Friday, July 8, 2011

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  • validIV
    06-25 03:59 PM
    He bought his house after he got a job offer from his mentor�Ben Graham, when he could afford it. Prior to that he was renting. He purchased a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha, where he still lives, for $31,500. Guess how much that house is worth now?

    And who was rich first and does not consider his house as an investment!

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  • puddonhead
    06-05 04:20 PM
    >> Savings on tax deductions/yr: $ 4,050 (30% bracket, $13.5K interest)

    This assumption may not be correct. You can take tax deduction for mortgage only if you forego standard deduction. Assuming it is a 3 people household (Mr., Missus and Master) - you would forego the standard deduction of around 10k. So the marginal tax saving would only be around 1k assuming 30% bracket.

    In case you itemize anyway (small business owners typically have to do this) - then your calculation of $4k in net tax saving is correct.

    My calculation would be:

    Situation Own:
    Your expense is
    item# 4 +
    item# 5
    - Corrected item# 9

    Item #8 is NOT a mitigating factor to your monthly expenses. To earn the quity - you have to make the same amount of cash payment - cash which you could have used in any other form of investment.

    So the total would be
    Own: 13k + 9k - 1k ~ 20-21k.
    Rent: 18k

    I did not take investment return into account. If you do that - then I believe real estate would perform poorly in terms of return/risk when compared with almost any other investment - but all that is speculative anyway and hence better left out of the calculation.

    So - in the example you have given - renting would come out ahead.

    However, in ValidIV's example buying would be superior to renting.

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  • gimme_GC2006
    04-13 02:22 PM Update..

    I got an email from the same officer asking me to provide the contact number of the client that I worked in 2004.

    duh..I dont have one..and that company (actually a Unit of GE) was bought over by a different company.

    How do I respond? :eek:

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  • somegchuh
    03-25 02:53 PM
    Ss it really "Rent Apartment vs Buy House" ?
    How about renting a home to provide something good to your family?

    With the home values declining I think it makes way more sense to rent the same house (at least in the area I live). If your mortgage payment is only $500 above apartment rent I would say buy. But if you are looking at paying double as mortgage I think its really inflated.

    I would like to read more about buying foreclosed properties. I hear there are some good deals out there :D

    When you sell, you need to pay 3% as commission to both the seller and buyer agent. You will break even as soon as the house appreciates 6% plus your closing costs, anything above that would be your profit.

    Now with the market going down, my guess as to when the house appreciates is as good as anybody else�s.

    As far as Rent vs Mortgage goes, I would go with owning a house and paying mortgage than being on rent, I just cannot live in an apartment anymore. Caring for aging parents is our duty and responsibility as much as providing a decent home to our children and giving them a life. If I can strike a balance and fulfill my duties to both, I am happy. Coming to think of it, sometimes I wonder why I did not buy the small house I am in a couple of years ago.


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  • Marphad
    12-22 04:43 PM
    I attended one meeting lectured by Mr. Arun Shourie. He gave a classic example of people's mentality:

    In West Bengal, in early 90s Banks wanted to introduce computerized system. Union opposed heavily keep saying this is "Inhuman" and against the labor. And to the surprise, union won. They had to postpone plans to introduce computers on lower level.

    Meanwhile, private banks came in. Their services were much better and faster and nationalized banks started facing serious customer satisfaction problems consequeted to business loss. Then the same union came on road against nationalized banks - actually broke couple of them like a riot saying that these people are stealing our breads.

    Isn't this the same some religious organizations are doing? They are not training kids for professional world. And then they teach people like Kasab that other side of border is rich and we are poor.

    Think over this.

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  • Macaca
    12-23 09:42 PM
    Congress Cool on Tech Issues in 2007 ( Patent reform, security, Internet access and other topics are expected to gain a higher profile next session PC World, Dec 23, 2007

    No one is calling 2007 a banner year for the technology industry in the U.S. Congress.

