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Trying to get my finances back in order!
He was friendly and professional. I don't have very much experience with mortgages and he was kind and took the time to reassure me and explain all the details so that I could make an informed decision. I would highly recommend Kurt to any beginners like me who needs a little more hand holding!
I would say the number one factor for me to choose HSBC is the fact that they don't overwhelm you with petty fees. The interest rate is pretty decent for the range that I fall into. Sure I could get a bit more from other banks, but the fees almost always cancel the interest out to some degree. It's pretty great that I can do all my banking online and I don't have to drive all the way to a branch. That being said, it's nice that I have the option to do that as well if I so choose! Their customer service has always been topnotch. When I had a few questions, I called them up and they answered them all to a tee and I opened the account with them right away. I would definitely recommend HSBC for a savings account!
I like US Bank a lot, overall. Every time I go into a branch, the tellers are extremely friendly, which shows great training and management. When I applied for a checking account, the process was a little bit rocky, I'll admit. I received my check card in the mail but it took several more days to receive the PIN to activate it, which was very inconvenient. When I tried to resolve this matter over the phone, it took an hour or so of wrangling to prove my identity, etc. Not too pleased with that, as I'm a busy person. Overall, though they did resolve it and apologized for the inconvenience. I wanted to take out the maximum amount for withdrawal one time as well and all of the written material says "daily maximum" so I assumed the counter would reset at midnight. It actually is a 24 hour maximum, so I had to wait until 11pm the next night in order to take out cash again. Also, very inconvenient and not so clear.
I came pretty nervous to my local branch about refinancing my car. I had gotten into some financial messiness but I had been told by someone over the phone with LA Financial that since interest rates were really high back when I first got the car loan, it would make sense to resign it now since we're at a low point in time. So I went in and my agent, Lucy, was incredibly nice and welcoming. She explained everything very clearly, made sure that I understood exactly what was going on every step of the way so I didn't feel like I was being rushed or pushed along. The application process was so easy, I think I probably could've even done it myself if she wasn't there! Anyway, so now I'm the proud recipient of a refinanced loan, they lowered my payments and topped me off with $50 too! What a deal.
This type of deduction is a type of homeowner tax break that may apply if you pay a PMI (private mortgage insurance). Are you eligible? The answer is: it depends. You need to make sure you are very clear about what kind of insurance policy you have and what you’re using it for. Make sure that the insurance policy that you have is for “home acquisition debt” on a first or second home. These types of debts are for loans that you take out that are used to buy, build or substantially improve your home. Make sure you remember this fact as the PMI deduction gets trickier if the loans taken out are for re-financing or home equity because they are not eligible as a deductible. For refinancing, it only applies to refinances up to the original loan amount, but not to any extra cash you might get with the new home loan.
To see if you are eligible, you can check the details of your premiums on Form 1098, if you pay these premiums throughout the year. You can request this form from the lender. If they are pre-paid premiums that you are paying over the term of the loan or over 84 months (whichever is shorter), then you can check Notice 2008-15 from the IRS.
If your premium qualifies under the conditions above, you can report it on Schedule A of your tax return.
Do note that this was a temporary tax break that applies only to insurance policies issued on or between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2013. If your insurance policy was issued after the latter date, you will not qualify. Congress may renew this tax break but it does not seem likely. In general, these tax breaks are generally quite fluid and can change in various ways year to year; you may have been eligible last year but that does not necessarily mean you are eligible this year.