Visa makes its debut

It was a big day for the credit card company, as it raised nearly $18 billion in the largest initial public offering in U.S. history Wednesday. In fact, under the ticker symbol "V" its shares soared by nearly 30 percent.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Ric Romero's report. Americans love their credit cards, and Visa is reaping the benefits by making a lot of money through processing fees and now, through the sale of its stock. It opened at $44-a-share and ended the day at $56.50.

While Visa was a big winner Wednesday, commodities took a hit, with gold prices plunging nearly $60.

Just Monday, gold had hit a record high of $1,033, and today, it was down to $974, making it the biggest one day drop in 28 years.

Oil prices also pulled back Wednesday. There is some concern that demand for petroleum is weakening, and overall consumption of oil and its products fell by 3.2 percent over the past month compared to last year.

The price of oil slid almost $5 to $104.48.

Some good news for those seeking a mortgage or re-finance: Two of the largest buyers of mortgages, government-backed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are now free to buy up some $200 billion in additional mortgages and re-fi's.

This could translate into lower interest rates in the near future, especially those jumbo loans that are now under the new conforming loan limits.

A standard conforming loan under $417,000 is around 5.625 percent.

However, the new jumbo conforming loans above $417,000 and below $729,750, which should have the same rates, actually have a higher interest rate of 6-and-three-quarters percent.

But with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ready to buy those loans April 1, interest rates are expected to come down.

These new loans won't be available to everyone -- only some areas of the country will get them. Since California has 35 percent of all mortgages in the jumbo category, it's likely this area will be one to benefit.

But remember, you will still need to have good credit and not be in foreclosure to get the best rates on refi's and new mortgages -- or to get a loan at all.


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