    Congress passed a handful of bills on many tech vendor and trade group wish lists, but in several cases, they represented partial victories.

    "This Congress so far has a record of neglect on technology issues," said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, whose party lost the majority in Congress in the November 2006 elections.

    Goodlatte isn't an impartial observer, but members of the tech community also acknowledge that Congress has been slow to act on tech issues this year. Still, not everyone was expecting great things from a Congress that had to reorganize after the change in party control.

    It's too early to judge this session of Congress, which continues through 2008, said Kevin Richards, federal government relations manager at cybersecurity vendor Symantec. "I think we have a lot of interest [from lawmakers], and this has the potential to be a tech-friendly Congress," Richards said.

    Members of the tech community point to some success in Congress this year:

    Congress passed the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, which became law in August. TheAmerica Competes Actallocated US$43.3 billion for research and math- and science-education programs.

    Congress approved a free-trade agreement with Peru in December, the only such agreement approved this year. Some labor and environmental groups opposed some free-trade agreements, but the pacts are "imperative" for tech vendors, said Sage Chandler, senior director of international trade for the Consumer Electronics Association.

    The CEA, which launched a campaign against "protectionism" in October, said every trade agreement is important to its members. Upcoming free-trade agreements coming before Congress include Columbia, Panama and South Korea. A handful of CEA members are already doing business in Peru or would like to and between 2000 and 2006 U.S. consumer-electronics exports to Peru increased by 12 percent, Chandler said.

    "Without the ability to sell into foreign markets and get components from foreign markets, our companies aren't going to be able to employ Americans," she said.

    Some successes the tech community can point to, however, were partial victories:

    Congress, in late October, passed a seven-year extension to a moratorium on access taxes and other taxes unique to the Internet. But many tech groups and lawmakers had pushed for a permanent tax ban, arguing that it was needed to foster Internet and broadband growth.

    Opponents of a permanent ban successfully argued that it would remove a check on Internet service providers attempting to include other services, such as VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), in the tax ban. In addition, some lawmakers argued that a permanent ban could cripple the ability to pay for services.

    But some lawmakers argued Congress should've gone farther. The House of Representatives, which in the past has approved permanent extensions, this year passed a four-year extension and "had to have the Senate show them the way to a better seven-year extension," Goodlatte said. The "ultimate goal" should be a permanent tax moratorium, he said.

    The Senate in December passed a one-year extension to a research and development tax credit for U.S. companies. TheTemporary Tax Relief Act, which the House approved Nov. 9, extends the tax credit, which covers 20 percent of qualified R&D spending. But many tech groups have called on Congress to permanently extend the R&D tax credit, which has been extended a dozen times since 1981.

    Supporters of an expanded tax credit argue that the U.S. has fallen behind other nations in its R&D support. Once the most generous with R&D tax breaks, the U.S. by 2004 fell to 17th out of the 30 nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    But the tax break comes with a price tag of about $7 billion a year, and Congress has been reluctant to extend the program long term. Some government watchdog groups have called the R&D tax credit corporate welfare.

    Some tech groups have said the R&D tax credit helps keep high-paying tech jobs in the U.S. And companies have a hard time mapping out their R&D when the credit keeps expiring, said Symantec's Richards. "The on-again, off-again nature of the credit makes it impossible for companies to do the long-term planning that's needed," he said.

    In many other areas, Congress failed to act on legislation many tech groups called for:

    Patent reform: Many large tech companies said their top priority was for Congress to pass a wide-ranging patent reform bill that would make it more difficult for patent holders to sue and collect massive infringement awards. The House of Representatives in September passed thePatent Reform Act, which would allow courts to limit patent damage awards if a patented invention is a small piece of a larger product. Among other things, the bill would also allow a new way to challenge patents within one year after they've been granted.

    Supporters of the bill, including Microsoft and IBM, argued that it's too easy for patent holders who have no intent of marketing an invention to sue large companies and collect multimillion-dollar damages when a small piece of a technology product is found to infringe. "There are people who now just hold patents to sue and not to innovate," said Symatec's Richards.

