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Seeley: Village trying to keep rent affordable | Greene County



CATSKILL — Community members discussed rent control, short-term rentals, home ownership and more at a virtual meeting.

Research conducted by the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition showed that of the 1,519 Catskill residents surveyed, 365 face eviction or foreclosure.

The waiting list for Hop-o-Nose numbers 82, Catskill Mountain Housing’s waiting list for senior and disabled housing is two years and RUPCO has 605 applications, according to the Coalition.

The village’s comprehensive plan reports that between 2010 and 2017, there was a 27.5% increase in residents falling below the poverty line.

Courtney Parish, of Homestead Funding Corp., and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess Multiple Listing Service President Angela Lanuto kicked off the meeting by discussing the current real-estate market and obstacles that first-time homeowners face.

The local housing market has been in a steady upswing for the past few years, Lanuto said.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in people wanting to come up into our area,” she said. “Not only weekenders but part-time homeowners that have become full-time homeowners.”

The increase in demand and low inventory is driving prices up, Lanuto said.

COVID-related changes to the workplace are a factor in people relocating, as working from home becomes more feasible, she said.

“[Buyers] can come into other markets where they always wanted to be,” she said.

The increase influx of buyers can cause locals to be outbid, Parish said.

“Prices are going up, people are paying over asking price, cash, 30-40% down,” Parish said. “Our locals are not able to compete with that. That’s something that really bothers me. Our local people, they need housing, too.”

Homestead Funding has multiple loan options for prospective home buyers, Parish said.

“There are tons of options for people,” she said. “You don’t have to have that 20% down. You don’t have to have stellar credit. If somebody has a 620 credit score, they can get a home.”

Parish typically averages about $4 million in lending per month, she said. The last four months she has been averaging $11 million to $13 million, she said, adding that the increase is due to the pandemic and the people trying to leave the city.

Hudson Common Council 2nd Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga questioned how home ownership related to keeping rent affordable.

“[My goal] is to bring resources to this meeting and to your ears,” Village President Vincent Seeley said. “There are tools out there that will allow no down payment, even if you have bad credit. I would love to see people get out of rentals, to be honest with you.”

Garriga countered that Seeley’s aspirations for the community may not be the most realistic.

“That’s a beautiful thing that you want,” she said. “But 51% of your people are renters and they want to know what they’re renting is being accommodated in a way that they can live with their children. Not everyone can be a homeowner and not everyone wants that option. Let’s not forget about the responsibility that you have at Hop-o-Nose. While you’re looking out for people to become a homeowner, what are you doing for people that are renters?”

Seeley said the village is trying to keep rent affordable in the area and then provided Garriga with scenarios about how much a homeowner invests in a property, arguing that the owner needs to make a profit in order to maintain the property.

“The rentals, definitely, we need to get the quality up and the rent down,” Seeley said.

Dylan Reagh, an intern with the Housing Coalition, was also critical of the approach.

“Your own comments categorize rental control as anti-competitive and damaging to the real-estate market,” Reagh said. “There’s no automatic reason that market logic should dominate public policy. Especially given that we have a serious housing situation happening right now, unemployment is incredibly high all over country, a lot of people are really struggling to pay rent. You yourself said we need to get the rental crisis down. I know it’s not easy to do but I think it’s pretty clear rent control is the most obvious solution to stabilizing rent for a lot of people who don’t have housing security.”

Reagh encouraged Seeley and the board to consider the interests of Catskill residents.

“You should be looking out for people who already live in Catskill instead of worrying about the market situation,” he said. “I think there’s a problem fundamentally that the discourse is revolving around the interest of private investors.”

Reagh criticized Seeley’s choice of guest speakers.

“These first two people you had were a real-estate broker and a lender who have a financial interest in the government taking a step back and not actively protecting renters,” he said. “It seems people who have a financial interest are being given precedence. Even in your own theoretical argument, the investor is being given preference. There has to be more consideration of all the people who cannot pay their rent or are struggling to pay their rent.”

Rent prices do not necessarily reflect the quality of the building, Reagh said.

“I’m a renter and I can tell you from experience my landlord is not reinvesting my rent into my house,” he said. “The quality is terrible. Rent is not being paid for the benefit of the tenant. Rent is being paid because the owner has control over the house.”

Seeley questioned if Reagh was suggesting the village use taxpayer money to create a housing complex.

