Women’s College World Series: Oregon softball coach Mike White asks …

Oregon softball coach Mike White asked Oklahoma fans for forgiveness.

Considering the Sooners didnt qualify for this years Womens College World Series, coaches were asked at a Wednesday news conference to make the case for local fans to jump on their bandwagon.

Alabama coach Patrick Murphy — whose Crimson Tide squad eliminated OU in last weeks Super Regional — noted that Sooner fans already have the right colors to become temporary Bama fans.

Other coaches said intelligent OU fans will just appreciate good softball, regardless of who wins.

Fact Checker: Warren claims ‘auto dealer markups cost consumers $26 billion a …

One study estimates that these auto dealer markups cost consumers $26 billion a year. Auto dealers got a specific exemption from CFPB [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] oversight, and it is no coincidence that auto loans are now the most troubled consumer financial product. Congress should give the CFPB the authority it needs to supervise car loans — and keep that $26 billion a year in the pockets of consumers where it belongs.

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass., speech at the Levy Institute, April 15, 2015

PHOTO GALLERY: Conditions at miscellaneous schools

PHOTO GALLERY: Conditions at miscellaneous schools

The Jackson Sun toured 14 of the Jackson-Madison County systems schools over a six-month period last year to look at the condition of the facilities. Photos of some other schools were submitted by school officials. This first photo is Andrew Jackson Elementary School.

Industry Versions of FICO® Score 9 Now Available to Lenders from All Three …

The industry versions of FICO Score 9 are important additions to the FICO Score 9 suite, helping lenders manage risk with greater precision and extend credit safely to as many people as possible, said Jim Wehmann, FICOs executive vice president for Scores. FICO Auto Score 9 and FICO Bankcard Score 9 evaluate all the information in a credit report to identify a borrowers specific credit risk as it relates to auto loans and bankcards, respectively.

The predictive power added to FICO Score 9 through important innovations, such as our nuanced treatment of medical debt, helps credit grantors increase lending responsibly, added Wehmann. FICO Score 9 can help lenders address their risk and compliance challenges and continue making responsible loans. And as auto lenders extend credit to a larger range of borrowers, the improved predictiveness of FICO Auto Score 9 will be critical.

The FICO® Score is the score lenders use. FICO is the leader in credit risk scoring, and the FICO Score is the standard measure of consumer credit risk. Businesses bought more than 10 billion FICO® Scores last year, and the scores are used in 90 percent of consumer lending decisions in the US

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) is a leading analytics software company, helping businesses in 90+ countries make better decisions that drive higher levels of growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. The companys groundbreaking use of Big Data and mathematical algorithms to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries. FICO provides analytics software and tools used across multiple industries to manage risk, fight fraud, build more profitable customer relationships, optimize operations and meet strict government regulations. Many of our products reach industry-wide adoption. These include the FICO® Score, the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States. FICO solutions leverage open-source standards and cloud computing to maximize flexibility, speed deployment and reduce costs. The company also helps millions of people manage their personal credit health.

FICO: Make every decision count(TM). Learn more at www.fico.com.

For FICO news and media resources, visit www.fico.com/news.

FICO and Make every decision count are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and in other countries.


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/industry-versions-of-fico-score-9-now-available-to-lenders-from-all-three-major-us-credit-bureaus-300079157.html


Teen Driver? Prepare for Auto Insurance Quotes Misery

Ellington Financial income rebounds, still shy off dividend; getting into auto …

  • Q1 net income of $19.3M or $0.57 per share vs. $2.6M and $0.08 in Q4. Dividend is $0.65.
  • Book value per share of $23.01 slips $0.08 from the start of the quarter. Todays close of $20 is a 13% discount to book.
  • Our non-Agency diversification efforts are beginning to contribute more meaningfully to our results, says CEO Laurence Penn as earnings rebound from Q4s dismal result. The company also announces the purchase of a stake in a third mortgage originator and simultaneously entering into a flow agreement with that originator to purchase non-QM loans. Ellington expects to be begin acquiring loans under this deal in the next few months.
  • Also inked is a one-year agreement with an auto-loan originator, and Ellington expects to being acquiring high-yielding car loans this quarter.
  • Earnings call at 11 ET
  • Previously: Ellington Financial misses by $0.05(May 6)
  • EFC flat after hours

