|Educators at the University of Alabama make predictions every year, and this year their look ahead includes everything from the presidential race to Occupy.|
Prediction: So long, Craigslist. Dr. Craig E. Armstrong, a professor of management, expects a smartphone app to emerge that will displace Craigslist. Armstrong says the app will "enable transactions with less traction and allow buyers and sellers to create reputations." Prediction: Occupy Wall Street will rebound in a big way. Popular in some circles and loathed in others, the Occupy Wall Street movement will be back after a much-needed winter breather. Dr. Gary Hoover, an economics professor, says the dormant protest movement will rise again. "I predict that we have not heard the last of the Occupy movement," he says. "In fact, I think they will be heard again and re-emerge on the political and economic landscape more determined and forceful than ever." But journalism professor Dr. Matthew D. Bunker predicts that a physical presence for Occupy Wall Street will be defeated in the courts, as judges "side with local officials who try to regulate tents and 24-hour campsites for reasons of public health and safety." Prediction: Interest rates will rise. Bank savers should love this one if it pans out. Mortgage borrowers? Not so much. Dr. Benton Gup, a professor of finance, predicts that rates will rise -- but says "let's not make the same mistakes that led to the failure and consolidation of thousands of financial institutions in the 1980s. Simply stated, when market rates of interest were low in the 1970s, lenders borrowed short-term funds at low rates and made long-term, fixed-rate mortgage loans at slightly higher rates." Gup says mortgage lenders should not make long-term, fixed-rate loans unless they can hedge their interest rate risk or match the maturity of their assets and liabilities. Therefore, you can expect interest rates to go up, but in a more constrained lending environment. >To submit a news tip, email: email@example.com. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.