There are reasons the recent base rate cuts have not led loan providers to slash the interest charged on secured loans, as financial solutions provider Think Money points out

Following the recent spate of rate cuts, financial solutions provider Think Money raised a few points about the secured loans market.

Melanie Taylor, Head of Corporate Relations at Think Money: “In just three months, the Bank of England’s base rate dropped from 5% to just 1.5%, prompting substantial changes in the mortgage market – but not in the secured loans market. Many people have questioned this: if mortgage lenders can lower their rates, they ask, why are loans providers seemingly unwilling or unable to do the same?

“The answer lies in the differences between the mortgage market and the secured loan market. Both deal with secured credit and so depend heavily on trends in the housing market as well as the availability of credit, but the two markets are fundamentally different.

“First – and perhaps foremost – a secured loan is a second charge. If a property ends up being repossessed, repayment of the first charge (the mortgage) will always take priority over repayment of the second charge. So from the lender’s perspective, a secured loan is simply more risky than a mortgage – and greater risk has always been accompanied by higher interest charges.”

Committed to the principles of treating customers fairly, lenders will enter into possession proceedings only as a last resort, but the ‘second charge’ issue is still very much a factor in today’s economic climate, with the Council of Mortgage Lenders predicting 75,000 repossessions this year, and no clear indication of when we’ll see a recovery in the housing market.

“Second, it’s clear that the Government’s initiatives aimed at keeping people in their homes are focusing on mortgages, not secured loans. Government help is welcome, as it could help homeowners and limit the damage to the housing market, but this focus on mortgages does add to the difference between mortgages and secured loans, in terms of risk to the lender.”

At the same time, the secured loans market is being adversely affected by the same issues currently plaguing the mortgage market – primarily, the shortage of wholesale funding and the ongoing drop in property prices.

“It’s a common misconception that the base rate dictates the cost of wholesale credit, but this is simply not the case. As the Council of Mortgage Lenders has stated: ‘the cost of funds to lenders depends not on Bank rate, but on a range of other factors, including what they have to pay savers to attract deposits, how much it costs them to borrow in money markets, and the costs of holding capital and sufficient liquidity’.

“Falling house prices, meanwhile, have made lenders much more cautious about granting either secured loans or mortgages. Most analysts seem to expect prices to bottom out after falling another 10% or so this year, but there’s no guarantee this will happen, or that the subsequent recovery in prices will be either immediate or rapid.

This explains why most lenders are reluctant to offer mortgages or secured loans which would leave the homeowner with less than 20% equity. After all, a property worth £200,000 today could be worth £150,000 this time next year. It’s a worrying thought for the homeowner, but also for the lender, who might find a portion of their loan isn’t actually secured against anything – at least, not until property prices rise again.”

Think Money specialises in finding secured loans for people with all kinds of financial backgrounds. If you are thinking about getting a secured loan – or looking for loan advice – contact one of our expert loan advisers today.

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For most Americans, taxes are their number one expense – usually exceeding payments for food, lodging, clothing and transportation together

As you enter the new world of full-time work force, you start enjoying paychecks and so does your partner – that is Uncle Sam. Getting your first job means becoming a full fledged taxpayer.

There are many such firsts in life – your first insurance policy, your first home, your first investment and your first business venture! You take all these financial decisions in your life at some point. Do you always know the tax implications before taking these decisions?

To the contrary, on most of the times, you find your hard earned money evaporating in taxes. You may pay huge sums to your tax consultant, but you are not happy about his ‘highly impersonal’ services. Finally, you give up with a sigh. You sign the return, pay the taxes and turn to your normal routine.

Why Donate Your Money to IRS?

You don’t have to be a tax professional to save on your taxes.

Stop Donating Your Money to IRS is written to help you to save big money on your taxes. Released very recently, its useful for the tax year 2008. Everything is explained with the help of examples, pictures and no technical analysis involved.

The book is written by Chintamani Abhyankar He is internet marketer, tax professional and freelance writer doing a lot of research on tax systems and advising people internationally on various aspects of tax planning over 25 years. “Many people overlook the tax relief available to them, not realizing that they may be entitled to a considerable refund. In fact, you can keep your financial house in order by some easy and straightforward strategies. You can find many of them in this book.” The book is available on the website

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The sixth annual survey from LV= insurance and investment group, on the Cost of a Child, shows that parents could spend £193,772 raising a child up to the age of 21

The sixth annual survey from insurance and investment group LV= on the Cost of a Child, shows that parents could spend £193,772 on raising a child up to the age of 21. This is equivalent to £9,227 or £25 a day.

