El Paso Times from El Paso, Texas on September 8, 1991 · 43
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El Paso Times from El Paso, Texas · 43

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El Paso, Texas
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Sunday, September 8, 1991
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43
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Section E 3E Consumers ; 4E Stocks : ' 6EAutomotive o) El Paso Times O Business editors Ramon Bracamontes, 545-6100 Sunday Sept 8, 1991 Bulletin board Top Realtors: Elite and Terry O'Connor were BKB Properties' top Realtors for July. They specialize in residential and real estate sales on the West Side and in Santa Teresa, N.M. 50th Anniversary: Claire Sampson, an executive secretary to the general manager of General Instruments, celebrated, her 50th anniversary with the company. She was given a seven-day cruise to Alaska. Stewart Tiiie employee; Stewart Title Co. of El Paso has named James P. Nicely its July employee of the month. Nicely, an assistant title plant I man- Nicely agerexam-iner, has been with the company since 1982. Estimators meet: The American Society of Professional Estimators will meet at 1 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Rodeway Inn, 6201 Gateway West. Karen Lyon of the American Heart Association will speak on "Stress Management Exercises." Information: Ricardo Baca or Charles E. Anderson, 533-1176. Secretary seminar: The El Paso County Legal Secretaries Association is sponsoring a professional development seminar for legal secretaries from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tomas Rivera Conference Center in The Union on the UTEP campus. Cost is $40 for members and $50 for non-members. Information: Barbara Griffin, 533-7717. Reservations: 747-5142. Engineers meet: The American Society of Safety Engineers, Paso del Norte Chapter, will meet at 11:30 a.m. Thursday for lunch at Rodeway Inn, 6201 Gateway West. James P. Bearden of the Texas Safety Association will speak. Information: Hel-.mut Paschold. 584-8064. ' New law firm! Inhn P P.al. , noun and Marvin K. Foust HawA Knrrimo nartnore fr tho nave uuvi i ysai mi j iui uii law practice of Calhoun and ; Foust, P.O., 501 Executive Center Blvd.,' Suite 100. Pink Cadillac: Gay Super, a " Mary Kay independent sales : director, was awarded use of ; a pink Cadillac for her : achievements in sales and ; leadership. About 5,000 Mary Kav career cars are on roads nationwide today. mental inc., a national pro-'. vider of environmental and geotechnical services, is opening an office in El Paso at 843 Broadmoor on the West Side. The office will provide ' environmental, engineering and remediation services for industrial operations, prop- erty development and solid ' waste facilities. Women in construction: ' The National Association of Women in Construction will : meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Fort Bliss Officers Club. The association will install its I new officers: Patricia Merritt, presiueni; Deny uesper, viuc . presiaent; Linaa nice, secre-tary; and Becky Ramirez, f treasurer. Immediate past ; president is Maxine Wilson. : Earning accreditation: 4 uaui i c i a vjouui wwi ; and Gerda Webb have earned their accredited customer 1 service representative desig-I nation. They both work as customer service representa- tives in the personal insurance department of The t Promotion: Lanier Dicta-tion Products has promoted Perry Shenkman to sales supervisor for the West Texas ' and Southern New 'Mexico territories. He will oversee sales, support and installs- tion of dictation equipment in - the area. '. More training: Sonny Cha- - vez of Morrison's Inc. in Las ; Cruces attended a regional meeting of Case IH dealers in Memphis, Tenn., where he I previewed two new Case ;, international proaucis. me i 7150 Magnum tractor and ' 2055 Cotton Express picker will be available to farmers ' next year. Times staff reports V Home equity loans not always best way to pay off Where you can get Where to learn more about home-equity loans: B Almost 98 percent of financial institutions offer home-equity lines of credit while 84 percent offer traditional fixed-amount second mortgages. AH offer information on how to qualify and apply for a loan. Contact your local lending institution. The American Bankers Acriation ran provide its report "1991 Home Equity Lines of Credit" which lists banks by geographical area that provide the most home-equity credit lines. For information, call (800) 338- ill f no Mil That's when most of us will be winners if Texas OKs a statewide lottery By Del Jones El Paso Times Plan to win a million bucks in the Texas state lottery? Be careful. You stand a 1,000 times greater chance of being murdered on the way to a convenience store to buy your ticket than you do of winning $1 million. That's stretching the truth, but it was the testimony of economist Stuart Greenfield before a chortling state legislature in Austin, which since has turned the final decision over to the state's voters. We will decide Nov. 5 if Texas will join 31 other states and the District Columbia and install a lottery as a painless, voluntary even fun form of taxation. But the voting really begins once the lottery is established. The knee-jerk response is to vote "Yes." What's a dollar for a dream? But consumer groups warn that lotteries are among the most unwise consumer purchases with far worse returns than even horse racing, bingo or slot machines. In an interview after his testimony to the state Legislature, . Greenfield said he was exagerating about the odds of getting killed buying a lottery ticket. About 2,600 people are murdered annually in Texas, which makes it 1,000 times more likely you will Long arm Question: What can be done about the negligent manner in which the Credit Bureau of El Paso files and reports personal credit histories? In the past year, three members of my family have had problems. First, my son tried to buy a vehicle but was denied credit because he had too many bills relative to his income. Only three of the bills were his. Second, my daughter received an unfavorable report because the Credit Bureau said she did not pay a bill on a credit card issued by a local department store. My daughter has never had a credit card from this store. Upon investigation, she found out that the credit bureau had sold a mailing list to the department Btore of people with excellent credit ratings. The store then sent her a credit card, saying it was more information 0626. B The