Category Archives: Financial Education

Financial Education

Introductory Financial Accounting by West Chester University Professor of Accounting Anthony J. Cataldo II

Anthony J. Cataldo II, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester, PA, Sep-2-2017 — /EPR FINANCIAL NEWS/ — A.J. Cataldo II, PhD, CPA, CMA, CGMA, a Professor of Accounting at West Chester University, has written a free or “open source” text on Introductory Financial Accounting. Feel free to download and/or distribute: http://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/acc_texts/1/. (The text downloads, best, as separate chapters).

Additional information on Professor Cataldo is available on LinkedIn and Google Scholar. His Seeking Alpha articles are, also, available at no cost, and he writes a weekly subscription-based column, THE CANNABIS REPORT, for InvestorsHub (IHUB).

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Un leader innovativo nel trading forex online Orbex annunciato una partnership strategia con l’Università LUM Jean Monnet

CYPRUS, 24-Aug-2016 — /EPR FINANCIAL NEWS/ — Orbex, un leader innovativo nel trading forex online, ha annunciato quest’oggi una partnership strategia con l’Università LUM Jean Monnet, un’università privata italiana, conosciuta in tutto il mondo e altamente stimata come centro di formazione economica. La partnership unirà l’esperienza di Orbex nelle soluzioni di trading e nell’analisi di mercato con l’approccio scientifico avanzato della LUM nello sviluppo economico.

Questa partnership risponde alla domanda nel settore di professionisti di alto calibro in materia di trading e soluzioni di investimento multi-target di prossima generazione, qualità che possono essere sviluppate solo tramite progetti di ricerca collaborativa.

L’iniziativa di Orbex è una risposta olistica alle sfide che il settore pone. Orbex espanderà il programma formativo del Master in Analisi finanziaria e di borsa e contribuirà con la sua conoscenza pratica dei mercati internazionali. Gli specialisti di Orbex hanno preparato un programma speciale per gli studenti del Master, che prevede anche seminari teorici e pratici e webinar. Inoltre, gli studenti avranno libero accesso a tutto il materiale formativo della società, trasformando così il centro formativo Orbex in un polo di innovazione e scambio di idee.

La comunità di trading, a sua volta, avrà l’opportunità unica di attingere direttamente dalle conoscenze degli studi scientifici più recenti e di imparare dai più autorevoli docenti di economia.

Kira Vessiari, Content Manager di Orbex, è convinta che “Orbex sta compiendo un passo significativo nel realizzare la propria visione di diventare la destinazione online preferita per una formazione nel trading di qualità. Questa partnership con l’Università LUM ha il potenziale di dare vita a nuovi approcci verso il trading e siamo entusiasti delle nuove opportunità che questa collaborazione offrirà a Orbex per avanzare progressivamente.”

Edoardo Ciampelletti, Desk italiano di Orbex, ha dichiarato: “Abbiamo osato unire quella che è sempre stata vista come una sfera strettamente accademica con una sfera giudicata puramente pratica e tecnologica. Credo proprio che grazie a questa collaborazione possiamo dare vita a una vera e propria rivoluzione nella formazione del trading.”

Professor Adriano Carenza, Università LUM: “Il Master mira a formare professionisti che possono offrire supporto a istituti finanziari, in prevalenza banche, SGR, SIM e SICAV, nel processare e monitorare piani operativi finanziari e strategici, così come sistemi di organizzazione e riconoscimento dei rischi degli strumenti finanziari. Orbex ha voluto riconoscere la qualità e la visione di questo progetto formativo firmando una partnership con la Scuola di Management della LUM, che attraverso lezioni, webinar, seminari ed esercizi, si pone come obiettivo uno sviluppo sostenibile del mercato globale dei servizi di trading online e di creare un nuovo tipo di operatore finanziario. Completando il corso, i nuovi professionisti avranno acquisito capacità versatili nel settore della finanza pura.”