The survey by the UK’s largest friendly society shows that the cost of raising a child has increased by 4% since the last survey in December 2007 and is up 38% over the five years since the survey began in 2003. Childcare and education remain the biggest expenditures, costing parents £53,818 and £50,240 respectively.

Mike Rogers, LV= Group Chief Executive, said: “Every parent knows how their hard-earned savings can dip thanks to eye-watering education and childcare costs. It is also likely to be of little comfort to mums and dads to hear that pocket money costs are at their lowest level since 2004, or that expenditure on family holidays in 2008 was only 4% up on the 2003 cost.”

81% of parents have had to cut back on family expenditure as a result of feeling the pressure financially in the economic downturn. Family activities are the main casualty, with over half of parents admitting to curbing their spending on holidays and short breaks, as well as reducing spend on leisure and recreational activities (52%).

In order to economise, 79% of parents are consciously buying lower cost items and supermarket ‘value’ items. 35% are buying second hand items to help make ends meet, with the same number selling unwanted items to raise money.

The pressure on family finances has also caused 37% of parents to reduce the amount they save regularly. Worryingly, 23% said they have also had to cancel or review their life insurance and income protection cover to help with family budgeting, which could have significant long term implications.

Mike Rogers continued: “Although parents are feeling the pressure financially, it is important they try to look beyond the short to medium term money worries. Life insurance and income protection are more important than ever in the current climate – the financial security of a family could be hugely affected if a parent was unable to work long term because of an accident, illness, or job loss.”

The average household could spend £50,240 on education over their child’s lifetime, including £34,300 on a three year university degree course. This includes tuition fees, travel, books, and living costs, including rent, bills and household items.

The cost of raising a child peaks during the university years, when parents could pay out £13,064 a year. But new parents may also find themselves significantly out of pocket, as the first twelve months of a child’s life could cost £8,853.

Mike Rogers continues: “Our research shows that parents are being very resourceful when it comes to budgeting and cutting back on non-essential spend. Planning ahead is more important than ever though, and saving as much as you can, just a little and often, could help to ease the financial pain.”

Tax efficient savings can make people’s money go even further. Individual Savings Accounts – ISAs are a great way to save and the new LV= ISA savings give parents the opportunity to invest in a fund that suits them, at a time that many are seeing as a good buying opportunity.”

About LV=

LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and entered on the Financial Services Authority Register No. 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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Many Homeowners Stand To Benefit From January’s Base Rate Cut

Following the Bank of England’s latest base rate cut to 1.5%, financial solutions company Think Money have said that many homeowners will benefit from the cut, adding that those who may not receive the benefit of the base rate cut due to mortgage collars could still save money if they remortgage.

The half-point base rate cut brings the base rate down to its lowest level since the Bank of England was established in 1694. It is the fourth cut in as many months, and the seventh consecutive base rate cut since December 2007, shortly after the credit crunch began.

The cut is a further attempt by the Bank of England to revive the market for loans and mortgages, both of which are important to the health of the economy. Despite recent sharp base rate cuts, many lenders have remained cautious with regard to their lending, while many banks have simply been unable to obtain the funds necessary for normal levels of lending.

A mortgage expert at Think Money said that on the whole, the cut is good news for the mortgage market. “In theory, a cut means that lenders can afford to offer mortgages at lower rates, which is good for homeowners. People on tracker mortgages will automatically benefit, unless they have reached their mortgage collar, and lenders may consider reducing their fixed-rate mortgages too.

“However, there is some pressure on mortgage lenders due to the LIBOR rate, which is still higher than the base rate – meaning that some of the funds lenders rely on for mortgages are more expensive than it may first appear. That may explain why a number of lenders raised the interest rate margins on their tracker rates in anticipation of this base rate cut.”

The Think Money spokesperson added that now could be a very good time for existing homeowners to remortgage, as well as a good opportunity for first-time buyers to make their first purchases. “A remortgage could save existing homeowners a lot of money, especially those who started fixed-rate deals in the last two-to-three years. Switching to a tracker deal could greatly reduce homeowners’ monthly payments, until rates begin to rise again, and many fixed-rate mortgages are cheaper than they have been in recent years.

“At the same time, we are in a situation where houses are falling in price, and interest rates are relatively low, both of which mean mortgage payments are likely to be lower than they were, say, two years ago. For that reason, it can be a good time for first-time buyers to make a move.

“Many first-time buyers are put off by the idea that mortgages are difficult to obtain. It’s true that they are more difficult to obtain than at the height of the mortgage market in 2007, but they are still very much available – it can sometimes just take a little longer to find the best mortgage deals.

