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Features

After a campaign by consumer advocates and state leaders, a bank dropped its harmful payday lending program in North Carolina.

Payday loans have been illegal in North Carolina for more than a decade, but that hasn’t stopped all payday lending. For the past year, Regions Bank has used federal banking law to offer payday loans that are illegal for any other lender to make in our state. These loans carried, on average, an annual percentage rate (APR) of 365 percent. Now, after significant pressure from consumer advocates and the state Attorney General’s office, Regions has quietly dropped its payday lending program for North Carolina customers.

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RE/MAX Elite agents marked another successful year in 2012 as the housing market began its slow recovery. The office continues to be one of the most productive in the area, closing more than 200 transactions and over $25 million in volume.

Because of its outstanding production, RE/MAX Elite also increased local market share as buyers and sellers seek agents with more knowledge and experience, and a brand known around the world.

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North Carolina’s jobless rate climbed to 9.2 percent in December, according to data released by the Division of Employment Security Friday, Jan. 18, driven in large part by lack of available job openings.

Although the long-term trend of the state’s unemployment picture is moving in the right direction — the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.4 percent in December 2011 — the rate of job growth in the state still remains sluggish.

In fact, the state’s jobs deficit — the number of jobs that need to be created in order to replace the employment lost in the Great Recession — continues to remain high, now in excess of 520,000 jobs.

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The new year is a great time to get yourself pointed in the right direction financially.

“Making small improvements at the beginning of the year is a lot easier than trying to play catch-up,” says financial planner Rick Rodgers, author of “The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning” (www.TheNewThreeLeggedStool.com).

“Just as you would embark on an exercise program to lose weight and get physically fit, there are simple steps you can take that will lead to being financially healthy and fit.”

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