Tag Archives: Banks

Banks

Banks May Soon Be Able To Buy Gold As Tier 1 Capital

The Basel Committee for Bank Supervision, the maker of global capital requirements and whose Basel III rules form the basis for global bank regulation, is studying making gold a bank capital Tier 1 asset. The purchase of gold may drive up its demand worldwide. In addition, gold should increase the value of the banks total capital.

Goldbullionadvisors.com is a consulting firm which helps the banking industry secure gold bullion from its worldwide suppliers. Most banks will purchase physical gold and retain possession of the bullion in their vaults to enhance its capital.

Under the proposal gold would carry a zero percent risk weighting under tier 1 capital. Gold is coming back into the banking system. We are in a world where currency wars are being fought daily, and as the system continues to collapse under its own weight of paper printing, gold will be the go to asset and possibly the last man standing.

For more information about our firm, please visit www.goldbullionadvisors.com

Via EPR Network
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NS&I Reveal Findings Of Families, Finance And The Future Report

NS&I’s ‘Families, Finance and the Future’ report has shown that before having children, Britons believe you should have an income of at least £25,000 per annum to ensure financial security, while 20% of those surveyed said that they would seriously consider not having children because the cost of having them nowadays is so high.

The NS&I report, Families, Finance and the Future, was written by the Future Foundation and commissioned by NS&I. The report was produced by a combination of desk research and original survey work. Figures taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,049 adults aged 16+. Other sources the report used include the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS, Eurobarometer, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and previous surveys conducted by the Future Foundation.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said people should be financially secure before starting a family, while 78% agreed that the standard of living was an influencing factor when deciding on how many children to have. Just 26% of Britons believe that money shouldn’t be a consideration when deciding to start a family.

Tim Mack, NS&I Savings Spokesman, said: “Starting a family is always going to be much more than a purely economic decision, though for some the financial requirement is clearly an income of £25,000 per year. Britons are also considering their financial future when deciding on the number of children they will have.”

More than one in ten respondents (12%) thought that those thinking of starting a family should be earning between £40,000 and £70,000 before having children, while a similar number (13%) believed that they didn’t need anything as they would always be able to get by. Men were more likely to suggest a bigger financial cushion than women – £27,000 per year, compared to just £23,000 for women – while people without children gave much higher estimates, saying people should be earning at least£30,000.

As well as looking at the situation for individuals, the report also argues that finances and families are linked on a larger, macroeconomic, level.

Barry Clark, Account Director at the Future Foundation, said: “Baby booms tend to follow economic booms and the reverse is true too. Our data suggests that over the past 60 years, GDP growth and the change in birth rates in the UK have been closely linked, so we expect that the coming years will show more than ever that finances and families are related on both a personal and national economic scale.”

The primary consideration influences on the number of children people decide to have appeared to be common:

78% – standard of living they can give their children
73% – meeting the cost of raising their children
51% – size of the house they can afford to raise their family in
39% – education they can make sure their children receive

It is evident that perceived affluence has an effect on the birth rate. In fact, Future Foundation research and the British Household Panel Survey both have shown that in European countries where more people have an income that is either in line with or above their financial expectations, families bear more children.

Barry Clark added: “The highest earners would seem less likely to have larger families owing to the demands of, and devotion to, their careers, or a sharper awareness of just how much children cost to raise.”

Via EPR Network
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Experian Teams with Citi to Provide SEPA Data Conversion Service

Experian, the global information services company, is partnering with Citi to provide an automated International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) conversion and validation service for SEPA-compliant cross-border payments. While Experian’s Data Conversion Service will be delivered across all 31 countries in the SEPA region, the partnership also extends to Citi customers initiating payments to and from the SEPA area from anywhere in the world.