    Another important piece of the bill would limit where patent holders could file lawsuits, Richards said. Many patent holders file lawsuits in the patent-friendly U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, even though neither the patent holder or the accused infringer is located there.

    Opponents, including pharmaceutical companies, some small technology vendors and inventors, have successfully stalled the bill in the Senate. They say the bill severely weakens the power of patents.

    Senate leaders say they will tackle the bill again in January. Opponents will continue to pressure lawmakers, said Ronald Riley, president of the Professional Inventors Alliance, which has enlisted the support of some labor unions.

    Opponents have talked about finding candidates to run against lawmakers who support the bill, Riley said. "We will have an all-out onslaught on the legislation," Riley said. "We think we will have to make an example of some legislators."

    H-1B visas: Another top priority of many tech vendors has been an expansion of the H-1B visa program for skilled foreign workers. The current yearly cap is 65,000 visas, with exceptions for an additional 20,000 graduate students, but in recent years, the cap has been filled before the year begins.

    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified before a Senate committee in March, saying the U.S. should not shut out talented workers. "We have to welcome the great minds of this world, not drive them out of this country," Gates said. "These employees are vital to American competitiveness."

    But U.S. tech worker groups such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA (IEEE-USA) have opposed a higher H-1B cap, arguing that companies use the program to hire foreign workers for less money than unemployed U.S. workers would receive. An H-1B increase to 115,000 was part of a comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate, but that bill stalled over a contentious debate about illegal immigration.

    Data breaches: A handful of data breach notification and cybercrime bills stalled as Congress focused on other issues. The House approved two antispyware bills, one that created penalties of up to five years in prison for some spyware-like behavior. But the Senate didn't act on the bills, in part because there are concerns that the second spyware bill would preempt tougher state laws.

    Net neutrality: Many consumer groups and Internet-based companies continued to call on Congress to pass a net neutrality law, which would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing competitors' Web content. However, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has included some net neutrality rules in an upcoming spectrum auction, and both Verizon Wireless and AT&T have recently pledged to allow outside content and devices on their mobile-phone networks.

    Congress has also examined tougher penalties for copyright infringement, but hasn't moved legislation forward. With the change in party control, some things have been delayed, and "that was fine with us," said Art Brodsky, spokesman for Public Knowledge, a consumer-rights group that has opposed tougher copyright penalties.

    Some observers expect Congress to be more active on tech issues in 2008. It will be an election year, and it will be hard for controversial legislation to move forward, but many tech issues aren't partisan, Goodlatte said.

    Passing some tech-related legislation would show some progress, he said. "I would think that the Democratic leadership, in the miserable lack of success they've had in passing legislation this year, would be looking for a new approach in the new year," he said.


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  • unseenguy
    06-24 08:27 AM
    see my statement yesterday:

    Even if I offer current owners 20% less , the math does not make sense for me. Hence I am expecting 30% -35% correction from current expectations of the owners.

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  • Berkeleybee
    05-17 01:31 PM
    My only suggestion to learning01 and IV is this.......... If Lou Dobbs can help you you should use his help. You do not know what his thoughts are on legal immigration. If he says that he does not support your cause, you can move on and atleast know where he stands.

    If IV is talking to lawmakers from both parties, why cant we speak to all sides of the media?


    IV core members have only 24 hours a day to do IV work and their full time jobs. As such, we have to channel our resources in the most productive way possible. Lou Dobbs is the media equivalent of FAIR, NumbersUSA, Tom Tancredo and company [Do get on to Lexis-Nexis and find out more about him.] We are civil in our encounters with the representatives of these groups, but it is not a productive use of our time to engage with them more than this.

    As for dealing with lawmakers -- there too we spend our time productively. We haven't been hanging out with Jeff Sessions and James Sensenbrenner. We use other more reasonable lawmakers to work out deals with the anti-immigrant wing.



