Simple tips military families should consider when selecting a bank or financial institution

For most families, choosing a banking institution can be a very involved process even in the best of economic times. But mix in the challenges of military life, tough economic conditions, and a lack of consumer trust in many different industries, and doing so can become a daunting challenge.

To help make the process easier, Pioneer Services has developed a free article for military families on how to comprehensively, effectively, and quickly choose a bank or credit union. Covering what fees to look for, convenience and service, the article also provides links to regulatory and ratings agencies for easy reference.

“Military families move around a lot, and even those who have used the same bank for years should make sure they get the best deal,” said Joe Freeman, Chief Operations Officer of Pioneer Services, the Military Banking Division of MidCountry Bank. “Add in that the banking industry is facing some tough challenges, and then trust also becomes a factor. We decided to provide our service members some easy-to-use information on what to look for when picking a financial institution, as well as give them resources so they can fully trust whichever one they choose.”

The free article, and more than 30 others on a variety of personal finance topics, can be read at

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, provides responsible financial services and education to members of the Armed Forces that enhance their quality of life and financial independence. For more than 20 years, Pioneer Services has been a leader in military lending. They offer the protection and security of a personal loan with the speed and flexibility service members need. Through a network of offices and on the Internet, Pioneer Services offers loans, financial education programs, and supports military families and communities through a variety of partnerships, programs, and sponsorships.

For more information, visit For loan information, visit


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As both consumer spending and saving slump, debt management company Gregory Pennington have said that the full extent of financial trouble in the UK is beginning to show

Debt management company Gregory Pennington have commented that the recent cuts in consumer spending and saving is a clear sign of the way the credit crunch and rapid inflation is forcing consumers to change their spending habits, and have advised consumers to do what they can to stay out of debt in the coming months.

As reported in The Guardian, spending and saving in the UK have taken a big hit in recent months. Following years of “debt-fuelled spending”, consumers are now being forced to reassess the ways they spend their disposable income. Just a few of the measurable effects include:

· New car sales at their lowest levels since 1966
· The number of people putting money into a personal pension fell by 1 million to 7 million over the last year
· Household savings are at their lowest since the 1950s, at an average of 1.1% of income in August 2008.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “These figures paint a worrying picture for the economy, confirming many people’s fears about the extent of the problems we are currently facing.

“In a more stable economy, we would expect to see one of two things: spending going up and saving going down, or saving going up with spending going down. The two normally run opposite to each other. But due to the rapid rise in costs of living, we are actually seeing both go down, because people are increasingly being left with no money to do either.

“This is a dangerous situation – usually, we would advise consumers to make sure they are saving plenty to use as a ‘financial buffer’, should things get particularly tight. But the simple fact of the matter is that many people don’t have the money to do so.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson warned that the problems in the economy mean many people could be in danger of falling into debt in the near future: “Many people are finding that the financial commitments they made a year ago or more are becoming less and less affordable, particularly in the housing market,” he said. “Rising food, energy and transport costs have hit most of us hard, and while they continue to rise, more people are at risk of their outgoings exceeding their income. Once people fall into debt in this way, it often isn’t long before interest builds up and the debt can become unmanageable.

“We advise anyone who finds themselves falling into debt, or anyone who thinks they are about to, to contact an expert debt adviser as soon as possible. There are a range of debt solutions available to suit various situations, including debt management plans, debt consolidation loans and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements).”

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Gregory Pennington Have Advised Consumers To Take Active Care Of Their Finances And Warned That Prices May Continue To Rise Even If Overall Inflation Slows

Responding to a recent report suggesting food prices have risen by over 10% in the past year, debt management company Gregory Pennington ( have advised consumers to take active care of their finances, and to seek debt help if outgoings become unmanageable.

The report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that the sharp rises in wholesale costs in the past year have been passed on to consumers, with fresh produce price rises surging as high as 11.9% between August 2007 and 2008.

Many analysts have suggested that this was the reason behind the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 5 per cent for the fifth consecutive month – where previously a drop was expected to help stabilise the economy – in a bid to avoid a recession.

A Gregory Pennington spokesperson commented that this decision spells further uncertainty for the economy. “The Bank of England are in a tricky situation: raising interest rates would help to bring down inflation, but it could be extremely damaging to the housing market. Likewise, lowering interest rates would help the housing market, but could mean inflation rises further.

“The Bank of England have been hoping that inflation will come down naturally – possibly due to a fall in oil prices – in which case they could safely lower interest rates. But as things stand, any change in interest rates could damage the economy in one way or another, so the safe option is to leave rates as they are.”

The spokesperson went on to explain that problems with rising inflation, particularly food prices, look set to continue – even once the Bank of England change their base rate. “Since interest rates are expected to fall, inflation may well continue for some time, since there will be less incentive to save,” she said. “The thinking behind it is that lower interest rates will kick-start the housing and credit markets, which some economists believe is the underlying cause of instability in the economy. Once that is rectified, inflation may begin to slow.

“But food prices are heavily affected by external factors, such as prices in the country of origin – so even if overall inflation begins to slow, we may see food prices continue to rise for some time yet.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson advised consumers to continue taking preventative measures to minimise the impact of rising food prices. “Compromise is key. People should consider what their essential costs are, and budget accordingly. Then consider saving as much as possible of what is left over.

“There is an ongoing danger that as prices get higher, more and more people will see their disposable income diminished, and in some cases, outgoings may begin to exceed their income. If it gets to that point, it’s time to seek debt help from a professional debt adviser.