Moody’s takes rating actions on nine Brazilian banks

Actions follow conclusion of review

New York, May 11, 2015 — Moodys Investors Service has today downgraded by one notch the
long-term local currency deposit ratings of five Brazilian banks,
including Banco Bradesco SA, Itau Unibanco SA,
Banco Itau BBA SA, HSBC Bank Brasil — Banco
Multiplo SA, and Banco Votorantim SA
and upgraded by one notch the long-term local currency deposit
rating of Banco BBM SA, following the conclusion
of the rating agencys review initiated on 17 March 2015,
prompted by the publication of its new Banks methodology (see Banks
published on 16 March 2015).

At the same time, Moodys lowered the baseline credit assessments
(BCAs) of six banks, and raised the BCAs of three banks to reflect
the implementation of the new bank methodology. Moodys has
also assigned, where relevant, a counterparty risk (CR) assessment.

In general, the rating changes do not reflect either an improvement
or a deterioration in the affected issuers credit fundamentals.
Rather, the changes are a consequence of the implementation of our
new bank methodology, which highlighted these issuers as being either
positive or negative outliers at their previous rating levels.
Moodys considers these issuers to be more appropriately positioned
at their current revised rating levels.

Moodys has withdrawn the outlooks on all junior instrument ratings
covered in this press release. It has withdrawn these outlooks
for its own business reasons. Please refer to Moodys Investors
Services Policy for Withdrawal of Credit Ratings, available on
its website, www.moodys.com. Outlooks are now
only assigned to long-term senior debt and deposit ratings,
indicating the direction of any rating pressures.

Please refer to this link for a list of all affected ratings: http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_181085

Please click this link for Moodys new Banks methodology:



The conclusion of the reviews follows Moodys publication of its updated
bank rating methodology. The revised methodology, Banks,
contains new aspects that Moodys has devised in order to help accurately
predict bank failures and determine how each creditor class is likely
to be treated when a bank fails and enters resolution. The new
aspects capture insights gained from the crisis and the fundamental shift
in the banking industry and its regulation.


The downgrades of the global scale senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings
of Banco Bradesco SA (Bradesco), Itau Unibanco SA
(Itau Unibanco), and Banco Itau BBA SA (Itau BBA)
to Baa2 from Baa1 followed the reduction of their BCAs to equivalent levels.
Notwithstanding the downgrade of the banks global scale ratings,
their Brazilian long-term national scale deposit ratings were affirmed
at Aaa.br.

These changes primarily considered the banks adjusted capitalization
levels, which compare unfavorably with global peers, notwithstanding
reported capital ratios that are considerably stronger and that provide
sizeable cushions relative to the minimum regulatory requirements in Brazil.
Moodys ratio of Tangible Common Equity to Risk-Weighted
Assets is designed to provide a globally consistent measure of capitalization
and thereby enhance the comparability of banks operating under different
regulatory regimes. Our ratio, which has an important weight
in our new methodology, closely mirrors Basel III guidelines and
is stricter in many respects than the current Brazilian standard.

While their capital scores are low by this measure, we acknowledge
these banks consistent capital replenishment ability through recurring
internal revenues generation, which is supported by their high degree
of revenue diversification, their dominant market positions as the
two largest private sector banks in the country, and strong risk
management. The banks also exhibit low asset risk supported by
moderate levels of nonperforming loans and conservative reserve buffers
that should help to shield their capital positions from any unexpected
asset quality deterioration. The ratings are also supported by
the banks strong liquidity profiles, characterized by ample
liquid resources, large core deposit bases, and well established
market access.