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SOURCE:  EuropaWire

Freud Capital releases report on agri-commodity

Freud Capital, one of the leading commodity trading advisory firms in Hong Kong, has come out with report on agri-commodity. The outlook from the report is as follows:

Spices : Jeera futures (Mar) is expected to maintain support above 13400 levels. Fresh export enquiries may support prices. Demand from domestic traders and millers at lower levels may also support prices. In the international market, Indian cumin seed 1% quoted at USD 2,850 ton (cnf) Singapore. However, Turkey and Syria are not offering. Sowing in Turkey and Syria will be in March. Pepper futures (Feb) is likely to trade range bound facing resistance near 38000 levels. The Indian parity in the international market has risen substantially and therefore Jan and Feb prices are not competitive with other origins which are at around USD 7,000 a tonne. Spot prices increased by Rs 800 on strong demand amid limited supply last week to close on Saturday at Rs 38,500 (ungarbled) and Rs 40,000 (MG 1) a quintal. Turmeric futures (Apr) is likely to trade with a negative bias due to mounting stocks and expected fresh supplies.

Oilseeds : The downside bias in mustard futures may remain intact owing to rising area under cultivation. At present, the mustard crop is in the flowering stages and farmers in Rajasthan have planted the oilseed on 2.79 million hectares (lh). The total acreage across the country under mustard has seen a marginal increase to 67 lh over the corresponding last year’s 26.41 lh. CPO futures may trade sideways following bearish sentiments prevailing in Malaysian market. Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for Jan. 1-20 fell 17.3% to 830,830 tonnes from 1,004,159 tonnes in the Dec. 1-20 period.

Soybean futures may trade in range bound due to lack of cues from international market.

Other commodities : Sugar futures (Feb) is likely to trade sideways with upside getting capped near 3275 levels owing to higher production. Between October and January 15, sugar production in India stood at 10.8 million tonnes (mt), about 3% more than the year-ago period. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has urged the government to raise the import duty on sugar. Currently, import duty on sugar is 10%.

Via EPR Network
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Former Professional Footballer Turned Trading Coach Launches New Forex Trading Video

Lee Sandford is an ex-professional UK footballer having played for teams such as Portsmouth, Stoke City and Sheffield United. These days, he generates his income through successful forex trading and teaching others how to emulate his trading triumph through the Trading College. The Trading College has released a new video where Lee shares his Traders Success Model.

Lee Sandford believes that if he can earn his living through forex trading, anyone can, “If a beginner trader can recognise and learn the market patterns that repeat themselves and put on the trade, they really can create additional monthly income for themselves with little effort. It’s all about becoming the master of your tools.”

Lee is the founder of Trading College, having 17 years of forex trading experience under his belt. “I was getting calls from my friends asking me to teach them how to trade or to watch me trade. Then it became friends of friends, and it really grew from there until there was such a high demand that I put on a group course.” explains Lee, “Now we hold regular group courses and our aim is to be the best company in the UK market place for customer service, quality and price.”

When Lee left the world of professional football and threw himself into mastering the trading markets, he quickly found that there were hardly any in depth and high quality courses available. “I ended up going to the Chicago Board of Trade and participated in the grains trading pit. It was an experience!” says Lee. Once the Traders College had been established, Lee was keen to avoid becoming just another insufficient trading course as he’d experience before. “The Trading College’s mission is to constantly monitor and improve our services. Our customers are at the heart of our business so we want to create a dynamic and reward experience for all of our students.”

All courses run by the Trading College are taught by professional and experienced traders, including Lee, “As we make our living through trading, myself and the other trading coaches know the real day-to-day challenges that our students will face. That’s why we’re the best people to teach them about every eventuality.” Trading College is open to traders of all levels, even if they’ve just started out. They teach via group courses, support webinars and offer IT support to all of their members.

“With my forex trading strategies, students can really earn some great extra income, or even become a full time trader. One of my clients earned over £100,000 in one year using the tactics I’d taught her.” says Lee.

Via EPR Network
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Pioneer Services to Give Away $1,000 and Apple iPads® to Eight Lucky Service Members

Pioneer Services will make this holiday season one to remember for eight service members and their families thanks to the Mega Merry Giveaway, a sweepstakes just for active-duty or career-retired service members and their spouses. There will be four winners of $1,000 and four iPad winners—one winner of each from each military branch.

“The Mega Merry Giveaway is our way of thanking those who serve for all they have done for our nation, and in a way that captures the season’s spirit of giving,” said Karen Von Der Bruegge, chief marketing and retail operations officer for Pioneer Services. “The best part—other than the chance to win a thousand dollars or an iPad—is that there is no obligation and no strings attached. All they have to do is be on active duty, career-retired, or a military spouse, and they can enter to win. It really is that easy.”

