Connecticut Lending – CT Contra http://ctcontra.com/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 02:30:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://ctcontra.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default-141x136.png Connecticut Lending – CT Contra http://ctcontra.com/ 32 32 Five questions to: Leland Merrill https://ctcontra.com/five-questions-to-leland-merrill/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 02:30:53 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/five-questions-to-leland-merrill/ LELAND MERRILL recently joined Centerville Bank as Senior Vice President and Chief Loan Officer. / COURTESY OF CENTREVILLE BANK Leland Merrill recently joined Centerville Bank as senior vice president and chief loan officer. Merrill has over 25 years of experience in the banking industry, including several senior roles, most recently with BankNewport. He holds an […]]]>

Leland Merrill recently joined Centerville Bank as senior vice president and chief loan officer. Merrill has over 25 years of experience in the banking industry, including several senior roles, most recently with BankNewport. He holds an MBA specializing in finance from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont.

PBN: What prompted you to move to Centerville Bank? Tell us about your new role as director of loans at the bank.

MERILL: The move to Centerville Bank was an opportunity for me to return to my roots as a commercial loan manager and further my career with a great team of commercial and business lenders.

Centerville Bank, under the leadership of CEO Hal Horvat, has transformed into a major commercial lender in the Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut markets over the past five years. Additionally, the bank is one of the best capitalized banks in the region, which means we have the ability to grow the bank and its commercial lending business at a pace that will have a real impact on the communities we serve. .

In my new role as Director of Lending, I oversee both the Rhode Island and Connecticut lending teams and help develop strategies to grow and diversify our business lines of business throughout the region.

PBN: Where do you expect to see the biggest areas of lending growth this year? Which areas will be more difficult to develop?

MERILL: Commercial real estate will continue to be a growth area for the bank, however, a key focus will be to expand the bank’s small business lending, commercial and industrial lending, as well as some new business areas. niche business, such as the Dunkin franchise. ready.

We have added top talent to the team over the past three months, doubling the size of the commercial lending team to 13 highly experienced and professional business and commercial lenders.

When it comes to growth strategies over the next few years, the biggest challenges most banks will face are likely to include inflation, supply shortages, a possible recession, and the ramifications all of these issues will have on potential and existing customers.

PBN: How will inflation and rising interest rates impact Centerville (and the industry in general) in terms of commercial and consumer lending?

MERILL: Rising inflation and interest rates have always had a dampening effect on the economy and businesses in general. Centerville Bank has been in this market and has seen many economic cycles for nearly 200 years and knows how to meet these challenges while continuing to support its communities.

Financially, the bank is very strong and this allows us to continue to lend to businesses and consumers in good and bad times. In fact, many small community banks do quite well during tough economic times. While some of the larger banks typically pull back from lending in down cycles, a strong community bank like Centerville has a unique opportunity to gain market share and new business from the big banks.

PBN: Besides inflation, what do you see as the biggest challenges for bank lending? Are these challenges different in community banks than in fintech companies or large corporations?

MERILL: With record high unemployment across the country and region, labor continues to be a challenge. Few companies are not feeling the effects of the post-pandemic labor shortage.

In the financial sector, and especially when it comes to corporate lending, the labor shortage is all the more acute as the training programs of the big banks of the past have long since disappeared. There is a distinct lack of new credit analysts, lenders and professionally trained business specialists in the banking world. As a result, most banks had to start training these professionals in-house, which cost the organization a lot of time and money.

PBN: How has the increasing use of technology and mobile/digital banking affected how businesses seek or want service on their loans?

MERILL: Like almost all customers of all types of businesses today, the desire is to find quick and easy digital solutions to satisfy customer needs. In the area of ​​small business lending, Centerville Bank is moving towards a fully digital lending solution, comparable to what you might see at a much larger institution.

For larger loans, such as commercial real estate loans, speeding up the loan process is also a priority, but to some degree we will still want to work face-to-face in these situations, just like our clients. We believe the consultative approach we take to this type of business loan adds value to the relationship and the process. It’s about delivering the ideal combination of personalized service and convenient digital capabilities that ease the lending process and truly align with our mantra of “Banking Your Way”.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. You can reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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How a Millennial Couple Built an Empire of 15 Airbnbs in 4 Years https://ctcontra.com/how-a-millennial-couple-built-an-empire-of-15-airbnbs-in-4-years/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 14:33:38 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/how-a-millennial-couple-built-an-empire-of-15-airbnbs-in-4-years/ Lauren Hudson, 40, and Chris Krieger, 39, bought a modern Vermont cabin as a second home in 2017. They turned to Airbnb to cover the costs, then left their day jobs to run Airbnbs full time. The collective now has 15 properties, generating over $100,000 in gross bookings per month. The Vermont cabin that Lauren […]]]>
  • Lauren Hudson, 40, and Chris Krieger, 39, bought a modern Vermont cabin as a second home in 2017.
  • They turned to Airbnb to cover the costs, then left their day jobs to run Airbnbs full time.
  • The collective now has 15 properties, generating over $100,000 in gross bookings per month.