Use of SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) schemes requires corporates to submit a valid BIC IBAN for all EU cross-border Credit Transfers and, from November 2009, for all direct debit payments. Additionally, several European countries have adopted the IBAN as part of their own domestic payment standard. In order to enable Citi’s customers to take advantage of the SCT and SDD schemes, the IBAN and BIC Conversion service will ensure customer databases are as accurate and complete as possible.

Experian will check, validate and convert existing domestic BBANs (Basic Bank Account Numbers) to the required IBAN and BIC standard in bulk, enabling customers to avoid rejection or failed payments, thereby reducing transaction costs and improving straight through processing of payment instructions. In addition, the bank’s customers will be able to identify invalid records that require further or correct information to be obtained or verified, including invalid account numbers and closed bank branches.

Ruth Wandhöfer, EMEA Head of Payment Strategy & Market Policy Global Transaction Services at Citi, commented: “Submitting invalid data when making a payment can be costly for corporates and their customers. However, by teaming up with Experian to ensure bank account details are converted into the right format, we will enable our customers to reduce the cost of correcting rejected payment information. In addition, the service enables us and our customer base to be ready for the introduction of SEPA Direct Debits in November 2009.”

Jonathan Williams, Director of Product Development and Strategy at Experian Payments, added: “Experian’s conversion service is already used by many of the world’s leading organisations to check their data, convert their data and then keep their data clean. By partnering with Citi, Experian is enabling a growing number of the world’s biggest businesses to make SEPA payments, while at the same time helping the bank to improve its operational efficiency.”

Via EPR Network
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Barclaycard Announces 100 EAT Stores Across The UK To Go Contactless

Barclaycard has announced that EAT, a leading sandwich, soup and coffee shop, will rollout contactless technology and payment across its entire network of 100 stores from mid November. The rollout of contactless follows a successful pilot project in 24 London based EAT stores over the past 18 months.

The rollout, which began in March 2008 and will be completed by mid November, will see contactless payment available in EAT stores in a range of towns and cities across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge. These stores join Barclaycard’s ever-expanding contactless payment network, with more than 9,000 outlets now accepting contactless payments across the UK.

Contactless allows customers to purchase items of £10 or under without the need to enter a PIN or sign, with customers requested to enter a PIN occasionally for added security.

Dan Salmons, Director of Payment Innovations at Barclaycard commented: “Contactless is the future of payments and we believe that contactless payment, via card or mobile phone, is one of the safest and most secure ways to pay. We welcome this rollout as it demonstrates how both consumers and retailers are benefiting from the convenience of quick, secure payments with contactless. Consumer feedback highlights the growing demand for contactless and we expect EAT to be amongst the first of many major retailers who will become contactless enabled over the coming months.”

Rene Batsford, Head of IT at EAT commented: “For the last 18 months we have accepted contactless payments in over 30 stores in London, and the success and feedback from our customers meant the decision to rollout contactless across our entire network, was an easy one to make. Customers across all our stores can now benefit from a fast, secure way to pay.”

Barclaycard and Barclays have issued over four million contactless enabled credit cards since Barclaycard OnePulse credit card launched in September 2007 and have the highest market share of contactless terminals in the UK. Other well-known brands such as Prêt a Manger, Coffee Republic, the National Trust, Books Etc and Yo Sushi also accept contactless payments.

Via EPR Network
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NS&I Has Announced Changes To The Way Customers Can Invest In Its Fixed Rate Bonds

From the end of October, the products will only be available directly from NS&I (by freephone, online or by post) and no longer available through the Post Office.

NS&I and the Post Office have jointly agreed to this change, which is in part a reflection of the development of the Post Office’s own brand of savings products. These include Post Office Growth Bonds – a very similar range of fixed rate savings bonds to the two NS&I products. The decision also reflects NS&I’s desire to develop its direct sales channels.

The Post Office will continue to offer a wide range of other NS&I savings products – including Premium Bonds and Savings Certificates – which can be purchased over the counter.

