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(2007-05-14 18:32:57)

AIG: Will Consider Buying Subprime Mortgages At Discount

By Lavonne Kuykendall

CHICAGO -(Dow Jones)- The slowdown in the U.S. residential real estate market affected American International Group Inc.'s (AIG) American General Finance unit's results during the first quarter, but the group, which offers mortgage loans, avoided much of the deterioration facing the subprime lending industry by tightening up its lending standards as early as summer 2005, company executives said during the financial-services company's first-quarter earnings conference call Friday.

AIG集团美国通用财务公司(American General Finance)执行长官在周五的财务公司第一季度收入电话会议中表示,美国住宅房地产市场发展的减缓,影响了美国国际集团(AIG)美国通用财务公司(American General Finance)第一季度的成绩。但是该集团早在2005年夏天,就对其次级贷款业务,紧缩其贷款标准提供抵押贷款,从而避免了财务的根本恶化。

Now that other subprime mortgage lenders are running into problems with their portfolios, AIG sees opportunity and is considering the possibility of buying subprime loans at a discount, as others leave the market.

American General Finance also avoided problems by never getting on the industry bandwagon of offering negative amortization mortgage loans减少负摊还借款, which allow borrowers to make payments that do not cover the full monthly principle and interest due到期利息, a company executive said during the call.
美国通用财务公司(American General Finance)从来不靠提供减少负摊还借款增加业务流量,这种借款允许借方消费不必按月还款和到期利息,这种做法也有利于避免财务问题,该公司某执行官员在电话会议中表示。

Late Thursday, AIG, based in New York, said net income was $4.13 billion, or $1.58 a share, in the January-March period, up from $3.2 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, profit was $4.4 billion, or $1.68 a share, up from $3.4 billion, or $1.29 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue was $30.65 billion, up 12% from $27.28 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had projected earnings of $1.54 a share on revenue of $29.45 billion.
Thomson Financial的分析家曾预测,AIG每股收益1.54美元,收入294.5亿。

In recent trading, shares of AIG traded up 50 cents to $72.70.

Dow Jones Newswires(2007-05-11)


Bush's Health Plan Would Do More Harm Than Good: John M. Berry

By John M. Berry

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's latest attempt to deal with the nation's health-care problems is based on misconceptions about what causes people to seek care and, if enacted, might do more harm than good.

The president and his advisers seem to think that if you have what they call a ``generous'' health-insurance plan through your employer, you routinely take advantage of every provision even if not needed.

You do that because the care doesn't cost you very much, they argue, adding that in the process you are unnecessarily driving up the cost of health care for the whole country.

Is that really how people behave? Not likely; far more avoid doctors than seek them out when they aren't really needed.

Instead of thinking about how to help the 47 million Americans -- 16 percent of the population -- without health insurance obtain it, Bush offered a complex plan in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 23 to make people more conscious of the cost of health care. Predictably it centered on a tax cut, though a small group would pay more.

Beginning in 2009, employers' costs of providing health insurance would become taxable income to employees for both income and payroll tax purposes. Now the value of this fringe benefit isn't taxed.

At the same time, couples with health-insurance coverage -- whether provided by an employer or bought from an insurance company -- would get a new standard health-insurance deduction of $15,000 applicable to income and payroll taxes. Individuals would get a $7,500 deduction.

The size of the deductions would be the same regardless of the actual cost of the insurance provided by employers or purchased privately.

The idea is that by 2009, a ``generous'' insurance policy will cost more than $15,000 for a family. If so, then taxes for such a family would go up because its taxable income would rise by more than $15,000.

Administration officials estimate that 80 percent of employees would get a tax cut while the remainder would have some additional tax to pay. The latter group would be encouraged to buy less costly insurance -- perhaps with higher co-pays or a smaller network of health-care providers -- to avoid the added taxes, they say.

The availability of the deductions is also supposed to encourage about 3 million people without health insurance to buy it, a very small fraction of the uninsured.

Katherine Baicker, a member of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters at a White House briefing on Jan. 22 that the overall impact of the Bush proposal would be to reduce health-care consumption, increase competition among providers and lower prices.
Katherine Baicker,布什经济顾问委员会的成员之一,在美国白宫的吹风会上表示,布什建议将减少医疗保健消费、增加保险商的竞争,降低保险金价格。

And what are the incentives in the Bush proposal to purchase a less comprehensive plan? Suppose such a plan would cost $20,000, so that a purchaser would have $5,000 more in taxable income. For a taxpayer in the 15 percent bracket, that would be an additional $750 in tax.

To avoid that added tax, how much risk would someone have to accept? Younger, healthier people would probably be much more willing to accept that risk than someone older or in poor health. Furthermore, how many people would be able to make an intelligent choice given such alternatives?

In support of the Bush proposal, administration officials also argue that it's unfair for people who have employer-provided health insurance to get that tax-free benefit while others buying health coverage don't get a similar break.

To some extent that's true. The answer, however, isn't to create a new tax break much more valuable to higher-income families than those who don't earn enough to owe any income tax. And particularly not when, in the process, adoption of the proposal would further undermine the nation's already faltering employer-based health-care system.

That's the harm Bush's proposal could do.

(www.bloomberg.com 2007-02-07)


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