Sunwest Trust Witnessed An Unprecedented Rise In Demand To Open Up New Accounts, Breaking Its Own Previous Record, Which Was Set Previously In Better Economical Conditions

Sunwest Trust, Inc. (the “Company”), the only New Mexico company acting as an escrow agent and IRA custodian, has achieved a new record by opening up new accounts. July is the eventful month that ended with the hiring of new people to serve better.

Sunwest Trust offers a wide range of retirement and self directed plans such as Roth IRAs, Spousal and Traditional IRAs, SEPs, and SIMPLEs. It offers direct investment within the retirement accounts and allows their clients to invest in a number of things, including, but not limited to sales and purchase of real estate, mortgages, publicly traded stocks, bonds, private limited liability companies, mutual funds, secured and unsecured notes and more. Credited to this diverse range of plans and options, the Company witnessed an unprecedented rise in demand to open up new accounts, leading the Company to set a new record in July for newly opened accounts.

Following this record-breaking performance, the Company announces the induction of three new employees. Casey Love, Natalie Rodriguez and Sandra McBride are going to contribute in different departments. Casey Love, a bachelor’s degree holder in Secondary Education with a minor in English from the University of New Mexico will work in the IRA Department. Natalie Rodriguez, a California native, brings nine years experience in the escrow and title businesses. Sandra McBride is the third addition who will be handling the Customer Service Department. In addition to her job as Customer Service Representative, she is attending school part time to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business.

With the recent upsurge, Sunwest Trust now services over $900 million in assets and provides services to over 14,000 individuals and companies. The company management has expressed the hope that the trend will continue in coming months as well.

“We are happy with our progress and we are excited about the growth during a cooler economy and during an election year. I expect to continue to see increased growth over the coming months and years as more boomers and investors get closer to retirement, look to truly diversify, and shift a portion of their funds out of the market and into the local real estate market,” Terry White, CEO Sunwest Trust, says with confidence.

The statement of Terry White attests the fact that the Company is relying upon boomers, which actually are more than 75 million in U.S. As boomers get closer to retirement, they look for alternatives to invest their money in order to have a secure future. By counting on this fact, management is pretty hopeful that the trend of increased demand, with boomers investing more, will continue in coming months and years.

About Sunwest Trust, Inc.:
Sunwest Trust is a New Mexico based company, which acts as custodian for self directed IRA accounts and as an escrow agent. It offers a range of retirement accounts and a multitude of escrow services along with dealings in private mortgages, real estate contracts and other notes. To acquire more information about the Company, visit http://www.SunwestTrust.com/.

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Artistic Checks expands its collection with the launch of its new product suite, “African Silhouettes”

Artistic Checks constantly expands its creative collection to appeal to every customer’s unique taste. The release of the new “African Silhouettes,” designed by an in-house graphics team, is another way for Artistic Checks to diversify its check assortment. The design is certain to appeal to new and existing customers alike.

On August 11, 2008, Artistic Checks launched “African Silhouettes” through its website, www.artisticchecks.com. In four rotating scenes, an African Acacia tree stands in the middle of the safari and acts as the background for these personal checks. Also on the checks, four different figures of African natives stand in colorful traditional garb with tools, baskets, and water jugs needed to perform daily tasks. The address labels, which are self-adhesive, feature a rotating sequence identical to the checks. While the personal contact cards feature a native child, the checkbook cover portrays a hunter as well as a mother and child on their way to gather crops with baskets atop their heads. All three stand tall in the protective shade of the Acacia tree.

Artistic Checks has always offered creative and unique designs for checks and check accessories sold direct to consumers. The addition of the new “African Silhouettes” provides an ethnic option for all interested customers. This check design brings a fresh and distinct feel to Artistic Checks that will attract new customers and peak the interests of existing ones.

About Artistic Checks:
Since its inception in 1998, Artistic Checks has been offering imaginative designs. Consumers looking for works of art to portray on their banking accessories should look no further than Artistic Checks. A visit to the site is sure to find you a masterpiece you can fall in love with!

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Financial Consequences Of An Expensive Holiday Can Outweigh Any Beneficial Effects

Responding to a study suggesting that a quarter of British adults have shelved their holiday plans to ease the strain of the credit crunch on their finances, debt management company Gregory Pennington (www.gregorypennington.com) have advised other people struggling with their finances to consider following suit and not risk getting into debt this summer.

The study from CreditExpert.co.uk, the online credit monitoring service from Experian, showed that 43% of those questioned were worried about the impact of a holiday on their finances, yet only 24% have changed their plans.

The study also claimed that 2.8 million British adults will get into debt in order to fund holidays this year – twice as many as this time last year.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington commented: “It’s encouraging that many people are considering changing their plans with regards to holidays this year, although it’s still a concern that so many people are still spending beyond their means.

“The relatively easy access to credit in recent years has meant it is now common for people to get into debt to fund expensive holidays, and this debt can become a serious burden if it’s not managed properly.”

The study also claims that 33% of those in the 18-24 age group say that peer pressure often forces them into holidays they cannot really afford. “This is a common problem,” says the Gregory Pennington spokesperson. “We live in a culture where we can take many things for granted, and it seems to many people that includes holidays. But if that involves racking up large debts, it might be best to carry on saving and maybe even wait until next year.”

Of the people attempting to cut back on holiday debts, it was revealed that 19 per cent would be sharing with family or friends in an attempt to cut costs. This figure rises to 37 per cent in the 18-24 age group.

