April 2014

Target Announces Bob DeRodes As Chief Information Officer

Five months after confirming credit card point of sale terminals were compromised by a cyber security data breach; Target announced its accelerated plans to improve data security systems.  The company announced that Bob DeRodes, who worked for US government departments, will assume the role of Target’s Chief Information Officer effective May 5.


Tornadoes, Powerful Storms Leave Trail Of Damage Across Southeast

Dangerous wind storms reaching tornadic levels in some areas of the southern US left a trail of damage behind over the weekend.  Over 2.5 million people live in the path the tornadoes are expected to follow between Mississippi east to Alabama today and tomorrow, before moving across the Carolinas later in the week.

Do Drivers Want Insurance Monitoring Devices In Their Cars?

In recent years, drivers across the country were introduced to the idea of ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance rates.  The system is borrowed from a similar program in Europe, and attempts to provide drivers with fair rates from their insurers based on their own individual driving habits.

Hurricane Sandy Victims Continue to Sue Flood Insurance Providers

A report on NorthJersey.com has confirmed that almost 1000 Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey have filed federal lawsuits against their flood insurance providers. The flow of lawsuits has increased since late 2013, with that number expected to reach 2000 by next year.

Anoka County Man Is Accused of Multiple Counts of Credit Card Fraud

An Anoka County man has been accused earlier this month with seven counts of felony of financial transaction card fraud.               

Shane Clinton Rundle, a 53-year-old St. Louis Park resident, is accused of breaking into several vehicles in Anoka County and stealing credit and debit cards from purses in order to make purchases in Andover, Blaine, Coon Rapids and Ham Lake.


Fewer Americans Applying for Mortgages this Spring

Warmer weather and rising housing inventory did little to perk up mortgage applications this week. The Mortgage Bankers Association(MBA) says mortgage applications continued to decline, with refinance applications down 4 percent week-to-week, and applications for home loans down 3 percent. Purchase applications have fallen a stunning 18 percent year-over-year – hardly what you would expect during a garden-variety housing recovery.

Work Crews Quickly Fill Sinkhole In Florida

Sinkholes are a common thorn in the side for homeowners and their insurance policies, many of which exclude or restrict coverage for sinkhole damages.  Florida is one of the most common locations for sinkholes in the US, which unexpectedly open up in rural or urban residential neighborhoods.

A sinkhole recently opened in a retirement community in the Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando.  The sinkhole was approximately 50 feet in diameter, and stretched between two houses in the neighborhood.

Credit Card Interest Rates Rising Year Over Year

Access to credit is improving across the US after years of belt tightening following the 2008 recession.  But while access to credit is improving, the cost to spend on credit continues to become more expensive with each passing year.

People rebuilding their credit scores since the recession can expect to pay high interest fees.  The average credit card interest rate for a cardholder with fair credit is over 21 percent in most regions of the country, up over 4 percent from 2013.


Rate Of Home Foreclosures Highest In New Jersey

Markets across the country continue to recover from the housing crash that began in 2008.  But the recovery is progressing very slowly in New Jersey, home to the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in foreclosure across the entire US.

According to CoreLogic, a leading real estate analytical firm, the national rate of foreclosures jumped in January before coming back down again in February.  But the rate never came down in New Jersey, and instead continued rising into March to approximately 6.2 percent of all mortgaged homes in the Garden State.

Will Identity TheftGuard Improve Credit Card Security?

The Target data breach announced last fall emphasized to consumers as well as businesses that the country must improve credit card security.  The Heartbleed hack announced earlier this month also exposed Americans to the harsh reality that personal data can be compromised or stolen.