“There are a number of debt solutions available that could help to reduce monthly payments for people in need of help with debt. A debt management plan or debt consolidation loan, for example, can allow monthly payments to be rescheduled over a longer period of time than the original debts, making each payment smaller,” he said. “But be aware that this could result in paying more interest in the long run.”

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Co-Operative Bank Has Shown That Despite Fears Over Rising Inflation Most People Will Not Be Curbing On Their Holiday Spending This Year

At the start of summer holidays, as many people begin their travels abroad to sunnier climes, new research* by The Co-operative Bank Credit Cards has shown that despite fears over rising inflation most people (53%) will not be curbing on their holiday spending this year.

Many spend before reaching there destination, where on average people spend £18 each before even boarding their flight, which equates to £72 for a average family. Most people spend this on food and drink (84%), next came books and magazines (60%), 3rd was duty free (35%), 4th last minute essential’s (17%) and last was currency exchange (4%).

In addition the research also highlights that this year over than three quarters of people (77%) are planning to pay for at least part of their holiday on their credit card.

Maxine Xodo, Product Manager for Credit Cards at The Co-operative Bank says, “The findings clearly show that despite the current economic climate, after working hard all year many people are reluctant to cut back on their summer holiday spending. However as more people are putting holiday spending on their credit cards, it pays to make sure they are getting the best deal for their needs.”

The Co-operative Bank offers a fixed rate platinum card, with a low fixed rate of 9.9% APR typical variable for the first five years.

In addition to this the card provides people with access to a large amount of benefits when travelling this includes up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance when the card is used to pay for travel tickets, 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas, as well as money off on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

Maxine Xodo, adds, “When travelling either home or away this summer, this card offers customers a wide range of market leading travel benefits, with no annual fee to pay as well as peace of mind that the low rate they sign up to will remain fixed for five years.”

More details of the card are as follows

– A low fixed rate of 9.9% APR (typical variable) for the first 5 years
– Up to 46 days interest free credit
– Free 90 days purchase protection insurance
– Card replacement service and emergency cash
– 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas
– No annual fee
– Up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance, when the card is used to pay for travel tickets
– Travel benefits including discounts on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

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Revolution Credit Solutions Inc. Offers Free Service To Victims Of Scam Credit Repair Companies

Revolution Credit Solutions Inc. Has offered its service Pro Bono to victims of Scam Credit Repair Companies. All the consumer must do to receive this Pro Bono service is provide revolution credit Solutions with proof that they filed a complaint with the FTC. Credit Repair companies are regulated by the CROA which is enforced by the FTC. Revolution hopes that by offering this Pro Bono service to consumers that have been taken advantage of more people will come forward that have been scammed. For more information go to the company website at http://www.revolutioncreditsolutions.comcontact us section and in the comments box put the word victim in and someone will get right back to you. Or you may call the Company at 1-888-852-0005

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The Latest Joslin Rowe Research Shows Investment Management Firms Resist Credit Crunch And Continue To Recruit

According to new research from Joslin Rowe, a City recruitment consultancy, whilst the investment banking sector has been hit hard by the credit crunch, investment management firms have suffered less from market volatility.

The figures from the latest Joslin Rowe research shows that despite the difficult financial climate, there are still a number of pockets of hiring, particularly within performance analysis jobs.

“There’s been a real surge in performance measurement jobs and there just aren’t enough job seekers in the market to satisfy demand”, commented Ms Jalpa Chandarana, manager of the Joslin Rowe investment management job recruitment division, “For every 10 performance analysis jobs on the market, there are just 2 candidates.”

According to the research, the demand for performance analysts is having a positive impact on the length of the recruitment process, salaries on offer and progression opportunities. The premium for a performance analyst to move jobs is, on average, at least £5,000 more which is exceptionally competitive.

Ms Chandarana explained, “This is a big rise. Most employers in other sectors just can’t offer this and even within the investment management world, which is doing comparatively well, there still needs to be some caution – so salaries are remaining steady. So it’s clear just how in demand candidates are for performance analysis jobs, if this is the increase on offer.”

Hiring time is also much faster across performance analysis jobs than within other finance jobs and investment management roles at around 2-3 weeks rather than 4-5 weeks. Investment managers are also keen to tempt new jobs seekers to their firms with better than usual career progression prospects – particularly moves from performance analysis into more front office positions.

“Moving from a performance analysis job to the front office is usually very tricky. Investment managers realise this so are trying to build clearer progression plans between the two areas to tempt people on board”, Chandarana confirmed.

Another area feeling the benefits of increased demand across the investment management industry are business analysis contractor roles. The position of investment management firms in the overall financial services space means it’s an attractive proposition for contractors.

James Guttridge, the head of Joslin Rowe’s interim recruitment offering, explained,“The asset management and global custody clients are a lot busier than banks. Any interim jobs coming in from the banking community are generally project related, whereby the client is conducting preparatory analysis of existing processes or systems to determine whether a project should go ahead – or they have already committed to implementing a new system, and the position is focused on the planning, delivery and post-implementation phases of that new system.”

According to Joslin Rowe, the difference on the investment management side, is that whilst many contractor jobs are again project implementation related, business analyst contractor jobs have also come in that focus more on market research and product development.

“Where organisations are looking to use this time to stabilise and maintain their assets under management, they also see this as a good time to find seek out market opportunities for the future,” explained Guttridge, “Put simply, business analyst contractors and project managers are really in demand.”