The spokesperson commented: “Sharing is a good way of minimising holiday debts this summer, and some people may be able to avoid getting into debt entirely this way. Certainly, if you are still intending on going on holiday, we advise people to cut costs wherever possible, unless you are completely sure you can afford it.

“The credit crunch is putting pressure on most of us at this time, and there is the risk that unless you are very careful, you could arrive home with potentially unmanageable debts to deal with.”

The spokesperson went on to point out how easy it is to get into debt unintentionally. “Many people book holidays well in advance, up to a year in some cases. Much of this is done on credit, under the belief that they will be able to save up enough money in that time to cover the holiday.

“But the pressures of the credit crunch and rising costs of living mean that many people may be finding it much harder to pay for their holidays than they anticipated. If this happens, it doesn’t take long before the interest begins to add up and the debts could become unmanageable if they are not taken care of quickly.

“We advise anyone in this situation to contact an expert debt adviser, who can discuss your situation and help decide the best plan of action. There are various debt solutions available to suit different situations, including debt management plans, debt consolidation loans and IVAs. Choosing the right debt solution could help you cut down your monthly costs and prevent your debts from continuing to grow.”

Gregory Pennington (http://www.gregorypennington.com/) are a financial solutions company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. The company specialises in a range of financial services, including mortgages, loans, debt help and advice (including debt management plans, IVAs, and debt consolidation).

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Debt Advisers Direct Have Advised The Public To Keep A Close Watch On Their Finances, And To Seek Expert Debt Advice

Responding to recent research suggesting that the number of people who feel they are still managing well in the current economic climate has fallen, Debt Advisers Direct have advised the public to keep a close watch on their finances, and to seek expert debt advice immediately if they are unable to meet their financial commitments.

Mintel, a leading market research company, have revealed that the number of people who see themselves as living comfortably or managing easily has fallen from almost two thirds (64%) in 2006 to just over half (51%) this year, as rising costs of living and the credit crunch put increasing pressure on peoples’ finances.

The research also reveals a leap in those who feel money is tight, despite getting by financially – this figure rising from just one in four (25%) in 2006 to 39% this year.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct commented: “The fact that increasing numbers of people are feeling the pinch is to be expected, but these figures give an interesting picture of how people are actually coping with it at this time.

“What’s interesting is that 51% of people still feel they are managing easily, which may seem a high figure to some, considering all the stories in the news at the moment,” she continues. “But it’s telling that the figure has fallen so sharply since 2006, which was a relatively good time for the economy.”

The spokesperson went on to explain that the reported fall in confidence could be the first stage of a more significant downturn. “When the economy gets into trouble, the effects can take a while to filter through. Many people are still managing well following the buoyant economy of 2006 to late 2007,” she says. “But as the problems begin to filter through – for example to homeowners struggling to sell their homes, consumers facing higher food prices and bills, etc. – we may well see more people’s circumstances take a turn for the worse.”

The report coincides with Nationwide Building Society’s latest Consumer Confidence Index, which reveals that consumer confidence has taken a further fall, down 18% since July and down 43% since this time last year.

The Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson said: “Consumer confidence can be affected by things like the media portrayal of the economy, but a large part of it does come down to personal situations.

“Even those who have not been terribly affected by the credit crunch will have noticed how quickly the price of food and household costs are rising. And those people are quite right to be concerned about what the future may hold.

“We would advise everyone to keep a close watch on their finances at this time. Budget well, don’t overspend, and try to save where possible. And if you do think you are getting into trouble with debt, seek expert help from a debt adviser.

“A debt adviser will talk you through your situation and help you to decide the best course of action. For example, if you have a number of debts that you are struggling to balance with your household commitments, a debt consolidation loan could help.

Debt consolidation loans work by grouping all your debts together, so you only repay one creditor instead of many,” she says. “Payments can be rescheduled over a longer period of time than the original debts, meaning payments are lower – which could be a useful way of freeing up extra money for your other living costs. But be aware that rescheduling your debt consolidation loan will probably involve paying more in interest in the long run.

“If you find you simply can’t meet your payments, though, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or debt management plan might be more suitable. If you’re unsure, as with any debt solution, speak to a debt adviser first.”

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Logbookloans.Tv Is Providing Instant Cash Advances

Logbookloans.tv launched recently after growing public demand for a safe and easy instant cash advance service that is regulated by government bodies that people in the UK can trust.

The credit crisis and rising levels of inflation have left many UK residents desperately trying to escape from financial difficulties.

Banks are becoming increasingly cautious about lending money and an unexpected outgoing, from a school fee to replacing a broken boiler, can throw a household’s finances into chaos, leaving people with no way to pay the bills.

But there is a way out. Logbookloans.tv is providing instant cash loans to households trying to get their finances back on course. Logbookloans.tv can quickly approve a cash sum from £500 to £50,000 and customers will often receive the money on the day of application!

Credit authority moneyexpert.com reports: “One of the major benefits of logbook loans is that you can often get access to cash on the same day that you submit your application.”

The logbook loan is a short-term fix designed to tide you over in times of emergency. Because the loan is secured against you car’s logbook (or V5 registration form) the rate is a lot lower than other unsecured borrowings and you get to keep on driving! Whilst logbookloans.tv holds onto your registration form, the car remains with you until the cash is repaid.

Just fill in one simple online form and you could be receiving an instant cash injection. There’s no endless, complicated paperwork and your loan will be ready for collection when you drop off your logbook at any of the hundreds of branches across the UK.