Existing NS&I Guaranteed Growth Bond and Guaranteed Income Bond customers will not notice any change as all post-sale servicing and support is already carried out directly through NS&I.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer, NS&I, said: “We are committed to making our products as straightforward as possible and ensuring that customers understand where they are investing their money. The changes we have jointly agreed with the Post Office will do just that. Our Guaranteed Income Bonds and Guaranteed Growth Bonds will continue to offer customers a simple and straightforward saving opportunity.”

“The Post Office is our key distribution partner and we recognise it is a familiar option for many savers looking to invest with NS&I. Therefore, a wide range of our savings products will continue to be available over the counter in Post Office branches.”

Gary Hockey-Morley, Post Office Limited marketing director, said: “NS&I savings products will continue to be a key part of the ever expanding range of value for money financial services available at Post Office branches. We look forward to continuing our long standing partnership with NS&I well into the future, through providing easy access to a wide range of their savings products through our 12,000 branches which lie at the heart of communities across the UK.”

Customers can invest between £500 and £1 million in total in an NS&I fixed term bond, with guaranteed rates of interest. NS&I’s Guaranteed Income Bond offers customers the opportunity to receive their interest as a monthly income, whilst the interest earned on NS&I’s Guaranteed Growth Bonds is credited to the Bond annually.

NS&I’s fixed rate bonds are available in terms of one, two, three and five years. The two-year term was launched in July 2009 and is only available directly from NS&I.

Via EPR Network
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Recession Raises Fear Of Identity Theft

New research from Lloyds TSB has revealed 76% of adults are currently worried about identity theft and 39% feel more at risk now than they did six months ago, with the recession playing a major contributing factor. The research was conducted September 2009 by ICM for Lloyds TSB amongst 1,000 UK adults aged 18+ years.

Over half (52%) of those concerned about ID theft believe that the recession has increased the risk as rising unemployment drives more people towards criminal activity and ID theft. Coupled with this, is the fear expressed by 57% of people that social networking sites have made it easier to steal personal details – a 10% increase on those with the same worries last year.

The study shows that as many as 38% of Brits have experienced ID fraud, with almost half of those (18%) having been victims personally. However, 57% of those surveyed admit that they have not done enough to protect themselves and 25% don’t know how.

According to CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, it takes an estimated 48 man hours to repair the damage resulting from fraud, and the cost to victims is frequently as high as £8,000. Typically, it takes an average of 539 days for someone to discover that they’ve been a victim of ID theft and it is on the increase; latest CIFAS figures show that it increased by 15% in 2008.

To combat this growing trend, Lloyds TSB has launched its ID Aware prevention and advisory service to help protect customers and bring them peace of mind.

Lloyds TSB’s ID Aware product allows customers to stay on top of their credit status and safeguard their identity, providing credit monitoring services and an early warning system to alert the customer to any activity involving their account. In addition, customers benefit from access to their credit status and payment history in one easy-to-understand document showing all credit cardsmortgages and loans. Credit alerts to warn the customer in the event that someone has been checking their credit status or doing anything fraudulent that affects their credit score. And if the worst should happen, expert help is on-hand. ID Aware provides 24 hour access to an advisor who will take control and set everything back on track.

Jatin Patel, spokesperson for Lloyds TSB commented: “As technology improves, it gets easier and easier for criminals to steal our identities and during tough economic times the temptation becomes greater. Protecting ourselves by shredding documents and protecting passwords is a good start, but having someone else keep an eye on your ID offers extra peace of mind.”

Lloyds TSB is also offering help and guidance through the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week (NIFP) which Lloyds TSB has supported from its birth in 2005. The Group will be putting up posters and providing leaflets in branches detailing ways to spot potential fraud. The bank is also giving information on how customers can protect themselves by safeguarding documents and making it as difficult as possible for criminals to access personal information.