Those who qualify can enter on the company’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/PioneerServices, or at www.MegaMerryGiveaway.com, which is also where they can find complete rules and details.

“We are incredibly excited for the winners to be selected December 11,” added Von Der Bruegge, “because that is when we will find out who is going to have a very merry holiday season on behalf of Pioneer Services.”

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides financial services and award-winning education to members of the Armed Forces. For more than 25 years, Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending, offering military loans,retail lendingVA loansCertificates of Deposit, savings accounts, and award-winning financial education programs through a network of offices and on the Internet. Pioneer Services is proud to support military families and communities through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships.

For more information, visit PioneerServices.com. For loan information, visit PioneerMilitaryLoans.com.

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Not All NAIC Suitability Training Solutions Are Created Equal

With the Iowa Suitability Requirement becoming active on January 1, 2010 there is no doubt that insurance carriers are scrambling to find the best solution. While most solutions are similar in that they will offer State Specific Training and Carrier Specific Training the means and methods in which they deliver the training will differ from provider to provider. Quest is proud to offer the industry’s most comprehensive, user friendly and cost effective solution to the NAIC Suitability Regulation.

Using proprietary technology, Quest has the ability to meet each individual carrier’s NAIC Suitability Training needs. While most carriers will opt for a Single Suitability Platform, there are some carriers with captivate agents that would prefer a private label solution. Quest has built their reputation on providing innovative solutions and advanced custom technologies. This custom technology addresses the needs of the carrier wishing to have an NAIC Training portal branded specifically for their company and their producers. A private label solution will match the carriers’ look and feel providing an effective marketing tool and sense of good will with the carrier’s producers. Custom reporting, in addition to daily PGP encrypted data feeds are standard with all of Quest’s learning platforms and will serve as an integral function in both private label solutions and the Single Source Solution.

While other NAIC Suitability Training Providers have turned to their old, outdated technologies to address the growing demand of training required of producers, Quest has specifically designed their NAIC Suitability Training Portals with the users in mind. Quest’s simple three step process allows producers to either self-register for their training or be loaded in on the front end by their carriers. The first step requires the producer to select the State Specific Training required by the NAIC. Currently the only state with a requirement in place is Iowa. The second step asks the producer to select the insurance carriers that they sell for so they can select their Carrier/Product Specific Training at step three. The process is intuitive and seamless. The producer will easily be able to create their user profile loaded with all of the training they need to continue to sell their carriers’ products.

Quest’s system puts control in the hands of the producers. The logic behind this method is that the producer knows better than anyone else which carriers they sell for and which state and product specific training they need to complete. Other vendors trust complicated and incomplete databases which rely on each carriers list of producers to be correct and constantly updated. Quest’s solution allows for flexibility and intelligence so producers are able to use the training portal as a way of updating their own records with the carriers they represent. On demand reporting and daily data feeds will ensure that producers are compliant with their requirements and able to place business with the carriers they represent as soon as possible.

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Quest CE Introduces the 2010 NAIC Suitability Regulation Solution

Quest Continuing Education Solutions (Quest CE) is proud to announce the solution to the 2010 NAIC Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. Quest’s simple two-tiered approach will provide an “All-In-One” Solution for Insurers, Distributors and Producers that fall under the NAIC’s new regulation.

Quest’s 4-hour annuity course in Iowa has been approved by the state and meets the Iowa Administrative Rule 191-15.72 for a one-time, four (4) hour annuity training course requirement. In addition, this course is approved for resident CE credit. Per the new NAIC Suitability Regulation, Quest will also provide insurer-product specific training in their Industry Leading Learning Management System, Renaissance.

NAIC Suitability Regulation Training through Quest allows for automated encrypted data and completion feeds. Feeds can be sent on a daily basis or as often as the program administrator desires. Quest’s system also allows for participants in the program to be bulk loaded into the training platform. Ensure your programs compliance with Quest so beginning January 1, 2011 your producers are able to sell your annuities in Iowa.

The NAIC Suitability Regulation Training platform will provide:

• A dedicated location where a producer can complete all of their required training requirements and view the status of each requirement within the Model Regulation;
• Updated training posted to the site subsequent to initial training including additional State Specific Annuity Requirements as they become effective;
• A company specific branded web portal where insurers can comply with the new regulation and update their product-specific training courses in their student profiles;
• The ability to print completion certificates online 24/7;
• An automatic e-mail notification system allowing insurers to instantly notify producers of new or updated product specific training requirements;
• Automated and PGP encrypted customized data feeds with real-time search tools for insurers and Broker/Dealers to satisfy compliance requirements and training.