You can rest assured that logbookloans.tv is a completely ‘transparent’ service, unlike many of our competitors. Our loans come complete with advice on the risks involved in borrowing, reducing the risk to our customers and giving you peace of mind.

For more information or to apply online for an instant cash advance logbook loan please go to http://www.logbookloans.tv

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DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk warn that recent large increases in the price of gas could seriously affect people in debt.

Following recent increases in the price of gas, debt consolidation experts DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk warned of the probable impact on those already struggling to cope with higher living costs, economic uncertainty and record levels of personal debt.

Shortly after EDF Energy’s announcement of its decision to raise gas prices by 22%, British Gas owner Centrica announced an increase which would see the average gas bill rise by 35%, taking a ‘standard’ annual £650 bill up to almost £900.

“In itself,” said a spokesperson for DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk, “this increase could be enough to push certain households into debt – or further into debt – but this is by no means an isolated instance. Today’s consumers are facing substantial increases across the board, from food and petrol to gas and electricity. The cumulative effects can be devastating: for many, there may simply be no way of finding another £227 per year, which works out to almost £5 per week.”

Zoe Mcleod of independent charity National Energy Action summed it up as follows: “Centrica is the second energy supplier to put its prices up. We expect this sequence to continue across all suppliers forcing more than 1 million households in England into fuel poverty. Across the UK fuel poverty could affect 6 million households by the end of the year.”

Despite British Gas’ reassurance that the increase would be postponed until April for the 340,000 customers who qualify for its ‘Essentials’ tariff, the effect on millions of other customers will be immediate. “With so many demands on their budget, consumers are facing some tough decisions,” the DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk spokesperson continued. “They may feel forced to ‘juggle’ their debts using credit cards, or even to neglect some bills so they can pay others.

“As debt advisers with 15 years’ experience, we strongly advise against either course of action. However serious someone’s debts are, there are far better ways of handling them. The important thing is to seek expert debt advice – and to do it sooner, rather than later.”

In many cases, the right debt advice can help people cope with the extra strain on their finances: “Some people may be able to free up the necessary extra funds by learning to budget more effectively, or by renegotiating payments to their creditors. For others, however, no amount of debt advice will be enough – if their budgets are already stretched to the limit, they may need to look into professional debt solutions, such as a debt management plan or debt consolidation loan.

“In today’s economic climate, of course, the kinds of debt help available may be limited, as problems in today’s credit market are keeping some people from accessing the debt consolidation loans that could help them regain control of their finances. In cases like this, an alternative debt solution may be more appropriate.

Debt management, for example, relies not on access to further credit but on negotiations between an individual’s creditors and the debt management professionals who ask them to accept lower monthly payments and grant other concessions. As always, we would recommend that anyone in financial difficulty seek professional debt advice as soon as possible.”

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Gregory Pennington advise people to stay on top of their finances

As the credit crunch reaches the end of its first year, debt management company Gregory Pennington (http://www.gregorypennington.co.uk) have advised people to keep on top of their finances, and warned that there may still be tough times ahead.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “While studies suggest some of the country feel they have not yet been affected too badly by the credit crunch, these people may begin to feel the effects as future events unfold.”

A recent survey in The Times revealed that 66% of those asked felt their family would fare badly over the next year, while 77% felt the country as a whole will suffer. The spokesperson said that while these views are probably justified, there is still a lot people can do to lessen the effects of the credit crunch.

“The most important thing is staying on top of your finances,” says the debt solutions company. “Make sure you are meeting all your priority financial commitments before anything else, and try to build a budget around that. If you find you can’t meet those commitments, seek expert advice as soon as possible.

“We would also advise people to save as much as possible, because that little bit extra could come in very useful if things get tight.”

The fact that the remaining 34% of people questioned in the survey did not feel (or weren’t sure) that their family would suffer over the next year suggests that the credit crunch has not necessarily affected everyone. But the Gregory Pennington spokesperson warned that other problems linked to the credit crunch may start to kick in over the next few months.

“It’s important to distinguish between the different elements of the economic downturn we’re currently experiencing,” he said. “The credit crunch primarily affects people looking for credit – particularly homeowners, who may be faced with large arrangement fees or higher payments when they remortgage, and also those looking to obtain loans and new mortgages.

“People who aren’t reliant on credit, or homeowners who have a long-term fixed rate on their mortgage, may well have been largely unaffected – so far.

“But it’s now very possible that we will see the knock-on effects of the weak housing market combined with rising costs of living – higher unemployment, increasing amounts of people struggling to meet their comments, and more people facing problems with debt.

“Even if it does get to that stage, there are still things you can do. Seeking professional debt advice from an expert debt adviser is essential if you find yourself in financial difficulty.

“There are a range of debt solutions available to meet different situations, including debt management plans, IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements), debt consolidation loans and remortgages, etc. One of these could be a lifeline if you find yourself with unmanageable debt, which is a growing threat in the current economic climate.”

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ThinkMoney.com advised people with large debts to seek expert debt advice

Commenting on a recent survey by R3 (a leading professional association for insolvency) suggesting that seven out of 10 insolvency practitioners expect the number of people unable to keep up with their debts to rise during the coming year, a spokesperson for ThinkMoney.com advised people in debt to take early action and seek expert debt advice.

The ThinkMoney.com spokesperson said: “The ongoing credit crunch, and the possibility of a recession, would indeed indicate that people with large debts may struggle more than most in the coming months.”

She echoed the survey’s findings that debt has “become a way of life” for many, and urged people to avoid unnecessary debts, including consumer finance on goods such as electronics, and where possible, credit cards.

