Consumer news: Monday November 2, 2009

November 9, 2009 9:08:44 AM PST
You may not have ever heard of CIT Group but it probably impacts your life. It's a leading lender that many small and mid-sized businesses rely on for operating capital.

VIDEO: Nydia Han's latest Consumer Wrap report

And as you might imagine, if the funding for those companies dry up, their businesses will, too.

CIT Group Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 protection but says it will continue to provide funding to its small business and middle market customers.

However, analysts warn the lender's bankruptcy will add instability, especially in the retail sector. About 60-percent of the apparel industry alone depends on CIT for financing to stock shelves.

Even one day that vendors are cut off from much-needed capital could lead to shipping disruptions and problems restocking after the holidays.

Plus, the U-S government will likely lose the $2.3 billion in taxpayer funds it sunk into CIT last year.

Having tax trouble? Get personal help from IRS staff members on "Solution Saturday" this weekend from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just go to the IRS office in the William J Greene Federal Building at 600 Arch Street in Philadelphia.

Employees will help individuals and businesses with all kinds of federal tax matters. You're encouraged to schedule appointments by calling 215-861-1902 but walk-ins will also be welcome.

Coffee giant Starbucks is combining its two loyalty card programs into one.

"My Starbucks Rewards" will start on December 26th. Customers can get a free drink after five purchases, another after 15 purchases, plus a free birthday beverage.

A brand that helps you remove clothing stains now says it can help you remove unwanted photos from your Facebook profile. Detergent brand Wisk is releasing an app called "Wisk It." It lets you identify the pictures you'd like a friend to remove then sends that friend a request to delete the photos.

It's maybe not a perfect system to maintain a clean online reputation but probably worth a try.

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