Via EPR Network
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Lloyds TSB is Hitwise UK Online Performance Award Winner

Lloyds TSB has been named the number one website in the Business and Finance – Banks and Financial Institutions category for January – June 2009 in the latest Hitwise UK Online Performance Awards program. The annual Hitwise UK Online Performance Awards recognise excellence in online performance through public popularity, awarding websites in more than 50 key industries online.

This year is the fifth Hitwise Annual Awards and Lloyds TSB has been awarded number one every year since the awards began.

In addition to the Internet Banking top spot, online.lloydstsb.co.uk was also awarded a Hitwise Top 10 Online Performance Award for January – June 2009, ranking number two based on market share of visits among all UK websites in the Hitwise Business and Finance – Banks and Financial Institutions industry.

Results of the Hitwise UK Online Performance Awards are based on the Internet usage of more than 8 million UK Internet users with winners receiving the greatest market share of UK visits throughout the first half of 2009 in their online industry.

Jason Bacon, head of Digital Marketing for Lloyds Banking Group which includes Lloyds TSB said: “The Internet has fast become one of the most popular ways for customers to get information about financial services and to do their banking. Over the years we made sure that our online services evolve to meet customers’ needs and as a result we’ve seen both our website and our internet banking service grow in popularity. This award is a fantastic recognition of that.”

Daniel King, General Manager of Hitwise UK said, “With the dynamics of online marketing continually evolving, the online success of LloydsTSB during 2009 is an incredible achievement. Receiving a Hitwise UK Online Performance Award acknowledges that Lloyds TSB is amongst the most popular websites visited by UK Internet users, signifying the strength of their online marketing”.

Via EPR Network
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NS&I Unveils The First Live Vegetable Plot At BBC Good Food Shows

NS&I (National Savings and Investments), one of the UK’s largest savings organisations, is delighted to be working with Matthew Biggs to encourage ‘growing your own’ at this year’s BBC Good Food Show events.

Visitors to this year’s events in Glasgow (SECC, 30 October – 1 November), London (Olympia, 13 – 15 November) and Birmingham (NEC, 25 – 29 November) are encouraged to stop by the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ vegetable plot. The plot will be tended to by Gardeners’ Question Time expert Matthew Biggs, who will be on hand to offer visitors helpful hints and tips on growing fruit and vegetables.

Matthew Biggs commented: “I am delighted to be working on the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ feature. I’m looking forward to speaking to visitors at this year’s events, offering advice on how they can make the most of growing their own fruit and veg.”

He added: “Growing your own is the perfect way to cut down your shopping bill, as a bumper crop of ingredients such as tomatoes or rocket, can be grown easily for the small cost of a packet of seeds. It’s also fun for the family and a great way to enjoy fresh food with the finest flavour long after you’ve planted the first seed.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest savings accounts providers with almost 27 million customers and over £96 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers a Direct ISA, guaranteed growth bondsguaranteed equity bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

Via EPR Network
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Barclaycard Advises Customers To Use Mybarclaycard Following UK Postal Strike Fears

Barclaycard is advising its customers to manage their accounts online with its new online account management, mybarclaycard, following the announcement of a possible national postal strike in October.

The new mybarclaycard service offers Barclaycard customers a variety of secure online payment options, including one off payments and the setting up of regular direct debits so customers do not have to worry about missing a payment deadline.

mybarclaycard is simple to use and gives customers more control over their accounts as they can choose how to view their account information and spending online. Customers will also be able to view statements online, request a balance transfer, query or dispute a transaction and request a new credit limit quickly and securely.

To avoid the impact of prolonged postal problems Barclaycard customers can register online using a simple registration process which offers customers instant access to their account so there is no need to wait for login details to come through the post.

Amer Sajed, Chief Executive Barclaycard UK, said: “We want to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible and by managing their account online, customers can take control.

“Managing an account online with mybarclaycard will avoid the impact of issues such as postal strike action. If customers do not have access to internet facilities, they can make a payment over the phone.”