Quest’s NAIC Suitability Regulation Training Solution is available now and ready for demonstration or implementation. Contact Quest at 877-593-3366 or e-mail Quest at sales@questce.com to speak with one of our dedicated Sales Team Members about guaranteeing your 2010 NAIC Suitability Regulation Training today.

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Quest CE Launches Compliance Training for Investment Advisers

Quest Continuing Education Solutions (Quest CE) is proud to announce a new product line-up to meet Investment Adviser’s Compliance Training Needs. Since 1986 Quest CE has built a reputation of being the premier provider of Compliance Education Training to the financial services industry including insurance professionals and FINRA regulated Broker/Dealers. Quest is now able to address the regulations and requirements that face the Investment Adviser world.

Quest CE’s comprehensive Investment Adviser Training Program allows advisers to complete essential training through a cost-effective one-stop easy to use program. The Investment Adviser Compliance Training program enhances advisers’ ability to provide investment advice to clients, protecting the client, adviser and firm.

Courses include:

• Anti-Fraud Programs and Controls
• Anti-Money Laundering and the Red Flags Rule
• Investment Adviser Client Suitability
• Information Security Protecting You, Your Clients and Your Firm
• Investment Adviser Code of Ethics

Complete Investment Adviser Compliance Training Packages start at $25.00 with individual courses starting at $10.00.

Content
Our courses are delivered through interesting and interactive self-paced online presentations. All of our courses use images and manageable page lengths to enhance the learning experience and make compliance enjoyable.

Compliance Tracking
Quest also offers a complete suite of compliance tracking tools including:

• Outside Business Activities
• Gifts and Entertainment
• Political Contributions

Professional Designation & Insurance Training
Quest CE is a Nationally Approved Provider of Insurance Continuing Education (Insurance CE). Each year we deliver over 150,000 insurance CE courses. Complete state CE packages start at $29.95 with individual courses starting at $12.95.

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Tom Holcom Receives ‘Outstanding Civilian Service Medal’ from U.S. Army

Tom Holcom, chief executive officer of Pioneer Services, was presented with the U.S. Army’s “Outstanding Civilian Service Medal” Oct. 5, 2010, during a special celebration of his 25 years with the company. The award was presented to Holcom by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Arter.

Holcom was recognized for his work in helping to found the Command General Staff College Foundation (CGSCF) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., which supports the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in the development of tomorrow’s military leaders. He was instrumental in helping the CGSCF obtain tax-exempt status, and was elected the foundation’s first president.

“Tom has displayed extraordinary leadership, enabling the Foundation to develop into one of the most successful supporting foundations in history,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, the current commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, which includes the CGSC. “His dedication and selfless service reflect great credit upon him, the Combined Arms Center, and the United States Army.”

Past recipients include Sgt. Audie Murphy, the most decorated service member in American military history; E.N.J. Carter, creator of the “Be All You Can Be” slogan; and ninth Sergeant Major of the Army Richard A. Kidd.

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides financial services and award-winning education to members of the Armed Forces. For more than 20 years, Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending, offering military loansretail lending, VA loans, and award-winning financial education programs through a network of offices and on the Internet. Pioneer Services is proud to support military families and communities through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships.

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MidCountry Bank Names Steve Meads New President

MidCountry Bank has named financial industry veteran Steve Meads as its new president. Meads is now responsible for leading the growth of the bank in each of the communities it serves.

“We are very excited to have such an exceptional individual on our team who demonstrates the characteristics for which our company was built: local community spirit, and our core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, compassion and excellence,” said Bob Hatcher , CEO MidCountry Financial Corp , the bank’s holding company.

Meads graduated from Carleton College with a BA in Economics and also earned his MBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin. He has nearly 25 years of financial services industry experience, most recently serving as President and CEO of Bremer Bank in the Twin Cities. He also is the Chairman of the YMCA of Greater Saint Paul and is active on the board of the Woodbury Community Foundation. Meads resides with his wife, Teri, and their four children in Lake Elmo.

