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The monitor daily reported on the recent downgrade of Regions Bank.

S&P Cuts Ratings on Regions; Outlook Negative

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its ratings on Regions Financial Corp., including lowering the counterparty credit rating to BBB-/A-3 from BBB/A-3. The outlook is negative. S&P also lowered its rating on the company’s primary subsidiary Regions Bank to BBB/A-2 from BBB2′.
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The Current Wall Street Journal Prime Rate is: 3.25%

(the last rate change — a decrease of 75 basis points
[0.75 percentage point] — occurred on December 16, 2008)

The U.S. Prime Rate is a commonly used, short-term interest rate in the banking system of the United States. All types of American lending institutions (traditional banks, credit unions, etc.) use the U.S. Prime Rate as an index or foundation rate for pricing various short-term loan products. The Prime Rate is consistent because banks want to offer businesses and consumers loan products that are both profitable and competitive. A consistent U.S. Prime Rate also makes it easier and more efficient for individuals and businesses to compare similar loan products offered by competing banks.

When newspapers, academics, investors and economists refer to the National, Fed, U.S. or WSJ Prime Rate, it is widely accepted that they are in fact referring to The United States Prime Rate as listed in the Eastern print edition of the Wall Street Journal® (WSJ). Furthermore, each U.S. state does not have its own individual Prime Rate, so the “New York Prime Rate” or the “California Prime Rate” are in fact the same as the United States Prime Rate.

Traditionally, the WSJ Prime Rate was determined by polling thirty (30) of America’s largest banks. When twenty-three (23) of those 30 banks had changed their prime lending rate, The WSJ would respond by updating its published Prime Rate. Effective December 16, 2008, however, the WSJ now determines the Prime Rate by polling the 10 largest banks in the United States. When at least 7 out of the top 10 banks have changed their Prime, the WSJ will update its published Prime Rate.

Providers of consumer and commercial loan products often use the U.S. Prime Rate as their base lending rate, then add a margin (profit) based primarily on the amount of risk associated with a loan. Moreover, some financial institutions use Prime as an index for pricing certain time-deposit products like variable-rate Certificates of Deposit.

It’s important to note that the Prime Rate is an index, not a law. Consumers and business owners can sometimes find a loan or credit card with an interest rate that is below the current Prime Rate. Lenders will sometimes offer below-Prime-Rate loans to highly qualified customers as a way of generating business. Furthermore, below-Prime-Rate loans are relatively common when the loan product in question is secured, as is the case with home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and car loans.

The U.S. Prime Rate is invariably tied to America’s cardinal, benchmark interest rate: the Federal Funds Target Rate (also known as The Fed Funds Target Rate.) The Fed Funds Target Rate is set by a committee within the Federal Reserve system called The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC usually meets every six weeks, and it is at these meetings that the FOMC votes on whether or not to make changes to the Federal Funds Target Rate. When the Fed Funds Target Rate changes, it is almost a certainty that the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate will also change. If the FOMC votes to make no changes to The Fed Funds Target Rate, then it is almost a certainty that the WSJ Prime Rate will also remain unchanged. Since the second quarter of 1994, a rule of thumb for the U.S. Prime Rate has been:

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

The FOMC’s primary objectives are to keep inflation under control and maintain steady economic growth with maximum sustainable employment within the United States.

The U.S. Prime Rate is used by many banks to set rates on many consumer loan products, such as student loans, home equity lines of credit, car loans and credit cards. If you read or hear about a change to the U.S. Prime Rate, then any loan product that is tied to the Prime Rate will also change, like variable-rate credit cards or certain adjustable-rate mortgages.

Click on http://www.pfcfinance.com for business loans or a free handbook on small business loans.

The Current Wall Street Journal Prime Rate is: 3.25%

(the last rate change — a decrease of 75 basis points
[0.75 percentage point] — occurred on December 16, 2008)

The U.S. Prime Rate is a commonly used, short-term interest rate in the banking system of the United States. All types of American lending institutions (traditional banks, credit unions, etc.) use the U.S. Prime Rate as an index or foundation rate for pricing various short-term loan products. The Prime Rate is consistent because banks want to offer businesses and consumers loan products that are both profitable and competitive. A consistent U.S. Prime Rate also makes it easier and more efficient for individuals and businesses to compare similar loan products offered by competing banks.

When newspapers, academics, investors and economists refer to the National, Fed, U.S. or WSJ Prime Rate, it is widely accepted that they are in fact referring to The United States Prime Rate as listed in the Eastern print edition of the Wall Street Journal® (WSJ). Furthermore, each U.S. state does not have its own individual Prime Rate, so the “New York Prime Rate” or the “California Prime Rate” are in fact the same as the United States Prime Rate.

Traditionally, the WSJ Prime Rate was determined by polling thirty (30) of America’s largest banks. When twenty-three (23) of those 30 banks had changed their prime lending rate, The WSJ would respond by updating its published Prime Rate. Effective December 16, 2008, however, the WSJ now determines the Prime Rate by polling the 10 largest banks in the United States. When at least 7 out of the top 10 banks have changed their Prime, the WSJ will update its published Prime Rate.