The negative outlooks on these banks global ratings are in line
with the negative outlook on the government of Brazils Baa2 sovereign
bond rating. Both banks have high direct exposure to the countrys
creditworthiness through their sizeable holdings of government securities.
In addition, their lending books are highly exposed to the Brazilian
economy. Notwithstanding Itau Unibancos growing presence
in the rest of Latin America, and both banks important non-credit
earnings, that reduce earnings volatility during challenging risk
environments, Bradesco and Itau Unibanco still have limited geographic
earnings diversification. These linkages constrain the banks
BCAs to the sovereign bond rating. Thus, a downgrade of the
sovereign is likely to result in a further downgrade of the banks
ratings as well.

The downgrade of Itau Unibanco Holding SAs local
currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings to Baa3, from
Baa2, reflects the reduction of its subsidiaries BCAs to
baa2. Itau Unibanco Holdings ratings are notched down from
the BCAs of Itau Unibanco and Itau BBA to reflect structural subordination.
The holding companys Tier 2 subordinated securities remain at Baa3
to reflect our view that the higher loss severity of a subordinated bond
is fully captured by a one-notch downward adjustment from the bank
subsidiaries BCA.



In lowering the unsupported BCA of HSBC Bank Brasil — Banco Multiplo
SA (HSBC Brazil) to baa3, from baa2, Moodys
notes the banks poor profitability, low adjusted capitalization
levels as measured by Moodys ratio of Tangible Common Equity to
Risk-Weighted Assets, and large volume of market funding,
which is mainly used to meet the Groups internal liquidity requirements.
After two years of declining profits and market share, the bank
reported net losses in 2014. Driven mostly by increases in interest
expenses on deposits, these losses further weakened HSBC Brazils
already low capitalization. Notwithstanding these credit challenges,
the bank continues to benefit from a relatively low nonperforming loan
ratio, substantial loan loss reserves, and a high level of
liquid resources.

Moodys also lowered HSBC Brazils Adjusted BCA by one notch
to a2 and downgraded the long-term global local currency deposit
ratings to A2, which incorporates four-notches of uplift
based on our assessment of very high likelihood of support from the banks
UK-based parent HSBC Holdings plc (Aa3 review for downgrade).
The banks other ratings, including its Aaa.br national
scale deposit rating, its foreign currency debt and deposit ratings,
and its short-term ratings, were affirmed.

The negative outlook on HSBC Brazils ratings reflects the banks
significant challenge to revert losses and expand operations, particularly
in the scenario of negative growth that Moodys anticipates for
Brazils economy in 2015.


The reduction of Banco Votorantims (BV) BCA to ba1 from baa3 reflects
the banks weak capitalization, high dependence on market
funds, modest profitability, and relatively high asset risk,
counterbalanced by a high level of liquid resources. BVs
adjusted capital ratio is constrained by its large deferred tax asset
position, which resulted in a tangible common equity to risk-weighted
assets ratio of just 3.8% as of December 2014. However,
Moodys expects the bank to continue to rationalize its balance
sheet growth and retain the majority of its earnings, which will
lead to gradual improvements in its capitalization.

BVs asset risk is characterized by a concentration in vehicles
loans with a high but declining level of nonperforming loans as a result
of the enhanced underwriting standards the bank has been applying over
the last few years. After posting a net loss in 2013 driven by
high loan loss provisions, the bank achieved a meaningful turnaround
in its profitability in 2014, though earnings remain low.
While the banks funding profile is highly dependent on the wholesale
segment and is consequently exposed to refinancing risk, it asset
and liability tenors are well matched and it receives significant funding
from Banco do Brasil, its 50% shareholder, which purchases
BVs consumer loan securitizations. BVs ample liquid
resources are supplemented by a BRL7.0 billion committed facility
provided by BB as well.

