For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – May 13, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include AT&T Inc. (T), Verizon Communication Inc. (VZ), T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS), Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM).
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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:
AT&T to Boost Its Pre-paid Plan
AT&T Inc. (T) – the second-largest telecom carrier in the U.S. after Verizon Communication Inc. (VZ), plans to expand in the prepaid mobile market by introducing low-cost service plans through its new wireless subsidiary, Aio Wireless.
Aio Wireless will be providing unlimited talk, text and Internet service plans without any agreement throughout the country contract. The new plan will be starting from as low as $35 to $70 per month.
Initially, Aio will offer its prepaid service from its newly opened stores across three most popular cities, namely, Houston, Orlando and Tampa. These stores are completely separated from the AT&T owned retail outlets.
In the recently concluded quarter, AT&T Inc. lost 184,000 prepaid customers mainly due to a lack of popularity of its prepaid GoPhone service. Moreover, sale of contract less iPhones along with attractive UnCarrier plan (starting at $50 per month with unlimited calls and 500MB free data) by the fourth-largest carrier in the country – T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS) – will further increase subscriber loss in the forthcoming quarters.
Even Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP) – one of the leading prepaid carriers in the U.S. – is selling no-contract iPhones to its customers along with attractive $50 Android Muve music plan.
So, to consolidate its position in the prepaid market which mainly comprise price sensitive customers and to counter competition from other prepaid service plans, the company will rollout such attractive plans.
Currently, AT&T Inc. has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
JPMorgan Sued Over Debt Collection
For JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), there seems to be no respite from legal problems. Recently, Calif.’s Attorney General (AG) sued the company for using unlawful means to collect credit card debts.
The lawsuit – filed in Los Angeles Superior Court – alleged that JPMorgan filed thousands of credit card debt collection cases every month between Jan 2008 and Apr 2011. These cases were filed using a flawed process that shortened procedures from the standard prescribed by Calif. law.
The AG accused JPMorgan of cutting short every stage of the credit card debt collection procedure in order to save cost and speed up debt collections. Allegedly, the company sued borrowers with the help of inadequate evidences.
Moreover, JPMorgan failed to inform customers that they had been sued, while at the same time showing customers to have been served with court papers as per law. The AG claimed that JPMorgan had used the ‘robo-signing’ method to file cases, whereby the company executives signed case files without examining the appropriate documents or bank statements.
Additionally, JPMorgan allegedly failed to remove borrowers’ personal information from the public domain, thereby violating the state law and making customers vulnerable to identity theft. The company, without verifying, certified that the debt collection cases were not against any active military personnel. This put members of the military in a disadvantageous position for getting proper legal protection.
The AG is demanding a total ban on such unlawful practices, along with compensations for customers who were harmed due to these wrongful cases. The lawsuit stated that JPMorgan should be fined $2,500 for every violation of the state law and an extra $2,500 for each defiance involving senior citizens or disabled persons.
This is the first lawsuit filed in the debt collection process. The AG’s office is probing the issue on a larger scale and many other banks could face similar lawsuits.
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