The Vermont cabin that Lauren Hudson and Chris Krieger bought in 2017 for $235,000 was supposed to be a vacation home they occasionally rented out on Airbnb to help cover the mortgage.

The Connecticut couple expected to rent it out a few weekends a month and maybe break even — or in the worst-case scenario, sell it if their aspirations didn’t come true. Instead, the property has been so successful on Airbnb that the couple have had to start blocking weekends out of the rental schedule.

It launched them on a new career path: creating an Airbnb empire in New England that has grown to include 15 properties, six they own and nine they manage for clients of the management company and real estate marketing they founded, called Wildwood Collective.

They hadn’t anticipated how lucrative short-term rentals could be. At the cabin’s closing table in August 2017, the seller’s agent and theirs said the couple could expect to earn $15,000 in vacation rental income per year. The first year, they brought in more than their $2,000 per month holding fee. In 2018, they brought in $62,000 in revenue. By 2021, that figure had nearly doubled to $115,000.

“The house could have paid for itself in a year and a half,” Hudson said.

The company’s success saw both Krieger, a former CPO of a midsize consumer credit union, and Hudson, once creative director of a global market research firm, quit. their daily job to work full-time on their Airbnb scramble.

“One of our original goals was to employ ourselves. We were really fed up with the companies,” Hudson said. “I left in March of this year, and I will never go back.”

The couple explained how they succeeded.

It all started with finding a vacation home

Hudson, 40, had just returned from living on the West Coast in 2016 when she and Krieger, 39, decided to buy a weekend home from what Hudson called their “endless lawns” life and of “Endless Traffic” in Trumbull, Connecticut, about 20 miles from New Haven.

“It was kind of a mental health project for me. I really missed that connection to nature and I was getting some peace and quiet,” she said.

It was also Hudson’s west coast inclinations that drew them to the property they named the Green Mountain Modern House, a clash of contemporary architecture that looks more like Joshua Tree than a cabin nestled in the trees. Jamaica Wood, Vermont.

A rectangular house sits on a wooded lot.  The house is lit from inside when the sun sets outside.

Hudson and Krieger bought the Green Mountain Modern House for $235,000 in 2017. It was the property that launched their Airbnb empire.


Wildwood Collective



The property was at the top of their budget at $235,000, but its uniqueness convinced them it was a good investment. The couple were so convinced they liquidated part of their 401(k) to earn $30,000


advance payment

.

Hudson and Krieger expected to rent the house on Airbnb for around $300 a night here and there to help cover their $2,000 monthly port fees, which included their mortgage payment and maintenance. The house is a 30 minute drive from Stratton Mountain and three hours from Boston. At the very least, they thought they would attract a few winter sports enthusiasts.

“Airbnb didn’t really exist in Vermont in 2017, believe it or not. It was very, very, very limited,” Hudson said. But the couple decided to give it a shot.

“But as soon as we listed it, we were blown away by the demand there was,” she said. “He was continually booked. We couldn’t find enough time for ourselves.”

The House rent now for around $442 a night.

“We keep the cash flow towards expansion”

Demand drove them to buy a second property (then a third, and so on).

Hudson and Krieger decided to buy and rent a tiny house the same way they chose Green Mountain Modern House: it reminded them of experiences on the West Coast.

They purchased the self-contained property, a fully furnished one-story model, from Tiny House Marketplace. It cost $67,000 and they financed 100% of the cost less taxes with a commercial vehicle loan.

“We’ve found that the more we talk to people in the industry, it’s better to pay as little money as possible,” Hudson said.

It is located on land near the Green Mountain Modern House which they rent for around $700 a month.

“We’re keeping the cash flow toward expansion,” Krieger said.

A blue A-shaped house sits among the trees.

The Alpine A-frame is the third property the couple have purchased.


Ethan Abitz



And continue to grow, they did. The idea of ​​starting Wildwood Collectivetheir vacation property marketing and management company, took off with its third purchase, a $130,000 A-frame in nearby Wilmington, Vermont, in February 2020.

Over the previous three years, the duo had noticed an appetite for properties being sold as stand-alone businesses, so after investing $20,000 in the A-frame upgrade, Krieger put it up for sale as that vacation rental with marketing assets for $330,000.

It took the property a month to find an off-market buyer who “became our best and most trusted partner” in expanding the properties they manage as part of the collective, Hudson said.

Wildwood Collective now generates over $100,000 in gross bookings per month across the 15 properties it manages, nine of which are client-owned and from which Wildwood receives 20% for its services as part of a revenue-sharing model .

They also consult on projects that other budding Airbnb entrepreneurs are looking to launch, including finding unique properties, outfitting them with on-trend interiors, and creating branded materials.

Airbnb life has its challenges

Hudson and Krieger now face new challenges posed by the pandemic and, perhaps, their own success. Home prices are on the rise and competition for the few homes that are on the market has become fiercer, with cash buyers often favored over those dependent on financing.

The couple’s business flourished as they secured unique properties at lower prices, once compatible with the area. Hudson said the pandemic has changed the market in the areas where they operate, not only as more travelers seek out the types of Instagram-friendly accommodations they offer, but also as competitors notice their success and want get into the business.