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK banking jobs and financial services recruitment firms and a Randstad company. In 2008, the company won the UK Recruiter award for “Best Secretarial Recruitment Agency”

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Finding Cheap Auto And Home Insurance Should Not Be Difficult At Cheap-Insurance-Rates.Com

Finding Cheap auto insurance should not be difficult. But talk to anyone and they will usually tell you what a pain shopping for insurance is. It’s such a pain that most people will stick with whatever company they’re with, even if they know they’re not getting the best rates, just because finding a new carrier, and getting quotes, is so time consuming and inconvenient. is determined to change that. We think shopping for insurance should be fast, easy and convenient. We think you should be able to enter your information once, and get multiple quotes from multiple carriers. We think insurance companies should be coming to you and competing for your business and that you should be able to view and compare rates from different companies with no obligation and no credit check.

We’re not just about auto insurance either. We think you should have the same options when it comes to Home owners insurance as well. We don’t think you should have to fill out multiple pages of forms, each and every time you want a quote from a new company. Instead, we think you should have one simple, single page form to fill out, quickly and efficiently, right online, to get quotes and offers from a variety of reputable companies.

We’re so committed to these beliefs that we designed our site with the consumer in mind, making it fast and easy for you to get the quotes you want, from multiple prescreened insurance professionals. You enter your information, and we keep it safe and secure, sharing it only with our list of reputable agents who are able to meet your needs and offer you the best deals out there. Shopping for insurance has never been easier, instead of taking all your time making dozens of calls and filling out countless forms, you’ll have companies making you offers, and competing for your business. can help you meet all of your insurance needs by getting your quotes from insurance brokers for auto insurance, home owners insurance, life insurance, and even help you shop around for competitive rates for individual and family health insurance plans and pet insurance. You provide the information and we match you with prescreened professionals. Cheap Insurance doesn’t mean poor service or lack of options. It means you get the best deals possible, and we do the hard work for you. To find out more about our services, visit us on the web at http://cheap-insurance-rates.comor email

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Debt Advisers Direct Reminds Consumers That There Is Still Plenty They Can Do To Help Protect Themselves Against Rising Household Costs

As the Government prepare to announce a new scheme that is set to help the millions of households that have fallen into fuel poverty, Debt Advisers Direct ( have welcomed the scheme, but have reminded consumers that there is still plenty they can do to help protect themselves against rising costs.

Fuel poverty is usually defined as when households are spending more than 10% of their total monthly income on keeping their homes adequately heated. In early 2008 it was estimated that around 4.4 million households in the UK were living in fuel poverty.

And with energy costs jumping up by as much as 30% with some providers, and with others set to follow, the threat of fuel poverty is increasing.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct said: “The rate at which energy prices are rising means that even families who would have previously considered themselves financially comfortable are beginning to feel the strain. Making compromises on other costs has become commonplace.

“Switching providers can help to bring costs down to an extent, but it might not be long before all providers raise their prices, which could mean sacrifices in other areas are needed.

“Ideally, consumers should be trying to put at least a small amount of money aside in a savings account every month. If prices shoot up unexpectedly, savings could be a very helpful financial safety net that could prevent people falling into debt.”

The spokesperson said that the worst hit are lower-income families, who might not have the extra funds available for rising fuel costs. “For those on lower incomes, fuel poverty is a particularly serious matter. There is a choice: turn the heating off, or keep yourself warm and suffer the consequences. We have seen large numbers of people being pushed into debt because of energy costs.”

The spokesperson followed that if consumers do find themselves struggling to balance debts with increasing costs of living, it’s essential that they seek debt advice before the problem grows out of control. “There are a number of debt solutions that are designed to reduce monthly outgoings and simplify finances, which could be a great help in these difficult times.

“It could be a debt management plan, in which a debt adviser works with the owner of the debts and their creditors to work out a new repayment plan, usually resulting in lower monthly payments over a longer period of time.

“For some people, a debt consolidation loan is more effective – a new loan is taken out to pay off the existing debts, after which it is repaid in single monthly payments. Debt consolidation loans can also be set out over a longer period of time, so monthly payments will be lower, although the borrower will usually end up paying more in interest in the long run.”

For more serious debts of £15,000 or over, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) may be more suitable. If you are in debt but are unsure about how to tackle it, contact a debt adviser for further information.

Debt Advisers Direct are a debt management company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. They offer a range of debt advice and solutions, including debt consolidation, debt management plans and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements).

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FICO Formula Is A Step-By-Step Blueprint That Explains Is Exact Detail How To Correct And Clear Your Credit

The FICO Formula makes credit repair information available that was once only found through either expensive credit counseling services or by painstaking and lengthy research on behalf of the consumer.

Ann Born should know. She brought her own credit to a pile of ruble in her early twenties and is infamously known in her own family as “the one the Library sent to collections.” This in and of itself does not make Ann Born an authority on credit repair, but the fact that she did raise her credit over 150 points does prove that she does know a bit about credit score repair.

Ann states “If only I had known about The FICO Formula when I started to repair my credit. What took me a good 5-7 years would have been accomplished in 6 months. Having the step-by-step layout as offered in The FICO Formula would have saved me much of my own time and thousands of dollars.”

But don’t let the simple package of The FICO Formula fool you.

Firstly, it is this exact simplicity that makes this product easy to implement. The PDF format and concise guide make for easy reading and understanding.

Secondly, the author doesn’t assume laying down the foundational basics are “beneath you.” This approach then allows the author to delve deeply into the process of credit repair.

Thirdly, The FICO Formula truly delivers when it comes to content. Many credit repair guides offer the basics, but stop short when it comes to explaining “who to call” when you find an error on your report, “what to do” to raise your credit score immediately or “when you need” just 21 more credit points to save yourself over $30,000.