“Anyone looking for a mortgage should make sure they receive expert mortgage advice beforehand. Speaking to the right people can help homebuyers to find the best rates and the best type of mortgage for their circumstances.”

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Lifeprompt Can Help Smokers Who Have Quit With The Help Of The NHS Stop Smoking Service, Save Over £30 Million A Year By Reviewing Their Life Assurance Arrangements

New non-smokers should seek out the cheaper premiums on offer to bolster the substantial cut in expenditure on cigarettes themselves.

However many may need to wait before reaping the benefits, as life assurance companies only offer cheaper premiums to those who have not smoked or used tobacco/nicotine replacement products for more than 12 months.

LifePROMPT is a new service from L&C for those that have kicked the habit but will not qualify for cheaper protection for a few months. L&C offers free whole of market advice on protection but for those not yet classed as a non-smoker, LifePROMPT offers the ability to diarise an email or text reminder for a review at the appropriate time.

Richard Morea, technical manager at L&C Mortgages says, “Life assurance is essential for many of us and in today’s economic climate getting the best premium becomes even more important.”

You can register for LifePROMPT online at or by calling 0800 373300.

Savings calculated using the most recent NHS figures (2007-08) on the number of smokers who had successfully quit when followed up post quit date (350,800).

Savings for target age groups based on a level term assurance policy for £150,000, over a 20 year term for sample ages 25 and 40, and a 10 year term for sample age of 50.

Age group: 18-34
Sample age: 25
Monthly saving: £2.71*
Number of quitters: 90,214
Annual saving: £2,933,759

Age group: 35-44
Sample age: 40
Monthly saving: £13.28*
Number of quitters: 85,640
Annual saving: £13,647,590

Age group: 45-59
Sample age: 50
Monthly saving: £29.07*
Number of quitters: 98,520
Annual saving: £34,367,716

*An average of the savings made by both genders, on the cheapest guaranteed premium for a non-smoker, compared to that for a smoker.

If 75% have a need for life assurance the savings per annum would be £38,211,798.

London & Country Mortgages Ltd is the country’s leading whole of market no-fee mortgage broker and submitted over £4bn of mortgages to over 70 lenders in 2008.

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LV= Research Reveals That Homeowners Hoping To Recoup Some Of Their Mortgage Costs Are Fuelling A Rise In Risky Renting

The findings of new research from LV= reveals a 56% rise in properties available to rent over a three month period, with the vast majority (86%) coming from homeowners choosing to let their properties rather than sell in a depressed financial climate.

But home insurer LV= is warning that these reluctant landlords are putting themselves and their tenants at risk, with the findings showing that just 27% have signed up to a compulsory tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) designed to protect tenants and landlords from disputes over the lease. This is despite it being a legal requirement for landlords to ensure deposits are protected by the Government approved scheme.

Introduced in April 2007, the TDP scheme was set up to prevent legal disputes over deposits at the end of a tenancy. All rental properties where a deposit has been taken since April 2007 are legally covered by the scheme.

The high numbers of landlords not signing up means thousands of tenants and landlords could run into trouble at the end of a tenancy. The findings show that 77% of renters have previously had some or all of their deposit money unreasonably withheld, while 13% of tenants have refused to pay rent towards the end of their contract.

With the research showing that 20% of tenancies end in dispute, LV= is warning tenants and landlords to take the correct precautions, and ensure they have legal protection cover included in their policy.

John O’Roarke, Managing Director of LV= Home Insurance, said: “This research highlights the numbers of new landlords entering the market, many of whom may not be aware of their legal obligations. It also illustrates the need for the Government to raise the profile of legislation such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and for these to be more strictly enforced, to protect both renters and landlords, as awareness is currently very low. Although the majority of private landlords are undoubtedly honest, our research shows that many tenants have experienced problems getting their deposit money back in the past, and are worried this could happen again.

“The average deposit is over £500, which is a significant amount of money, so renters and landlords need to make sure they know their rights. Renters should also always ensure they have home contents insurance in place, as they are more likely to be burgled than home owners and some polices will include a legal advice helpline, which could be used in the event of a contractual dispute.”

About LV= 
LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.

LV= employs over 3,500 people, serves more than 2.5 million customers and members, and manages around £8 billion on their behalf. LV= is also the UK’s largest friendly society **** and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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Tracesmart Now A Member Of The Debt Buyers And Sellers Group

Cardiff based Tracesmart, renowned supplier of debtor tracing services, has announced it has become a member of the Debt Buyers and Sellers Group (DBSG). Tracesmart has joined the DBSG as part of its commitment to the debt collection industry and to provide valuable specialist input on some of the core processes used to recover debt, namely data cleansing and tracing.

