banking

(via Flickr/iChaz)

Regions Bank is now offering free financial counseling in north St. Louis County through a partnership with a national non-profit called Operation Hope.

Operation Hope counselor Bonita Williams says it will help anyone who asks improve their credit score, become more financially stable and work towards goals like buying a home or starting a business—no strings attached.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz

(Updated at 10:45 am Friday to reflect that Gateway Bank did open additional locations.)

Think about everything you spend money on in a month. There’s housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, a night out with friends here and there.

Now imagine paying for all of those things without using a debit card or check.  

That would put you among the ranks of the unbanked. In 2012, the term applied to 10 percent of the population in the St. Louis metro area. Local groups want to get 20,000 of them a bank account by the middle of 2015.

(via Flickr/Images_Of_Money)

So, another week, and yet more news the U.S. housing market is slowly returning to normal.

Numbers released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department show that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That's up from 910,000 in January. And it's the second-fastest pace since June 2008, behind December's rate of 982,000.

Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis has some of the highest  home vacancy rates in the country, and last month the mayor of Detroit made news when he laid out ambitious plans to demolish as many as 10,000 vacant buildings by the end of his term.

With costs for maintenance and upkeep running in the tens of millions, many Rust Belt cities often find it expedient to simply demolish empty buildings in favor of vacant lots and the hope of future development.

But taking down problem properties creates a whole new set of issues which are often overlooked.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) has announced an agreement with the Missouri Bankers Association over access to bank records.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) will push for legislation next year he says will enable his office to oversee the state’s Division of Finance without interference from state agencies or private entities.

The proposed bill is, in part, the result of an ongoing legal battle with the Missouri Banker’s Association.  Schweich says the MBA is seeking to block his office from examining how the Finance Division examined the records of a number of failed banks in Missouri.

(via Flickr/borman818 )

Forgotten bank accounts could be put to work for taxpayers much more quickly under a new Illinois law.

The measure says the state can take control of abandoned funds after just one year instead of five years. The rightful owners can claim the money if they ever show up, but Illinois will get to collect interest on the funds.

Gov. Quinn signed the law Monday.

(Flickr Creative Commons User taberandrew)

Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States, but they've also landed themselves in $137 million worth of trouble.

The bank's problems may be Missouri's gain.