Update on New Banking Regulations

For those of you that are interested in our the current banking reform initiatives, I have a quick update for you. Our banks have had to make many changes in the last few years. One of the most significant policy changes was to mortgages and home loans. This happened after many new homeowners were misled when they asked how much house can I afford? Hopefully this won’t happen as often anymore.

After the recession, many banks had to increase their lending standards to reduce foreclosures and defaults. Overall they wanted to reduce their lending risk and provide loans only to borrowers with excellent credit. What happened in the aftermath is that many families were unable to get the money they needed at reasonable interest rates.

Thanks to a few creative entrepreneurs, peer to peer lending was born. This allows individuals like you and me to invest in our community. Through one of the many popular lending platforms you can choose to invest in unsecured personal loans that have very attractive returns. The best part is that if you diversify your portfolio, you can greatly reduce your risk of losing money due to defaults. While there is no guarantee that you will not lose money, the data is very compelling.

What does this new type of financing mean for you? Well, if you need money you can get a great interest rate from companies like Lending Club. They oversee the entire process and will help you get investors to fund your loan. No need to ask your family and friends for money – as well all know that can be awkward.

Instead, take a look at peer to peer lending. It may just be the answer you’ve been looking for. The first time I heard about it I was a little skeptical, but after a little reading and a small experiment, I was hooked. If you want a new place to invest your hard earned money, I would suggest peer lending. The best part is that you can start with only $25 – less than the cost of an average dinner. Let me know if you give it a try, I’d be curious to hear about your experience.

By Robert, Contributor

Giving Our Tourism Industry a Boost

You might know by now that I love to travel. But, what I love even more is when people travel to our town. This year we have seen one of the best tourism seasons we’ve had in a long time. Part of the increased tourism is due to the improvement in the economy nationwide. Another reason why we are seeing more visitors is from a new surge of credit card rewards programs.

One of the easiest ways to travel for free is by using frequent flyer miles and hotel points to earn generous rewards. You can earn points by staying or flying with select partners or even shopping at your favorite stores online. Sounds like a great idea, right?

It gets even better. Many credit card companies offer large point bonuses if you meet a minimum spending requirement with in the first thirty to ninety days. Often these bonuses are large enough to earn you one free round trip domestic plane ticket or even free hotel stays. For example, one of my favorite travel cards has earned me over 3 free nights through the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program. And I was able to earn these bonuses just by using my credit card at a dentist near me to pay for my recent root canal. As they say, “No pain, no gain!”

Even though the credit card industry faces much scrutiny due to high interest rates and occasional predatory lending complaints, they offer great opportunities to those that love to travel. As long as you pay your balance in full each month you can earn rewards points that will allow you to travel for practically free.

In the future I may ask a few of my colleagues to contribute a few travel tips if you are interested in learning more. Not only is traveling fun, but it also offers substantial benefits to the local economy. So, why not help a local community and take a quick vacation at the same time. As they say, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. Pack your bags and head to the airport – I just might see you there on my way to the next political convention!

Is The Real Estate Market Finally Improving?

It’s no secret that changes in the real estate market have greatly affected our community. Although there have been significant improvements, we may face additional problems again in the future. For now, the good news is that our building permits office is busier than ever – getting a permit is an essential step if you want to design your own house. We are seeing architects, contractors and developers finally getting back to work.

When the local real estate market was slow, there were fewer home sales than we expected but we also discovered a few surprises along the way. As America was saving their money and staying at home, we saw an uptick in home improvement spending. Many families were realizing that a kitchen remodel cost less than they thought. An easy way to get started with these projects in your home is with a simple inspection. You can even complete the job on your own with a printable home inspection checklist.

Our entire community was affected by the slowdown in our economy, but from this point forward we will all prosper together. Real estate agents, home improvement stores and even handymen will all help move us forward.

As we found out the hard way, we were all severely impacted by banking regulations and mortgage lending. Going forward we may not see the same problems appear again, but instead we are likely to see different economic problems with similar consequences. That’s how companies like Lending Club got started. How will we get past these new problems? With hard work, focus and teamwork.

Our community will grow as long as we work together and communicate. One of the goals of this website is to give our community a voice during both good and bad times. Through this blog we can share our thoughts, experiences and of course, opinions. Let me know if you have any topics you would like me to cover in future posts.

Improving Our Environment Through Reduced Vehicle Emissions

As we look toward the future of our community and our planet, it is clear that air quality is an important part of our political agenda. While we can’t control what happens beyond our borders, we can take the necessary steps to reduce our emissions from truck and car exhaust systems.

Today, most vehicle emissions are regulated by the State controlled Department of Motor Vehicles. They set standards for acceptable emissions levels. One of the easiest ways for our vehicles to meet these standards is with a catalytic converter. The good news is that all cars manufactured in the US are required to have one. However, if you have problems with your converter you may not pass your emissions test and could face an expensive repair bill. A simple way to fix these problems is with a cleaner.

The cleaner may make your “check engine light” turn off and remove the rotten egg smell that is common on older cars. You can pick up a can of cleaner from one of our local automotive shops or even online. I would encourage you to have your exhaust system checked regularly for potential problems or even leaks.

We can make a difference in our local air quality with a few simple steps. Although the solution is simple, getting everyone to take action will be difficult. That’s why we need your help to spread the word. As you know this community can only grow and prosper with your help – our future is in your hands.

How do you think we should reduce our vehicle emissions on a national, state or local level? What are you thoughts on climate change worldwide? This will be an ongoing political topic for a long time to come, but any thoughts are welcome. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Opening Our Forest Land For Recreational Use

Here’s some good news for the offroad enthusiasts in our community: we are opening a new section of park land to vehicles. This project has been in the works for many years but we have finally received the approval.

The new trails will need to be cleared and maintained by volunteers and local organizations. While most of these trails will be used by four wheelers and motorcycles, they will also be open to equestrians, mountain bikes and hikers. The only restriction is that four wheelers will need to be equipped with special ATV tires.

Our local officials believe that the best way to protect our forest land from potential abuse is to require quads and other vehicles to have special ATV trail tires. These tires have a tread pattern that will allow vehicles to get sufficient traction without damaging the surrounding landscape.

As you might have guessed, this initiative has caused quite the stir in our community. There is still great opposition to the opening of the land. We will have ongoing town hall meetings and educational events to make sure everyone is on the same page about the new rules. While the new land is outside of town, there is still much concern about the potential noise. The county sheriff will be making regular visits to the riding area throughout the year. They have plans to do exhaust sound checks using a device that measures decibels to help reduce noise. Of course, they will also verify that all vehicles meet the new tire requirements while using the trails.

What are your thoughts and concerns about this new policy? Will you take advantage of the new trails? We want to hear your opinion on this matter so we know how to address future opportunities. Feel free to send us your feedback by leaving a comment on this site or sending us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!