Via EPR Network
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National Savings And Investments Is Increasing The ISA Allowance On Both Its Direct ISA And Cash ISA For Its Over 50s Customers

The revised allowance will come into effect from 6 October 2009. This change will enable existing Direct ISA and Cash ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to deposit up to £5100 into their ISA in the current tax year. From 6 April 2010 more than 400,000 of NS&I’s Direct ISA and more than 231,000 Cash ISA savers will be eligible for the higher allowance.

These changes reflect the Chancellor’s announcement in his 2009 Budget which stated that cash ISA customers aged 50 years or over should have an increase to their tax-free ISA allowance, increasing the maximum investment from £3600 to £5100 from 6 October.

The interest rate paid on NS&I’s Direct ISA is currently 2.50%, and 0.5% per annum on its Cash ISA.  John Prout, Director of Customer Sales and Retention at NS&I, said: “We have contacted the 365,000 of our ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to let them know that they can make use of their higher allowance from 6 October. They can do this by calling NS&I on our new freephone number, 0500 007 007.

At NS&I we pride ourselves on being straightforward in both our communications and our savings bond range. We urge all of our eligible ISA customers to take full advantage of the increased allowance available to them.”

NS&I has changed its general enquiries number. Customers will now need to call the freephone number 0500 007 007 to contact NS&I directly. The former chargeable enquiries number, 0845 964 5000, will continue to operate but customers may incur a charge from their provider. NS&I’s sales line will continue to operate through 0500 500 000.

Via EPR Network
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Over 800,000 Knee Jerk Fixers Need Instant Access

This year really has been a savings rate massacre for consumers, with rates falling to historic lows in line with the plummeting base rate. New research from uSwitch.com reveals that in response to this rate land slide, 9 million savers have locked away a total of £131 billion in fixed rate savings accounts in a desperate bid to bag a decent rate. Unfortunately, a turbulent financial climate has led to almost one in ten of these consumers being forced to access their savings early due to job losses (6%) and mounting housing bills (32%). As a result, these savers have incurred penalty fees averaging £132 each.

In total, over 800,000 consumers have made an average withdrawal of £3,738 each from their fixed rate account in the last year, with over a third of these incurring penalty charges. As a result, these cash hungry savers have racked up a total bill of £40 million in withdrawal penalties which are predominantly made up of interest charges. Going forward this issue is only going to get worse as a further 1.7 million (19%) people with fixed rates claiming that they might have to access their money early.

With each of these savers locking away a total of £14,237 each, this has clearly made a positive boost to the UK’s £1.1 trillion savings pot which is held by 35 million consumers. This may sound like a lot of money in the current climate but it’s hardly surprising as further reports have shown that the amount of money consumers are stashing away has actually gone up by 26% since January this year.

However, with 47% of fixed rate savings accounts offering consumers absolutely no access to their money before the end of the term, it’s hardly surprising that 6% of these knee jerk fixers already regret locking their money away. 87% of fixed rate savers only chose this type of account because it was the only decent rate available at the time and 17% admit to making a rash decision.

Rumina Hassam, savings expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “Fixed rate savings accounts can offer consumers some really competitive returns, but the reality of this extra interest can be harsh. Almost half of the accounts available do not allow consumers to access their cash under any circumstances which, in a climate of recession and redundancy, is a dangerous situation for some people. The devil really is in the detail as far as fixed rate savings are concerned. Even if consumers are allowed to make withdrawals, the extra interest earned could be completely wiped out by the penalties incurred.

Variable rate savings deals are on the up and there are currently deals paying as much as 3.3% with no restrictions on access with Citibank. This explains why 37% of people don’t feel their rate is quite as competitive as it seemed when they first took it on. The average one year fixed rate bond now pays an average of 3.11% but Chelsea Building Society is offering as much as 3.8%. Five year bonds have gone up from an average of 3.33% to 4.61% since January however, one year fixed options have actually dropped down from 3.62% to 3.11% in the last nine months. For details of the best savings accounts available consumers can log onto www.uswitch.com.