Providers of consumer and commercial loan products often use the U.S. Prime Rate as their base lending rate, then add a margin (profit) based primarily on the amount of risk associated with a loan. Moreover, some financial institutions use Prime as an index for pricing certain time-deposit products like variable-rate Certificates of Deposit.

It’s important to note that the Prime Rate is an index, not a law. Consumers and business owners can sometimes find a loan or credit card with an interest rate that is below the current Prime Rate. Lenders will sometimes offer below-Prime-Rate loans to highly qualified customers as a way of generating business. Furthermore, below-Prime-Rate loans are relatively common when the loan product in question is secured, as is the case with home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and car loans.

The U.S. Prime Rate is invariably tied to America’s cardinal, benchmark interest rate: the Federal Funds Target Rate (also known as The Fed Funds Target Rate.) The Fed Funds Target Rate is set by a committee within the Federal Reserve system called The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC usually meets every six weeks, and it is at these meetings that the FOMC votes on whether or not to make changes to the Federal Funds Target Rate. When the Fed Funds Target Rate changes, it is almost a certainty that the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate will also change. If the FOMC votes to make no changes to The Fed Funds Target Rate, then it is almost a certainty that the WSJ Prime Rate will also remain unchanged. Since the second quarter of 1994, a rule of thumb for the U.S. Prime Rate has been:

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

The FOMC’s primary objectives are to keep inflation under control and maintain steady economic growth with maximum sustainable employment within the United States.

The U.S. Prime Rate is used by many banks to set rates on many consumer loan products, such as student loans, home equity lines of credit, car loans and credit cards. If you read or hear about a change to the U.S. Prime Rate, then any loan product that is tied to the Prime Rate will also change, like variable-rate credit cards or certain adjustable-rate mortgages.

Click on http://www.pfcfinance.com for business loans or a free handbook on small business loans.

There are a number of ways to get your credit report. Here are a few.

One you can go to sites such as http://www.myfico.com, http://www.freecreditreport.com. Or directly to the bureaus which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Most companies use Experian or Equifax though certain areas in the South use TransUnion more. The government has a rule that allows you to receive one free credit report a year. This is very important to monitor as you can monitor for identity theft or erroneous information.

Also, if you have been denied for credit the entity that denied you has to send you a letter stating why and giving you the information on which bureau they used. This will allow you to request a free credit report from that bureau.
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Care Credit just sent letters to many physician subscribers that use patient financing to inform them that they will no longer will be giving credit to non-plastic surgeon physicians doing aesthetic treatments. They are also limiting the amount of medical procedures they will finance on the card. Many users of Care Credit and the other well-known patient finance company, Chase Bank, have complained recently that many of their credits are being declined. This is especially difficult for a physicians bottom line in a time when many patients credit cards are charged up and cash maybe limited.
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The prime rate, as reported by the Wall Street Journal’s bank survey, is among the most widely used benchmark in setting home equity lines of credit and credit card rates. It is in turn based on the fed funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve. The COFI (11th District cost of funds index) is a widely used benchmark for adjustable-rate mortgages

Updated 3/3/2010Prime rate, fed funds, COFI
This week Month ago Year ago
WSJ Prime Rate 3.25 3.25 3.25
Federal Discount Rate 0.75 0.50 0.50
Fed Funds Rate (Current target rate 0-0.25) 0.25 0.25 0.25
11th District Cost of Funds 1.786 1.828 2.455

Ratings methodology
What’s included? The fed funds rate is the primary tool that the Federal Open Market Committee uses to influence interest rates and the economy. Changes in the fed funds rate have far-reaching effects by influencing the borrowing cost of banks in the overnight lending market, and subsequently the returns offered on bank deposit products such as certificates of deposit, savings accounts, and money market accounts. Changes in the fed funds rate and the discount rate also dictate changes in the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate, which is of interest to borrowers. The prime rate is the underlying index for most credit cards, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, and personal loans. Many small business loans are also indexed to the Prime rate. The 11th District Cost of Funds is often used as an index for adjustable-rate mortgages.

Job losses were mild in February despite extreme snowstorms in much of the country, according to a government report released Friday, suggesting that while the labor market remains weak, it is no longer getting worse.
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Section 179 of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 179), allows a taxpayer to elect to deduct the cost of certain types of property on their income taxes, as an expense (rather than requiring the property to be capitalized and depreciated). This property is generally limited to tangible, depreciable, personal property which is acquired for use in the active conduct of a trade or business.[1] Buildings are not eligible for section 179 deductions.[2] Depreciable property that is not eligible for a section 179 deduction is still deductible over a number of years through MACRS depreciation according to sections 167 and 168. The 179 election is NOT mandatory, and the equipment may be depreciated according to sections 167 and 168 if preferable for tax reasons.[3] Further, the 179 election may only be taken for the year the equipment is placed in use and is waived if not taken for that year.[4] However, if the election is taken, it is irrevocable unless special permission is given.[5]

What is the Section 179 rule for 2010

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