Formed for the benefit of companies who buy and/or sell debt, the DBSG is the official voice of the sector, administering best practice and offering guidance and support where needed. Created by the Credit Services Association (CSA), the group’s inaugural meeting took place in December 2003 and was officially launched at the CSA’s 2004 Annual Conference. Today the DBSG has in excess of 80 members including some of the biggest companies in the industry who trade billions of pounds worth of debt each year.

As well as helping to expand the company’s presence within the debt collection arena, joining the DBSG will help Tracesmart to keep its finger on the pulse of one of its core industries. Chris Rothwell, Sales Director for Tracesmart explained further,

“Tracesmart is already an active member of the CSA, having a regular presence at their events and in their publications and also providing consultation on key industry topics. Having a pro-active involvement has helped us expand our knowledge of the industry, build our customer base and also allowed us to provide valuable guidance on the areas in which we specialise. We now hope that by working closely with the DBSG we can both provide our expertise to enhance best practice in key recovery activities and raise our company profile.”

Tracesmart currently holds memberships and affiliations with many professional organisations and bodies; these allow the company to remain up-to-date with industry trends and also provide forums through which valuable information can be shared. Mike Trezise, Managing Director at Tracesmart, comments on the importance of aligning with industry professional bodies,

We have a hugely diverse customer base and whether the client is a firm of solicitors conducting identity checks for anti-money launderingpurposes, or a debt collection agency using our systems to trace people, we want our services to completely fulfil their particular needs. By affiliating with professional organisations we are able to identify changes in relevant industries as they happen and tailor our services to meet client needs.”

  • Tracesmart Limited – was formed in 1999 and supplies a diverse range of consumer data cleansing, identity check and tracing tools to a wide variety of industries. Their client base ranges from SME to Blue Chip, who are all recipients of bespoke solutions, built around their specific needs.
  • Chris Rothwell – Tracesmart’s Sales Director – previously worked in both the financial markets and tracing industry. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Chris is well placed to head up Tracesmart’s corporate sales team.
  • Mike Trezise – is the founder and Managing Director of Tracesmart. With over 25 years tracing and fraud analysis experience his unrivalled knowledge provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.

The Profit-Taker: Solid Advice On The Stock Market

This phenomenal financial game was invented by the author of an international best-seller. A top-ten best-selling author of John Wiley & Sons, New York is raving mad … giving away his new book. Not only is he making a gift of the sequel to his best-selling book… now he includes a ‘Live’ stock market game.

“Why should the billionaires have all the fun?”, says Professor Don Abrams, best-selling author of The Profit-Taker.

“Don’t lose your investing skills during these bad times”, says Professor Smarba, “Hone them!”.

He invented it to reveal the finer secrets of his proven, rapid, money-maker in both good and bad markets. And it’s free… Zip. Zero. Zilch. No registration. No required email. No ‘funny’ paper money. No catches.


The new free sequel reveals a proven strategy to grow rich – especially for late starters. It is a blueprint that awakens the self-actualizing quest to live long. Thousands are already playing the game. Modestly named ‘The Greatest Game on Earth’. It’s an adventure, not based on guessing – but on newly-gained knowledge. All this on

Is your current investing on a grand, small or academic scale? Doesn’t matter. Is it fun? If not, the author says you’re doing something wrong.

The solution? Discover it here. Now you can control your own destiny…be your own person.

‘The Greatest Game on Earth” allows people the world over the opportunity to relish the ingenuity and pure fun of the Profit-Taker Concept.

The game provides ‘live’ examples for the free book ‘The Profit-Taker Equalizer for the Underdog’.

The game is aimed at investment professionals as well as beginners.

Unlike the ‘usual game’, it is the actual chosen common stock which decides your next move. No rolling of the dice. No dealing of the cards. No spinning of a wheel.

It’s the actual ‘game’ action that opens up possibilities. Opportunities!

Let the good times roll on

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New Research Shows That 15% Of Homeowners Taking Out A Remortgage In Late September And Early October Either Had Deals Turned Down Or Moved Onto Their Lender’s SVR

Financial solutions company Think Money have advised homeowners who are looking to remortgage that speaking to a professional mortgage adviser has become more important in recent months, as the availability of mortgage deals has remained lower than 2007 levels.

The new NMG Research Survey, carried out for the Bank of England, showed that at the end of September and beginning of October, 15% of people who had taken out a remortgage had previously either had applications turned down or had moved onto their lenders’ standard variable rate.