As a result of the reduction in BVs BCA, Moodys downgraded
the banks long-term global scale deposit and senior debt
ratings to Baa3 from Baa2, its short-term ratings to P-3
from P-2, and its long-term Brazilian national scale
deposit rating to Aa1.br from Aaa.br. The Baa3 rating
incorporates one notch of uplift from the banks ba1 BCA,
which results from Moodys view of the high likelihood of support from
Banco do Brasil SA (BCA of baa3).

BVs ba1 BCA incorporates our expectation that profitability will
continue to recover, asset risk will continue to decline,
and capitalization will improve. The negative outlook on BVs
ratings reflects the risk that these expectations may not be fulfilled
as a result of the weak economic environment.


The reduction of Banco do Brasils (BB) BCA to baa3 from baa2 reflects
BBs weak capital position, despite its strong funding structure
and sound asset risk profile, profitability, and liquidity.
While BBs tangible common equity was at just 7.0%
of risk-weighted assets as of December 2014, Moodys
expects the bank to reduce its pace of loan growth in 2015, which
will reduce pressure on its capitalization. BBs funding
profile is the banks key strength, reflecting its granular
deposit funding base and stable long-term funding from government-related
entities. Asset risk is supported by its historically low non-performing
loan ratio and relatively high loan loss reserve coverage, but limited
to the banks rapid expansion over the last few years coupled with
its significant exposure to the agricultural sector, although Moodys
notes that this industry is currently experiencing some favorable momentum.
Supported by its earnings diversification, with significant contributions
from service fees and insurance revenues, Moodys expects
the banks profitability to stabilize after several years of declines.

Despite the change in BBs BCA, Moodys has affirmed
the banks long-term global scale debt and deposit ratings
of Baa2, and its long-term Brazilian national scale deposit
rating of Aaa.br. These ratings benefit from our expectation
that the government of Brazil will provide financial support to the bank
if necessary. However, Moodys downgraded the preferred
stock non-cumulative rating to Ba3(hyb) from Ba2(hyb), as
this rating is positioned at the banks BCA minus three notches
and we do not expect the government to support these specific obligations.
The notching captures the risk of losses for investors from coupon suspension
and principal write-down before the bank reaches the point of non-viability.


Moodys increased by one notch the standalone BCAs of Banco Ford
SA, BRB-Banco de Brasilia SA
and Banco BBM . In addition, Moodys upgraded the debt
and deposit ratings of Banco BBM SA. The ratings
of Banco Ford and Banco de Brasilia were affirmed. The outlooks
on these issuers are stable. As previously indicated, these
changes do not reflect an improvement in the issuers fundamentals.
Rather, they are the result of the implementation of the new methodology,
which highlighted them as being positive outliers at their previous rating


The increase of Banco Fords BCA to ba2, from ba3, reflects
the banks strong profitability and low asset risk, notwithstanding
its monoline business model focused entirely on auto loans. As
a captive finance operation of Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC (FMCC,
Baa3 stable) in Brazil, Banco Ford originates revenues mainly from
working capital loans and inventory financing to Ford dealers.
The bank has reported profitability ratios consistently better than those
of its peers over the last several years, supported by a lean structure
and low operating expenses. Low asset risk reflects the banks
stable track record of low loan delinquencies resulting from its close
oversight of the financial performance of car dealers, coupled with
large volumes of collateral.

The increase of its BCA did not affect Banco Fords Ba1 global local
currency and foreign currency deposit ratings or its Aa1.br Brazilian
national scale deposit ratings, which continue to benefit from a
high probability of support from the banks parent.


The increase of the BRB-Banco de Brasilias (BRB) BCA to
ba3 from b1 reflects the banks strong funding profile, marked
by a granular deposit base and very low reliance on market funds.
The bank also benefits from adequate capitalization, profitability,
and liquidity. However, BRB continues to exhibit high asset
risk resulting from its geographic concentration in the Federal District
region, as well as weak corporate governance, as reflected
in frequent changes in senior management and continued political interference.
The banks asset risk profile has been hurt by the high pace of
growth in its loan book over the last few years, with a focus on
SME lending, an area in which it has little experience, which
has led to a rising delinquency ratio.