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  • yrspassby
    08-06 03:44 PM
    16). A plain computer illeterate guy rings tech support to report that his computer is faulty.
    Tech: What's the problem?
    User: There is smoke coming out of the power supply.
    Tech: You'll need a new power supply.
    User: No, I don't! I just need to change the startup files.
    Tech: Sir, the power supply is faulty. You'll need to replace it.
    User: No way! Someone told me that I just needed to
    change the startup and it will fix the problem! All I need is for you to tell me the command.
    10 minutes later, the User is still adamant that he is right. The tech is frustrated and fed up.
    Tech: Sorry, Sir. We don't normally tell our customers this, but there is an undocumented DOS
    command that will fix the problem.
    User: I knew it!
    Tech: Just add the line LOAD NOSMOKE.COM at the end of the CONFIG.SYS.
    Letme know how it goes.
    10 minutes later.
    User: It didn't work. The power supply is still smoking.
    Tech: Well, what version of DOS are you using?
    User: MS-DOS 6.22.
    Tech: That's your problem there. That version of DOS didn't come with NOSMOKE. Contact Microsoft and ask them for a patch that will give you ! the file. Let me know how it goes.

    1 hour later.

    User: I need a new power supply.
    Tech: How did you come to that conclusion?
    User: Well, I rang Microsoft and told him about what you said, and he started asking questions about the make of power supply.
    Tech: Then what did he say?
    User: He told me that my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE.

    This one cracked me up so hard, I had to go out to patio to laugh hard and come back to my cube...This is awesome ... especiall the last part:

    "User: He told me that my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE":D:D:D

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  • rsdang
    08-12 11:24 AM

    On the road to Trivandrum
    Coconut oil in my hair
    Warm smell of avial
    Rising up through the air
    Up ahead in the distance
    I saw a bright pink tube-light
    My tummy rumbled, I felt weak and thin
    I had to stop for a bite
    There he stood in the doorway
    Flicked his mundu in style
    And I was thinking to myself
    I don't like the look of his sinister smile
    Then he lit up a petromax
    Muttering "No power today"
    More Mallus down the corridor
    I thought I heard them say <<

    Welcome to the Hotel Kerala-fonia
    Such a lousy place,
    Such a lousy place (background)
    Such a sad disgrace,
    Plenty of bugs at the Hotel Kerala-fonia
    Any time of year
    Any time of year (background)
    It's infested here
    It's infested here
    His finger's stuck up his nostril
    He's got a big, thick mustache
    He makes an ugly, ugly noise
    But that's just his laugh
    Buxom girls clad in pavada
    Eating banana chips
    Some roll their eyes, and
    Some roll their hips
    I said to the manager
    My room's full of mice
    He said,

    Don't worry, saar,I sending you
    meen karri, brandy and ice
    And still those voices were crying from far away
    Wake you up in the middle of the night
    Just to hear them pray

    Save us from the Hotel Kerala-fonia
    Such a lousy place,
    Such a lousy place (background)
    Such a sad disgrace
    Trying to live at the Hotel Kerala-fonia
    It is no surprise
    It is no surprise (background)
    That it swarms with flies

    The blind man was pouring
    Stale sambar on rice
    And he said
    We are all just actors here
    In Silk Smitha-disguise
    And in the dining chamber
    We gathered for the feast
    We stab it with our steely knives
    But we just can't cut that beef
    Last thing I remember
    I was writhing on the floor
    That cockroach in my appam-stew was the culprit,
    I am sure
    Relax, said the watchman
    This enema will make you well
    And his friends laughed as they held me down
    God's Own Country? Oh, Hell!


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  • mirage
    08-06 09:19 AM
    I'm impressed, How about posting your resume here. So everybody can clap on your achievements....

    As usual, if the EB3 (i.e. majority) folks here do not like a subject, it gets banned. If something is unpopular, it gets swept under the carpet.

    Go ahead and close the thread, it's in your nature. Plus i already know which members to contact to make this go forward. I said before and i will say it again, i was NOT looking for monetary contributions.