Standard variable rate mortgage deals – a lender’s basic mortgage rate – tend to be noticeably more expensive than the lender’s discounted variable-rate mortgages at any given time, according to a mortgage expert for Think Money.

“Most mortgage deals advertised in the shop window or online are introductory deals,” she said. “Fixed-rate mortgages are usually priced based on the lender’s own long-term projections, but most new variable-rate deals are actually discounted from the standard variable-rate. So the only time homeowners will usually pay the standard variable-rate is when the pre-agreed terms finish – unless they remortgage.”

The Think Money spokesperson added that the recent base rate cuts by the Bank of England have meant that remortgaging can save homeowners a significant amount of money.

“The base rate has fallen from 5.75% to 2% in just under a year and a half, and while mortgage rate cuts have not been quite so pronounced, they still represent good savings for people who entered mortgage deals two or three years ago.

“For example, while at the peak of the market in July 2007 the best mortgage rates stood at around 6% to 6.5%, we are now typically seeing rates of 4.5% to 5%, and even 4% for homeowners with a particularly high LTV (loan-to-value) ratio.

“To put that in perspective, on a typical £120,000 mortgage, a homeowner moving from a 6% interest rate to 4.5% can save around £104 per month, or £1248 per year.

“What’s more, many economists are predicting further base rate cuts – so homeowners with tracker mortgages could benefit even more in the future.”

The spokesperson was keen to emphasise the importance of mortgage advice in the current market. “With lenders still cautious about offering mortgages, it can take a little longer to find the right mortgage deal compared with, say, 2007. That may explain why so many people questioned for the Bank of England’s report had been turned down by some lenders.

“A professional mortgage adviser can take a look at the homeowner’s circumstances, and based on that can search a range of lenders for the best mortgage deal available to the homeowner.”

The Think Money spokesperson urged homeowners to consider their remortgage deal early to allow plenty of time to find the best rates. “It’s often possible to‘reserve’ mortgages with lenders, so if the homeowner likes the look of a deal a little while before their current mortgage terms finish, they can ensure they get the lower rate later in the year. Of course, it’s possible rates could fall more, so homeowners may want to wait and see what happens in the mortgage market before making a move.”

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New Report Suggests That The Available Incomes Of Households Have Fallen Significantly Over The Past Year

Responding to a recent report suggesting that the average household had found it more difficult to repay their debts in 2008 than in the previous year, Debt Advisers Direct have warned consumers to take extra care with their finances. In financial terms, January can be a particularly difficult time, as many households find they’ve spent more than intended over the Christmas period – and Debt Advisers Direct have advised people struggling with debt to seek professional debt advice as soon as possible.

A new report for the Bank of England entitled ‘The financial position of British households’, carried out by NMG Research, is a snapshot of the financial situations of the average British household at the end of September and beginning of October.

The report claimed that the average household had found it more difficult to service existing debts than in the previous year, largely due to higher household bills which reduced ‘available’ incomes. It also said that the purchasing power of this available income had reduced due to high inflation.

More than half of the households in the survey had reported a fall in their monthly available income compared with the previous year.

In total, of those questioned:

• 31% reported a fall of more than £100 per month,
• 20% reported a fall of £51 to £100,
• 12% reported a fall of £1 to £50,
• 25% reported no change, and
• the remaining 12% reported an increase in ‘available’ income.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct commented: “It’s been known for some time that British households have been under pressure financially in the past year, but these figures demonstrate the extent of the problem. In particular, a drop in available income of more than £100 can make a significant difference to the ability of households to meet their commitments and repay debts.”

The fall in available income was particularly evident amongst homeowners. In both high-LTV and low-LTV categories, 39% of mortgagors reported a fall of more than £100, while a further 19% reported a fall of £51 to £100.

The report suggested that this may have been due to homeowners experiencing higher mortgage costs, especially those who came to the end of fixed-rate or discounted variable-rate mortgage deals.

“Due to rising mortgage costs earlier in the year, homeowners have been particularly
hard-pressed, although this situation may have eased since the figures were recorded due to base rate cuts and the subsequent lower mortgage rates,” the Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson said.

“The implications for homeowners are potentially more serious, since homeowners stand to have their homes repossessed if they default on mortgage payments. Homeowners who are paying relatively high interest rates could improve their situations through remortgaging, although they should consider any costs involved.”

The Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson added that there are a number of debt solutions available that could help those who have experienced a fall in available income.

“For people with several debts who want to reduce their outgoings and simplify their
finances, a debt consolidation loan might be the best option,” she said. “By spreading the repayments out over a longer period of time than the original debts, monthly payments can be lower, which can make a big difference to available income. However, more will be paid in interest as a result of the longer repayment period.

