The science and technology that powers our product remembers your previous searches and interests and provides you with relevant, timely information each time you get on the platform. Were proud of AltX, and of our innovative, entrepreneurial approach to this business, and were pleased Conifer is a new partner.

For more information about AltX, go to www.getaltx.com

For more information about Conifer Financial Services, go to www.conifer.com

About iMATCHATIVE  

iMATCHATIVE is a San Francisco based company that uses science and technology to drive better decisions and to transform businesses. The company specializes in superior data aggregation and analysis, behavioral psychology and algorithms. AltX is iMATCHATIVEs first product.

About Conifer Financial Services

Conifer Financial Services is a leading independent asset services firm offering front to back capabilities across all asset classes to pensions, endowments, family offices, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital managers, RIAs, and traditional asset managers.  Services include Fund Administration, Middle and Back Office Services, Execution Services and Prime Brokerage. Conifer Financial Services has over 200 clients worldwide representing more than $100 billion of combined assets under administration (AUA).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

For AltX MEDIA inquiries, please contact:
Pam van der Lee
Pvanderlee@iMATCHATIVE.com
917.882.3186


For media inquiries about Conifer, please contact:
Sarah Huntington
shuntington@conifer.com  
212-676-5617  
conifer.com



To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/altx-adds-conifer-financial-services-to-its-new-on-line-network-for-hedge-funds-and-institutional-investors-573716145.html

SOURCE Conifer Financial Services, LLC; AltX