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Anti-Money Laundering Regulations for the Mortgage Industry

by Andy Block

As of August 13, 2012, non-depository lending institutions, of which Opes Advisors is one, are now required by FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, US Department of the Treasury) to actively monitor and report any activity during a loan transaction that may appear to be indicative of money laundering. Opes Advisors has implemented an audit program designed to identify and mitigate the risks of money laundering and to address the concerns of mortgage fraud in loan origination.

After the financial crisis of 2008, loan files throughout the U.S. were audited and fraud discovery was rampant. Included in these findings were tell-tale signs of money laundering; real estate purchases with un-sourced cash down payments, large payouts on HUD-1's on the seller side, other “suspicious” funds exchanges, as well as occupancy and income fraud.

Bank Secrecy Act Now Applies to Non-Depository Lenders
In order to address money laundering concerns in the mortgage industry, the “Bank Secrecy Act,” which was passed in 1970 for depository institutions, is now being applied to non-depository lending institutions. Historically this regulation was implemented to combat money laundering through banks – large cash deposits, unusual deposits to an account based on its history, frequent fund transfers and other “suspicious” activities were the makings of money laundering activities.

What This Means for Your Clients and Loan Origination
There will be no material change to our loan origination processes although we’re aware of the issues facing the industry; mortgage fraud is a multi-billion dollar business and unsuspecting lenders will be held responsible.

I wanted to make you aware of this recent development in industry regulations so that you understand why there may be times when I’ll ask clients for specific documentation during the loan application process. We recognize that clients need an informed explanation for why we do what we do. We’re fully prepared to have these conversations with clients about the requirements placed on the industry and the need to document accordingly.

As always, I’m happy to consult with your clients about questions or concerns they have regarding their specific financial situation and loan application. Please have them call me!

Best regards,
Andy

Art Beyond Austin

by Maresa Giovannini

If you are interested in the full article, click here.

3 Tips for Preventing Embezzlement

by Samia S. Morgan

3 tips for preventing embezzlement

Incidents of embezzlement appear to happening more often and small businesses might be particularly vulnerable, according to a report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. You should provide employees with a way to report unusual activity and pay attention to high-risk areas of your business such as sales, accounting and operations. Intuit Small Business Blog (8/20)

How to avoid apartment-rental problems

Before signing a lease for an apartment, it's important to carefully read over the agreement, BBB advises. Among other things, it's important to find out whether you are allowed to sublet your space and whether any insurance is included. Before moving into a new space, you should take pictures to record the current condition of the area. ClipSyndicate/WPRI-TV (Providence, R.I.) (8/23)

How to prepare new employees so you can trust them with customers

You should train your new employees in a similar fashion to how you might teach someone to operate a car, Vanessa Merit Nornberg writes. She explains her company's strategy for getting new employees up to speed, which involves teaching them in a controlled environment with the oversight of other employees before letting them work with customers on their own. Inc. online/In the Trenches blog (8/23)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

3 Business-Killing Disasters You Need to Protect Against

by Samia S. Morgan

3 business-killing disasters you need to protect against

Buying insurance is one way to protect your business from the risk of disaster, according to attorney Michael Duffy. Meanwhile, structuring your business properly can guard your personal finances and might even discourage lawsuits. "[I]n most civil liability cases, the formation of a limited liability business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, can make all the difference between the protection of personal assets and the loss of everything you own," he said. Intuit Small Business Blog (8/17)

You may be missing out on a significant consumer demographic

There are already more than 50 million Hispanic people in the U.S., and this fast-growing ethnic group can provide significant opportunities for businesses. On average, Hispanics are younger than members of other ethnic groups, which means they may be shopping for houses, weddings and children's products. Retail and entertainment are among the industries that will be most positively affected by the expansion of the Hispanic population. Small Business Trends (8/22)

Study finds small banks aren't always best for small business

Small-business owners who are looking for loans might have the best luck with small banks -- but only if those banks have local competition, according to university research. "If the decentralized bank is the only game in town, the manager will give firms worse conditions because he or she knows the firms don't have other options," Rodrigo Canales of Yale University said. BusinessNewsDaily.com (8/23)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

The Tax Implications of Tips and Free Meals

by Samia S. Morgan

The tax implications of tips and free meals

Businesses should remember the tips earned by their employees will affect their payroll taxes, Bonnie Lee writes. However, a business can provide free meals to its employees without increasing its payroll taxes so long as it is done for the "convenience of the employer," she writes. Fox Business Small Business Center (8/17)

How to find a good auto mechanic
  
When searching for an auto repair business to fix your car, it's important to do your homework, according to BBB's John North. Before choosing a mechanic, get multiple quotes, make sure the terms in writing and gather recommendations from your friends and family, he advises. ClipSyndicate/WDTN-TV (Dayton, Ohio) (8/21)

Small-business owners on the go turn to tablets, apps

Small-business owners are staying productive on the road with the help of tablets and business applications. The iPad is currently the market leader, but competitors are trying to carve out their own niches. However, the lack of a physical keyboard can sometimes be a problem when using tablet computers. USA TODAY (8/19)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Are You Ready to Sell Your Business?

by Samia S. Morgan

 

Are you ready to sell your business?