“It’s one thing to say it would be difficult to implement rent control,” Reagh said. “It’s another thing to dismiss it entirely.”

Resident Gary Burns echoed similar remarks.

“We’ve got a population half of which are renters and I think it is nice, this good old-fashioned dream of having a home and a lawn that you mow, but we’re in a climate crisis and that’s not feasible for every person,” he said. “We need to come up with a more dynamic way to accommodate people that are deciding to live here.”

United Tenants of Albany Executive Director Laura Phelps proposed a few options for the board to consider.

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act would grant tenants the right of refusal should their building go up for sale, Phelps said. Tenants would have the first right to finance and purchase that, before another buyer could outbid them.

The Emergency Tenant Protection Act, which is being looked at in Albany, Rochester and Ossining, Phelps said, would establish rent control for buildings built on or before 1974 with six or more units. A rental guidelines board would determine what a fair rental increase would be, typically 1-3% per year, Phelps said.

Through this legislation, tenants have a right to a lease renewal, which would eliminate no cause evictions, she said.

“For your area to get [this legislation], the [village] board would have to commission a vacancy survey,” she said. Depending on the results of the survey, the board could then declare a rental emergency — meaning rentals are low and rents are high.

Isabella Lee, with the Housing Coalition, encouraged the board to examine the effect their decisions could have on the community.

“Ask yourselves what kind of community you’re going to create by not dealing with the mass displacement, which is on the horizon, and the homogeneity that these raises in rent look like, the catering to outside investors and people buying second homes over residents that have lived here, often generations,” she said. “Really ask yourselves what kind of community that’s going to look like. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis and it’s quite strange to not hear the urgency in that expressed by the representatives.”

Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition Program Director Molly Stinchfield asked the board to consider the needs of tenants.

“You’re asking us to consider the investment of the homeowner and I’m asking the village board to consider the renters who are paying off the owner’s mortgage with zero return on investment. We have to prioritize low- and middle-income housing. If we don’t, the state of Catskill will shift so dramatically.”

Another issue that depletes available housing is short-term rentals. Greene County hosted 67,500 Airbnb guests in 2019. The county had a population of 47,188, according to census estimates.

Liam Singer, owner of Avalon Lounge and Hi-Lo Cafe, proposed a number of different options for regulating short-term rentals, such as including them in the village’s definition of hotels and thus subjecting them to the same type of zoning laws; having restrictions on non-owner occupied rentals; or implementing a permitting system. Permits could potentially require at least part-time residence in Catskill, or be limited to one per person, Singer said.

The village of Athens passed a local law in June requiring short-term rental owners to register their properties.

Planning board member Gil Bagnet agreed that this needs to be examined.

“Ten years ago there weren’t Airbnbs and that’s why we don’t have laws,” he said. “Now that they exist, we need to regulate them.”

The town planning board is holding a meeting Aug. 31 at the Robert Antonelli Senior Center to review proposed amendments to the village’s zoning law, in light of the new comprehensive plan that was adopted in February. Short-term rentals will be part of the discussion, Planning Board Chairman Patrick McCulloch said.

Seeley estimated the village has property available to construct about 200 living units, citing a parcel behind Price Chopper with 77 subdivisions, Forlini’s motel on West Main Street and the former St. Patrick’s Academy on Woodland Avenue as examples.

A 10-unit apartment complex has been proposed for St. Patrick’s. Because the property is not zoned for multiple dwellings, property owner Dennis Frascello can ask the village board to rezone the property or go to the zoning board of appeals seeking a variance, McCulloch said.

The Catskill Gardens project, a 90-unit complex for West Main Street, would have featured one floor for residents with mental health issues, staffed 24/7 by crisis management staff and the other two floors would have offered affordable housing where tenants paid one-third of their income, Stinchfield said.

“[The Mental Health Association] lost grant funding as a result of the waterfront moratorium,” Stinchfield said.

The moratorium, which went into effect in September 2018 and expires in November, put a halt on new construction along the river from the Uncle Sam Bridge to The Historic Catskill Point.

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom | Fintech Zoom



Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom

Loans Bad Credit Online – Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Reforming India’s deposit insurance scheme | Fintech Zoom



The government’s incentive to step in and bail out depositors when banks fail is clear from past experience.