MidCountry Bank is a full-service bank with administrative headquarters in Minnetonka , Twin Cities and out-state branches in Minnesota and a regional presence in Southern Illinois and Nevada . As a community bank, MidCountry provides high quality, diversified financial services and solutions for customers to meet their personal, business and professional banking needs. To learn more, visit www.MidCountryBank.com.

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MidCountry Financial Hires Chief Accounting Officer – Adds Additional Planning, Compliance, And Industry Experience To Seasoned Executive Team

MidCountry Financial Corp. (MCFC) is pleased to announce that Darren Cantlay has joined the executive team as Vice President of Accounting and Finance, and Chief Accounting Officer. In this newly-created position, Cantlay will manage all financial reporting, budgeting, financial systems, and tax functions for MCFC, among other things, and will also assist with strategic planning and overall financial management for the organization. Cantlay begins his new role Sept. 1, 2010.

“We’re extremely excited to have Darren join the MidCountry Financial family,” said David Hall, chief financial officer for MCFC. “He brings a diverse and extensive set of financial skills to the company, and he will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow and expand our organization.”

Cantlay has more than 15 years of experience handling a variety of accounting, compliance, planning, and operational issues for a variety of financial institutions, including McIntosh Bancshares, the Bank of Ellijay, Appalachian Bancshares, and United Bank Corporation. He has previously held the positions of chief financial officer, chief operating officer, controller, and accountant.

A graduate of Valdosta State University, Cantlay has been an adjunct faculty member at Griffin Technical Institute, where he taught both accounting and tax courses. He is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Management Accountants, the Georgia Bankers Association Asset Liability Committee, and was Secretary of the Gilmore County Rotary Club from 2008-2009.

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MidCountry Financial Corp. Website And Newsletter Named Finalist For National Awards

PR News has named MidCountry Financial Corp. a finalist for its “2010 PR Digital Awards” in two separate categories: Best Newsletter, and Best Website Redesign. Directed by PR News, a leading communications and public relations news source, these awards for digital communications expertise are nationally recognized and highly competitive.

“MidCountry Financial is proud to have its Vantage Point employee newsletter and website, as well as those employees who develop and maintain these critical communications vehicles, recognized as best in the nation,” said Julie Schaller , senior vice president, human resources, for MidCountry Financial Corp. “Our corporate culture is centered heavily on open communication and transparency with our employees, our customers, and our investors, which makes such national recognition even more important to the MidCountry family.”

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in New York City Oct. 6, 2010. Finalists in other categories include Coca Cola, General Motors, Barilla Pasta, Cisco Systems, Hilton Hotels, and Boeing, among others.

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Pioneer Services’ Fort Hood Office Chosen As One Of ‘The Very Best In Central Texas’

The Fort Hood Pioneer Services’ office was honored recently when a reader’s poll in the Killeen Daily Herald, the area’s 100-year old daily newspaper, named the company one of the best places to get a loan in the Central Texas region. The annual “Central Texas ‘ 100 Best” poll is an opportunity for the community to vote on where they go to find the region’s best products and services. The 2010 winners were announced in the June 27, 2010, edition of the daily publication.

“We are honored that the community chose Pioneer Services as one of the best places for Fort Hood service members and military families to get a loan,” said Romy Mortel, branch manager of Pioneer Services’ Fort Hood office. “Our primary mission is to improve the quality of life for military families and support the community, so it’s nice to know that our associates’ hard work is appreciated and recognized, not only by our customers, but by the broader community as well.”

The poll, initially launched in May, asked readers to complete a write-in ballot telling the newspaper where to find the best businesses and services in more than 100 categories, and generated nearly 6,000 responses. Winners receive a certificate of recognition and a banner to display at their establishment that highlights the honor.

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides financial services and award-winning education to members of the Armed Forces. F or more than 20 years , Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending, offering military loansretail lending, VA loans, and award-winning financial education programs through a network of offices and on the Internet. The Pioneer Services Ft. Hood office, located at 202 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd, Killeen, TX, has been proudly supporting military families and the community through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships since 1997.

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Free Financial Education Podcasts For Military

April is Financial Literacy Month, but for more than a decade Pioneer Services has celebrated financial education every month, creating more than three dozen articles, two books, and in-office materials designed to help military families take control of their finances. These efforts have been recognized in recent years with four awards from industry and educational groups.