“For those with more serious debts, particularly if the repayments exceed the household’s available income, a debt management plan could help. This involves working with a debt adviser to negotiate lower monthly payments based on how much they can afford. However, a debt management plan will normally require people to pay whatever available income they have left after payments to household expenses have been taken into account, so anyone entering a debt management plan should be fully committed to repaying their debts.”

For debt help and advice on a range of debt solutions, visit the Debt Advisers Direct website or call 0800 074 8639.

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The Partnership Between Rekon Technologies And Simplifile Will Allow Users Of The Rekon Processing System To Instantly And Securely Send Lien Release, Assignment And Other Documents To The Simplifile E-Recording System

Simplifile, the leader in e-recording, and Rekon Technologies, a leading software vendor in the mortgage loan servicing industry, today announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership to integrate Rekon’s lien release and assignment processing system into the Simplifile e-recording system.

The newly formed partnership will allow users of the Rekon processing system to instantly and securely send documents to the Simplifile e-recording system. The solution will automatically upload recordable documents into the customer’s Simplifile account and create a new e-recording package. This tight integration allows Rekon users to quickly and easily prepare documents and electronically record them with Simplifile’s enabled counties throughout the United States from the convenience of their own office.

“Rekon is known for its advanced method of lien release and assignment document preparation,” said Aurora Marsh, CEO of Rekon Technologies. “By integrating Rekon into the Simplifile e-recording system, the combined solution fuels the current industry trend toward paperless solutions. Our strategic partnership with Simplifile provides our clients with an opportunity to build state-of-the-art networks that will give them the edge in delivering excellent customer service, resulting in increased customer satisfaction.”

“Simplifile is pleased to work with Rekon to bring the benefits of industry leading lien release and assignment processing with the Simplifile e-recording system,” said Erik Blomquist, Simplifile Vice President of Technology. “Rekon is a leader in the mortgage loan servicing industry. With the integration of Rekon into the Simplifile e-recording system, our mutual clients will benefit from the integrated systems to more efficiently prepare and record documents, and virtually eliminate the need for paper documents.”

About Simplifile
Simplifile provides innovative, simple, and secure electronic recording services via the Internet. Simplifile’s customers include title companies, banks, attorneys, lien filers, and county and state government jurisdictions. Simplifile electronic recording services accelerate document recording and simplifies document workflow processes that reduces costly overhead associated with traditional submission and recordation methods while improving client service levels.

Simplifile is focused on building the industry’s de facto electronic recording network. As such, Simplifile provides a streamlined and scalable approach to electronic recording tailored to organizations of all shapes and sizes. For more information on how Simplifile can benefit your organization, visit or call 801.373.0151.

About Rekon Technologies
Rekon Technologies offers technology solutions to the loan servicing industry, providing tools to track, manage, prepare and record loan documents such as lien releases, assignments, UCC terminations, trailing documents and others.

Rekon Technologies’ flagship product and namesake “Rekon” is a fully sustainable workflow driven document preparation and management system, integrated with imaging and eRecording solutions to process loans from payoff to recording in a truly automated and paperless environment from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, the DokTrak software is considered to be the most versatile document tracking and data warehousing technology solution, especially in resolving the gap between origination and servicing, including the processes of post closing and file certification for securitization. More information about Rekon Technologies and its products is available by visiting or calling 626.577.4350.

“Simplifile” is a registered service mark of Simplifile, LC. Rekon is a registered trademark of Rekon Technologies, Inc., a California corporation.

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Sameer Al Ansari Of Dubai International Capital Recognised At 2nd Annual Private Equity World Awards MENA 2008

Dubai International Capital LLC (‘DIC’) has announced that its Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sameer Al Ansari, was honoured with the ‘Special Merit Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry’ at the 2nd Annual Private Equity World Awards MENA 2008 for his invaluable contributions to the regional private equity sector. The coveted recognition from industry peers was presented to Sameer Al Ansari for the second consecutive year at a ceremony held in Dubai.

In addition to recognising Al Ansari for his leading role in the development of the private equity industry, the distinction also reflects the increasingly influential role of Dubai International Capital, the international investment company that Al Ansari helped establish in 2004.

Organised by Terrapinn, a business media company, the Private Equity World Awards MENA 2008 recognises leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and pioneers in the MENA private equity and venture capital industries.

Sameer Al Ansari said: “It is a privilege to receive this prestigious award for the second year running. It is not only an honour to have been chosen, but the award is a testament to the talent and expertise of DIC’s team who have contributed to building DIC into a well-respected name in the private equity sphere within a span of four years.”

