The Most Memorable Financial News of 2013

Detroit Filed for Bankruptcy


Detroit, once the richest city in America, filed for bankruptcy on July 18, admitting that it was incapable of paying off its staggering $18 billion debt. The historic collapse marks the falling of a city famous for its motor manufacturers and Motown -- conceived in Detroit and responsible in large part for the racial integration of popular music. In terms of the bankruptcy, the plan is to settle with creditors in order to make a "fresh start," according to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

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The Government Shutdown


The government was shut down from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17, as a result of a failure by Congress to come to a compromise for the 2014 budget. It was a tense struggle, with President Obama stating, "This Republican shutdown did not have to happen. But I want every American to understand why it did happen. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act."

During that period, most routine operations were suspended and 800,000 federal employees were furloughed, and 1.3 million employees were required to continue working without having knowledge of when they would be paid.

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DOMA Was Repealed


On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled the federal law defining marriage between a man and a woman unconstitutional, in a landmark 5-4 decision, based on what Justice Anthony Kennedy said was an issue of basic equality. The ruling had positive consequences for many gay Americans, such as inclusion in federally-recognized marriages, which legally, means that same-sex couples can file taxes jointly. This could mean significant savings, as couples would no longer need to pay taxes on medical benefits received through their partner's employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and more.

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The Affordable Care Act


After a long hard-fought struggle, President Obama was able to roll out his nationwide healthcare reforms, under the Affordable Care Act, also known more informally as Obamacare. In Oct. of 2013, open enrollment began online, but with the site plagued with bugs, all eyes were on the President and his fumble.

Despite the bumps along the way, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the act features free preventative care, prescription discounts for seniors, lowered healthcare costs, and new consumer protection against fraud. So far, the results among Americans are mixed.

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There Were Data Breaches... a Lot Of Them


This year has been a bumpy one for technology. On Dec. 19, Target announced that roughly 40 million credit and debit card accounts were compromised between Nov. 27 to Dec. 15. Krebs on Security was the first to report that investigators suspected foul play at work, with malicious software installed on Target's payment terminals.

Also, Chase reported a breach on Dec. 5, in which hackers may have accessed the personal data of 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards, however, no critical information such as birth dates, social security numbers, or money-related details were stolen.

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Banks Failed


It's no surprise that banks failed, and we reported throughout the year every time this happened, with our last count coming in at 20. However, a few particularly surprising bank failures occurred, such as Perkstreet Financial, which unfortunately, left many customers hanging without being able to redeem all the rewards they had saved up.

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Hackers Galore

Hackers did a number on banks this year, and stole or conspired to steal millions from Americans. Eight members were charged in a cyber-crime ring involving $15 million, using hacked information from customer accounts, including those from JMorgan Chase, Citibank, and PayPal. Hackers also took to the Internet and prevented customers from accessing their online accounts.

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