She continued: “It’s more important than ever to do what you can to stop your debts growing. The larger your debts, the longer it will take (and the more difficult it will be) to get rid of them.

“If you think your debts are becoming unmanageable, it’s essential you seek professional debt advice from an expert. They will be able to discuss your situation and help decide which debt solution is most suitable for you.”

She added: “There are a number of debt solutions for people with unmanageable debts – and each are better suited to different situations. Speaking to an expert debt advisor will help you make the right decision and make the process as straightforward as possible.”

About Think Money
Think Money are a financial solutions company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. The company specialises in a range of financial services, including mortgages, loans, debt help and advice (including debt management plans, IVAs, and debt consolidation).

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ThinkMoney.com advise homeowners not to become complacent about protecting themselves against the current downturn in the housing market.

Responding to the recent report from the National Housing Federation suggesting house prices will recover and rise by 25% by 2013, financial solutions company ThinkMoney.com advised existing homeowners to remain optimistic, but warned them not to become complacent about protecting themselves against the downturn in the housing market.

The National Housing Federation anticipates further falls in house prices for the next two years – 4.4% in 2008, with a further fall of 2.1% in 2009 – after which prices will begin to recover, rising by 25% by 2013.

However, the report itself acknowledges that the figures depend on a ‘robust employment market’, and warns that if employment and consumer spending levels fall by too much, the housing slump could be more severe than they have predicted.

A spokesperson for ThinkMoney.com said: “We would advise homeowners to continue saving well, spending responsibly, and to remain aware of the potential problems facing the housing market. Your financial planning should, as always, be geared towards making sure you are prepared for any problems that could arise.

“The report is only speculative, and as with anything, it is very hard to predict what will happen in the next five years. The predictions are essentially a best-case scenario,” she said.

“In a sense, it’s healthy to be slightly cautious when it comes to money, especially with an important financial commitment like a mortgage.”

The spokesperson said that there are a number of ways homeowners can protect themselves. “Savings are the key,” she says. “Falling house prices means that equity tied up in the value of your home is decreasing, so it’s wise to try and counteract that by saving money where possible.

“This also acts as a buffer if you find the interest on your mortgage payments going up in the next few years, which is quite possible. Without savings to fall back on, mortgage payments could become simply too expensive for poorer families, and that brings the possibility of falling into debt – especially with other costs of living rising so quickly too.

“Likewise, it’s important to keep an eye on spending and make sure unnecessary purchases are kept to a minimum. Avoid taking out consumer finance loans on expensive goods, as they can become a big financial burden when things get tight,” she continued. “In fact, avoiding any form of personal loans or credit is the best defence against getting into debt.”

The ThinkMoney.com spokesperson advised homeowners to remain positive. “Many homeowners will be relatively unaffected by the problems in the housing market, so long as they are willing to stay put,” she said.

“A loss in the value of your home only affects you if you are looking to sell, but it still pays to save well in case of emergency. And once the market does recover, you may even find yourself in a better financial situation than you were before all the trouble started.”

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ThinkMoney.com anticipates the rise in insolvencies as the slowing economy begins to affect more consumers.

Financial solutions company ThinkMoney.com anticipates a rise in the number of people experiencing debt problems in the coming months, despite a year-on-year fall in individual insolvencies.

A recent report from the Insolvency Service suggested that the number of people entering into IVAs in the second quarter of 2008 had fallen to 9,256, down from 10,561 a year previously – a drop of 12.4%.

At the same time, bankruptcies had fallen from 16,214 in the second quarter of 2007 to 15,297 in the second quarter of 2008 – a fall of 5.7%.

Given the onset of the credit crunch in recent months, the statistics may come as a surprise to many. But Melanie Taylor, Head of Corporate Relations at ThinkMoney.com, said that the falls in both IVAs and bankruptcies should not be taken as a sign of long-term recovery. “Most economists are predicting an economic downturn,” he says, “which certainly doesn’t raise hopes of the number of people in debt decreasing anytime soon.”

Other indicators, such as the Financial Services Authority’s report that repossessions rose 40% in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same time last year, do indicate a sharp rise in the number of people facing financial difficulties.

Ms Taylor suggested that this could be an early sign of things to come. “As things stand, we would expect the number of people experiencing debt problems to increase fairly significantly, due to a combination of the credit crunch, rapidly growing costs of living and rising unemployment.

“These things take a while to ‘filter through’ to the wider economy. Typically, lower-income families will be hit first, since they have less money to spend – but that then hits the companies where they usually spend money, so their staff are affected too. Eventually, most people are affected financially in some way.

“This in turn could lead to increasing numbers of people who can no longer manage their debts – and it’s essential that these people get expert help as early as possible.”

But Ms Taylor was keen to emphasise that both IVAs and bankruptcy are valid ways of getting out of unmanageable debt. “An IVA can be a great help to people with over £15,000 of debt,” he said. “It allows a significant portion of their debts to be repaid in convenient monthly payments, usually for five years – after which the remaining debt is written off.”

He continued: “There is something of a stigma surrounding bankruptcy, but in the right circumstances it may be the best possible way of making a fresh start.

“People who go through bankruptcy are subject to some restrictions – for example, they are highly unlikely to be able to borrow any more money for a number of years, and they will most probably be forced to sell any valuable assets they own. But once the bankruptcy process is complete, they will be legally debt free, and able to get on with their lives.”

Think Money are a financial solutions company based in Salford Quays, Manchester. The company specialises in a range of financial services, including mortgages, loans, debt help and advice (including debt management plans, IVAs, and debt consolidation).