Sameer Al Ansari is the recipient of several accolades, including the ’50 Most Influential People in Private Equity’ by Private Equity International (2007) and the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) Award from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Establishment for Young Business Leaders (2005).

Symon Rubens, Managing Director, Terrapinn Middle East, said: “Terrapinn would like to congratulate Mr Al Ansari on his outstanding work and contribution to the private equity industry. Our mission is to identify and reward those individuals, teams and companies who have demonstrated an unparalleled ability to succeed and it gives us great pleasure to celebrate their remarkable accomplishments.”

Under Al Ansari’s leadership, DIC has emerged as a leading investment company in the private and global equities markets with an outstanding reputation and track record. Earlier this year, DIC was named MENA Private Equity Firm of the Year in the 6th annual Awards for Excellence in Private Equity Europe 2008, organised by Dow Jones Private Equity News.

About Dubai International Capital LLC: 
Established in 2004, DIC is an international investment company with offices in Dubai and London focused on both private equity and public equity. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai Holding, DIC manages an international portfolio of diverse assets that provide its stakeholders with value growth, diversification, and strategic investments. Assets under management total over US$13 billion.

Among the many accolades, DIC’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Sameer Al Ansari, is also the recipient of numerous industry awards including, Special Merit Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry for two consecutive years (2007, 2008) by PE World MENA Awards and was ranked as the 11th most powerful Arab in the world by Arabian Business

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Changes To Home Information Packs

The Government has announced changes to Home Information Packs, which will take effect from 6th April next year. The new measures are designed to ensure consumers receive more helpful information at an earlier stage in the home buying and selling process.

A new Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) will be included in the pack, which will provide a summary of information about the property in one place. The summary, to include flood risk information, gas and electricity safety, details of any structural damage, and parking arrangements, should help buyers decide whether to view and ultimately purchase a property.

The new PIQ will go alongside the existing contents such as energy performance certificates.

From April, HIP’s will have to be made available from the first day of marketing. The current temporary measure allows sellers to market their property for up to 28 days before the pack is available, as long as it has been commissioned, and arrangements have been made to pay for it.

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett said:
“Home Information Packs are potentially a vital aid to consumers who are seeking to purchase a home, and I am firmly committed to ensuring they work as well as possible. That is why the changes made today will make sure consumers are better protected, better informed and better assisted when buying a home.”

A basic HIP is expected to take 3 to 5 days to compile.

For more information and no-fee mortgage advice, borrowers should call L&C free on 0800 373300.

London & Country (L&C) is the UK’s leading no-fee mortgage broker. Based in Bath, it provides whole of market advice via telephone and post to clients nationwide. As well as residential mortgages, it also specialises in the Buy-to-Let and adverse-credit sectors.

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers. For more information, go to

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Lloydstsbcompare.Com Raise Public Awareness Of The Need To Tackle Household Bills Ready For The New Year

Skyrocketing energy costs have been a prime concern for many Brits in 2008 but switching suppliers could save a typical household up to £454 – that’s £7,384 million across the entire country.

To help raise awareness, declared December 30th to be ‘tackle your bills day’ to encourage people to assess their household bills and save money in 2009.

According to research by, 80 per cent of people have seen a rise in their energy bills this year. Over one in four (27 per cent) of UK households saw their energy bills rise by more than £40 per month and 30 per cent think they could rise by a further £40 per month this winter.

Despite the pressure from rising bills, one in three (36 per cent) households has never switched energy providers and one in four believes shopping around will not make any difference. But those who have used comparison sites to switch providers have, in recent months, benefited from average annual savings of £284.

By using a comparison site such as customers can compare gas and electricity, telephone and broadband providers, as well as travel and car insurance. The site also has supermarket and petrol price checkers, helping customers to secure the best deals in and around their local area.

Steve Grainger,, said: “A concerning 40 per cent of Brits said they don’t know how they will cover their bills if prices continue to increase. December 30 was the perfect day for us all to concentrate on getting on top of our finances for the New Year. gives customers all the tools they need to cut their household bills and save money.”

Stealing the crown from TescoCompare, was recently named ‘Britain’s best car insurance comparison site‘ by Defaqto, the independent product research company.

The ‘tackle your bills day’ declaration comes at a time when many UK households are feeling the pinch and hope it will encourage homeowners to push sorting out their personal finances higher up the list of new year’s resolution for 2009.

