Despite subprime mortgage foreclosures and rising debt and interest rates, Americans feel confident in October about their overall financial security, according to a survey released by Country Financial Security Index.
During a random sampling of passersby on Tejon Street last week, the overall mood about personal financial security was positive.
Three people said they regularly save or invest money and are not worried about their level of debt — one, Ellen Steinwert, an undergraduate at University of Colorado at Denver, does not regularly save money.
“I’m a student, so overall I feel pretty low (about financial security),” she said, adding that at least she does not have student loans yet.
Shannon Roe, development coordinator for the Fine Arts Center, is more worried about the economy than her own financial security.
“The cost of basic necessities is going up, while wages remain the same,” she said. “I think it’s scary — and oil is going up to $90 a barrel.”
American Airlines pilot David Nolan is not worried about his financial security.
“I just took a three-month leave of absence to go on vacation,” he said. “So, I guess I feel pretty good about it.”
Self-described as “semi-retired — working because I want to, not have to,” Tim O’Donnell, an operations manager, feels good about his financial security.
“I’m mostly in rental and commercial real estate,” he said. “The rental market is finally getting back to normal — my only concern is oil reaching $88 a barrel.”
O’Donnell, along with Nolan and Roe, will spend more money this holiday season than last year — which might indicate high confidence in their overall financial security.
Wells Fargo launches mobile text banking
Wells Fargo has added another component to its mobile service: text banking.
The service enables customers to access their accounts from a mobile phone through text messaging. After enrolling online to activate the text banking service, customers can send a text message to a specific short-code number and receive a reply with balance and account activity information.
Transactions are covered by Wells Fargo’s online security guarantee, and the mobile text banking service does not display account numbers or send confidential information.
Jim Smith, executive vice president and managing head of Internet Services Group at Wells Fargo, said that essentially all personal and small business accounts can be accessed via text banking, including checking, savings, credit cards, home mortgages and brokerage accounts.
“Customers can retrieve those balances incredibly fast,” Smith said.
Once the short code is entered, the balance arrives “in a couple seconds.” During online sign-up, customers may select which accounts they want to access via text banking, and each account gets a nickname, which fits on the screen, he said.
“They can also choose a primary account, which appears first,” Smith said. “We expect the predominant users of text banking will be students and younger customers — but in our pilots, anyone comfortable with text messaging liked the service.”
To sign up for mobile text banking, visit www.wellsfargo.com/mobile.
Subprime fallout hits banking job market
Despite an overall strong performance by the financial services market, at least one index of Internet job advertisements shows a significant decline of jobs in the field.
The Olivier Group Index for September shows an increase in Internet ads of 3.5 percent, but banking ads have declined by more than 10 percent.
This is believed to be a direct result of the shaky subprime mortgage market.
Group director Bob Olivier said it is too early to tell if the downturn in recruitment in these sectors will continue.
Pueblo Bank & Trust opens downtown branch
Pueblo Bank & Trust’s grand opening of its downtown branch is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 at 415 E. Pikes Peak Ave., at the corner of Wahsatch Ave.
The new branch has a drive-through window, which is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays. The lobby is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
Rebecca Tonn covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.