Fourthly, there is an entire grid that lays out whom to contact, in which order, how to do so and what in what time frame to expect a response. This information alone makes TheFICO Formula worth every penny. Not only does it take countless hours to compile a list like this, but each facility must be contacted in order to get a response time. Dealing with government agencies and learning who to talk to and when has been done for you.

Fifthly, almost any question about raising your credit score is answered here. The FICO Formula explains when to take out a personal loan and what to do with it to maximize your credit. It explains thoroughly the best way to use your credit cards to increase your credit rating and when paying off your bills is actually a bad idea.

Ann Born understands that people may hesitate to jump on the chance to get The FICO Formula. For this reason Ann’s giving you a free copy of “5 Ways to Boost Your Credit 100 Points”also by Ryan Taylor at: This way you can preview the style and substance of the creator of The FICO Formula.

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Shrinking Disposable Incomes Underline The Need To Cut Back On Spending And Seek Debt Advice When Necessary

Following a survey from comparison site uSwitch showing that disposable income had dropped for the first time since 1997, financial solutions company has stressed the need for consumers to cut back on their spending and, when necessary, seek expert debt help or advice.

Released at the end of August, the report related that UK households are £2,500 worse off this year than in 2007 – that the average disposable income had shrunk by 15% in just 12 months.

In theory, ‘Disposable income’ means money that’s available for discretionary spending – the part of a household’s income that’s left after paying for taxes, social contributions, mortgage / rent, fuel, food, transport, education, etc.

“Disposable income, therefore, must cover everything else, from socialising to buying magazines, computer games and so on: basically, the things that people actually like to spend money on,” said a spokesperson for “But the word ‘disposable’ can be misleading. The average household disposable income may be £14,520 (28.4% of gross total income), but how many households have £280 per week to spend in whatever way they see fit?”

“Figures from the Bank of England show that around 230 billion pounds of the UK’s ‘personal debt mountain’ is not secured on dwellings. Payments to unsecured debts (credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts, etc.) come out of a household’s disposable income, but they’re nonetheless essential – the consequences of non-payment may not be as serious as missing mortgage payments, but borrowers are still legally obliged to make them.”

The good news for borrowers is that such payments may, in certain circumstances, be negotiable. With the right debt solution, they could reduce the interest rates they’re paying, or even arrange for some of their debt to be written off. They may also, if they can’t make their repayments, be able to reduce the amount they’re paying each month – something which this survey indicates may be particularly appealing right now: “Anyone who was devoting a large part of their disposable income to unsecured debt repayments a year ago is likely to be facing serious problems today, and looking for a way to reduce their expenditure as soon as possible.

“The first thing to do, of course, is take a good look at their spending and identify areas where they could cut back. In many cases, though, this isn’t enough – and this is where a professional debt solution can give them a chance to regain control of their finances.

“Most unsecured creditors would rather renegotiate the repayment terms than try to force the borrower to stick to the original repayment plan when this clearly isn’t an option. Many people ask a debt management organisation to talk to their creditors on their behalf, negotiating a more realistic repayment programme – with lower monthly payments, for example, frozen interest and/or waived charges.”

Should debt management not be an option, there are other debt solutions, such as debt consolidation loans, debt consolidation mortgages and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements). “Everyone’s different, and there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ debt solution. The important thing is to talk to a professional debt adviser before making any firm decisions.”

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Insurance Rates, We Make It Easy For Consumers To Get All The Information They Need To Find Cheap Insurance

Consumers are often besieged by advertisements for the best rates, cheapest insurance, free quotes, etc, etc, ad nauseam. At Cheap Insurance Rates, we make it easy for consumers to get all the information they need to find Cheap Insurance. Our clients come to us seeking information on a host of financial and insurance services and we connect them with the best service providers in those industries. They come to us to instantly compare auto insurance offers. Rather than having to go shopping multiple insurance carriers, clients can fill in one simple form and have agents competing for their business. They come to us to get deals on home insurance and life insurance, and even pet insurance. They come to us to find health insurance deals to provide long term protection and comprehensive medical coverage for their families.

At, we work with pre screened insurance professionals and match our clients with the best of the best. Quotes are free, and there is no obligation.Cheap auto insurance quotes require answering just a few basic questions about you and your vehicles, takes only a few minutes and you can view your quotes right on line. Shopping for competitive rates for health insurance is easy with Cheap Insurance Rates as well. Simply fill in the form and sit back and relax while we do the work for you. We search for carriers who can provide you the best rates possible and the insurance companies come to you, allowing you to pick and choose from which ones are giving you the best deals possible, and the best coverage. Now that’s competitive insurance shopping.

You can handle all of your insurance needs at, take a few moments on our web site, fill int eh forms for each type of insurance you want to obtain quotes for, and we take care of all the details for you. Your personal information is kept safe and secure, shared only with prescreened insurance professionals who meet our stringent criteria. You can even find information on pet insurance plans to help cover accidents, illness and even the annual vet bills. Accidents happen, and your pet is an important part of your family; we understand that, and we’re here to help. Home owners insurance is a necessity, and taking the time to shop different companies is time consuming and inconvenient. By filling out one, single-page form at, you can obtain multiple quotes for insurance, from reputable companies, without wasting your time.

At, we work with you, putting you in touch with prescreened, reputable professionals who are offering the services you need, and we help you narrow the field to the providers who best match your needs. Contact us today to get free, no obligation quotes, and let us help you find the best agent for your needs.