Notwithstanding the change in its BCA, BRBs deposit rating
was affirmed at Ba3. Consequently, the BCA and deposit rating,
which no longer benefit from parental support as the Government of Brasilia
is unrated, are now equivalent. Moodys also affirmed
BRBs long-term Brazilian national scale deposit rating of


The upgrade of Banco BBMs (BBM) deposit and senior debt ratings
to Baa3 from Ba1 results from an equivalent improvement in its BCA.
Moodys also upgraded the banks long-term Brazilian
national scale deposit rating to Aa1.br from Aa2.br.
The changes reflect the banks strong capital position and low asset
risk, which are partially offset by a heavily dependence on market
funding. BBMs strong asset risk profile is evidenced by
its low historical non-performing loan ratios and reduced charge
offs, supported by strict underwriting standards. While the
bank has material exposures to both the sugar amp; alcohol and construction
industries, these risks are mitigated by a high degree of collateralization.
A strict internal cap on credit exposure sustains the banks very
strong capital ratios. Although BBM relies heavily on market funding,
which exposes it to refinancing risk, it also holds a large amount
of liquid assets and operates with a favorable tenor gap in its balance


As part of todays actions, Moodys has assigned a Counterparty
Risk Assessment (CR Assessment) to nine banks. The CR Assessment
reflects an issuers probability of defaulting on certain bank operating
liabilities and other contractual commitments, but it is not a rating.
The CR Assessment takes into account the issuers standalone strength
as well as the likelihood of affiliate and government support in the event
of need, reflecting the anticipated seniority of these obligations
in the liabilities hierarchy. The CR Assessment also incorporates
other steps authorities can take to preserve the key operations of a bank
should it enter a resolution.


The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in
March 2015. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com
for a copy of this methodology.

Moodys National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative
measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country,
enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks.
NSRs differ from Moodys global scale credit ratings in that they are
not globally comparable with the full universe of Moodys rated entities,
but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the
same country. NSRs are designated by a .nn
country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in .za
for South Africa. For further information on Moodys approach to
national scale credit ratings, please refer to Moodys Credit rating
Methodology published in June 2014 entitled Mapping Moodys National
Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings.


Moodys took its last rating action on Banco Bradesco on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed on review for downgrade both
the global local currency deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings of
Baa1. The action followed implementation of the new bank methodology
on 16 March 2015. The global short-term local currency deposit
and the foreign currency deposit were affirmed. The Brazilian national
scale ratings remained unchanged.

Moodys took its last rating action on Itau Unibanco on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed both the global local currency
deposit of Baa1 and senior unsecured program rating of (P)Baa1 on review
for downgrade, following the implementation of the new bank methodology
on 16 March 2015. The global short-term local currency deposit
and the foreign currency deposit were affirmed. The Brazilian national
scale ratings remained unchanged.

Moodys took its last of rating action on Banco Itau BBA on 17 March
2015, when Moodys placed on review for downgrade both the
global local currency deposit of Baa1 and senior unsecured program rating
of (P)Baa1, following the implementation of the new bank methodology
on 16 March 2015. The global short-term local currency deposit
and the foreign currency deposit were affirmed. The Brazilian national
scale ratings remained unchanged.

Moodys took its last rating action on Itau Unibanco Holding on
17 March 2015, when Moodys placed on review for downgrade
the local currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings of Baa2,
following the announcement of the review of ratings assigned to its operating
banks Itau Unibanco e Banco Itau BBA. The review of the ratings
was triggered by the implementation of the new bank methodology on 16
March 2015. Simultaneously, the Baa3 foreign currency subordinated
rating under the Cayman Islands Branch was placed on review for upgrade.
The Brazilian national scale issuer ratings were also placed on review
for downgrade.

