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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘bank’

Peres: Settlements a threat to Israel

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres called Judea and Samaria settlements a threat to Israel.

The remarks were made on Tuesday at the annual ceremony in memory of Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, and addressed a report released Sunday that said “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” in the West Bank, and that therefore settlements and West Bank outposts are legal.

“It is doubtful that a Jewish state without a Jewish majority can remain Jewish,” Peres said, inferring that settlements would lead to the inextricable inclusion of the Palestinians living on the West Bank.

The Obama administration criticized the findings of the Levy Committee report.

“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters Monday evening in answer to a question about the Levy Committee report. Ventrell added that the State Department is “concerned about it, obviously.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns could bring up the report during meetings this week in Israel. Burns will be there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to the region.

The Levy Committee, which was formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, called in its 89-page report for the legalization of all outposts and allowing people who built homes on Palestinian-owned land to pay compensation to the alleged owners, recommends changing the legal regulations concerning Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria in the areas of zoning, demolitions and building.

Leftist Jewish groups in the United States criticized the report.

Americans for Peace Now in a statement called on the government of Israel “to repudiate the findings of the commission it appointed to address the problem of illegal outposts in the West Bank.” APN added that Israel “would cause terrible damage to its international standing, to its relationship with the United States, and to prospects for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world” if the government adopted the report.

J Street called on the Israelis “to reject the committee’s recommendations and to choose instead a path that leads to two states, thereby securing both Israel’s Jewish and democratic future.”

The findings of the committee are subject to the review and approval of Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Netanyahu established the committee in January after settler leaders called for a response to the 2005 Sasson Report on illegal outposts, which concluded that more than 100 West Bank settlements and outposts constructed from the 1990s and forward were illegal.

Chicago Chabad House Files for Bankruptcy to Avoid Foreclosure

Friday, June 29th, 2012

The brownstone housing the Chabad Lubavitch of the Loop, Gold Coast and Lincoln Park was to have gone on the auction block Wednesday, but the bankruptcy filing this week gave Chabad additional time to repay a bank loan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The group has found a way to pay its debts but needed more time, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun said, according to the Tribune.

Seven years ago, Chabad sought to build a new center at Chestnut and Clark streets, on Chicago’s so-called “Gold Coast,” and used its building on North Dearborn as collateral to the bank on the $4.9 million loan.

Following the economic downturn, donations for Chabad took a hit, the bank changed its rules and the organization was unable to finance its loan on the new property.

The Chabad House has served as a residence, classroom and a place to stop for Jewish travelers on visits to Chicago.

A Dumb Investment Someone Wants to Sell You Now

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Can you imagine the following story ever happening to you?

An elderly lady came into my office a while back and told me that she was a novice investor who was very lucky. “Lucky?” I asked. She explained that she was lucky enough to meet a nice, kind person who had sold her a unique investment of raw land that was destined to be converted into a major city one day. When I asked her more questions, she had no idea, claiming that she didn’t understand investments, but was just so lucky that one day she would be rich.

“So what’s the problem?” I asked.

“I need more monthly income,” she admitted.

Here’s what really happened to her: The client was approached by a salesman who said that if she bought into his raw land deal, she would quintuple her money. Since the deal was raw land, there were no renters, and therefore no income from the deal. Thinking that there was a great future to this proposition, the client bought one unit of the deal. Then, when she realized how rich she could become, and since she desperately needed more money, she went to the bank and borrowed some money to buy another unit. Now she owned two units of raw, non-producing real estate, and had to make monthly payments to her bank to pay off mortgage she had taken out to purchase it.

When the client realized that she had used up all of her money for a high-risk investment and, as a result had negative cash flow, she came to me. I called the salesman and asked how she could get out of the deal. He said that the units were not sellable until the whole project was complete. The deal never worked out and now, years later, this poor lady is still suffering.

I don’t know if the raw land will ever be converted into a city. It seems unlikely to me, but I’m not an expert in real estate or city planning. However, I do know that even if the investment itself isn’t dumb, it was a poor idea for the salesman to sell it to this lady. It certainly wasn’t appropriate for her.

When you read these stories, you may think that “it could never happen to me.” However, anyone can make a mistake in judgment when it comes to investing, just like anything else in life. Therefore, when it comes to your own financial dealings, don’t just examine the potential return of an investment. Rather, consider whether the investment program itself is right for someone in your situation. If you have stories like this to share, please send an email directly to me at doug@profile-financial.com or contact me through my website.

 

The Investment Scam That Will Wipe You Out

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

A new fraudster has just turned himself into the police for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars (or shekels, actually, as this guy was in Israel). But the story is the same as when Mr. Ponzi himself was inventing the Ponzi scheme.

Want to blame the government or the regulators? As they say, all that blame and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee. I would not want to blame the victim, but let’s look at some of the facts in the case. In fact, these points are the same in almost all of the fraud cases I have read about in my two decades on Wall Street:

The clients gave money directly to the investment advisor.

The clients did not get statements from a bank or brokerage account.

The clients believed the investment advisor who said he could make totally unrealistic gains … guaranteed!

The clients believed there was little or no risk.

If these clients were children or severely mentally incompetent, I would agree with the argument that we need stronger regulations and better government oversight. But in the most recent case in Israel, and if we look at the biggest scandal ever – Madoff – we see that the clients were often very sophisticated professionals who were very experienced in all aspects of business.