    I was just reading all the posts which i did not get to read since morning when i left for work.

    To answer some people who called me an asshole, a hater, an anti-immigrant, a bodyshop employee, and a number of other things:

    1.) I graduated from one of the IITs in India, came to pursue my Masters in the same field in the 4th ranked university (for that field) in the US.
    2.) Finished my Masters in 1.5 years and got 2 jobs through on-campus placements (one in my field, one not).
    3.) Took the job that pertained to my field of study, been here ever since, company is the number 2 company in its area, and is a US establishment.
    4.) I never paid a dime for my H1-B or my GC processing till date, it was all paid by the company.
    5.) My company is very strict regarding the letter of the law, and so my GC processing was by the rule book, each and every detail (no fake resumes here).
    6.) I get paid the same (actually about 2% more) compared to a US citizen at the same level/position in my organization.
    7.) I have exactly the same medical/vacation/retirement benefits as a US citizen.

    I did not get a chance to read my PMs but will do that shortly after supper. Yes, i am EB2, but a VALID one. I hope, in moments of clarity, people who are shouting and abusing can see that.

    Yes, i do have an attorney and a paralegal i am talking to, and i will file this case in the proper arena. I am fed up and will do what i think is right. Meanwhile, for those who think porting is right, you are welcome to it. No one stopped you from challenging the law either.

    You can talk here all you like, but i pray that your "bring it on" attitude survives till the point where this porting mess is banned by law.

    Thanks for your attention (or the lack thereof).

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  • Zeb
    12-26 11:15 PM
    Looks like India is employing a cold start strategy. In the first phase of operations, Indian Air force will strike LeT camps in Muridke and Muzaffarabad and then ask Pakistan to refrain from taking retaliatory action. The onus will be on Pakistan to take the decision regarding further escalation of hostilities.

    Interesting to see how Pakistan will respond to such a move.



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  • obviously
    04-10 12:41 PM
    Fighting between EB categories shows how shallow our debates can turn out to be! Rhimzim & all, do the illegals differentiate between meat packers, seamstresses, window cleaners etc.? Why waste time and energy?

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  • validIV
    06-25 03:36 PM
    The only way renting is not throwing money away is if you can claim it as a tax expense (business for example). Otherwise you may as well be smoking that money every month. There is no way for you to recoup rent money, no matter what logic you may claim is sound. Renting should only be used as a stepping stone, to save up enough money to buy.

    If your monthly rent is less than your mortgage and you do not believe the house price is going to appreciate in near term (both true in the area I live in) then renting is NOT throwing money away. Don't borrow lines from realtors. If you pay more for living in a comparable house and your house is not appreciating what's the return on your money that you are paying extra?


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  • Macaca
    02-27 08:12 AM
    Thank You, Mr. Chairman (

    If it's good to be a Democrat on K Street these days, it's even better to be a Democrat who once worked for a current chairman of a congressional tax-writing committee. That's clearly where the money is.

    Timothy E. Punke, a former trade aide to Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of the Senate Finance Committee, was named a partner of Monument Policy Group, a lobbying firm. His new clients include heavyweights such as Microsoft and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

    Former Baucus chief of staff Jeffrey A. Forbes of Cauthen Forbes & Williams also has a slew of new clients. They include Merck, Genentech, Ford and Intuit.

    William A. Signer, a former staffer to Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a new job -- managing director of health-care and tax practices at Carmen Group. "His experience in understanding Chairman Rangel's goals and motivations are invaluable to clients," said David M. Carmen, president of the firm. Signer's ties to Rangel, Carmen added, were "definitely a factor" in his hiring.

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  • nixstor
    11-15 12:25 PM
    This guy needs to go. He is a total joke. Where does he put his $$ in? Every one knows he owns stock of most companies that has outsourced jobs to India/other countries. I am sure he has his money everywhere in Cisco/Msoft whom he bashes along with Kim B. Check this page who want to see him go. There are lot of legal immigration folks who are there.