Via EPR Network
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The Japanization of Financial Markets

Saxo Bank predicts that monetary stimuli and government deficits are likely to continue, fostering a “Japanization” of financial markets, whereby the market will see higher price-to-earnings ratios and lower yields on both corporate bonds and treasuries.

Chief Economist at SaxoBank, David Karsbøl, commented: “Because Western economies are more flexible and able to embrace the necessary changes, we do not think that things will get as bad as was the case in Japan. However, it is increasingly evident that the current scenario in the West bears a close resemblance to post-1990 Japan, and it looks progressively like we have entered a new regime in which everyone assumes that large companies will be bailed out. This means that default risk is ‘priced out’, and we see higher price-to-earnings ratios and lower yields on fixed income.”

In its fourth quarter outlook, the Copenhagen-based investment specialist predicts that the American economy will return to positive GDP growth in the second half of the year, but warns that the sustainability of this growth is questionable and will be largely due to government spending and inventory restocking. US unemployment will continue to rise over the coming months, and that this will further hinder debt repayments and consumption.

David Karsbol believes a USD short seems to be a vote for the global recovery and has become the, newer and better carry trade. “The very low US’s yields and need for external financing and increasing reluctance from China to buy greenbacks is a toxic cocktail that could drive the currency even weaker in the near term,” Karsbol said.

Looking towards the end of the year, market dynamics indicate a shift from this year’s equity market rally. Global equity markets rallied 59% from the March lows through to August, and looking ahead, dynamics indicate a shift in performance towards micro trends and sector-specific growth and valuation stories.

Karsbol added: “Most indicators of economic activity are stabilising, but at very depressed levels. We believe investors should continue to take cyclical risk through regional allocations, with particular emphasis on emerging markets over Europe and the US, where it will be difficult to maintain and improve growth.”

Via EPR Network
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Dr. Elizabeth Mays Has Been Named One Of The 25 Women To Watch For 2009 By U.S Banker Magazine

Dr. Elizabeth Mays has been named one of the 25 Women to Watch for 2009 by U.S Banker magazine. The list contains some of the banking industry’s most accomplished women and is compiled annually. Over 5,000 female banking executives were nominated this year.

Mays is located in Columbus, Ohio where she is a Senior Vice President and the Head of Consumer Risk Modeling and Analytics for JP Morgan Chase, part of the Risk Management organization.

The criteria used to select the 25 Women to Watch include their impact on their bank’s financial performance and the nominee’s industry, personal, and community impact. In conjunction with the publication of U.S. Banker magazine’s October issue highlighting the women selected this year, an awards ceremony will be held at The Plaza hotel in New York on October 6th.

Mays has spent 24 years in the financial services sector, first as a government economist and savings and loan regulator in Washington DC, and later in executive positions in the banking industry. She is also an author of four books on risk measurement and writes articles on corporate governance and risk management topics. A busy executive and mother, U.S. Banker magazine noted that parts of her last book were written “f r o m a booth at Chuck E. Cheese” while her young son played games.

Via EPR Network
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Majority Of Over 50s Unaware Of October ISA Limit Increases

Lloyds TSB has revealed new research that shows two thirds (61 per cent) of over 50s do not understand the approaching ISA changes which will enable more than 21 million savers to benefit from an increased tax free savings allowance.

As part of this year’s budget, the Chancellor announced that the total ISA limits would increase from £7,200 to £10,200, £5,100 of which can be saved in cash. For those born on or before 5th April 1960 the new limits come into effect on October 6th, whilst younger customers will need to wait until the start of the 2010/2011 tax year next April.

Despite the imminent changes, the findings show that just 15 per cent of over 50s know that the new ISA limit will be set at £10,200. Four out of ten over 50s are not even aware that increases have been announced.

Lloyds Banking Group customers can take full advantage of the increased limits, as the Group has confirmed that all of its ISA products will accept top ups when the new rules come into effect on 6th October.