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Loans for Home Improvement Projects Soar Reveals Lloyds TSB

New research from Lloyds TSB Personal Loans has revealed that over half (55 per cent) of estate agents nationwide have reported an increase in homeowners taking their property off the market in favour of making home improvements.

Lloyds TSB Personal Loans, surveyed 500 UK estate agents and over 1000 home owners to understand how would-be sellers are responding to the cooling housing market*. The research is published as Lloyds TSB revealed a 19 per cent, year on year increase in personal loan applications for home improvement projects.

The findings reveal that three in five (59 per cent) homeowners who had been looking to sell their property have put plans to move on hold due to rising concerns over property prices. Half of those staying put are opting to renovate their existing property instead.

Fifty five per cent plan to undertake improvements to boost chances of a sale in the current less buoyant market. However, almost a quarter (23 per cent) admit they are adapting their property to accommodate changing lifestyle needs and are keen to recoup any potential fall in house prices by adding long term value.

David Wishart, director of personal loans at Lloyds TSB, said: “In recent months we have seen a significant increase in home improvement personal loan requests. For the last decade homeowners have been able to sit back and rely on rising property prices to increase the equity in their home but sadly this is no longer possible. If you want to trade up and avoid substantially increasing your mortgage, you’ll need to add value to the house you’re currently in.”

TV presenter and property finder, Phil Spencer, commented on the research: “The current cooling of the property market is making homeowners think twice about selling up and many are opting to improve instead. In a buoyant market, people taking on a home improvement project could get away with less than perfect preparation or some slapdash sums, as their mistakes were covered by rising property prices. However, in today’s environment it is vital you plan any project thoroughly to ensure maximum return on investment.”

Lloyds TSB quizzed both estate agents and homeowners on the features most likely to help a property sell in the current climate. The findings reveal the top improvements likely to appeal to buyers are:

New kitchen (79%)
New bathroom (59%)
Extension (47%)
Loft conversion (29%)
Re-decorate (25%)

David Wishart continued: “Whether the motivation is a quick sale, adding long term value or accommodating changing lifestyle needs, it’s vital homeowners consider the financial investment they’re about to make. A personal loan can provide a hassle free, affordable way of spreading the cost.”

To help homeowners add value to their home Lloyds TSB personal loans has teamed up with Phil Spencer to create the Move or Improve Guide, offering practical advice and insider tips on the do’s and don’ts of home improvement. An audio podcast and PDF version of the guide is available to download free of charge.

About Lloyds TSB Student banking
Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Lloyds TSB Scotland plc are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and signatories to the Banking Codes. Lloyds TSB Bank plc Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN . Registered in England and Wales no. 2065.

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New research from Prudential reveals working-age adults have lost sleep worrying about their pensions

According to new research from Prudential, more than one in three working-age adults have lost sleep worrying about their inability to save enough for retirement*, and the pressure on retirement saving is being increased by a combination of the housing market slowdown and rising household costs.

The Prudential research focusing on working adults provides a snapshot of ‘Burned Out Britain’ as concerns about being unable to save enough for a comfortable retirement drives people to work longer hours and increases stress levels. Around one in five working-age adults have worked longer hours or taken an extra job to increase their pension savings.

Prudential’s research shows just 27% of adults believe they are saving enough to maintain their current standard of living in retirement while 38% want to contribute more to pensions with half of them keen to contribute a lot more.

However financial pressures are making it difficult for them to put their money where their ambitions are – 51% blame higher costs of living while 18% of them don’t want to reduce their disposable income to ensure a more comfortable retirement.

The struggle to match pension ambitions with reality is also increasing the stress levels for these people with three-quarters expressing they were feeling increasingly anxious, and the current economic climate is piling on the pressure.

Julie Mulvanny, Prudential’s Head of Business Development for Pensions said: “The pensions crisis is becoming extremely personal when people are losing sleep over being unable to save enough for retirement.”

She continued, “When the pressures of the current short-term economic climate are added to the mix it is almost surprising that more of us are not lying awake at night worrying. It is clear however that many of us are waking up to the idea that we have to take responsibility for our own retirements and that is a long-term commitment.”

Around 9% said they have cut the amount they save into their pension due to rising living costs.

Up to one in 20 say the housing market slide has knocked their confidence in property as a pension while eight per cent are concentrating on building up short-term savings to tide them over in the event of any problems caused by the current economic climate.

Julie Mulvanny concluded, “It is encouraging that this message is getting through and there is plenty that we can all do to ensure we get the retirement we want and deserve. The UK needs a new approach to retirement income and planning for retirement. That should involve more than simply saving into a pension but should also involve looking at all sources of income.”

Disclaimer:
The information contained in Prudential UK‘s press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at www.pru.co.uk.

 

About Prudential:
Established in 1848, today Prudential plc is an international financial services company with a product range which extends from personal banking, insurance, pensions and retail investments, to institutional fund management and property investments.

In the UK Prudential is a leading life and pensions provider with around seven million customers.

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Pioneer Services Offers Simple Online Banking Tips for Retirees

Consumer use of online banking and financial services has exploded in recent years. While technology has made life more convenient, some Americans are still low-tech when it comes to banking, despite the advantages online financial services can provide. The same is true in the military, where older service members who have likely relied on cutting edge technology to accomplish various missions may not apply this technology to their daily lives, especially after they retire.