    Should we be talking to FOX news to get them do a program on how he changes his stand? How many times he brings only one side of the story?


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  • bfadlia
    01-07 12:59 PM
    I participated in the "mumbai attacked" thread, but always tried not to give any analysis of the history because I sure don't have the background not belonging to the region..
    yet I'm reading the darnest things here from people who apparently read 2 lines from wikipedia, copy and paste here then start talking like they know everything about the arab-israeli conflict and think they can analyze it..

    The phrase foxnews and similar media have everyone parroting here is "Israel is surrounded by hostile arab countries that waged wars against it several times. Israel is always in self defense" Let's see..

    1948: Israeli Irgun and Shtern gangs, the prototype of the israeli army were going village to village massacring palestinians to drive them out of their villages to annex them to newly created israel which they did.. arab nations who were mostly still under colonial influence sent their police-like forces to try to protect the palestinians, but of course they were no match for the mostly european WWII-veterans Israeli forces

    1956: In a dispute between Egypt, Britain and France over the control of Suez canal that in no way involves Israel, Israel attacked Egypt and took control of Sinai peninsula until Soviets and US urged it to leave.

    1967: Without a single bullet shot at Israel, it attacked Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the west bank, occupying Egypt's Sinai, Syria's Golan heights, and annexing gaza, East Jerusalem and the west bank.

    1973: Only time Arabs started the offensive, Egypt and Syria attacked to get back their occupied lands. Egypt managed to get part of Sinai, and got the rest through peace treaty. Syria failed and the golan is still occupied till this day.

    1982: Israel invading Lebanon and occupying southern Lebanon till 2000.. Reason was meddling in a conflict between Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Lebanese factions in which none of these parties attacked Israel.

    60 years have passed with the civilized world issuing UN resolutions for israel to end its occupation and to let the millions of displaced Palestinians return to their homes inside israel and Israel rejecting them. Then we have the courage to blame the Palestinians for not taking it easy, accepting the miserable conditions israel imposed on them and firing their 7000 fire crackers that killed 4 people.. the ungrateful bastards!!

    I got a negative comment on this one saying "watch ur language"!!!
    someone didn't get the sarcasm in me calling the palestinians bastards, the whole message was defending them buddy

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  • xyzgc
    12-28 12:21 AM
    Please don't advocate war.
    If India can defeat the entire British Empire without firing a weapon, I can't believe that there isn't an ingenuitive solution to this mess. I can't believe that Indians and Pakistanis can't be the ones to solve it without weapons, especially nuclear ones.

    Nuclear weapons technology is old. Soon every country (and undergraduate engineering student) will posses the knowledge to build them. Yet if we continue to handle disputes in the same way that was bred into us when our people hunted on some African plane, it will be the end of all of us.

    India defeating entire British empire without firing a weapon? Where did this come from? British colonized Indians for 150 years!
    If Indians were a military power, they wouldn't have been colonized in the first place.
    Do you seriously believe the dogma of non-violence Quit India movement drove the British away?:)

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:32 PM
    �Can�t Be Done�

    Gibbons, 70, says he learned that lesson when he tried to raise 4 million pounds ($6.2 million) from two wealthy London- based nonresident Indian investors in November 2006.

    Talks failed because of differences over expectations for returns on equity and other contract terms, he says.

    �That�s what made me think this just can�t be done,� he says.

    Indian microlenders differ from Yunus�s Grameen Bank in key ways. To protect depositors� money after bankruptcies among nonbanking financial companies in the early 1990s, India�s Reserve Bank in 1997 made it more difficult for them to meet the requirements needed to take deposits from the public. Only 36 microlenders are registered as nonbank financial companies, according to information supplied by the Reserve Bank.

    �I Feel So Sad�

    Indian microlenders themselves borrow from banks at 13 percent or more on average and extend credit to the poor. They charge interest rates that can rise to 36 percent, says Alok Prasad, chief executive officer of the Microfinance Institutions Network, which represents 44 microlenders. He says all 44 firms are registered with the Reserve Bank.

