Must-Read Money Stories for Monday, Jan. 23

by January 23, 2017
In one of his first policy moves after assuming the White House, President Donald Trump removed pending cuts later this month to mortgage insurance rates for FHA-backed loans. (Image "my neighborhood" by woodleywonderworks via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

In one of his first policy moves after assuming the White House, Trump removed pending cuts later this month to mortgage insurance rates for FHA-backed loans. (Image “my neighborhood” by woodleywonderworks via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

Uber’s $20 million fine over driver pay

Ride-hailing company Uber has agreed to hand over $20 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle claims that it used misleading information regarding pay and other company benefits to lure prospective drivers into its fleet, according to the Washington Post. Uber drivers in New York and San Francisco, the FTC claimed, earn median annual incomes of $61,000 and $53,000, respectively—far from the $90,000 and $74,000 figures advertised on Uber’s website. Additionally, those who utilized Uber’s car financing program wound up paying higher than average rates. The FTC said in a statement that the $20 million will be used to reimburse drivers who were “taken for a ride,” although Uber officials have maintained that it’s merely a disagreement about how to calculate earnings.

Foxconn’s potential $7 billion U.S. investment

Taiwan-based Foxconn—one of China’s biggest employers and the world’s largest contract electronics maker—has a $7 billion investment plan in the works that involves a new U.S. factory, the creation of up to 50,000 jobs and a possible joint-venture with Apple Inc., according to Bloomberg. Foxconn, a major iPhone manufacturer in China, confirmed its tentative plans over the weekend, saying domestic U.S. production makes more sense moving forward given rising demand for larger smartphone screens and worries about potential trade policies under President Trump. Apple did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.

Trump yanks cuts to FHA mortgage insurance

In one of his first moves after assuming the White House on Friday, Trump indefinitely halted plans to roll out a new federal housing policy later this month that could have helped some U.S. homeowners save an average $500 per year and may have broadened the market’s pool of potential borrowers, according to the Los Angeles Times. The halted policy, announced just days prior by outgoing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, would have reduced mortgage insurance rates on FHA-backed loans. Geared for first-time homebuyers and borrowers with credit blemishes, FHA-backed loans in the post-recession era are now largely controlled by non-chartered banks that don’t have traditional reserve requirements—exacerbating concerns about exposed risk to the Federal Housing Administration, which underwent a $1.7 billion-bailout in 2013.

Apple takes Qualcomm to court

Apple Inc. wrapped up the week by filing a $1 billion federal lawsuit Friday against Qualcomm, a major supplier of modem chips that enable its iPhone devices to connect to wireless networks, according to MarketWatch. The $1 billion figure stems from unpaid rebates Apple says it was promised and also the cost of the chips themselves, which the tech giant says were overpriced. The lawsuit was filed days after the U.S. government filed a complaint alleging that Qualcomm has been using anticompetitive strategies to monopolize the mobile chip market. Last month, the South Korean government slapped Qualcomm with an $853 million fine that was also tied to allegations of anticompetitive practices.