Moodys took its last rating action on Banco do Brasil on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed on review for downgrade the
baa2 baseline credit assessment, following the implementation of
the new bank methodology on 16 March 2015. At the same time,
the preferred stock non-cumulative rating of Ba2(hyb) issued by
Banco do Brasil through its Cayman Branch was also placed on review for
downgrade. All other supported ratings remained unchanged,
including the global local and foreign currency deposits as well as debt
ratings assigned to both Banco do Brasil and Banco do Brasil Cayman Branch.
The outlook on these ratings remained negative in line with the outlook
of Brazils government bond rating.

Moodys took its last rating action on Banco Votorantim on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed on review for downgrade the
baa3 baseline credit assessment, as well as the supported deposit
and debt ratings assigned to both Banco Votorantim and also to Banco Votorantim
Nassau Branch. The long-term national scale deposit rating
of Aaa.br was also placed on review for downgrade.

Moodys took its last rating action on HSBC Bank Brazil on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed on review for downgrade the
banks baa2 baseline credit assessment, as well as its supported
global local currency deposit rating of A1. All other ratings remained

Moodys took its last rating action on Banco BBM on 17 March 2015,
when the rating agency placed on review for upgrade the banks ba1
baseline credit assessment, as well as the long- and short-term
global local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba1 and Not Prime,
respectively. The Brazilian national scale deposit ratings were
also placed on review for possible upgrade.

Moodys took its last rating action on Banco Ford on 17 March 2015,
when the rating agency placed on review for upgrade the banks ba3
baseline credit assessment. All other ratings remained unchanged.

Moodys took its last rating action on Banco de Brasilia on 17 March
2015, when the rating agency placed on review for upgrade the banks
b1 baseline credit assessment. All other ratings remained unchanged.


For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series
or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings
are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moodys
rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular
rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the
support providers credit rating. For provisional ratings,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive
rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt,
in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed
prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would
have affected the rating. For further information please see the
ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit
support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and
whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the
associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity.
Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures,
if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure
to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only.
Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com,
for each of the ratings covered, Moodys disclosures on the
lead analyst and the Moodys legal entity that has issued the ratings.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit
rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to
the lead rating analyst and to the Moodys legal entity that has issued
the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com
for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Ceres Zanardo Lisboa
VP – Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moodys America Latina Ltda.
Avenida Nacoes Unidas, 12.551
16th Floor, Room 1601
Sao Paulo, SP 04578-903
JOURNALISTS: 800-891-2518
SUBSCRIBERS: 55-11-3043-7300

Maria Celina Vansetti-Hutchins
MD – Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moodys Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moodys takes rating actions on nine Brazilian banks

Heat on Heck following payday loan fight

WASHINGTON — Sensing the chance to land a punch, Democrats last week launched a multipronged attack on Rep. Joe Heck and his involvement in a Capitol Hill fight over credit loans to members of the military.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid for digital ads and sent mailers into Heck’s Henderson-based district, saying the appeal was aimed particularly at military families.

The charge: The Nevada Republican sided with predatory lenders over soldiers in a provision he pushed as chairman of the House military personnel subcommittee and tried to preserve when the House Armed Services Committee voted April 28 on its annual defense authorization bill.

Heck said in an interview the issue and his position have been “grossly misrepresented” by Democrats and consumer groups. His spokesman Greg Lemon added that Heck “is opposed to predatory lending practices directed at service members.”

During an all-night session, the Armed Services Committee voted 32-30 to strip out the controversial provision, with six Republicans voting with Democrats to do so.

So the issue itself is moot for now but Democrats believe it might resonate politically in a district where Heck has not been strongly challenged during the past two elections.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee material was distributed in a week Heck was home in Southern Nevada.