“It’s harder to do that now,” Hudson said. “The real estate market is brutal. A lot of people want to do what we did.”

Competition from other short-term rental owners isn’t the only obstacle. Properties for sale simply aren’t as plentiful as they once were. “We have been trying to grow as quickly as possible as real estate becomes scarce. It is also difficult to get land now. Land had been sitting for years, and now it is a week,” said Hudson said.

An interior view of Cedar Brook Cabin, a small home operated by Wildwood Collective.

Cedar Brook Cabin is one of the few cottages operated by Wildwood Collective.


Ethan Abitz



It has become more difficult for the duo to find and invest in the unique properties that are their hallmark and that generate the kinds of returns they saw when they first started operating.

“We wouldn’t have the same returns if we were lucky enough to beat the other 25 investors in the Modern House if we bought it today,” Hudson said.

All properties owned by Hudson and Krieger are financed, meaning they make monthly payments on them. But to be competitive in the market now, they said, you have to present a cash offer.

The company also incurs operating expenses for maintenance and landscaping.

“Let’s say you own property in New Jersey or New York – owning property in Vermont is completely different. You’ve never had to deal with septic and rural storms and roads that wash out,” Hudson said. “It’s a whole new level of maintaining a property in areas like these.”

They’re not here for the long haul

In October 2021, Wildwood Collective opened Camp Wildwood, a pet-friendly vacation enclave of two tiny homes in Chester, Vermont that rent for between $175 and $250 a night. It is, in Hudson’s words, the most difficult project they have worked on to date, but also one of the most rewarding.

It’s a concept they want to expand to other states like Maine or New Hampshire, although Hudson and Krieger also plan to retire from the turmoil in five to 10 years by selling their business and moving to the West. Hudson said she would like to flex her hospitality experience in a different way by opening a farm animal sanctuary that would also cater to ethical tourism and education. Krieger plans to work in the preservation of marine mammals and responsible ecotourism.

That vision of the future may not be that far off, given that “we didn’t even have a business five years ago,” Hudson noted.

As for their 401(k), Hudson is not concerned. Business has been good for them and the recent market downturn has made him feel good about their investments.

“I think I took most of it out to make more plans,” Hudson said of her retirement savings. “It may sound a bit overconfident, but I feel more comfortable making my own investments in real estate than investing in some magic fund that will deliver 3% returns.”

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After Georgia loss, House runoff gives Trump another chance https://ctcontra.com/after-georgia-loss-house-runoff-gives-trump-another-chance/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 14:36:24 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/after-georgia-loss-house-runoff-gives-trump-another-chance/ MCDONOUGH, Ga. (AP) — Nearly a month after his favorite candidate for governor in Georgia was beaten by more than 50 points, former President Donald Trump has the opportunity next week to demonstrate that he still has some influence on this former Republican stronghold. A runoff election for a U.S. House seat east of Atlanta […]]]>

MCDONOUGH, Ga. (AP) — Nearly a month after his favorite candidate for governor in Georgia was beaten by more than 50 points, former President Donald Trump has the opportunity next week to demonstrate that he still has some influence on this former Republican stronghold.

A runoff election for a U.S. House seat east of Atlanta pits Trump-backed Vernon Jones against Mike Collins, the son of a former congressman.

The winner will advance to November’s general election against the Democratic nominee, also to be decided in the second round to be held on Tuesday. The Jones-Collins winner will be the big favorite in that drawn district to elect a Republican. With that in mind, Jones and Collins have pledged allegiance to Trump, who remains popular among party voters.

Jones, a bombastic attention-seeking presence with a long trail of enemies, likes to call himself the “Black Donald Trump.” Collins, who owns a trucking business, looks a lot like Trump too, posing as a foreign businessman as he drives an 18-wheeler for campaign appearances.


But it is Jones who has Trump’s official backing, something he constantly reminds the public of.

“I’m Trump-approved, I’m Trump-trustworthy, and I’m Trump-approved,” Jones told Republicans in suburban Atlanta’s Henry County at McDonough last week. “I don’t have to pretend I’m with President Trump. … I’ve stood my ground for President Trump. And I’m not backing down from President Trump.

Collins narrowly led Jones in the eight-candidate primary on May 24. But none crossed the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a second round. About 112,000 people took part in the primary, but turnout will likely be much lower next week when Republicans don’t have a statewide ballot.

Jones rose to prominence in Republican circles as a lifelong Democrat who endorsed Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. He backed Trump’s bogus voter fraud allegations and said, “I left the plantation”, when he changed parties in 2021.

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Turtle nesting season is alive and well — in Vernon https://ctcontra.com/turtle-nesting-season-is-alive-and-well-in-vernon/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 14:55:07 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/turtle-nesting-season-is-alive-and-well-in-vernon/ VERNON, CT – A female snapping turtle found an interesting spot to lay her eggs Monday morning in Vernon. The turtle was spotted performing the deed around 7:45 a.m. on East Main Street in the Rockville neighborhood, not far from the Pitney Park pond. The timing is in line with a warning issued by the […]]]>

VERNON, CT – A female snapping turtle found an interesting spot to lay her eggs Monday morning in Vernon.