The company’s library of materials just got even better with the addition of the Pioneer Educational Podcast series’ “Financial PEP Talk,” released this Financial Literacy Month in order to give service members yet another way to access financial education. The podcasts, which last just six to 10 minutes, are available on the company’s website at www.PioneerServices.com/podcast, where users can listen or download an MP3 file. By the end of April, there will also be an iTunes feed to which users can subscribe and listen to at their convenience.

“These podcasts give us another way to share the financial knowledge we’ve gained from more than 77 years in the industry,” said Chief Marketing Officer Karen Von Der Bruegge . “Military families can now choose how they want to learn money management: reading an article or book, visiting our offices for one-on-one consultations, and now, listening online or on an MP3 player. Whatever their preference, we have an option.”

The first three episodes cover setting financial goals, developing a spending and savings plan, and the changes consumers will see due to the recently-implemented Credit CARD Act. A new Financial PEP Talk episode will be released regularly, with future topics to include how to prioritize debts, creating an emergency savings account, how to choose a bank, tips for online borrowing, and many more.

To listen to the Financial PEP Talk, visit PioneerServices.com/podcast.

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A New Government-Run Service Is Set To Provide Impartial Financial Advice For Millions Of UK Citizen

A new Government-run service is set to provide impartial financial advice for millions of UK citizens looking for help with money matters.

A New Government-Run Service Is Set To Provide Impartial Financial Advice For Millions Of UK Citizen

The service – called Moneymadeclear – was launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and will provide free consumer advice from independent financial experts.

Moneymadeclear gives people the chance to pick up the phone, talk face-to-face or get information online with regard to money worries, financial planning and information on consumer rights.

The service also gives advice to consumers who think they may have been mis-sold a financial product and don’t know what action to take.

A service such as this is long overdue says life insurance comparison site QuoteBoffin.co.uk:

“Consumers have long deserved a service that is concise and impartial as Moneymadeclear, especially for people who have concerns over money but do not know who to turn to.

Moneymadeclear also supports the different ways in which people take in information as well as the resources consumers have available. For example, some people prefer to use the web to get information whilst others are more comfortable meeting an advisor face to face and so forth.”

The Government has trialled the service in the North East and North West since last April. The trial helped 500,000 people and is expected to assist a million people in the next year alone.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said:

“Moneymadeclear is free, impartial advice for all, whether you are unsure about the small print in a mortgage form; want advice opening a savings account for your children or grand-children or want some help dealing with repayments before they get out of hand.”

In a post recession economy the importance of financial support for concerned consumers will undoubtedly be welcomed by people looking to firm up their finances.

QuoteBoffin.co.uk went on to say “Although the UK has officially left the recession it’s going to take many years to see a full recovery. This means that continued job losses, mounting debt and high interest rates will put continued strain on consumers.

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Midcountry Bank Honored By USDA For Increasing Rural Home Ownership

MidCountry Bank was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA) for utilizing federally-guaranteed mortgages that increased, and made more affordable, home ownership in rural Illinois. Each year the USDA honors lenders that excel in using the federal agency’s guaranteed loan program in rural areas.

“In this difficult housing marketing, MidCountry Bank is committed to using Rural Development’s guaranteed home loan program to help as many homebuyers as possible,” said Jim Davis, a Rural Development specialist in the USDA’s Marion , Ill. , office. “They helped borrowers buy their first homes, or upgrade to better homes. We are extremely pleased with MidCountry Bank’s achievement.”

MidCountry Bank provided Illinois homebuyers with more than $1 million in Rural Development-backed loans in 2009. With the Rural Development guarantee, MidCountry Bank offers 100 percent loans with no required down payment, no private monthly mortgage insurance (PMI), no maximum purchase prices, competitive fixed interest rates, and 30-year terms. The program also includes flexible credit guidelines and generous income limits.

“This program has helped put many families into a home and strengthened rural communities by providing stability in a challenging housing market. It is easily the best 100-percent program in the market,” said MidCountry Bank Regional President Randy Forby. “We’re proud to have received this honor from the USDA, and even more so to have helped families throughout rural Illinois realize their dreams of homeownership.”