“We have been using this recess to hold him accountable for his shamefully wrong priorities,” said Matt Thornton, the group’s communications director.

At issue is a regulation being written at the Pentagon seeking to close loopholes in the Military Lending Act, which aims to protect service members from unscrupulous lenders. The 2006 law set a 36 percent cap on the rate and fees for certain forms of credit to members of the armed forces.

The lending act covers payday loans, vehicle title loans and tax refund anticipation loans. But there have been widespread reports that unscrupulous lenders are tweaking their credit offers to get around the law, trapping thousands of service members in short-term, high-interest loans.

“The fact that payday lenders aggressively and shamelessly market to military families is well-documented,” said Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. “The Defense Department identified predatory lending as the single biggest financial challenge facing service members and their families.”

The proposed Defense Department update, which has not yet been published, would aim to expand the lending law to cover most forms of credit like credit cards but not mortgages or auto loans.

Heck’s subcommittee last month approved a provision that would have held off the new regulations until after the Pentagon reported to Congress on what comments it received on the proposal and “the impact to military readiness, if any” from service members running afoul with credit.

It also called for the department to determine the impact on the Defense Manpower Data Center, which maintains databases of military members that would be called upon to play a larger role in the new regulations.

“For anyone who has tried to access that database it seldom functions on a good day,” Heck said.

Heck said a 2014 52-page study cited as the basis for the new regulations had problems, and he wanted Congress to see more justification.

While chasing bad actors, Heck said a clampdown could have unintended consequences of restricting legitimate forms of credit. The same point was made last week in a speech by Debbie Matz, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, the federal agency that regulates credit unions.

“I read the study,” Heck said. “The study has a lot of flaws. It is not statistically valid, the assumptions are not supported by the data and they don’t report a lot of data.”

“All we wanted to do is say, ‘DOD you’ve got a whole lot of data from the study which isn’t in the report. We’d like to see the data.’ “

“Everybody talks about how it impacts readiness, but they’ve never objectively quantified the impact on readiness,” Heck said. “So tell us how many soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, have lost a clearance, have had to change an occupational specialty, have had to be discharged” from credit problems.

Heck said he was not lobbied by financial service interests. He maintained the provision came out of meetings he and his subcommittee staff held with Pentagon officials writing the new regulations.

During committee debate, Democrats said the Heck-backed legislation could delay added consumer protections for a year or more because it gave the Pentagon until next March to respond and then tacked on another 60 days before the regulation could be advanced.

“There have been exhaustive stories that indicate the abuses by payday lenders,” said Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif. “It is clear no matter what community you are in, if you have a lot of military personnel, this is something that is pretty obvious.”

Heck responded the department presumably has the information, “and they could give us the data tomorrow.”

Beazley expands miscellaneous medical capabilities in Atlanta

ATLANTA, April 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Beazley Group (BEZ.L), a leading insurer of healthcare professional liability and miscellaneous medical risks, today announced the addition of Christopher Dunlavy to its growing miscellaneous medical healthcare team. He will be based in Beazleys Atlanta office.

Mr Dunlavy joins Beazley from Hiscox USA, where he built and managed a substantial book of healthcare general and professional liability business. Previously, as an underwriter at The Insurance House Inc., he specialized in professional lines, property and general liability risks. Chris is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in risk management and insurance.

In addition to Chris joining the Atlanta office, Jennifer Schoenthal will be relocating from the Beazley Chicago office to Atlanta. Jennifer has been an underwriter with Beazley for two years and will be partnering with Chris to expand Beazleys book of miscellaneous medical business in the southeast region. Jennifer previously was an underwriter with a Lloyds coverholder writing medi-spa and other allied healthcare lines of business.

Evan Smith, miscellaneous medical focus group leader at Beazley, said: Chris is a great addition to our team and we are excited to see him join our expanding Atlanta office. With medical underwriters in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and London, our miscellaneous medical team now has a wide reach of underwriting coverage to better serve our broker community.