The turtle was spotted performing the deed around 7:45 a.m. on East Main Street in the Rockville neighborhood, not far from the Pitney Park pond.

The timing is in line with a warning issued by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on May 23. He advised residents to be on the lookout for turtles crossing the streets. May through July is nesting season for many turtles, and egg-bearing females travel across land, and sometimes roads, to find the perfect spot to dig a nest and lay eggs, officials said. DEEP.

Vernon’s tortoise actions mimicked the notice in great detail.

Aquatic turtles also leave the water in search of terrestrial nesting sites, according to DEEP officials.

“Connecticut’s landscape is very fragmented by busy roads, and many turtles are forced to travel great distances – and across roads – to find suitable nesting habitat,” said Division Director Jenny Dickson. DEEP Wildlife. “Helping a turtle cross the road can be the difference between life and death for the animal and for future generations, but your safety comes first. Only help a turtle on the road when you can. do so safely. do not attempt to stop traffic.”

She added, “Research has shown that turtle populations across the United States have unusually high proportions of males because so many female turtles are killed on the roads.”

Humans lending a helping hand should always keep the turtle pointed in the direction it is heading, DEEP officials said. Turning around with a turtle will only provoke another attempt to cross the road, they added.

Here are some other tips:

  • Do not move the turtle to a “better place”.
  • Do not place terrestrial box turtles in a lake, pond, or other body of water…leave the turtle in the same area it was found in once it is removed from the road.
  • Turtles have one home range, and females often return to the same general area to lay their eggs.
  • Snapping turtles can be big, heavy, and feisty, so if you can’t “push” them across the road, pick them up by the back of their shell above their legs and tail – and not by the tail, to avoid a bite. Some people use a shovel, stick, or even car mats to push or skid Snapping Turtles down a road.

The turtles are long-lived, take a long time to reach sexual maturity and have low survival when they are newly hatched, DEEP officials said. Because of these attributes, turtle populations cannot compensate for losses from adult mortality without suffering long-term consequences, they added.

DEEP officials said: “With turtle populations requiring high levels of adult survival, each individual – especially the adult female – is important to the stability of a population. This concern has been even greater in recent years. because many American turtle populations are becoming increasingly fragmented, isolated and In your travels, if you encounter a turtle on the road, just remember this motto: give the turtles a “brake” and help them to cross if it is safe.”

Officials said residents aware of a certain stretch of road where large numbers of turtles regularly cross should notify the DEEP Wildlife Division by emailing, with location information, to deep.ctwildlife@ct. gov.

Officials said residents should resist the temptation to pick up a turtle for any length of time, including keeping it as a pet. Turtles should be left in the wild, they added.

“The removal of individual turtles from the wild, including hatchlings, can have a huge impact on the local population,” Dickson said. “Each individual is important for population stability. Keep in mind that caring for a pet turtle is not as easy as you might think. Turtles need temperatures, a diet specific food and lighting for digestion and shell health Cages should be kept clean as turtles can carry salmonella Also, turtles are long-lived – 50 to 100 years for a box turtle the East, the collection and possession of which is illegal in Connecticut.
The novelty of having a turtle as a pet tends to wear off, leaving it up to the owner to decide what to do with it, Dickson said.

“Captive turtles, whether collected from the wild or purchased from a pet store, should never be released into the wild,” Dickson added. “Released turtles rarely survive, frequently introduce respiratory or other undetectable illnesses into wild populations, and, in the case of non-native species, can harm native turtle populations.”

She also said. “The best way to appreciate turtles is to see them in their natural habitat. Help keep wild turtles wild and leave them where you find them. Instead of collecting turtles, take pictures instead.”

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NJ man found guilty of Jamesburg double murder, including his father https://ctcontra.com/nj-man-found-guilty-of-jamesburg-double-murder-including-his-father/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 22:11:23 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/nj-man-found-guilty-of-jamesburg-double-murder-including-his-father/ A Middlesex County jury found a Jamesburg man guilty of kill his own father and a second man before setting fire to a house in a cover-up attempt more than two years ago. Jaree Kitchen, 24, was convicted of the 2019 murders of Clifford Kitchen Jr. and Gregory Fisher, both 53 and of Jamesburg. During […]]]>

A Middlesex County jury found a Jamesburg man guilty of kill his own father and a second man before setting fire to a house in a cover-up attempt more than two years ago.

Jaree Kitchen, 24, was convicted of the 2019 murders of Clifford Kitchen Jr. and Gregory Fisher, both 53 and of Jamesburg.

During a two-week trial that ended on June 1, prosecutors said Jaree Kitchen had moved back to Jamesburg from Georgia to live with her father – but soon after they started having ” important issues”.

House in Jamesburg after a fire

House in Jamesburg after a fire (RLS Metro Breaking News)

Things turned sour with a brutal brawl on November 4, 2019, in which Jaree Kitchen fatally stabbed her father and Fisher, who lived in the same house at 7 Sheridan Street.

Two days later, he set fire to the house in an attempt to destroy evidence of what he had done, prosecutors said.

Kitchen was also convicted of aggravated arson, possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of desecration of human remains and tampering with evidence related to the murders.

