Business Briefs – July 30, 2017

Average Mortgage Rates Fall For 2nd Straight Week

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term mortgage rates fell this week for the second consecutive week, despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to lift borrowing costs.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says that the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages slid to 3.92 percent from 3.96 percent the previous week. While historically low, that is still above last year’s average of 3.65 percent.

The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, eased to 3.2 percent from 3.23 percent last week.

Mortgage rates haven’t increased much even though the Federal Reserve has boosted its benchmark rate four times in the past 18 months. That’s because mortgage rates follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is influenced by many factors. Greater demand by overseas investors can lower the yield.

Wells Fargo in Another Scandal, This Time in Auto Lending

NEW YORK (AP) – Scandal-plagued Wells Fargo is back in hot water for signing customers up for products they didn’t need or want. This time it’s auto insurance, and the bank says it may have cost about 20,000 people their cars. The San Francisco-based bank says it enrolled roughly 570,000 auto loan borrowers for what’s known as collateral production insurance on their vehicles when they already had appropriate insurance. It will pay $80 million in refunds.

Wisconsin Governor Calls Special Session on Foxconn Deal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A wide array of Wisconsin environmental regulations would be waived in an effort to speed up construction of a $10 billion Foxconn electronics factory under a proposal Gov. Scott Walker unveiled Friday. The measure, which Walker called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to consider as early as Tuesday, would also borrow $252 million to finish rebuilding Interstate 94 which connects Milwaukee with Chicago and runs near where the massive display panel factory is expected to be built.

Obama-era Retirement Savings Program for Workers Gets the Ax

NEW YORK (AP) – A government savings program designed to get more people to put away money for retirement is being killed the Treasury Department. The savings program, called myRA, was created by President Barack Obama about two years ago to give people a way to save who don’t have access to a 401(k) or other retirement plan from their employer.