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Debt Management Company Gregory Pennington Say The Recent Report On Student Credit Card Debt Reflects The Growing Problem Of Student Debt In The UK

Responding to a report suggesting that 37% of students rely on credit cards as an additional source of finance, debt management company Gregory Pennington ( commented that this echoes the growing problem of student debt in the UK.

The report from Halifax building society follows an NUS (National Union of Students) poll suggesting the average student is likely to leave university with debts of £17,500.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “It’s worrying that so many students are choosing credit cards as an option for extending their finances, although on the other hand, it has to be accepted that fast-rising costs of living may play a part.

“Credit cards typically should only be used for emergency purchases, or other purchases that can be repaid quickly. Most credit cards carry a high interest rate, so failing to repay on time means those debts grow far more quickly than other forms of credit.

“Students typically only have a very low income, with disposable income often minimal – so the temptation to make purchases on credit cards is probably best avoided. Repaying credit card debts could prove difficult on such a low income, and the high interest means that the debt can grow very quickly.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson said that credit card debts make up a small part of what is a much wider problem with student debt in the UK.

“Ever since the Government stopped paying for tuition fees, many would-be students have had a choice to make: become a student and land up in debt, or go straight into work.

“Student loan debts are not necessarily the problem, since they allow repayments in small amounts over a long period of time. The real issue is the pressing need for students to raise extra finances on top of their student loans, which often takes place through overdrafts and other forms of credit.

“But when money is tight in the first place, many students find these ‘extra’ debts impossible to pay off on time. The problem only gets worse if it is left until graduation – many graduates can find their income reduced for several years because they are repaying the debts they incurred on top of their student loans.”

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson went on to say that students are best advised to avoid additional credit wherever possible. “Student loans should cover all costs, since that is what they are designed to do. If not, many banks offer student accounts with interest-free overdrafts, which is good in the short term, but remember that this will have to be repaid once you have graduated, so we advise students to consider how they plan to do that.

“Credit cards should be seen as a last resort for students, unless they are absolutely positive they can pay back the balance each month. If that doesn’t happen, there’s a very real risk of getting into unmanageable debt, and it can happen more quickly than you might think.”

The spokesperson also urged anyone who is concerned that they may struggle to repay their debts to seek expert debt advice as soon as possible. “Even if your qualifications get you a good salary, graduate debt can still be a burden,” she said. “The longer they are left, the bigger they are likely to grow, so it’s essential to put a stop to that as soon as possible.

“Some debt solutions are only available if you have a steady income, but if you’re in trouble, it’s still worth getting in touch with a debt adviser for some valuable, free advice on managing your debts. Once you graduate and go into work, though, you should get back in touch to discuss whether any alternative options are more appropriate.

“For smaller debts, a debt management plan is a good way of coming to an agreement with your creditors on how best to repay your debts. For multiple debts, a debt consolidation loan can reduce your monthly payments and simplify your finances – but bear in mind you are likely to repay the debt over a longer period of time.

“There are also debt solutions available for more serious debts, such as an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) for debts of around £15,000 or higher. If you’re unsure, contact a debt adviser for more information.”

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The Importance Of Location, A Factor That Every Would-Be Homebuyer Should Consider Carefully, Says Financial Solutions Company Thinkmoney.Com

Commenting on recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), financial solutions company reminds potential homebuyers of the need to think twice about the location of their proposed purchase.

In Q2 2008, there was an 18% quarterly increase in ‘loans for house purchase’ (mortgages) in Scotland – a year-on-year decrease of 34%. These figures were significantly more robust than the Q2 figures for the UK as a whole: a 5% quarterly increase and a year-on-year decrease of 46%.

“The issues in the mortgage market are affecting the whole of the UK,” said a spokesperson for, “but the availability of mortgages does vary greatly from country to country. Prices are, of course, a key factor in determining whether people can get on – or move up – the property ladder: in May 2008, the average house price in Scotland was £167,126, according to the Department of Communities and Local Government, while the average UK house price was around 30% higher, at £218,151.

“What these figures highlight is the sheer scale of the price variations in different parts of the UK – but there’s no need to move country to benefit from this, as the price of two similar properties a few miles apart can easily vary by tens of thousands of pounds. Any would-be buyer would be well advised to broaden their search to include nearby areas: unless there’s a significant difference in terms of amenities, a lower price could more than compensate for any minor compromise they have to make.”

At a time like this, when prices have dropped substantially, a slightly more flexible approach to house-hunting can really work in a buyer’s favour – especially if they’re a would-be landlord and therefore less likely to be ‘tied’ to a certain area. “Lower prices always give homebuyers a chance to buy a better property and / or put down a larger deposit, but in today’s mortgage market, a lower price can be particularly attractive.”

Since deposits are measured in terms of percentages, a sum that counts as a 23% deposit on one house could easily account for 26% of the value of another. In some cases, this could give access to a significantly lower rate of interest; in others, it could make the difference between being offered a mortgage and being refused.

While mortgage providers have always reserved the best deals for people with larger deposits, the disparity is particularly noticeable in today’s mortgage market, with the bulk of the recent rate cuts benefiting people with larger deposits far more than those with less to lay down.

Finally, when house prices are dropping, no would-be homeowner should buy property without weighing up the odds of losing money on it, and comparing this with the money they’d spend if they continued to rent. “This isn’t a straightforward equation. Even though homeowners face the possibility of negative equity (carrying a mortgage that’s larger than the value of the property), they also know that house prices are bound to recover sooner or later – but any money spent on rent is gone for good.”