He is due to be sentenced on October 28 in Middlesex County Superior Court.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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High prices and low inventory, a new normal for car buyers https://ctcontra.com/high-prices-and-low-inventory-a-new-normal-for-car-buyers/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 13:50:51 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/high-prices-and-low-inventory-a-new-normal-for-car-buyers/ June 08, 2022, 1:49 p.m.Updated 1 hour ago By: Edmunds Buying a new or used car over the past two years has become a more difficult undertaking. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, we have faced factory shutdowns, supply chain issues, a global shortage of semiconductor chips, vehicle shortages, price increases on dealer […]]]>

Buying a new or used car over the past two years has become a more difficult undertaking. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, we have faced factory shutdowns, supply chain issues, a global shortage of semiconductor chips, vehicle shortages, price increases on dealer lots and fewer discounts. Add to that exorbitant fuel prices and rising interest rates, and it’s enough to make people raise their hands in resignation.

“Consumers who need a new vehicle this summer need to break old habits and relearn how to navigate smart in today’s market,” said Ivan Drury, senior knowledge manager at Edmunds. “You can’t just walk into the dealership hoping to find deals, incentives, or even the vehicle you want.”

With that in mind, here are some issues you need to know about today’s car-buying climate, along with some tips on how to best manage them.

WAITING FOR IT MAY BE HARDER THAN EXPECTED

Many people who were hesitant about buying a new car probably decided to wait out the chip shortage. In a recent interview, however, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said he expects the chip shortage to persist well into 2024.

Part of the problem is that building new semiconductor factories is a complicated and expensive process that takes years. Another problem is somewhat of a Catch-22: there is a shortage of chip-making machines and they themselves also need chips to work. Additionally, the lead time for these machines can be around two to three years before they are operational.

Tip: If you choose to wait, make sure your vehicle is capable of lasting at least a few years. Now is the time to fix any lingering issues or give it some much-needed maintenance.

PAY THE PRICE OF THE STICKER, OR MORE

The good old days of deep rebates or cash bonuses from manufacturers are long gone. You are much more likely to come across vehicles with markups or “market adjustments” than vehicles with a discount. We’ve seen markups as low as $1,000 and over $50,000 for high-end luxury vehicles.

You will also find vehicles with many dealer-installed accessories that can add thousands to the price of a car. Customers don’t carry much weight in negotiations these days, and if you’re not willing to pay the asking price, chances are someone else will.

Tip: It may take a little time to research, but there are a number of dealerships that choose not to add markups. They usually advertise it on their website or you can call ahead to ask. If you have to deal with a markup, be aware that the dealer is sometimes ready to negotiate on this amount.

THE SELECTION MAY REMAIN LIMITED

“As inventory numbers will eventually normalize, consumers should probably get used to the idea of ​​ordering their vehicle rather than being presented with a surplus of choice at a dealership,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director knowledge of Edmunds.

Caldwell says it’s likely automakers will be more conservative with their production numbers going forward and try to shift some of their sales to build-to-order.

Tip: Those set on a certain color or combination of hard-to-find options are better off ordering the vehicle. Patience is required, as a specially ordered car can take several months to arrive. If you need a new car in a shorter time, you’ll need to be flexible about colors, options, or even the model itself. This is the best way to increase the number of vehicles in stock that you can choose from.

LOANS WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE

In May, the Federal Reserve announced that it had raised interest rates by half a percentage point, the biggest increase in more than 20 years. Data from Edmunds shows that the average annual percentage rate, or APR, for new vehicles financed in April was 4.7%. Used cars tend to have higher rates, and in April the average used car loan APR was 8%. That’s not much higher than a year ago, but the Fed has signaled it plans to raise rates a few more times in 2022.

Point: If your credit isn’t the best and you’re shopping for a used car, be sure to check with different lenders before purchase to get the best rate. Look for Certified Pre-Owned vehicles instead. They cost more than the average used car, but they’re more likely to have promotional interest rates below the average APR. Plus, they come with the peace of mind of an extra warranty.

EDMUNDS SAYS: Buying a car today can seem daunting, but if you temper your expectations, shop at reputable dealerships, and plan to order your vehicle if possible, you’ll be ahead of the game.

_______

This story was provided to The Associated Press by automotive website Edmunds. Ronald Montoya is Consumer Advice Editor at Edmunds.

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Crime, education, discussed in Maryland governor’s debate https://ctcontra.com/crime-education-discussed-in-maryland-governors-debate/ Mon, 06 Jun 2022 21:22:05 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/crime-education-discussed-in-maryland-governors-debate/ OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Crime, education and the economy were the top issues discussed Monday by eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland in their first wide televised debate. of State. The candidates also took the opportunity during the debate on Maryland’s public television to face opponents with whom they believe […]]]>

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Crime, education and the economy were the top issues discussed Monday by eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland in their first wide televised debate. of State.

The candidates also took the opportunity during the debate on Maryland’s public television to face opponents with whom they believe they will compete more closely in the crowded primary, which will be held on July 19. The governor’s office is open this election cycle because Republican Governor Larry Hogan is serving a limited term.