As a result, Pioneer Services, a leader in financial services for the military, has created a new article highlighting the benefits of the online banking experience, along with some common sense tips for a safe and secure transaction. The article, Military retirees and online banking – securely saving time and money, is intended to educate both retired and active-duty military consumers.

“New technology and security advancements have torn down the walls between what used to be done kneecap-to-kneecap and what can now be done online”, said Doug Allen, chief information officer for Pioneer Services and author of the article. “Today, online financial services can save time, offer more options, afford privacy, and provide greater flexibility and control over your finances.

“There are millions of online financial transactions every day,” he added. “And just like when using an ATM or walking into a bank, a little common sense while online will ensure a quick and easy transaction while protecting your privacy and security.”

To read other financial education articles for military families, visit the Learning Center at PioneerMilitaryLoans.com. For more information about Pioneer Services, visit PioneerServices.com.

Pioneer Services, the military banking division of MidCountry Bank, offers 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.

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Dionne & Dionne Law today announced an expanded service area to include Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and all surrounding areas

Birmingham Bankruptcy Attorney and law firm Dionne and Dionne Law expand service are to include Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and all surrounding areas. The firm hopes to put its more than 40 years of combined experience to use for Birmingham area residents.

The firm also has expanded its recently launched information portal, BankruptcyLawyerInAlabama.com. The portal serves as a comprehensive source for Birmingham area consumers to find information about bankruptcy solutions and bankruptcy protection. It also offers consumers a way to speak directly with an attorney at the firm to discuss their case without obligation.

As previously announced, the portal includes bankruptcy FAQs on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Consumers can also download a free financial analysis form to use in determining the need for bankruptcy.

The web site will be an invaluable resource to Birmingham consumers in finding accessible information to address their bankruptcy questions and gain access to Birmingham bankruptcy lawyers for one-on-one advice.

Melinda Dionne of Dionne & Dionne stated, “By expanding into the Birmingham area we’re able to help more Alabama consumers who are in financial distress. Our goal is to put our nearly 40 years of combined experience to work for them. We specifically designed the resources at www.BankruptcyLawyerInAlabama.com to be simple, concise and to offer every consumer something of value.”

About Dionne & Dionne LawDionne and Dionne Law was founded in 1996 by husband/wife team Don and Melinda Dionne. Don and Melinda tout nearly 40 years of combined experience serving and advising consumers. The firm specializes in bankruptcy, family law, and estate planning services. The firm has offices in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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Cash advances or pay day loans have become increasingly popular in these times of financial turmoil

Payday Power launched recently out of a growing demand for a safe and easy instant cash advance service that is regulated by government bodies that people in the UK can trust.

There is no arguing with the facts, the credit crunch and rising levels of inflation are hitting the British public’s pockets hard with banks becoming stricter making the availability of loans for people with bad credit ratings lower.

Many things such as an unexpected outgoing from a school fee to a car repair bill to even replacing a broken down washing machine can throw a household’s finances off course leaving people seriously struggling financially to cover mortgage and bill payments until their next pay cheque arrives.

It doesn’t have to be this way though, with Payday Power’s pay day loans, people can receive an instant cash advance boost the very same day they apply for it. A pay day (or cash advance) loan is a short-term financial fix designed to tide over the borrower until their next pay packet, whereupon they can clear the debt.

Payday Power’s easy-to-use and hassle-free service is completely online so there is no need to worry about faxing documents over and a decision is made to your application instantly online.

In addition, Payday Power is a completely ‘transparent’ service so that unlike many of their competitors, their pay day loans come complete with advice on the risks involved in taking out a loan so that effectively these risks are minimised compared to their competitors.

Emily Davidson of credit.com observes, “Pay day loans can be a good tool for quickly and easily borrowing cash during an emergency if you don’t have other financial options.”

For more information or to apply online for an instant cash advance payday loan please go to paydaypower.co.uk.

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Quest CE has announced that they have expanded their Online library of Property/Casualty Courses

Quest CE, the leading provider of Single Source Compliance Education Solutions for the financial services industry, has announced that they have expanded their Online library of Property/Casualty Courses.

“Our clients have been asking for a more extensive offering of online Property/Casualty courses,” said Alan Krenke CEO of Quest CE. “We understand the importance of increasing our library of courses to better service our clients.” “Quest CE is committed to meeting the ever-growing CE needs of professionals and we believe our expanded Property/Casualty library will meet that need. “Quest CE is dedicated to providing agents with a user-friendly system with high quality course content at affordable prices.”

Quest’s expanded library offers Property/Casualty course credits ranging from 1 credit hour to 15 credit hours. Also available are complete Property/Casualty CE Packages. Courses start as low as $5 a course, with package deals starting at $29.95.

Additionally, Quest CE is offering a 10% discount on all Property/Casualty courses ordered through August 31, 2008. Agents will be able to go to www.questce.com to take advantage of this offer by entering the code in the “Select Courses” tab.

The following promotional code may be used: promo1

About Quest CE
Over the past 20-plus years, Quest CE has built a reputation of being the premier provider of Single Source Compliance Education Solutions to the financial services industry. In addition to offering CE for professionals holding insurance licenses and professional designations like the CFP, CIMA, CLU/ChFC, CLE, and CPA designations, Quest CE also provides a complete spectrum of compliance training solutions. Each year Quest CE delivers over 150,000 continuing education courses either over the Internet or through live CE training. More information is available at the company’s web site at www.questce.com or by calling 877-593-3366.

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Despite soaring oil prices Emirates Group posts record profits

The Emirates Group has reported its 20th consecutive year of net profit, notching a new profit record despite soaring oil prices and challenging business conditions in the second half of its 2007-08 fiscal year.