Rather than going into the behavioral finance explanations for why even top-tier investors let greed trump caution, let’s get practical. (If you do want to learn about the psychological aspects of what makes people do the wrong thing, you can listen to my interview with Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman on my radio show. You can see that interview on YouTube.)

In this blog post, I want to make only one basic point, and if you finish reading this article with this one take-away, you can feel pretty confident that you won’t get suckered into a fraudulent investment scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This idea came from my mother (also a Wall Street veteran, and author of a book for children about how the stock market works).

If Ponzi scam victims considered this core concept before getting involved, this is what they might have thought: “You’re promising me 1.5% profit every month. What do you think I am? Stupid? Not even Warren Buffet can do that.”

They would have continued to think: “You are guaranteeing my principal? Who do you think you are? A government guaranteeing its bonds? Germany guaranteeing the Greeks? You couldn’t possibly have enough money.”

Finally, they would have considered who custodies the money: “You are saving me the trouble of opening my own bank account and putting my money into your own account? And then you will just print up statements on your own laser printer? Come on, buddy, I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Which investment scammer has you in his sights? Who knows? But one thing is for sure – if you start by asking the most basic questions and not believing the unbelievable, you’re well on your way to protecting yourself. The scammer will just move on to his next victim.

Jordanian Bank Fires Female Employees – Primarily Christians – Refusing to Wear the Hijab

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Several Arabic news reports appeared on Tuesday, May 22, exposing the new hijab policy of the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank. Under new ownership, bank management recently decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil, or be terminated. According to Najem News —which says the bank’s policy “contradicts Jordan’s laws and constitutions”—the bank “fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab, after warning them that it is mandatory, despite the fact that some of the employees are Christians.” There are also suspicions that, along with Islamizing the bank’s atmosphere, this new policy was further set to target and terminate the Christian employees, since it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.

One female Christian employee who had worked at the bank for 27 years is among those just fired. Though not available for comment, an associate of hers said in response to the new hijab rule: “Is this to be the new approach in Jordan during the Arab Spring revolutions—suppression of freedoms, intolerance for others, the exercise of intellectual terrorism, the quantization of minds, and the imposition of obligations in the name of religion?”

Some may be tempted to draw parallels between this and similar precedents in the West. For instance, some Western banks refuse to serve Muslim women in full hijab. However, this is done for security measures — proven by the fact that the hijab is not singled out, but also hats, hoods and sunglasses—whereas the Jordanian Dubai Islam Bank is basing its policy entirely on religious discrimination.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Obama Tightens Sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The White House announced on Monday that US President Barack Obama has signed another executive order prescribing harsh sanctions on Iran and its central bank, in an effort to combat Iranian attempts at subterfuge of the current sanction regime.

“I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted, particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties,” Obama wrote to Congress.

 

 

Cyber Attacks UPDATE: Israeli Banks Block Int’l Access to Websites

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In efforts to limit exposure and minimize vulnerability to the recent wave of anti-Israel cyber attacks, Israel Discount Bank and First International Bank of Israel have blocked international access to their websites.

This move is likely to cause hardship for Israelis living abroad as they will not have web-access to their accounts.

Angry Israeli Investors, Consumers Gearing Up For New Protests

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Expect to see new rounds of protests by Israeli investors and consumers against financially strapped business leaders and supermarket chains and food conglomerates that have raised prices drastically on basic foodstuffs over the past few months.

The frustration among local investors and consumers comes against the backdrop of a slowing Israeli economy, which is feeling the effects of the economic turmoil within the European Union. According to financial sources, the Israeli economy, which grew by nearly 5 percent last year, will grow at a rate of less 3 percent in 2012.

Israeli economists have speculated that the resignation of Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor, who announced on Monday that she was stepping down after 17 years at Israel’s second largest bank, was a telltale sign that the Jewish state’s economy was entering a period of uncertainty.

In just the past few weeks, leading Israeli financial publications reported that local and foreign business owners in the EU owe tens of billions of dollars to Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi. Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer has assured the Israeli public that local banks were fiscally sound despite the outstanding debts.

But Israelis are growing increasingly impatient and angry with moguls such as Yitzhak Tshuva (Delek Corporation), Ilan Ben-Dov (Tao Tsuot Ltd./Partner Communicatons) and Yossi Maimon (Ampal Corporation), who’ve lost billions of shekels through bad investments and have asked public and private corporate bondholders to forgive large portions of their debts.

An increasing number of Israelis who’ve invested in corporate bonds and stocks have threatened legal action against the tycoons unless they invest large sums of their personal money to cover their debts and agree to cease using corporate monies to provide stratospheric salaries and other perks to business associates and family members.

Meanwhile, prices on basic foodstuffs such as mayonnaise, tea, ketchup, tuna fish and soup mixes at major supermarkets such as Shufersal, Mega and Rami Levi have risen between 60 and 150 percent since the end of the Rosh Hashanah/Sukkot holiday season in October.

Bnei Brak social activist Yitzchak Alrov, who last summer spurred a nationwide protest against skyrocketing cottage cheese products via a simple Facebook campaign, is working with student leaders and other social justice activists to orchestrate another boycott unless the supermarkets and food conglomerates substantially cut their prices.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/angry-israeli-investors-consumers-gearing-up-for-new-protests/2012/01/04/

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