Before selling your business, you should think about your reason for doing so and what kind of buyer you want to find, David Lonsdale of Allegiance Capital writes. "If you can't imagine what your ideal buyer would look like, maybe you're not ready for one," he writes. Meanwhile, you must also ensure you are emotionally ready to sell your company. Inc. online/The Capital Advisor blog (8/16)

Local TV news receives viewers' trust

Many people still trust local TV news programs even though trust in media has generally fallen during the past decade. Local TV news received a 65% positive score in recent research; in comparison, CNN scored 58% and ABC News received 59%. MediaPost Communications/MediaDailyNews (8/17)

Why you shouldn't blindly trust cloud vendors

Cloud providers might tout their security features, but you shouldn't automatically trust them, Michael Davis writes. "You must assess the pros and cons of each approach and find the provider that takes the same (or better) care with your data as you would," he writes. A provider's security features can be evaluated in a number of ways such as by using questionnaires or audits. InformationWeek (8/20)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

How College Students Can Ward Off Identity Theft

by Samia S. Morgan

How college students can ward off identity theft

As college students gear up for the coming school year, they should also be aware of the risk of identity theft, according to BBB. College students can protect their identities by having important mail sent to their parents' houses, keeping their antivirus software current and shredding sensitive documents. KSDK-TV (St. Louis) (8/19)

What small businesses must understand about the loan market

It's very difficult to convince a bank to improve the terms it is offering you on a loan, Ami Kassar of MultiFunding writes. However, later on, your business might qualify for a better loan. "Some small-business owners get stuck because they think the loan they pick will last forever. This is not the case," Kassar explains. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (8/16)

Why businesses must blog

It's not enough for businesses to maintain a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; you should be using blogging software as well, John Jantsch writes. "By focusing on writing about key concepts through a singular voice you can build an attractive brand message through blogging." Blogging can also help you to create an e-mail list and improve your search engine optimization, he explains. Duct Tape Marketing (8/16)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Sunny Disposition

by Maresa Giovannini

If you are interested in the full article, click here.

B Corp Structure Allows Companies to Formalize Ethical Commitment

by Samia S. Morgan

B Corp structure allows companies to formalize ethical commitment

Certain states allow businesses to structure themselves as B Corps, which means they have committed to promoting societal benefits, Kelly Spors writes. Using this business structure can help your company to demonstrate its commitment and set itself apart from the pack, she writes. However, critics remain; some point out businesses can further societal goals without using the B Corp structure. Small Business Trends (8/13)

Why actions alone aren't enough to earn trust

You shouldn't necessarily trust a company based on instances of positive behavior, Ioannis Ioannou of the London Business School writes. "In times of economic crisis, these initiatives are often dropped or cut back -- a sign of fickle commitment," Ioannou writes. Instead, it's important to analyze a company's culture to determine whether it is worth of your trust. Bloomberg Businessweek/The Management Blog (8/14)

Why every business needs its own website

It's not enough to set up shop on websites such as Yelp, Google Places and Facebook; your company needs its own Web presence, Jeanne Rossomme of RoadMap Marketing writes. "Your website is your main cyber storefront, the hub where you direct all your other marketing messages." However, setting up a website doesn't have to be a major headache, she explains. Your site only needs a few elements, including an "About" page, a contact form and a blog. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (8/13)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Strategies fro Simplifying Your Small-Business Accounting

by Samia S. Morgan

Strategies for simplifying your small-business accounting

Understanding the importance of basic accounting practices and maintaining organized, accurate records of your business help simplify accounting tasks, Michael Essany writes. To do this, have consistency in documenting your data, choose trusted accounting software and learn how to use and maximize its features. Intuit Small Business Blog (8/13)

How to connect with customers on Facebook

You can encourage people to share and interact with your content on Facebook by posting interesting content and updating your page in the middle of the week, when engagement tends to be highest. If you need an extra boost, you can pay to promote your posts so that more people will see them. USA TODAY (8/10)

How to sell your gold without getting ripped off

Some consumers are running into trouble in their dealings with companies that buy gold. "We've seen more problems popping up as the price of gold goes up and the economy gets tough," BBB's Bonnie Bakin said. Consumers can help to protect themselves by getting appraisals, gathering several different offers and researching buyers. SmartMoney.com (8/14)

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau - 
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 30

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