Beazleys miscellaneous medical team offers various combinations of medical professional liability, general liability, products liability and errors amp; omissions coverages, on both a primary and excess basis. Clients include healthcare staffing agencies, home health services, behavioral health services, clinical trial sponsors, tissue/blood banks, nutraceutical companies, organ procurement organizations, contract research organizations, correctional healthcare providers, medi-spas, occupational health services, dialysis clinics, and ground/air ambulances.

Beazleys healthcare practice currently serves six (out of seventeen) of the top Honor Roll hospitals and five of the top ten pediatric hospitals as listed by US News and World Report 2014. In addition our miscellaneous medical team underwrites six of the top ten clinical research organizations and four of the largest healthcare staffing organizations.

Sean Carroll

5 Gifts to Set Graduates Off on the Right Financial Foot

Graduation season is upon us, and that means graduation gifts. Many of us know a high school or college graduate who we hope achieves great things in life, and we’d love to have a way to help him or her along that path without being too heavy-handed with the advice.

Here are five smart gifts that can achieve just that. These gifts all have the potential to help your graduate with the financial challenges that await them. For most graduates, these gifts won’t be an immediate source of excitement. Instead, they’ll be something they put aside for now, only to find it waiting for them at the right moment when they’re ready to address the financial issues in their life.

“Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. This is the first personal finance book I would give to anyone, as it is the book that changed my life. What sets it apart? It explains in clear, straightforward and approachable terms how money isn’t just a tool that you can use to buy stuff and experiences, but how money is the tool that you can use to buy personal freedom – freedom from the burdens of a career, freedom from stress and freedom from almost every real worry in life.

All it takes to earn that freedom is to rethink the basic reasons for how and why you spend your money. Does this item or this experience you’re about to spend your money on really add up to enough value to make up for the chunk of your life that you’re trading for it? It’s a powerful question, one that this book asks in detail, and it’s one that people don’t think about often enough.

You Need a Budget. Eventually, everyone will come to their financial crossroads and need to take charge of their money. Assembling a budget is one of the first parts of that process, and that’s where You Need a Budget comes in.

At a cost of $60, You Need a Budget is the best tool out there for assembling a budget and helping you to stick with it. Not only does it do a stellar job of tracking spending and helping you match it with your budget, it does it all by helping you stick to a smart underlying financial philosophy. The entire tool is geared toward four rules, and if the recipient can get on board with those, they’ll be financially set.

“How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. One of the smartest money skills a person can master is simply knowing how to cook a variety of dishes at home. Once you know that skill, it becomes a lot less intimidating to just go home and make a meal rather than spend extra money on takeout or delivery food.

This book does a brilliant job making everything approachable, even if you’re starting from virtually no cooking knowledge at all. Some of the early sections function as a brilliant “cooking 101,” while the rest provide a great reference for preparing almost anything at home.

“Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner. If there’s a single nuts and bolts financial guide that makes sense for a fresh college graduate, it’s this book. It’s written in a perfect tone for a college graduate, a tone that’s serious without being preachy.

What really makes this book a winner, however, is the amount of great advice targeted toward 20- and 30-somethings packed into its pages. Not only is this book readable from beginning to end, it also functions as a reference for the financial questions that younger adults may have as they begin to make their way in the world.

Basic cookware. Many college graduates have relied on the microwave and perhaps a few beat-up pieces of home cookware to get them through their college years. As they progress into adulthood, some of the first things they’ll need are tools for the kitchen to prepare their own meals.

That’s why basic cookware is almost always a great idea for college graduates. I usually prefer to get long-lasting items, like cast iron or enameled cast iron skillets or pots. Those items provide an easy-to-use surface, and they’ll potentially last until those college graduates are grandparents.

A smart financial gift will help a graduate make smart financial moves, not just now, but throughout his or her life. Each of these gifts cannot only set them start on the right track, but also teach principles that will last forever.