    SKS Microfinance gets funds at about 12 percent interest and lends at 24.52 percent in Andhra Pradesh, spokesman Atul Takle says.

    In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank got a banking license in 1983, which allowed it to take deposits. It charges 5 percent for education loans and 8 percent for housing loans. Beggars can borrow for free, and interest on major loans is capped at 20 percent, Yunus says.

    �Microfinance has been abused and distorted,� he says. �I feel so sad because that�s not the microcredit I have created.�

    Indian microfinance has roots in decades-old informal community financing.

    Nongovernmental organizations pioneered cooperative lending, known today as self-help groups, with seed money from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Encouraged by these projects, the state-backed bank worked to tie borrowing groups to local bank branches in 1992.

    For-Profit Companies

    Nonprofit organizations subsequently got involved as middlemen between the banks and the borrowers. By 2005, nonprofits such as SKS and Share Microfin had turned themselves into profit-making enterprises.

    Akula�s SKS attracted investors such as Khosla Ventures, Sun Microsystems Inc. co-founder Vinod Khosla�s venture capital firm.

    Capital flowed into the new industry from commercial banks, venture firms and private equity.

    Sequoia Capital, in Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore- based Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy were among the backers. George Soros�s Quantum Fund has a 0.37 percent stake in SKS.

    Private-equity investors alone have put $515 million into Indian microfinance companies since 2006, research service Venture Intelligence says.

    �Explosive Growth�

    More than half of the 66 Indian microlenders tracked by Micro-Credit Ratings are for-profit firms. Some 260 microlenders had 26.7 million borrowers and 183.44 billion rupees of loans outstanding as of March, according to the Microfinance India State of the Sector Report 2010.

    �Over the last two years, we�ve been seeing explosive growth,� says N. Srinivasan, who wrote the report. �Microfinance institutions found that it�s easy to make money. Not that making money is bad, but when you go overboard and say you require money for growth, you get into problems.�

    Polelpaka Pula, a mother of two, says she saw microlenders rushing into her village of Pegadapalli to compete for business -- with tragic results.

    Her husband, Prakash, a painter who made 250 rupees on a good day, first borrowed from a group of villagers to build a house. Each participant of the so-called chit fund contributed 1,000 rupees a month and took a turn collecting the entire sum.

    Microfinance officers from L&T Finance Ltd., Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd., Share Microfin and SKS began offering loans in the village starting in 2004, she says.

    The couple, already contributing to their village fund, took five more loans totaling 64,000 rupees. That saddled them with payments of 7,300 rupees a month, more than Prakash�s 5,000 rupee maximum monthly income.

    Loan Shark

    When Prakash ran out of microlenders to borrow from, he went to a village loan shark, who charged 100 percent interest.

    With no way out and debt from multiple lenders ballooning, Prakash hanged himself in November 2009, his wife says.

    The small house he�d dreamed of was never completed. Only the foundation stands next to the home of his parents, a tiny structure with a roof of palm leaves.

    Spandana says that neither of the couple�s names is in its database. The company says the media wrongly attribute harassment cases to microfinance, especially when Spandana is mentioned.

    �The trigger factors for suicide are manifold, such as stressful situations at home,� the company said in an e-mail response to questions about the death.

    Subprime Parallel

    SKS spokesman Takle says its staff has practiced responsible lending for the past 12 years. Its employees are not paid based on the loan size or repayment percentage.

    �This ensures against giving out larger loans than what a borrower can repay,� Takle says. A spokesman for L&T Finance declined to comment.

    Overlending in Andhra Pradesh calls to mind the U.S. subprime crisis, says Lakshmi Shyam-Sunder, director of corporate risk at International Finance Corp. in Washington, which invests in microlenders.

    �Subprime lending was initially seen as extending homeownership to poorer people, doing good,� Shyam-Sunder says.