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Eqlibrium Investments Now Offers Trust Deeds For Clients

A trust deed, or also known as a deed of trust, is a document used to secure debt on a home acting as a mortgage. A trust deed is recorded as a lien on real property. However, although a deed of trust acts like a mortgage, there are differences between a mortgage and a deed of trust.

A trust deed is used as security for a loan on real property, and the specifics regarding the loan are written in a promissory note. A deed of trust is then documented at the county recorder’s office to legally notify the world that the property in question has now been pledged to secure a loan.

There are three parties involved in a trust deed. The Beneficiary which is the investor/lender/note holder, the Trustor which is the borrower and the Trustee which is a third party selected by the investor who has the legal power to act on the investors behalf and holds the title until the note has been paid. The deed of trust recorded against the borrower’s property title is what secures the lenders investment.

When making an investment in a deed of trust, the Trustor makes the property transfer, in trust, to the Trustee (independent third party). The Trustee then holds the conditional title on the behalf of the beneficiary (investor/lender/note holder), and then either of the following takes place: The trust deed will be returned to the borrower once they satisfy all of the terms and conditions that were outlined in the promissory note. The property will be put up for sale should the borrower default – also known as foreclosure. “In many cases, if the borrower defaults there is actually more profit in the investment,” said Louis Pugliese, President of EQlibrium Investments. “A good management company will pass along most, if not all, of this additional return to the investor.”

A few of the benefits of trust deed investing are high returns, a consistent cash flow, and capital preservation while owning an investment that is secured by real property. “Trust deeds offer a great way to earn a higher rate of return and still be secured by an asset to minimize risk,” Pugliese said.

Investors who invest in trust deeds typically make a 12 to 18% return, paid out monthly, with a minimum investment of just $50,000 and relatively low risk. As a result, they are able to enhance their lifestyle significantly without threat to their principal, or build a large nest egg, safely, in a relatively short period of time. Pugliese adds: “Most investors do not realize that they can also use their 401K and IRA’s to invest, earning them much higher returns.” Investing in a trust deed is simple. All you need is knowledge of your personal financial situation and investment account records.

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The Number Of Compensation Analyst And Compensation Manager Jobs Increase As Banks Rush To Revamp Remuneration Plans

According to new research from City HR recruitment consultancy Joslin Rowe, while August may have been a damp squib weather wise, in the HR jobs market recruitment activity has been boiling over.

The latest figures show that demand for good HR professionals, especially for compensation and benefit jobs has actually increased – despite the credit crunch and the usual seasonal summer slowdown.

Daniel Cooper, senior consultant with Joslin Rowe, reflected, “The ongoing banking crisis is actually fuelling the volume of compensation analyst and compensation manager jobs. The current market conditions mean that employers are focusing evermore on their bottom line and staff remuneration is an enormous part of this. Banks need to pull off the tricky balancing act between retaining the best talent but within the most cost-effective reward structures. Put simply, companies are keener than ever to build robust compensation platforms for the future and they know to do that they must hire the very best compensation people in strategic compensation analyst and compensation jobs to do this.”

The Joslin Rowe data shows financial services firms are willing to pay a premium to secure the best compensation professionals at all levels of recruitment for current finance jobs – from analyst to strategic manager jobs.

“Recently, we assisted a compensation analyst on £40,000 to move employers for a new starting salary of £55,000. A 38% pay increase is phenomenal at the best of times – but the fact that it’s happened now in what continues to be a challenging environment shows just how in demand these skills are”, said Cooper.

This demand is filtering into a much faster recruitment process, according to the research. Joslin Rowe found that the average time to hire, which is defined as the period from vacancy notification to when someone completes their notice period and starts in that new role, is running at around 2 weeks less for compensation & benefit jobs. That’s an average recruitment process time of 6 weeks in comparison to 8 weeks for the rest of the HR jobs recruitment market – and it may become faster.

However the clock may be ticking. Currently the banks are desperate to get people on board now so that they can start looking at the 2009/10 budget period. As soon as a new compensation analyst CV appears, the banking jobs interview requests flood in.

Cooper concluded, “For good people with a great compensation & HR background, a solid CV and experience of making improvements to share schemes and benefit plans, there are no end of options. The compensation analyst jobs and compensation manager roles on offer are very strategic – after all most companies know they need to act now to make a real difference to business performance”.

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK financial services recruitment firms in the UK. Joslin Rowe consultants, candidates and clients work together to achieve the best employment opportunities and long term relationships. Joslin Rowe recruits for jobs across London, Edinburgh and Glasgow including long-term contracts, temporary and permanent roles. Joslin Rowe is a Randstad company – the second largest HR services group globally.

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With A Recession Looming Many Are Watching The Pennies. Research Shows This Doesn’t Seem To Be The Case With Holidays This Year

At the start of the school holidays, as most start there travels abroad, new research* by The Co-operative Bank Credit Cards has shown that even though most are worried over rising inflation the majority of people (53%) will not be watching the pennies on their holiday expenditure this year.

Many spend before reaching there destination, where on average people spend £18 each before even boarding their flight, which equates to £72 for a average family. Most people spend this on food and drink (84%), after this came books and magazines (60%,), 3rd was duty free (35%), 4th last minute essential’s (17%) and last was currency exchange (4%).

In addition the research also embolds that this year more than three quarters of people (77%) are planning to pay for a period of their summer break on their credit card.

