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Banks see high credit risks for households in Q2

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean banks forecast the credit risks of households to stay high in the second quarter on concerns over excessive household debt, the central bank said Thursday. An index gauging larger firms' credit risks came in at 25 for the April-June period, unchanged from the previous quarter, according to a survey of 16 local banks conducted by the Bank of Korea (BOK). The number marked the highest level since 28 tallied for the first quarter of last year.

South African credit history amnesty takes effect

A South African law requiring lenders to erase defaulters' credit history took effect Tuesday despite protests from banks and opposition parties that branded the move as populist vote-buying. Credit bureaus now have two months to wipe "adverse consumer credit information" from their records, according to the law, which comes ahead of elections on May 7. "The amnesty doesn't remove the debt, it just removes the information related to an account," said National Debt Mediation Association CEO Magauta Mphahlele.

Bank lending surge very good or really bad: James Saft

By James Saft (Reuters) - A remarkable rise in U.S. bank lending may hold the key to the outlook for the U.S. economy, but it could be either very good or very bad news. Lending for commercial and industrial purposes rose at a 26.4 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate in February, according to Federal Reserve data released last week, the biggest such spike since the 2008 fall of Lehman Brothers.

Fandango, Credit Karma may have exposed some users' personal information but have fixed error

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Federal Trade Commission says the mobile applications of movie ticket-seller Fandango and credit report-provider Credit Karma may have exposed millions of users' sensitive personal information, including credit card data and social security numbers. The companies failed to properly secure their apps over a multiyear period, potentially exposing information users sent or received through the apps, according to the FTC. Fandango and Credit Karma fixed the security issue last year.

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Standard & Poor's cut Brazil's credit rating Monday by one notch, citing the government's unclear policy signals as it faces a weaker fiscal situation, and the country's slower growth outlook. S&P put Brazil's rating at BBB-, the lowest level for investment grade debt, and called the outlook stable. pmh/nss

China credit strains rise as Beijing embraces failure

By Umesh Desai and Gabriel Wildau HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Credit warning signs are flashing for heavily indebted Chinese semiconductor, software and commodities firms as the government cautiously steps aside to let market forces play a bigger role in deciding winners and losers. China's first-ever domestic bond default this month - a missed interest payment from Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co <002506.SZ> - shattered the belief that Beijing would always bail out struggling companies.

Heavy debtors' liabilities edge up in 2013

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- The average liabilities held by South Korea's heavy debtors edged up on-year in 2013, data showed Sunday, casting further clouds over the country's economy amid mounting household debts. South Koreans who have borrowed money from more than three financial firms saw their average debt reach 96.2 million at end-2013, gradually expanding every year since the 88.3 million won posted in 2010, the data compiled by the Bank of Korea (BOK) showed.

TransUnion: Many US homeowners now prioritizing mortgage payments ahead of credit cards

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Many U.S. homeowners are once again giving priority to their mortgage payments over keeping up with their credit card bills. That's the conclusion of a study released Wednesday by credit reporting agency TransUnion. The firm examined late-payment rates of mortgages, credit cards and auto loans between 2003 and 2013 among consumers with the three types of financial obligations. The study found consumers began falling behind on their credit card payments at a greater rate than their mortgage payments last September.

S. Korea opens casino market to foreign operators

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- The tourism ministry on Tuesday approved a foreign casino operator to open business in South Korea for the first time as part of efforts to boost the country's tourism industry. The ministry said it gave LOCZ Korea, a joint venture between Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment and Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group, the go-ahead to open a casino in Yeongjongdo, an economic zone near Incheon International Airport, South Korea's main gateway.

Moody's cuts Argentina rating, citing reserves fall

Moody's lowered its credit rating for Argentina by one step Monday, citing a sharp fall in the country's reserves and inconsistent economic policies. Moody's cut the rating to Caa1 from B3, putting it in the mid-range of "speculative" or junk bonds. The agency also cut its outlook for Argentina to negative from stable -- a warning that the country could face another downgrade.
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