The Emirates Group net profits increased 54.1% to AED 5.3 billion (US$ 1.45 billion) for the financial year ended 31st March 2008, on revenues of AED 41.2 billion ($ 11.2 billion) compared to the previous year’s AED 31.1 billion ($ 8.5 billion). The Group’s net margin improved to 13.2% from 11.4% in the previous year.

The 2007-08 Annual Report of the Emirates Group – comprising Emirates Airline, Dnata and subsidiary companies – was released in Dubai at a news conference hosted by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

The Group’s latest record performance reflects its success in growing customer demand through the strategic expansion of its business operations across six continents, supported by ongoing investments in the latest technology, products and customer service while keeping a tight rein on costs. This is illustrated by the 21.2 million passengers who flew with Emirates in the latest financial year, 3.7 million more than in the previous year; as well as the expansion of Dnata’s international ground handling operations to 17 airports in seven countries.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “It was another record year for the Group in spite of a challenging business climate, particularly in the second six months where the soaring cost of jet fuel made a big dent, although the impact was partly offset by other operating gains.”

He continued, “Despite the long-term forecast of a decrease in the number of passengers traveling in First and Business class, I am happy to report that Emirates once again bucked the trend and boosted our seat factor in the forward cabins. Emirates is fortunate to be located in Dubai at the centre of the new Silk Road between East and West. I believe the threat of an economic downturn will be offset for Emirates by the boom in the Middle East, especially the thriving travel industry of tourism and commerce.”

Sheikh Ahmed concluded: “The Group’s excellent performance this year is very satisfactory. As with previous years, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. We plan to secure our future growth by investing in the latest technology and products, so that we can continue to provide our customers with the high quality experience that they have come to expect from us.”

Another area of expansion for the group over the past 12 months was the growth of the Emirates Hotels & Resorts from its original Al Maha property into a multi-property hotel operation with International Central Reservations, a Corporate Sales and Business Development unit, global online distribution systems and support services for the design and development of its growing resort portfolio.

In all, the Emirates Group’s Facilities/Projects Management department commissioned and opened AED 2.12 billion ($578 million) worth of new buildings during 2007-08, including the impressive new Emirates Group Headquarters, the Engineering Centre, Dnata Cargo’s Free Zone Logistics Centre, The Harbour Hotel & Residence, and a new crew training college. Projects currently in progress total AED 3.9 billion ($1.1 billion), including new buildings in Dubai such as the Destination & Leisure Management Annexe, Emirates Call Centre and staff accommodation at Ras Al Khor, Al Majan and Media City.

As of 31st March 2008, the Group employed 35,286 staff, representing 145 different nationalities. During the year, the Group hired more than 7,000 people including 2,000 cabin crew and 400 new flight deck crew.

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Raising road tax could mean more hardship for families already under severe financial pressure

Government plans to raise road tax for millions of motorists could mean more hardship for families already under severe financial pressure, says debt management company Gregory Pennington.

Commenting on proposed changes to vehicle excise duty, debt management company Gregory Pennington highlighted the negative impact the changes could have on millions of motorists already struggling to cope with escalating costs of living. The plans will mean higher road taxes for an estimated nine million motorists.

“Naturally, we applaud government efforts to protect the environment,” a spokesperson for the debt management company stated, “but these are tough times for families throughout the UK. The credit crunch, housing market uncertainty, record levels of personal debt and rising food costs – the cumulative impact can be overwhelming, and many motorists will struggle to cope with any extra burden on their finances, especially in the face of today’s unprecedented fuel prices.

“Particularly worrying, we note that many so-called ‘gas guzzlers’ are family cars. Many families would love to save on petrol and insurance by switching to a smaller vehicle, but for space reasons that’s simply not an option, as anyone with three children (and two prams) could tell you.”

An example: according to the Vehicle Certification Agency, a 1.6 litre Renault Scénic (petrol; 6 speeds) emits 182g of CO2 per km. Under current rules, this would fall in the E band and cost £170 for 2008/09, but under the new rules, it would fall in the J band and cost £260 in 2009/10. “With so many households already struggling to manage their debt payments, £90 could make the difference between climbing out of debt and sliding further into it – and many drivers will find themselves facing much larger increases, paying hundreds of pounds more.”

There are, however, debt solutions that can reduce monthly outgoings, such as Gregory Pennington’s debt management plan. “Our debt management plan was designed with flexibility in mind: when our customers’ expenses go up (or their income goes down), we talk to their unsecured creditors about making the necessary adjustments to their repayment plans. By freeing up funds that would have gone towards their non-priority debts, we help our customers stay on top of their priority commitments – the kind of debts that, if neglected, can rapidly land them in serious trouble.

“Even under normal conditions, a debt management plan offers a realistic, affordable path out of debt – but at a time like this, when people find themselves facing so many financial challenges simultaneously, borrowers have even more reason to select a flexible debt solution that can renegotiate their payments in line with changes to their disposable income.”

At the same time, debt management offers creditors a proven way of recovering the money they’re owed without resorting to any ‘extreme’ measures. “In the 15 years since Gregory Pennington was founded,” the spokesperson concluded, “we’ve found that most lenders would rather negotiate with a debt management company than resort to court action – accepting lower payments might mean the debt is repaid more slowly, but the majority of creditors will accept this, as long as the individual demonstrates they can make those payments reliably.”