Maxine Xodo, Product Manager for Credit Cards at The Co-operative Bank says, “The findings clearly show that despite the current economic climate, after working hard all year many people are reluctant to cut back on their summer holiday spending. However as more people are putting holiday spending on their credit cards, it pays to make sure they are getting the best deal for their needs.”

The Co-operative Bank offers a fixed rate platinum card, with a low fixed rate of 9.9% APR typical variable for the first five years.

In addition to this the card provides everyone with access to a large amount of travel benefits this includes up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance when the card is used to pay for travel tickets, 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas, as well as money off on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

Maxine Xodo, adds, “When travelling either home or away this summer, this card offers customers a wide range of market leading travel benefits, with no annual fee to pay as well as peace of mind that the low rate they sign up to will remain fixed for five years.”

Full details of the card are as follows

– A low fixed rate of 9.9% APR (typical variable) for the first 5 years
– Up to 46 days interest free credit
– Free 90 days purchase protection insurance
– Card replacement service and emergency cash
– 24 hour medical and legal assistance overseas
– No annual fee
– Up to £100,000 free travel accident insurance, when the card is used to pay for travel tickets
– Travel benefits including discounts on holidays, travel, airport parking, airport hotels and car hire.

Customers wanting further information should call 0800 731 9474

The platinum credit card is available at,CFSweb/Page/Bank-CreditCards they are available to people over the age of 25, with an income of over £25,000.

Full product details are as follows:

– 9.9% APR (typical variable) for the first five years
– 9.9% Purchases
– 9.9% Cash
– 9.9% Cheques
– 9.9% Balance transfers (excludes balance transfers from other Co-operative Bank credit cards)
– Up to 46 days interest free period if balance is paid in full by the due date (purchases & balance transfers)
– Minimum repayment 2% of outstanding balance or £5 (whichever is greater)
– Minimum credit limit of £500, maximum credit limit subject to status
– No annual fee

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Gregory Pennington Has Warned That The Recent Growth In Retail Sales Should Not Be Taken As A Sign Of Market Recovery

Responding to the recent news that retail sales growth enjoyed an unexpected rise in July, debt management company Gregory Pennington ( has warned that this should not be taken as a sign of market recovery, and that consumers should still be looking to protect themselves against a potential downturn at some point in the future.

Despite the Office of National Statistics’ predictions that retail sales growth would fall by around 0.2%, July in fact saw a rise of 0.8% compared to the previous month – a figure which, according to a Gregory Pennington spokesperson, may prompt some to “underestimate the danger that lies ahead for the economy”.

The figures follow June’s sales growth actually falling by around 4.3% – the largest decrease for several years. But the Gregory Pennington spokesperson says that this simply reflects the volatile nature of the retail market. “It’s important to look at the bigger economic picture,” he says. “Inflation is at a 16-year high, costs of living are increasing, and unemployment is rising – all of which are likely to affect the retail market negatively in the long run – but the full impact is yet to be seen.

“The retail market has seen several years of fluctuating growth – even when the economy was very strong. The rises and falls are rarely any bigger than two per cent, which is minimal in the scheme of things, and is probably coincidental.

“June’s fall of 4.4% did raise some concerns for the market, but the fact that it’s gone straight back up by 0.8% shows that this was just a particularly wild fluctuation.”

The spokesperson added that consumer caution is still necessary, highlighted by the recent year-on-year increases in people experiencing debt problems – which can be partly attributed to overly relaxed lending and high consumer spending.

“Statistics show that the number of people seeking debt help has been steadily increasing for well over a decade now – with the most distinct rise coming in 2007, when the credit crunch began to hit the economy,” he said. “Since problems with debt tend to filter through over a long period of time, we would expect this pattern to continue well into 2008 and 2009.

“Realistically, a continued slump in the retail market would in fact be a good sign for the economy, since it would show that people are taking the economic downturn and risk of getting into debt very seriously, as well as helping to bring down inflation.”

The spokesperson went on to say that if people do find themselves struggling in the coming months, they should seek debt help from an expert as soon as possible. “It’s looking like the downturn we are facing will be quite severe, and we would expect people with existing debts to suffer more than most – not to mention many people may be forced into debt as money gets tighter,” he said.

“If that is the case, it’s essential you seek debt help from a professional debt adviser. Lenders and consumers alike will feel under pressure over the next few months, so your debt adviser should be able to help come to an agreement that suits both you and your lender.”

Gregory Pennington ( are a debt management company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. They offer a wide range of debt help and solutions, including debt management plans, debt consolidation and IVAs.

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Barclays Has Become The First Bank To Offer Complete Free Online Security Software To All Its Customers

Barclays has become the first UK bank to offer all its two million online banking customers free internet security software covering not only anti-virus software but also spyware, adware, firewalls, parental controls and spam filters.

The offer is available to all Barclays customers who sign up for its online banking. The software provided by leading internet security firm Kaspersky normally retails for £51 for an annual subscription, but Barclays will offer it completely free of charge with customers able to download it from its online banking website.

This follows on from Barclays becoming the first UK bank to roll out its two factor authentication system, PINsentry, in 2007 which protects customers against phishing attacks and fraudsters getting hold of customer security information. Over 1 million PINsentry readers have already been sent out to customers.

Sean Gilchrist, Director of Digital Banking for Barclays, said: “For the last two years we have offered customers free anti-virus software, but as internet fraudsters become more sophisticated it is important that customers protect their computers from all threats and not just viruses. Kaspersky has one of the best reputations in the business and together with PINsentry we believe Barclays online customers will have one of the best security packages of all online banks.”