Rushern Baker, Jon Baron, Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, Ashwani Jain, John King, Wes Moore and Tom Perez took part in the hour-long debate that aired Monday night.


Franchot, who has served as state comptroller since 2007, and former attorney general Doug Gansler, pointed to their experience in a statewide office as qualifying them to tackle issues facing the next governor. will be confronted. Tom Perez, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also highlighted his experience in local, state and federal government.

Wes Moore, bestselling author and former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation – which focuses on fighting poverty – criticized Franchot during the debate, saying he had accepted campaign donations from entities he had voted for to approve contracts as one of three state members. powerful board of public works.

Franchot responded that he demonstrated integrity in a life of public service. He noted that he was elected four times in statewide races to be the state’s tax collector.

“I’ve spent my whole life serving the people,” said Franchot, who also served as a Montgomery County delegate in the state legislature.

Moore presented himself as someone who worked for the public good outside of politics.

“I’ve been a public servant all my life,” Moore said. “I just haven’t been a politician.”

Perez, who also served in former President Barack Obama’s administration as assistant attorney general for civil rights from 2009 to 2013, questioned Moore’s commitment to public service. Perez said he fought predatory lenders when Moore worked for Citibank during the foreclosure crisis.

“I don’t know how working at Citibank is a public service,” Perez said.

Moore responded by questioning Perez’s work on predatory lending, saying “nobody went to jail” as a result of his efforts. He also said Perez won a vote of no confidence from the Congressional Black Caucus when he was chairman of the Democratic Party in 2018.

Perez said he wasn’t involved in the lawsuits against Wall Street bankers, but he pointed to two big cases he settled regarding fair housing.

Perez said he is running to increase jobs and opportunities statewide.

“I want to get things done,” Perez said, noting his endorsement by The Washington Post.

Baker, a former Prince George’s County leader, focused on how he worked to restore public trust in the state’s second-largest county, after his predecessor went to jail in a scandal of public corruption. Baker also noted that he was running his campaign with public campaign finance.

John King, a former US education secretary, said he would focus on ensuring education is well-funded in the state. He said a huge investment in K-12 education known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future would be a floor, not a ceiling, if elected governor.

“We need to commit to the necessary investments,” King said.

Gansler, who is also a former Montgomery County prosecutor, emphasized crime fighting.

“This election is about crime and criminal justice,” Gansler said, adding that he supports hiring more police officers and training them in de-escalation techniques.

Baron, a former nonprofit executive, said the state must adopt innovative approaches to improve education and raise stagnant wages. He said he supported providing high-quality tutoring to struggling elementary students so they don’t fall behind.

Jain, a former Obama administration official, said he is running to make government more inclusive, bringing experience from both the public and private sectors.

Jérôme Segal, who is also seeking the nomination, was not invited to the debate.

“The Maryland Public Television Debate is an important event that airs statewide on other media, including WBAL-TV,” Segal said in a statement. “My exclusion from the debate is a blow to my campaign, and I believe it is illegal.”

Tom Williams, MPT’s chief communications officer, said MPT used its best judgment to determine that Segal’s campaign did not meet the criteria for participation. Williams said MPT will provide her with the opportunity to discuss her campaign on an MPT program.

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Central Maine Business Records: Maine Venture Fund Partners with Dirigo Labs https://ctcontra.com/central-maine-business-records-maine-venture-fund-partners-with-dirigo-labs/ Sat, 04 Jun 2022 19:09:45 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/central-maine-business-records-maine-venture-fund-partners-with-dirigo-labs/ WATERVILLE – Maine Venture Fund announced a new partnership with Dirigo Labs, a startup accelerator launched by the Central Maine Growth Council, to increase capital investment in businesses located in central Maine. Dirigo Labs will provide MVF with “boots on the ground” in the region and develop a channel through which companies can learn about […]]]>

WATERVILLE – Maine Venture Fund announced a new partnership with Dirigo Labs, a startup accelerator launched by the Central Maine Growth Council, to increase capital investment in businesses located in central Maine. Dirigo Labs will provide MVF with “boots on the ground” in the region and develop a channel through which companies can learn about equity financing options available from MVF. In turn, MVF will participate in Dirigo Labs accelerator programming and work directly with companies to help them understand the fundraising process and identify sources of capital in Maine and beyond, including, but not limited to, the Maine Venture Fund itself, according to a press release. of Maine Venture.

Dr. Brien Walton, Chairman of the MVF Board of Directors, said, “Partnering with Dirigo Labs follows the strategic priority of the MVF Board of Directors to expand impact across Maine. As a lean team, MVF can be more effective working to support existing regional partners rather than recreating those resources. The relationship with Dirigo Labs and the Central Maine Growth Council is a perfect example of this type of partnership, to better connect state resources with dynamic leaders on the front lines of Central Maine’s growing economy.

Susan Ruhlin of Dirigo Labs agreed. “As Maine’s venture capital fund, it made sense to partner with the Maine Venture Fund to ensure that participating Dirigo Labs startups have direct access to state funding that aims to support high-growth businesses. . The Maine Venture Fund’s demonstrated success in the state over the past 25 years bolsters the potential for new economic development organizations like Dirigo Labs to gain a foothold and thrive over the next 25 years by better serving the Central Maine region. .