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When it comes to car insurance Brits are bargain hunters

New research from Fairinvestment.co.uk has found that price is everything for its users when it comes to shopping for car insurance. The research involved asking users what the most important aspect is when shopping for car insurance.

57 per cent of the Fairinvestment.co.uk users who were questioned said that Car Insuranceprice was most important to them, and the level of cover was considered less important with only 19 per cent of the vote. The research also found that a courtesy car is paramount to 5 per cent of those who voted.

Of equal value to voters in the poll, with 2 per cent each, was breakdown cover, a discounted rate for partners, a low excess and a protected no claims bonus.

The study also found that some aspects of car insurance are of no interest at all to Fairinvestment.co.uk users. For example, cover for driving other cars received no votes whatsoever and, surprisingly, none of those questioned were bothered about a no claims discount, despite the fact that a maximum no claims bonus could save drivers a considerable amount.

An important aspect for one participant was a lack of overseas call centres, a feature that has caused controversy in the past. Another user appears to have missed the point, stating having a car as the most important aspect of shopping for car insurance.

Commenting on the findings, director of Fairinvestment.co.uk, James Caldwell, said: “Motorists should be careful choosing their car insurance by price alone, the cheapest car insurance is not always the best and there are other aspects to be taken into consideration.

“I would advise anybody shopping for car insurance to compare deals not just on price but also policy features, some of which may be outlined in the small print.” Mr Caldwell advised.

About Fair Investment
fairinvestment.co.uk, is an independent online finance portal, providing financial comparison tools, news, reviews and information on a wide range of financial products and services, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, loans, savings and investments.

Fair Investment Company is a leading internet player that sees 400,000 unique users per month, sells over £5 billion worth of mortgage enquiries and is a Hitwise 100 Banks and Financial Institutions site.

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Sunwest Trust introduced a new portal dedicated on Self Directed IRA And Escrow Clients

Sunwest Trust, Inc. added another dimension in its profile in order to provide better services for prospective customers as well as existing client base in New Mexico. Albuquerque based Sunwest Trust Inc. re-launches sunwesttrust.com along with Best Online Results jointly. The new website has been introduced to strengthen the web presence of Sunwest Trust Inc. It is destined to suite the purpose in the role of a destination or a hub.

Sunwest Trust Inc. is known for its diversified business interests. These include self-directed IRAs that allow clients to invest their IRA in anything that the IRS will allow such as Real Estate, Mortgages, Limited Liability Companies and Private Stock. In addition, Sunwest Trust will act as escrow agent for most any transaction involving the exchange of money.

Sunwest Trust, Inc. is known in the pertinent industry for its excellence in providing an alternate option for IRA investors, especially those who are in search of an apposite process to make their retirement portfolio with a self directed IRA more diverse. The alternative procedure is such that it enables the IRA holders to make investments in affluent sectors of real estate, oil and gas, discounted notes and other alternative assets.

Speaking on this and terming the entire approach as an exceptional move for the Sunwest Trust Joshua Geary, Managing Member, Best Online Results, LLC and Senior Marketing Consultant for Sunwest Trust, Inc. says, “It is our sincere hope to see Sunwest Trust transition beyond the traditional Dot Com barrier held my most sites in this market space and become what they are capable of becoming, which is a Dot Community for their great brands and a resource for investors and for their thousands of satisfied clients who need Self Directed IRA and Escrow services. We feel this is an important step to making this vision a reality.”

Simultaneously, Terry White, Chief Executive Officer, Sunwest Trust, Inc. terms it as an exemplary approach that will make it easier for the clientele to cope with transitioning from a traditional “in the box approach” to growing a retirement account to a self directed IRA mentality. He said while commenting on this, “In the next few short years many baby boomers will be looking for alternative means to stretch and grow their retirement dollars as they recognize their need to truly diversify and view their retirement beyond just a safety net, but as a living breathing asset, which if used smartly can be used as a wealth builder. We needed a hub or new platform to do so.”

“Our new platform will not only allow our clients to check their accounts in close to real time, but also will have a new blog chalked full of resources for those who are curious and are looking at transitioning their investment portfolio into alternative assets like real estate. We are in the process of revamping our blog system to the latest technology so we may interact with our clients and put out information pertinent to account holders who need quick access to administrative tips as well,” he added.

Sunwest Trust offers neutral third-party accounting services to ensure accuracy and reliability for a nominal service fee. It also offers customer friendly services that are available by phone that helps customers get answers of their questions about payments, payoffs, disbursements, and other contract details.

About Best Online Results
Best Online Results is a renowned company that specializes in web optimization and Internet PR and as a result excels in its respective sphere of operation. The company was commenced with the intention of witnessing the growth of businesses on the Internet. From the very beginning, therefore, the company has been proceeding with poise to care the businesses of others and also to observe their successes.

Best Online Results located at BestOnlineResults.com, truly excels in receiving the traffic of any particular website that helps the website owner immensely. The association with Sunwest Trust, Inc. is destined to achieve new heights in industry.

About Sunwest Trust
Sunwest Trust, Inc. was formed under the auspices of the owners of Sunwest Escrow, LC for the sake of providing more extensive range of financial products. For this reason, Sunwest Trust, Inc., apart from providing its conventional concept of escrow service to the customers, nowadays is also active in the role of custodian for self-directed retirement plans that includes IRAs, SEPs and Simples.

From a small escrow company operating within the confines of the local Albuquerque market, Sunwest Trust grew through means of integrity and transparency to become a nationwide Trust company, which specializes in facilitating investors who wish to diversify their retirement through self-directed IRAs.

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