    As the industry expanded, making a profit became more important to some lenders, she says. �Tension arises when you work on activities with both social goals as well as commercial interests,� she says, adding that it�s important to strike the right balance.

    Companies chasing profits amid poor corporate governance are undermining the intent of microfinance, Cashpor�s Gibbons says.

    �Lending Gone Wild�

    During the past five years, the number of microloans in India has soared an average of 88 percent a year and borrower accounts have climbed 62 percent annually, giving India the world�s largest microfinance industry, Micro-Credit Ratings says.

    �This is unrestrained consumer lending gone wild,� Gibbons says. �It�s not about poverty reduction anymore.�

    Sumir Chadha, managing director at Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt., says that without a profit motive it�s hard to find anyone who will lend to the poor.

    �Capitalism doesn�t have to be a bad thing,� says Chadha, whose firm has a 14 percent stake in SKS. �If you can�t profit off the poor, it means that no companies will service the poor -- and then they will be worse off than earlier.�

    Chand Bee�s Tale

    For Chand Bee, a 50-year-old who led three borrowing groups in Andhra Pradesh, too many loans almost became her undoing.

    She says she ran away from home after collectors began harassing her. She took out multiple loans beginning in 2005, and she names Spandana as one of the lenders.

    Some of the money paid for the funeral of her eldest son. When she fell behind on payments, she says loan officers threatened to humiliate her in front of neighbors and pressed her to sell her small grandchildren into prostitution.

    She left her slum in Warangal, where she lived with her deaf husband, some of her eight grown children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

    After living as a beggar for a year, Chand Bee returned home in early November when family members told her that the state ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 15 had suspended some collections. A Spandana spokeswoman says none of the company�s four customers in the district with the name Chand Bee has had trouble repaying.

    Almost every household in the slum of 250 people -- where barefoot children play in lanes between rows of dilapidated shacks -- has taken several loans. So many microlenders ply their trade that residents refer to them by the days they collect: Monday company, Tuesday company and so on.

    Debt Free

    Rabbani, a widow with four children, is one of the few women who are debt-free. She started a spice shop with two loans, which she repaid with her small profit. After seeing her neighbors� pains, she vowed never to seek another microloan.

    SKS says 17 of its clients have committed suicide, none because of loans being in arrears or harassment.

    �Suicide is a complex issue,� Akula says.

    Sitting in the second-floor conference room of SKS�s seven- story headquarters in Hyderabad, where posters of smiling women running handicraft and tailor shops decorate the doors of elevators, Akula says there�s nothing wrong with seeking profits.

    �What does it matter to a poor woman how much an investor makes?� says Akula, dressed in his trademark knee-length kurta shirt from Fabindia, a seller of ethnic clothes made by rural craftsmen. �What matters to her is that she gets a loan on time at a reasonable rate that allows her to earn higher income.�

    06-05 09:51 PM
    Sorry but no matter how you spin it, owning a home is better than renting. Renting is not smart. period. your money is gone every month. You are not getting that money back.

    When you own a home, the money goes towards a mortgage, and although most of it goes to interest at first, all interest paid is tax deductible which is a huge chunk of change every year. I get more money back as an owner than a renter and in the long run I save more AND own the home.

    30 year renter vs 30 year home owner? That is not rocket science.
    you are wrong and right all depends on location and the period. there is one more article and I will post that. (I am talking from investment point of view but I agree both owning a house and renting a place have their own pros and cons).
    you are wrong in the present day ..i.e. as long as prices are falling (which is the case in most areas today) ..owing a home is bad BAD investment.
    your assumption is correct once the prices start to rise by 3 - 4 % annually .. but that will take 3 - 4 years more at the minimum

    08-05 10:44 AM
    May I ask, why you agree with PD porting and not labor substitution... Was it because you were affected in later case?
    Let us face it , we all are selfish. And if our self interest match then we are an organization.
    here is another point:
    i think its a childish and selfish idea...i agree labor substitution was absolute nonsense...but not PD porting!

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