MVF is already engaging with several of the companies enrolled in the inaugural class of Dirigo Labs Accelerator in a range of activities from general education to fundraising to capital investment appraisal. MVF plans to leverage the recently announced MVF Microfund program to provide a broader range of equity financing options to businesses in Dirigo Labs and Central Maine.

Ed Goff Photo submitted

Skowhegan Savings Bank hires assistant vice president and commercial lender

Skowhegan Savings Bank announced that Ed Goff had joined the bank as Assistant Vice President and Commercial Lender. He comes to the bank with more than 19 years of experience owning small businesses, including a construction equipment rental company and a chain of car washes from Skowhegan to Brunswick. His businesses have been recognized with numerous awards, highlighted in global trade journals and he received the Community Impact Award from the Skowhegan Region Chamber of Commerce.

“We are delighted to welcome Ed to our commercial lending team,” said Steve Thomas, Senior Vice President and Lead Commercial Lender, according to a bank press release. “His successes as a business owner in Maine will be a unique asset to our business clients by helping them meet their current and future financial needs and goals.”

Goff will be based at the bank’s Augusta branch and will support the bank’s corporate clients in central and southern Maine.

“As a small business owner of nearly 20 years, Skowhegan Savings Bank has always been there to meet my business financial needs and goals,” Goff said. “I now look forward to joining the business team where I can return this level of support, which I have been shown, to other Maine business owners on behalf of the bank.”

Denis Bergeron, left, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Maine Public Utilities Commission Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II at the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners. Photo submitted

Maine Public Utilities Commission analyst receives Lifetime Achievement Award

HALLOWELL – Denis Bergeron, utility analyst and coordinator of regional market programs at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners.

Bergeron worked in state government in senior positions for 35 years. For the past 15 years, he has been the commission’s principal analyst and a strong advocate for Maine with the New England Power Pool, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Independent System Operator-New England and New England States Committee on Electricity.

“Denis is highly regarded and is considered a leading expert on transmission and production issues in New England,” PUC Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said, according to a commission press release. . “His passion for defending both Maine and the New England region is unparalleled.”

Bergeron has received numerous honors during his career. In 2013, he was recognized by Efficiency Maine for his “commitment to energy efficiency.” He was also recognized by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership for his “outstanding commitment, leadership and service to NEEP and its mission to accelerate energy efficiency as a leading solution to climate change”. The NECPUC also honored Denis in 1999 and again in 2013 with its George Dunn Award, which recognizes staff who have performed in an exemplary manner on matters of regional significance or impact.

“Here at the commission, I can say unequivocally that Denis is extensively solicited by myself, my fellow commissioners and our trustees on strategic matters relating to generation, transmission and distribution issues facing Maine and New -England,” Bartlett said. “Denis is planning to retire this year and receiving recognition at the symposium is certainly a good way for Denis to end a brilliant career.

Maine Small Business Development Center Counselors Receive Certification

Maine’s Small Business Development Centers, a statewide program that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, recognized eight business counselors who received their core skills certification from the group of New England Professional Development on May 18. Newly certified counselors include Christine Cole (Portland), Tina Oddleifson (Portland), Anne Lancaster (Biddeford), Lori Allen (Auburn), Christina Ramsdell (Auburn), Brandon McDonald (Caribou), Alison Lane (Bangor) and Peter Piconi ( Waterville).

The group is a professional development collaboration of the six New England Small Business Development Centers and includes programs in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Its curriculum provides a comprehensive core knowledge training program and is a key component of SBDC’s ability to provide valuable, high-quality services to clients and meet stakeholder needs. Certification training consists of two components: participation in specified online technical content and an intensive two-day in-person group session.

The eight newly certified business advisors include:

• Christine Cole is located in Portland and serves small businesses in Cumberland and York counties.
• Tina Oddleifson is located in Portland and serves small businesses in Cumberland and York counties.
• Anne Lancaster is located in Biddeford and serves small businesses in York County.
• Lori Allen is located in Auburn and serves small businesses in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties.
• Christina Ramsdell is located in Auburn and serves small businesses in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties.
• Brandon McDonald is located in Caribou and serves small businesses in Aroostook County.
• Alison Lane is located in Bangor and serves small businesses in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.
• Peter Piconi is located in Waterville and serves small businesses in Somerset and Northern Kennebec counties.

Cornerstone expands Maine capabilities with addition of new manager

Cornerstone, a major employee-owned, bipartisan government relations and public affairs firm with federal and state reach, announced on June 1 the addition of Matt Marks as director of the firm’s Augusta office. Marks brings to the firm over 25 years of policy experience and expertise in transportation and infrastructure, housing, climate and environment, energy, public safety, workforce development and state credits.

“I am excited to join the growing Cornerstone team in Maine, building on their success in delivering government and public affairs services. This is an exciting transition for me, and I look forward to continuing to work at Augusta,” Marks said, according to a company press release.