Consumer Bankers Association also conducted a survey of tenders for its report "1991 Home Equity Loan Study." For information, write CBA, 1000 Wilson Blvd., 30th Floor, Arlington, Va. 22209-3908 B "Making the Most of Your Money: Smart Ways to Create Wealth and Plan Your Finances in the '90s," by personal finance columnist Jane Bryant Quinn. contains a section on using home-equity loans. The book is published by Simon & Schuster. Cost: $27.50. u get killed each year than beat the l-in-7 million odds of winning $1 million or more in the lottery. However, Greenfield said, it's impossible to know the odds of getting killed specifically on the way to buy a lottery ticket. But, he added, "There are a lot of murders at convenience stores." Focus for a minute on the l-in-7 million odds. That' means you would have to spend $3.5 million just to bring your odds of winning $1 million down to the level of a coin flip. Or you can buy two lottery tickets every week for 63 years and still have about a l-in-2,000 chance of ever winning $1 million. During those same 63 years you will have a nearly certain chance of having your car stolen in El Paso. However, if you were to pocket that $104 each year and buy U.S. Savings Bonds with the money which pay annual interest of at least 6 percent you would be guaranteed to have more than $66,000 at the end of 63 years. States use that same miracle of compounded interest to their own advantage when it comes to lotteries, said Janee Briesemeister of Consumers ( Union in Austin. "You don't usually win $1 million," she said. "You win $50,000 per year for 20 years." That might sound just as Please see Lottery 2E of the law about to swat , f v : ( JW.. - Eel Jsnss Consumerline because of her good rating. Unfortunately, it was sent to an address where my daughter had not lived for eight years. The people living at that address used the card and signed my daugter's name. Third, my husband was denied credit because he supposedly had a delinquent bill with a major credit card. The debt is really owed by a man and wife Missing payments can cost you your house , Gannett News Service One night, it's dinner out with the family. Later, at the mall, a hand-held camcorder catches your eye. Then it's off to the mountains for a cozy weekend respite. 3y now, the plastic is so worn you can barely read the expiration date on your credit card. It's time to pay up. So you write a check, using your home-equity credit line, instead of paying the credit card interest rate of about 19 percent. The equity-line finance charge is a shade more than 10 percent, and it's deductible on (2) a mWm WftA'V fill "&?Tiff ' ' - ' 1 ftjl ' j The odds: A day with rain in El Paso during April, the driest month: 1 in 1 7.6 1 Having your car stolen during a given year in El Paso: 1 in 63 1 Being murdered during a given year in Texas: 1 in 7,000 1 A woman giving birth to triplets: 1 in 9,000 Being dealt a flush in poker: 1 in 200,000 A woman giving birth to quadruplets: 1 in 1 million Being killed by lightning in the El Paso area during a given year: 1 in 1 million Getting a hole-in-one in golf: 1 in 1 million Winning $1 million or more in the proposed Texas lottery: 1 in 7 million Source: Times research with our same last name, but with different first names, address and phone number. Is there any legal action that a person can take for the irresponsible manner in which they report a person's credit history? J.M. Sanchez, Northeast El Paso. Answer: I'm not a big fan of government regulation, but this is one industry which, despite horror stories like yours, seems unable to clean up its act. Therefore, it's about to get its comeuppance and taste the wrath of more red tape. The Texas attorney general has sued TRW; which is the mammoth nationwide network of credit information to which Credit Bureau of El Paso belongs. The suit alleges TRW is maintaining inaccurate information and is failing to correct it even when problems are lis yc mono federal taxes. Pretty smart move, right? It depends. "The most important thing to realize is their home is now at risk if thev don't make those payments," said Frances Smith of the Consumer Credit Institute. 4 Home-equity lines of credit are basically second mortgages that allow you to write a check to borrow cash against -your y i credit reporting agencies brought to their attention. I guess that's not news to you. The suit also wants TRW to stop selling mailing lists, which the state says is in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That act says a report may be issued only if a business needs to evaluate such things as applications for credit, employment and insurance. People who send out junk mail don't have a right to the information, the Texas attorney general says. Congress tends to agree and several bills are pending. The Federal Trade Commission says credit bureaus are its top source of complaints, but it's waiting to see what emerges from Congress. Credit bureaus are important to businesses and consumers alike because they allow companies to quickly weed out deadbeata so that honest folks can leave the store with their other bills; home whenever you need the money. Your home is used as collateral in the event you don't pay the money back. On the plus side, the interest on a home-equity loan is tax-deductible and rates are about 8.5 'percentage points lower than on credit cards. Personal finance columnist Jane Bryant Quinn writes in her new book, "Making the Most of Your Money," that home-equity loans are often a family's only source of extra money. On the downside, credit card debt is usually paid off quickly: about 15 months. If an equity loan is allowed to linger beyond that, it could cost more because Please see Equity 2E John Pyle El Paso Times merchandise within minutes of credit application. But the pendulum has swung too far in one direction, probably because of the weak civil remedy to injured consumers like yourself. You could sue, but under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you can recover only actual damages. In other words, you could get only the money that the mistakes cost you. Proving financial loss is usually difficult. Consumerline consulted Ron Dusek of the Texas Attorney General's office and Peter Ashkenaz of Congressman Ron Coleman's office in Washington. The column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Mail questions to Consumerline, El Paso Times, P.O. Box 20, El Paso, Texas 79999. Please include name, address and phone number.

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