For nearly a decade, MidCountry Bank has been serving the communities of southern Illinois and central Minnesota with a full spectrum of financial products that are matched with excellent customer service. Its retail banking division offers a variety of deposit and loan products to meet consumers’ needs, its business division helps small business by providing them with the financing they need to grow, and its military banking division serves those who serve our nation with personal loans and award-winning financial education programs. Every MidCountry Bank associate is dedicated to creating a high-quality and well-respected financial services organization, and is committed to the values of integrity, fairness, honesty, excellence, and compassion.

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MidCountry Bank Military Division’s Volunteer Time-Off Program Recognized Nationally For Corporate Social Responsibility

An effort to promote community service within its national workforce was recently recognized when MidCountry Bank‘s military banking division, Pioneer Services, was named a finalist for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award for Workplace Innovation by PR News. The company received the honor for creating and offering all of its associates a Volunteer Time-Off (VTO) benefit, providing each individual up to 16 hours of paid time off annually to volunteer in their communities.

MidCountry Bank Military Division's Volunteer Time-Off Program Recognized Nationally For Corporate Social Responsibility

To encourage additional participation in the VTO program, last year the company initiated the Be the Difference campaign, an internal effort to increase usage of this unique benefit. The campaign included a Volunteer Fair at its headquarters that featured 23 nonprofit organizations, the creation of a new volunteerism website, t-shirts, promotional posters, and other items—all of which was led by an associate-ran Volunteer Committee. The result was a 400 percent increase in VTO usage, and numerous individual recognition and awards for associates, both locally and nationally.

“Giving back to the community is a key component of our corporate culture,” said Karen Von Der Bruegge , chief marketing officer of Pioneer Services. “We are proud to receive recognition for our social responsibility efforts, but must also recognize our associates around the country. Their efforts and willingness to give back have made the VTO program a great success.”

Winners of the PR News Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards are announced Feb. 24, 2010, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC . Pioneer Services is joined as a finalist in the Workplace Innovation category by Pepsi, Deloitte, and Butterball, and finalists in other categories include Bank of America, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Coca Cola, GE, Oracle, and eBay.

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Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers Partner With NLA and SEF

National Lending Associates, Inc. (NLA) and Sterling Education Finance, LLC (SEF) announces their strategic partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers. Through this partnership, a new education financing solution called the Community Education Loan (CEL) will be provided to their member banks. “Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers is pleased to have the opportunity to recommend to our member banks a turnkey private education product which can be customized to meet the needs of our constituents” said Richard K. Arnold, Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. “Today, students and their families are finding it more difficult to obtain financing for a college education due to the continued financial pressures on traditional lenders because of the instability of the financial markets. This is a great opportunity for the financial institution to offer an alternative loan program, as well as better serve their customer base.”

The Community Education Loan program allows community banks to develop their own student loan offering without additional staffing or resources. This program is completely managed by NLA and SEF including product development, application origination, credit decisioning, disbursement processing, and loan portfolio administration services, with loan servicing being performed by PHEAA/AES. PHEAA/AES is one of the largest and most respected student loan servicers in the country.

“We are delighted that Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers has chosen to promote the CEL program to their member banks,” said Nancy Chalker, Regional Vice President at Sterling Financial and the relationship manager for this program. “By combining the in-depth knowledge and strength of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers and the private loan expertise of both NLA and SEF, we are able to bring a quality private education loan solution to this marketplace.“

For more information on the Community Education Loan go to (www.sterlingeducationfinance.org), contact Pat Cook at (828) 335-1092 or Nancy Chalker at (570) 899-1595.

About National Lending Associates, Inc.
Based in San Diego, California, with offices in Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York, National Lending Associates, Inc., is a nationwide specialty service company focused on providing financing solutions, loan and portfolio administration services, and technology options for the education financing marketplace (www.nationallendingassociates.com).

About Sterling Education Finance, LLC
Sterling Education Finance, LLC is an innovative education financing company dedicated to the larger mission of ensuring access to education. Our product suite is designed to offer financing solutions for every private K-12, career and trade institution, college or university based on the institution’s unique needs as well as the needs of the student and families they serve. We have a select group of origination, funding and servicing partners and all of our products are fully supported by our team of industry veterans.

About Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency/American Education Services
Created in 1963 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA/AES) has evolved into one of the nation’s leading nonprofit student aid organizations. Today, PHEAA/AES is a national provider of student financial aid services, serving millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing systems and outreach programs. As a nonprofit organization belonging to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PHEAA/AES devotes its energy, resources and imagination to developing innovative ways to ease the financial burden of higher education for Pennsylvania’s students, families, schools and taxpayers.

