�Craig Tor­res Bid/ask $4.1b Aus­tralia’s big­gest ship­ping-con­tainer ter­mi­nal is up for a 50-year lease. The state govern­ment of Vic­to­ria hopes the pri­va­ti­za­tion plan will raise more than $4 bil­lion. At least three groups of funds have sub­mit­ted of­fers. On

The Port of Mel­bourne wel­comes bid­ders.

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Markets / Finance -

cash with­drawals more dif­fi­cult. With some urg­ing from ad­vis­ers at Clar­ifi, the credit-coun­sel­ing ser­vice, she paid off one $1,000 col­lege loan and be­gan mak­ing the oth­ers cur­rent. Af­ter about 18 months, she says her credit score crossed into the 700s, a level lenders say de­notes a good risk.

She found a house she knew was “the one.” But as col­lat­eral, it would worry some lenders. Its stairs were dan­ger­ous, and the base­ment was damp. The doors, floors, and walls all needed fix­ing. She’d have to use part of her loan for home im­prove­ments.

Rivera tried to get a mort­gage with Merid­ian Bank in Ply­mouth Meet­ing, Pa. In ad­di­tion to re­quests for her di­ploma, Merid­ian asked for de­tails on per­mit, la­bor, and ma­te­ri­als costs. It also wanted the in­for­ma­tion about her cit­i­zen­ship. Tom Camp­bell, a Merid­ian se­nior vice pres­i­dent, says specifics on ren­o­va­tion costs are re­quired by govern­ment guide­lines for the type of loan Rivera wanted. The bank also had to es­tab­lish her res­i­dency sta­tus be­cause of govern­ment loan guar­an­tees, he says. Boxes in the cit­i­zen­ship sec­tion of her ap­pli­ca­tion were mis­marked, and the un­der­writer asked about it. Camp­bell says it’s com­mon for a lender to ask for proof of col­lege at­tain­ment from bor­row­ers who’ve held mul­ti­ple jobs, as Rivera has.

“We sit here and con­stantly com­plain that we have to put peo­ple through the wringer,” he says. He added that his bank pro­vides loans to many low­in­come bor­row­ers.

Rivera switched banks. Fear­ing she’d lose the house, she paid the seller rent to keep the home off the mar­ket, even though she wouldn’t be liv­ing there. She kept the lights on and a ra­dio play­ing in the kitchen for a few months to ward off thieves who steal cop­per pip­ing and wire. On March 18 she got a loan from Quaint Oak Ban­corp, in Southamp­ton, Pa., and closed on the house. “I re­ally want it all,” Rivera says. And by all, she means the empty lot next door, sev­eral more nearby, and, most of all, a foothold in Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ism.

The bot­tom line For buy­ers who have strug­gled fi­nan­cially since the re­ces­sion, low rates aren’t al­ways enough to put a mort­gage within reach.

Edited by Pat Reg­nier Bloomberg.com

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