Colin Walsh, managing director of savings and investment, Lloyds Banking Group commented: “As the UK’s largest ISA provider, we want our customers to be able to reap the benefits of the new rules and make use of their entitlement. This historic low rate environment has meant a challenging time for savers, especially for those who rely on returns to supplement their monthly income, so maximising your full tax free allowance has never been more important.”

Savers will be able to top up their existing ISA balance in any of the Group’s fixed and variable rate cash ISAs, as well as investment ISA products. New customers can also take advantage of the new entitlement and open one of the competitive products offered by the Group’s ISA brands, which include Halifax, Lloyds TSB, Scottish Widows, Bank of Scotland, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Birmingham Midshires and Intelligent Finance.

Colin Walsh continued: “Traditionally the ISA transfer market peaks in April around the new tax year, but this year’s changes will no doubt result in a ‘mini ISA season’ as savers look to take advantage of competitive rates on an increased balance.”

Earlier this year, Lloyds Banking Group announced its participation in electronic transfers for the cash ISA market, allowing customers to benefit from a more efficient process and reducing the delays caused by sending cheques in the post.

Via EPR Network
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Joe Freeman Of MidCountry Bank Has Been Appointed To The National World War I Museum’s Board Of Trustees

Joe Freeman, Chief Operating Officer of Pioneer Services, the Military Banking Division of MidCountry Bank, has been appointed to the National World War I Museum‘s Board of Trustees. Freeman joins a group of other notable and distinguished community leaders such as Henry Bloch, William Dunn, Sr., R. Crosby Kemper, and Dr. Thomas Hoenig, all who are committed to preserving, promoting, and improving the nation’s official WWI Museum.

Freeman’s strategic and entrepreneurial business skills, along with his knowledge of the military and national security communities, and the financial services arena, will benefit the Museum. “Each new Trustee brings a diverse base of experience and knowledge that will help further the Museum’s mission”, said Brian Alexander, President and CEO of the National World War I Museum.

Freeman is active in local business, philanthropic, and community service efforts, including ; the UMKC Board of Trustees Bloch School Blue Ribbon Committee; the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Council; the Dean’s Bloch School Advisory Board, Chairman of the International Entrepreneur of the Year Dinner; Business Executives for National Security; the Association of the United States Army; the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Armed Services Committee; Angel Flight Central; the FBI Citizen’s Academy, and more. He was named one of Ingrams’ magazine’s “40 Under 40 Power Elite” in 2006.

He is responsible for all lending and retail operations at MidCountry Bank’s military division, as well as strategic planning. In his position, Freeman manages a diverse group of more than 200 associates in various departments and geographic locations. He has more than 15 years of business experience in accounting, operations, consulting, and marketing.

Freeman is a graduate of the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting. He is the author of several published articles on management and financial matters.

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Three Unsecured Personal Loan Providers Have Implemented Rate Hikes Of Up To 1.2% For New Customers

This product ‘tweak’, although seemingly small, could cost personal loan customers an extra GBP322 in interest paid on a typical loan of GBP10,000. With UK consumers currently forking out GBP181 million in interest daily, this will only add to an already hefty bill.

As consumers struggle to manage their debts in the current climate, their chances of consolidating to a low cost loan have also been vastly reduced compared to this time last year. There are currently 36 personal loans available to consumers, this is compared to 57 loans that were available this time last year, a drop of 37%. At the same time, the average loan rate has increased from 9.04% to 9.08% in the last year.

Providers that have increased rates since the start of September include:

1. Marks and Spencer Money – selected rates increased by 1.2%

2. Egg – GBP3,000 to GBP20,000 increased by 1% to 14.9%

3. Alliance & Leicester – GBP5,000 to GBP7,499 increased by 0.1% to 8.9% and GBP7,500 to GBP15,000 increased by 0.8% to 8.7%

However, it seems the trend for offering the best deals to “brand new customers only” does not currently extend to the unsecured personal loans market, with the best deals currently being offered to existing customers. The average interest rate in the Best Buy table for existing customers is currently 7.94%, with Nationwide topping the table with its Existing Customer Personal Loan Plan at 7.7%. However, new customers can expect to be hit with an average interest rate for a Best Buy loan of 8.08%, 0.14% higher.