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National Lending Associates, Inc. Launches the TuitionFlex Program

National Lending Associates, Inc. (“NLA”) is formally announcing today the launch of its TuitionFlex SM tuition payment program. The TuitionFlex Program is a highly flexible and customizable tuition payment program for schools and colleges which currently do or do not offer this low cost financing option to their students and families. TuitionFlex is designed to be compliant with all federal and state Truth-in-Lending disclosure requirements. This turn-key program features a branded on-line application process, electronic signature, customizable reporting, automated payment processing and flexible servicing repayment terms.

“NLA is excited to launch this additional financing option for schools and colleges while leveraging the experience and expertise of our management team.  Our TuitionFlex Program was created as an alternative higher education financing option, which enables institutions throughout the country to provide effective financing solutions for their students during a time of economic uncertainly and limited private financing choices ” states Douglas Feist, Chief Executive Officer of NLA.

The TuitionFlex Program offers payment products aimed at providing tuition financing solutions for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. With its TuitionEase™ (less than 12 months), TuitionExtend™ (contracts greater than 12 up to 120 months), and soon to be launched TuitionExtend Plus ™ (contract purchase option) products, the TuitionFlex Program provides alternatives to meet the current demands of all educational institutions.

For more information on the TuitionFlex Program go to www.tuitionflex.com or contact Tim Kulesha at tim.kulesha@NLALoans.com (602) 579-6555.

About National Lending Associates, Inc.
Based in San Diego, California, with offices in Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York, National Lending Associates, Inc., is a nationwide specialty service company focused on providing financing solutions, loan and portfolio administration services, and technology options for the education financing marketplace (www.nationallendingassociates.com ).

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Historic Losses For 401K Plan Participants

Retirement savings have dwindled significantly over the past 18 months. The median rate of return on 401k balances was negative 28.3% in 2008 according to a study by human-resources consulting firm Hewitt Associates. The average 401k balance dropped from $79,600 at year-end 2007 to $57,200 at the close of 2008.

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In the 12 months following the stock market’s peak in October 2007, more that $1 trillion worth of stock value held in 401ks and other “defined-contribution” plans was wiped out, according to the Boston College research center.

Alan Weir, who turns 60 this month, showed 60 Minutes his latest 401(k) statement, which he hadn’t had the courage to open up. “I’m afraid,” he told correspondent Steve Kroft. There’s good reason for his trepidation: nearly half of his life savings have vanished in a matter of months. “It went down again,” Weir told Kroft after opening the statement. Overall, he said he was down about $140,000.

Another woman in a similar situation told Kroft her 401(k) was worth less now than it was in 2005. “And another one went down almost $40,000. One was 80 – 88,000. And then, and then it went down to 50(k),” she told Kroft, crying. The saddest part of this story is that it is being repeated all over the country.

In eastern Pennsylvania, 59-year-old Iris Hontz lost her accounting job and half of her 401(k) investments.

“Unlike Wall Street executives, American families don’t have a golden parachute to fall back on,” said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

www.401kinvesthelp.com is a site designed to assist the Individual in their noble attempt to save for retirement. How does it guide investors? The number one problem investors have while saving for retirement is the potential of suffering devastating losses of 30% or more in stock mutual funds. The ideology of just “buy and hold,” “invest for the long term” only work a small percentage of the time. In addition to the latter problem, 80%-90% of the mutual funds offered within these retirement vehicles are more risky than the benchmark or index they follow. It’s about time someone stepped in to assist Americans with their retirement accounts rather than leaving them helpless and alone. The indicators used within the site are designed to give individuals a sneak peek into the economy and the financial markets. Is it safe to be invested fully? Should I take some off the table and be only partially invested? These are questions everyone has and generally know the answers to, but need someone to help reinforce that decision. The indicators are updated every 1st business day of each week and an email is sent to each subscriber alerting them of any changes, as well as a brief commentary on the financial markets. Investing smart bodes well for those who understand, “It’s just best to sit on the sidelines and watch the fireworks at times.”

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Leonard M. Rhoades, please call Andrea Rhoades at 616-581-5696 or email support@401kinvesthelp.com.

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