By Anusha Chari & Amiyatosh Purnanandam

The failure of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC) in September 2019 shone a light on the limitations of India’s deposit insurance system. With over Rs 11,000 crore in deposits, PMC bank was one of the largest co-op banks. That the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) insurance covered depositors, provided little solace when the realisation hit that the insurance amounted to a mere Rs 1 lakh per deposit.

The predicament of PMC depositors is, unfortunately, not an anomaly. Several bank failures over the years have severely strained RBI and central government resources. While co-operative banks account for a predominant share of failures, other prime examples include the Global Trust Bank and Yes Bank failures. These failures entail a direct cost to the taxpayer—the DICGC payment or a government bailout. More importantly, bank failures impose long-term indirect costs. They erode depositor confidence and threaten financial stability, presenting an urgent need for deposit insurance reform in the country.

A sound deposit insurance system requires balancing two opposing forces: maintaining depositor confidence while minimising deposit insurance’s direct and indirect costs. At one extreme, the regulator can insure all the deposits, which will undoubtedly strengthen depositor confidence. But such a system would be very expensive.

A bank with full deposit insurance has minimal incentive to be prudent while making loans. Taxpayers bear the losses in the eventuality that risky loans go bad. Depositors also have little incentive to be careful. They can simply make deposits in the banks offering high interest rates regardless of the risks these banks take on the lending side.

Boosting depositor confidence and reducing direct and indirect costs require careful structuring of both the quantity and pricing of deposit insurance. Some relatively quick and straightforward fixes could help alleviate the public’s mistrust while improving the deposit insurance framework’s efficiency.

India has made some progress on this front over the last couple of years. First, the insurance limit increased to `5 lakh in 2020. Second, the 2021 Union Budget amended the DICGC Act of 1961, allowing the immediate withdrawal of insured deposits without waiting for complete resolution. These are very welcome moves. Several additional steps could bring India’s deposit insurance system in line with best practices around the world. Even with the increased coverage limit, India remains an outlier, as the accompanying graphic shows.

The government’s incentive to step in and bail out depositors when banks fail is clear from past experience. However, these ex-post bailouts are costly. The bailout process also tends to be long, complicated, and uncertain, further eroding depositor confidence in the banking system. A better alternative would be to increase the deposit insurance limit substantially and, at the same time, charge the insured banks a risk-based premium for this insurance. Under the current flat-fee based system, the SBI pays144 the same premium to the DICGC—12 paise per 100 rupees of insured deposits—as does any other bank!

A risk-based approach will achieve two objectives. First, it will ensure that the deposit insurance fund of the DICGC has sufficient funds to make quick and timely repayments to depositors. Second, the risk-based premia will curb excessive risk-taking by banks, given that they will be required to pay a higher cost for taking on risk.

India is not alone in trying to address the issue of improving the efficiency of deposit insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recognizes that the regulatory framework governing deposit insurance is far from perfect and the United States is moving towards risk-based premia. The concept is similar to pricing car insurance premia according to the risk profile of the driver. The FDIC computes deposit insurance premia based on factors such as the bank’s capital position, asset quality, earnings, liquidity positions, and the types of deposits.

In India, too, banks can be placed into buckets or tiers along these different dimensions. The deposit premium can depend on these factors. It is easy to see that a bank with a worsening capital position and a high NPA ratio should pay a higher deposit insurance premium than a well-capitalized bank with a healthy lending portfolio. The idea is not dissimilar to a risky driver paying more for car insurance than a safe driver.

Risk-sensitive pricing can go hand-in-hand with the increase in the insured deposit coverage limits bringing India in line with its emerging market peers. In a credit-hungry country like India, these moves would build depositor confidence, possibly increasing the volume of deposits and achieving the happy result of the banking system channeling more savings to productive use.

Chari is professor of economics and finance, and director of the Modern Indian Studies Initiative, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Purnanandam is the Michael Stark Professor of Finance at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

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5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Own a Home, According to a CFP



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The housing market has boomed over the last year, despite a global pandemic and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. 

Many people are spending less on entertainment, clothing, travel, and other discretionary purchases during COVID. Federal student loan borrowers have seen temporary relief from their loan payments. These expenses will most likely rise again after the pandemic, and many people who committed to a new home with a large mortgage will struggle to keep up. 

I often speak with clients and prospective clients who want to buy a home before they have a strong financial foundation. Buying a home is not only one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but it’s also a huge commitment that’s extremely hard to undo if you have buyer’s remorse

It’s important to make a thoughtful, informed decision when it comes to a home purchase. Before you take the plunge into homeownership, check for these signs that you’re not quite ready to buy. 