Louise Bond, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “As consumers struggle to make ends meet and manage their finances, loan providers are looking to offer the best rates to those who financial behaviour they can closely inspect – which are their existing customers.

“Last year 1.3 million consumers used an unsecured personal loan for debt consolidation purposes. However, with the number of personal loans available dropping by 37% this year and rejection running high, it would be highly unlikely that a similar number of consumers would be able to consolidate their debts this year. However, for those that are thinking about or attempting to do this, it would definitely be worthwhile finding out what rates existing providers can offer, as it seems loyalty is one of the only aspects that could win consumers better interest rates at the moment.”

Via EPR Network
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Lloyds TSB Is Encouraging New Students To Eat Healthily Whilst Staying Within A Budget With The Launch Of Its ‘Budget Cook Off’

Lloyds TSB is encouraging new students to eat healthily whilst staying within a budget with the launch of its ‘Budget Cook Off’ section of the Savvy Saver student hub, an all round guide for students, advising them on how to manage finances during their time at University.

The new section of the site contains practical tips for healthy eating with limited finances and also offers a video showing students putting the budget cooking tips into practice.

Included in the range of tips is information on how to make sure a healthy diet is maintained throughout the day, even when students are pushed for time or under stress from upcoming exams or deadlines. The ‘Budget Cook Off’ section also advises prospective students on how to find the best deals on food in the shops and habits to avoid, such as junk food and eating out, in order to make the most of their money.

The savvy student hub has been launched in response to student concerns about their finances. As part of its annual research* with more than a thousand 17-25 year olds who hope to start a degree course in the autumn, Lloyds TSB found that three quarters of would-be freshers think that money management is especially important in the current economic environment.

Catherine McGrath, director of current accounts, Lloyds TSB, commented: “We want to do everything we can to support young people manage their finances responsibly but also have fun and enjoy their studies. We hope the hub will show them that it is possible to study on a budget, and also that they’re not alone in being concerned about looking after their pennies during their degree course.”

Via EPR Network
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Pioneer Services Recognized By The American Banker’s Association

Pioneer Services was recognized recently at the American Banker’s Association (ABA) Financial Marketing Awards ceremony, receiving runner-up for its Military Spouse Finance Guide: Financial Advice for the Homefront. The book offers comprehensive financial education for military spouses, and was published last year. This is the second ABA award for Pioneer Services—the company won last year for its entire range of financial education materials.

Established in 1972, the ABA Awards recognize those who have displayed excellence in their financial materials, and are one of the most coveted awards in the financial services industry. Pioneer Services received the award in the financial education category, which recognizes those that work to educate customers on responsible and sound financial practices.

“Military spouses take care of the family and finances during their husbands’ or wives’ deployment, and really are the unsung heroes of the military,” said Karen Von Der Bruegge, Chief Marketing Officer of Pioneer Services. “We’re honored to provide them with information that can help them throughout their military and civilian lives, and to have that information recognized as being the best in the banking industry.”

The book was based on two years of research, and included input from military spouses, industry experts, and Pioneer Services associates. Available for sale on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Pioneer Services has also distributed thousands of free copies of the book to military families. It has been featured in several media outlets. And its website, www.MilitaryFinanceGuide.com, offers more information about the book, testimonials praising its content, and a free chapter on debt prioritization.

“We’ve been providing free financial education to military families for several years, and know it has helped thousands take control of their finances,” said Von Der Bruegge. “Being recognized by the ABA for our continuing efforts is a great honor, and reaffirms our commitment to helping educate the military community.”

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