Barclays has signed a two year agreement to provide the Kaspersky software which will be worth £102 to customers. Barclays will also allow customers to download the online security software on up to three personal computers for each licence so that customers can protect all the computers in the same household.

Barclays customers that do not currently bank online can register by going Non-Barclays customers can gain access to the free software by opening a Barclays current account in branch or online.

Notes to editors:
Registered users can download additional online video content including a number of clips of Sean Gilchrist, Barclays Digital Banking Director, outlining the launch of Kaspersky, the importance of security and top tips for consumers to keep them safe. Downloads are available from

About Barclays
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs 143,000 people.

Barclays currently moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 38 million customers and clients worldwide.

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Whatever Financial Problems An Individual Is Facing, It’s Crucial They Seek Debt Advice As Soon As Possible

Debt specialists remind consumers with debt problems of the need to seek debt advice on time.

“Whatever their nature, virtually all financial problems have one thing in common: they get worse if left unaddressed,” says a Gregory Pennington spokesperson. “Whether someone’s behind on their mortgage payments or struggling to keep up with credit card bills, all the experts agree that the sooner they seek debt advice, the better their chances of clearing their debts as quickly and painlessly as possible.”

At the moment, mortgage payments are at the forefront of many homeowners’ worries. “The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported 18,900 repossessions in the first half of the year, signifying a year-on-year increase of 48%. Given their forecast of 45,000 repossessions in 2008, this means they expect over 25,000 more before the end of the year.”

With timely debt advice, however, many of those potential repossessions needn’t happen at all. In a video on the BBC’s website, Judge Stephen Gold (Kingston-upon-Thames County Court) states: “The big message which I think needs to be screamed from the rooftops of the County Courts is this: that if you get into difficulty with your mortgage, don’t bury your head in the sand. Engage with the lenders. Pay what you can.”

“For unsecured debts,” the Gregory Pennington spokesperson continues, “the principle is essentially the same. When people contact us for debt advice, we stress that simply talking to a lender – whether they do it themselves or we do it on their behalf – can often produce results. A lender might agree to accept lower payments, for example, or to reduce the interest rate on a loan. It’s in the lender’s interest to arrive at an arrangement which the borrower can afford, so the money can be repaid as soon as realistically possible.

“Before they grant any concessions, of course, most lenders will want to see that the borrower is doing their utmost to order their finances and repay the debt. So the debt advice we provide goes a long way beyond ‘Talk to your lender’: we help people with all sorts of financial issues, from improving their budgeting skills to understanding their rights and responsibilities in relation to different kinds of debt.”

“If the individual’s situation has reached the point where debt advice simply isn’t enough, we can help them choose the debt solution that offers the best way out of debt. Depending on their circumstances, that could be a debt management plan, in which we talk to their unsecured lenders on their behalf, negotiating changes to their repayment terms so they can clear their debt at a rate they can afford.”

In cases where debt management isn’t appropriate, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or Trust Deed could be the answer: helping people reduce their monthly debt payments, these debt solutions can free up the money they need for mortgages payments, food bills and other essential living costs.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, and no debt solution is ‘better’ than another – it’s a question of which is the most appropriate for that particular person under those particular circumstances. As always, the most important thing is for them to seek debt advice as soon as possible, before any further financial problems restrict the range of options open to them.”

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Joslin Rowe Recruitment Reports Banks Recruiting In High Volumes For Senior Business Unit Controllers Within Commodities

Pockets of high volume product control recruitment still exist within the City, despite wider doom and gloom. In particular, senior business unit control jobs within commodities are increasing.

Simeon Hall, a senior consultant in the Joslin Rowe senior accountancy and finance recruitment division, stated: “Commodities is one of the fastest growing product areas of the moment. As credit is down, commodities is up. A number of investment banks are rapidly expanding their desks, whilst others are effectively starting up a commodities division from scratch. This means excellent opportunities for senior product/business unit controllers.”

According to Joslin Rowe research, the commodities product control jobs on the market will appeal to those professionals looking for senior accountancy jobs, who are keen to shape the future of a new division and develop, from scratch, the product control infrastructure.

“These product control positions are highly desirable,” stated Hall, “You’re not inheriting the status quo and instead can implement new ideas with the support of strong resources, as banks pump money into the commodities arena. All the banks are keen to get the very top people on board to set up or expand their offering.”

This keenness is translating into the finance jobs recruitment process. Joslin Rowe‘s product control recruitment desk has seen the times to hire within commodities slashed by around 30% in comparison to product control jobs in other areas, such as equities. Salaries are also strong for those moving within the market. Senior product controllers are typically securing around 10-15% more – a big premium when most other remuneration packages are rising in small increments because of the credit crunch. In fact, according to Hall, recent salary jumps for the most in demand product controllers have been from £65,000 to £75,000, with a £10,000 sign-on bonus on top.

Hall also points to excellent career progression. “It’s really a chance to write your own job spec and an opportunity to rocket up the career ladder. In these start up divisions progression will revolve around success – not just dead man’s shoes. One of the most desirable aspects of these commodities product control jobs are their exposure to the front office. Being able to move out of business unit control and into a front office desk job is much more likely.

About Joslin Rowe
Established in 1982, Joslin Rowe is one of the leading UK financial services recruitment firms in the UK and Ireland. In April 2006, international staffing services company Vedior (headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) raised its stake in Joslin Rowe’s parent company, The Blomfield Group, from 18% to 70%. Joslin Rowe recruits for banking HR jobs across London, Edinburgh and Glasgow including long-term contracts, temporary and permanent roles.

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