1. You have credit card debt

Credit card debt can be a drain on your monthly budget, and when combined with student loans and a car loan, it can lead to high levels of stress. 

Generally, more debt means higher fixed expenses and little opportunity to save for long-term financial goals. Your financial situation will only get worse with the addition of a mortgage. I always recommend that clients be free of credit card or other high-interest debt before they consider buying a home. 

To rid yourself of credit card debt, take some time to get a good handle on your cash flow. Take an inventory of your spending over the last six to 12 months and see where you can cut back. From there, develop a realistic budget that includes aggressive payments to your credit cards. 

There are several strategies to help you knock out credit card debt fast. Regardless of the method you choose, stick with the plan and track your progress along the way. Once you pay off your credit cards, you can allocate your debt payments to savings, which can help you avoid this situation in the future.  

2. You have bad credit

Bad credit is not only a sign that you may not be ready to take on a mortgage, it can also signal a high risk to

mortgage lenders
. A high-risk status results in higher interest rates and more strict requirements to qualify for a loan. A mortgage is one of the largest loans you’ll take out in your lifetime, and if you get behind on payments, you could lose your home. 

Just as with credit card debt, bad credit could be a result of past financial mistakes. Dedicating the time to repair bad credit and improve your credit score will help you beyond purchasing your dream home. 

Start by pulling a recent credit report from each of the three credit bureaus so you can review it for errors. Dispute any errors, address past-due accounts, and bring your overall debt balances down. It’s helpful to learn what has a negative effect on your credit score so you can avoid these mistakes in the future. 

3. You don’t have an emergency fund (or an inadequate one)

If you’re unable to save for a rainy day, you probably don’t have enough money to buy a house. Owning a home is a big responsibility, and unexpected expenses pop up all the time. In addition, you could lose your job, have a medical emergency, or another unexpected expense unrelated to the home. Maintaining an emergency fund is a good sign that you have discipline and are prepared for the responsibility of homeownership.

Many financial experts recommend saving at least six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. If you have variable income, own a business, or own a house, you should save more. To build an emergency fund, set money aside from each paycheck and automate transfers to make the process easier. Give your emergency fund a boost when you receive lump sums such as bonuses or tax refunds. Start by saving one month of living expenses and build from there. 

4. You don’t have separate savings for your home

I always advise clients to set aside savings for a home in addition to an emergency fund. It’s a bad idea to start homeownership with no savings. Whether you have unexpected expenses related or unrelated to the home, having no emergency fund after a home purchase will lead to unnecessary stress — and possibly more debt. 

When purchasing a home, you’re responsible for a down payment and closing costs. While a 20% down payment is ideal to avoid private mortgage insurance, a down payment of at least 3.5% is typically required. Closing costs can range from 2 to 5% of the home’s value. 

Also, you will have moving costs, costs to spruce up your new place (like new furniture or light cosmetic updates), and any initial maintenance and repairs. Be sure to budget for these items to know how much to save on top of your emergency fund. It doesn’t hurt to boost your emergency fund, too, in preparation for homeownership. 

5. You have a low savings rate

It’s much easier to develop good savings habits before you have a lot of responsibilities. To get on track for financial independence, several studies show that you should save at least 15% of your income. The longer you wait, the more you’ll need to save. 

If your savings rate is low before you purchase a home, it will most likely worsen after becoming a homeowner. Even if your mortgage is similar to your rent, ongoing maintenance and repairs, higher utilities, and homeowners association fees can wreak havoc on your budget. 

Take a look at your current savings rate and see if you’re on track for financial independence. If you’re saving less than 15 to 20% of your income, work to improve your savings rate before you consider buying a home. A strong savings habit can help you build your home savings fund faster and ensure that a home purchase doesn’t impede your long-term financial goals. Finally, understand how much house you can afford so you can avoid being house poor. 

Buying a home can be rewarding, and when done the right way, it’s a way to build wealth. Before you decide to buy a home, it’s important to understand your numbers and ensure that you’re ready for the commitment. Without preparation, your dream home could be detrimental to your long-term financial goals.

Chloe A. Moore, CFP, is the founder of Financial Staples, a virtual, fee-only financial planning firm based in Atlanta, Georgia and serving clients nationwide.

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