Marks joins Cornerstone from the Associated General Contractors of Maine, the state’s largest construction trade association, where he first served as chief operating officer in 2008. operating, he managed regulatory efforts for the Maine chapter of the association and was selected as the chapter leader. Managing Director in August 2012. He led the AGC team which won two national PR awards for his advocacy in this leadership position. He also sits on the Maine Climate Council, the Maine Offshore Wind Advisory Committee and the Offshore Wind Port Advisory Group. He is a board member of the Maine Business Immigration Coalition.

Previously, Marks was the chief decision maker at a Maine-based energy company, where he managed day-to-day operations and grew business operations and sales. AGC Maine recruited Matt for his work with regulatory agencies, corporate management and political engagement.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree focused on Applied Technical Leadership from the University of Southern Maine, he was selected in 2013 as the University’s Applied Technology Alumnus of the Year. Marks resides in Scarborough with his wife and children.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of Matt’s leadership experience joining the company,” said general manager Campbell Kaufman. “Having served as CEO of such a prestigious organization, Matt will provide our clients and colleagues with valuable insight into public policy discussions statewide.”

At Cornerstone, Marks will work closely with Mike Cuzzi and Todd Webster to expand client work in Maine and throughout the Northeast.

For more business news, visit CentralMaine.com.

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Asian stocks rise, exchanges in China are closed for the national holiday https://ctcontra.com/asian-stocks-rise-exchanges-in-china-are-closed-for-the-national-holiday/ Fri, 03 Jun 2022 06:12:48 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/asian-stocks-rise-exchanges-in-china-are-closed-for-the-national-holiday/ TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks rose on Friday amid mixed signs for investors such as rising energy prices and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China. Trade was closed in China for the Dragon Boat Festival, a national holiday. Benchmarks in the rest of the region rose slightly, encouraged by an overnight rally on Wall […]]]>

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks rose on Friday amid mixed signs for investors such as rising energy prices and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China.

Trade was closed in China for the Dragon Boat Festival, a national holiday. Benchmarks in the rest of the region rose slightly, encouraged by an overnight rally on Wall Street.

Market participants are watching closely for non-farm payrolls data in the US later today, as well as a slew of economic data out of Japan next week. The OPEC meeting, in which oil-producing countries decided to increase part of their production, failed to stabilize energy prices significantly.

“To say that the outcome of the OPEC meeting disappointed expectations would be an understatement,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.


Japan and the United States have signed a revised “beef safeguard” mechanism under the U.S.-Japan trade deal that will help U.S. beef producers meet growing demand from the Japan made of high quality beef. The deal will reduce the chances of Japan’s safeguard duties being imposed on U.S. beef, the two sides said. It happened in early 2021.

“Together, the United States and Japan demonstrate their commitment to working together on shared priorities to achieve concrete and economically meaningful results for our people,” said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.2% in afternoon trade to 27,742.70. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 7,237.40, while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4% to 2,668.52.

Wall Street stocks overcame a shaky start to close broadly higher on Thursday, as major indexes more than offset losses at the start of the holiday-shortened week.

The S&P 500 rose 1.8% to 4,176.82, with more than 85% of stocks in the benchmark index posting gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3% to 33,248.28, while the Nasdaq climbed 2.7% to 12,316.90.

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Mortgage fintech Tomo cuts nearly a third of its workforce https://ctcontra.com/mortgage-fintech-tomo-cuts-nearly-a-third-of-its-workforce/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 14:51:00 +0000 https://ctcontra.com/mortgage-fintech-tomo-cuts-nearly-a-third-of-its-workforce/ Lending fintech Tomo Networks cut nearly a third of its workforce on Tuesday and will reverse its expansion plans, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company laid off 44 employees ahead of a chaotic economic cycle, it said in a statement. It’s the latest mortgage fintech make layoffs and most recent lender to […]]]>

Lending fintech Tomo Networks cut nearly a third of its workforce on Tuesday and will reverse its expansion plans, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company laid off 44 employees ahead of a chaotic economic cycle, it said in a statement. It’s the latest mortgage fintech make layoffs and most recent lender to cite rising interest rates and reduced volume for downsizing.

“Although we did not explicitly offer mortgage refinancing due to the risky boom and bust cycle, we were still impacted by rapidly rising interest rates which reduced mortgage purchase margins” , said CEO and co-founder Greg Schwartz in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday. “Venture capital is also shrinking in this chaotic economic environment, so we need to craft a stable budget that will rely on less capital for longer.”

The lender now has 110 employees and plans no more layoffs, he said. Just Tomo raised $40 million in a Series A funding round in March and recently touted a $640 million valuation.

Carey Armstrong and Schwartz, former Zillow executives, founded Tomo in 2020 and raised $70 million in seed funding last june. The company also immediately committed to refrain from refinancing during their recent peak in popularity. Tomo claims to close 98% of its loans on time and serves nine states. It also added jumbo loans in January, a popular product amid rising rates and home values.

The company joins the growing list of mortgage companies large and small that have made job cuts since the start of the year. Digital lender better.com and mortgage technology company Mixed have laid off workers in the past two months as massive players Cos rocket. and Wells Fargo also laid off mortgage employees.

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