This week, a major rule takes effect for the mortgage industry. Lenders will have to make a good faith effort to ensure that borrowers are financially capable of completing their monthly mortgage payments.
- Criminals are taking a much more forceful approach to stealing money from ATMs. At an international hacker conference, researchers showed how hackers would cut open an ATM to access its USB ports. Using a USB drive containing malware, the hackers would proceed to withdraw cash from the ATM.
- Although the tax season is starting later than usual (due to the government shutdown in 2013), American taxpayers can begin to expect important tax documents to come in the mail. It’s a good practice to keep a close eye on the mailbox as there’s the possibility that criminals will steal sensitive mail for the purpose of identity theft.
- Huntington Bank unveiled a new design for its mobile banking applications, with hints that many upgrades are coming in 2014. “Updated look and feel to make room for new features coming in 2014,” the bank said in the mobile apps’ update notes. One popular mobile banking feature that Huntington Bank has offered is mobile check deposit. The bank did not share what the upcoming feature would be.
- On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the unemployment situation for the month of December. In recent months, the jobless rate has declined significantly. The unemployment rate fell from 7.3 percent to 7 percent from October to November. Previously, it was the economic indicator that would signal the rise of interest rates, but the Federal Reserve revealed that may not necessarily be the case.
- Also on Friday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new mortgage rule will take effect. It requires that lenders determine a borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage before approving any home loans. The consumer watchdog agency also defined what will be “qualified mortgages,” which are loans offered to consumers with a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or less.