About has been developed by Lloyds TSB Insurance Services Limited to offer our customers a choice of independent impartial quotes from a wide panel of insurance providers and energy suppliers. Comparison features include price, policy benefits, plan features and customer service rating, so consumers can make sure they get the policy that best meets their individual needs. is a trading style of Lloyds TSB Insurance Services Limited registered in England and Wales under company number 968406, with registered offices at 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (Registration number: 310738).

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Debt Advisers Direct remind consumers with debt problems of the importance of seeking debt advice early on, before their finances are further affected by the recession

Commenting on the nation’s economic troubles, Debt Advisers Direct stressed the importance of seeking debt advice in time, before debt problems can escalate out of control.

“Whatever the economic climate, it always makes sense to address debts at the first sign of trouble,” said a spokesperson for the company. “During times of economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever.

“The problems in the housing market alone pose a significant threat to the livelihoods of people in all walks of life. What was initially seen as an issue for estate agents has grown to affect builders, movers, decorators, furniture stores and so on – after months of negative news from companies directly linked to the housing market, we’re now hearing of problems in a much wider range of industries.

“With so many either out of work or facing the possibility of unemployment, people are spending less and problems in the housing industry are spilling over into the high street, placing even more jobs at risk – at a time when new employment may be hard to find.

“Coping with a period of reduced income is never easy, but people with high levels of debt are far more likely to experience financial problems almost as soon as their income drops.

“This underlines the need to tackle debt problems sooner, rather than later. Many people with smaller debt problems may find a chat with a debt adviser could help them get on top of their finances without making any major lifestyle changes. Once the adviser understands their financial circumstances, they should be able to provide some budgeting advice and suggest practical ways of reducing their level of debt.

“When it comes to more serious financial problems, however, many people are put off by the sheer size of their debts. Someone who owes tens of thousands of pounds may not feel there’s anything they can do to make an appreciable ‘dent’ in their debts.”

In most cases this is unlikely to be true: “However much they owe, they may still have a range of options, depending on their circumstances. A debt consolidation mortgage, for example, could be right for someone who wants to reduce their monthly outgoings and simplify their finances, while an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) could help someone who literally can’t keep up with their debt repayments – and who can’t realistically expect to repay their debts in a reasonable timeframe.

“We were very pleased to see the emphasis which the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report placed on debt advice – the Government is dedicating more than £15 million of additional funding to ensure people can access debt advice when they need it. Similarly, we were pleased to see certain credit card providers and mortgage lenders extending a ‘grace period’ to people who fall behind on their repayments.

“Even so, we remind borrowers how important it is to talk to a debt adviser before things reach the stage where they’re missing payments of any kind: taking steps to tackle their debt today is virtually certain to improve their chances of getting through the recession with their finances in a good state.”

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The Bank Of England Made A Further Reduction In Bank Base Rate This Week To 2%, Its Lowest Level For 57 Years

The Bank of England made a further reduction in Bank Base Rate this week to 2%, its lowest level for 57 years.

It is hoped that this further increase coupled with the recent reduction in VAT will stimulate consumer spending.

Borrowers who are on tracker deals should see the benefit from January where a £150,000 repayment mortgage over 20 years, tracking the base rate at +0.5% will cost just £794.85, £195.08 less than 2 months ago when the base rate was 4.5%.

Borrowers can see how the change in base rate will impact on their monthly payment by using L&C’s rate change calculator.

Borrowers on a fixed rate mortgage at present may well be feeling badly done by as they have not benefited from recent cuts in base rate. Depending on the rate of interest they are currently paying and the remaining period left to run on their fixed rate they may also be able to save money by switching to a new deal, despite paying an early repayment charge. By using L&C’s early repayment charge calculator, they can quickly find out what rate of interest they would need to pay to achieve this.

For more information and no-fee advice, borrowers should call free on 0800 373300.

London & Country (L&C) is the UK’s leading no-fee mortgage broker. Based in Bath, it provides whole of market advice via telephone and post to clients nationwide. As well as residential mortgages, it also specialises in the Buy-to-Let and adverse-credit sectors.

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers. For more information, go to

L&C has won numerous awards including:

Best Mortgage IFA/Adviser of the Year – Money Marketing, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008
Best Technology Adviser – Money Marketing 2007
Best Mortgage Broker outside London – Mortgage Strategy, 2004 and 2005
Best National Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005, 2006 and 2007
Best Overall Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005
Overall broker of the year – Pink Home Loans, 2006 and 2007,2008
Top 100 company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for 2004 and 2005
Business of the Year – The Bath Business Awards 2005

Growth Strategy of the Year – National Business Awards (Wales and West) 2008
Business Leader (Broker) – British Mortgage Awards – 2008
Online Mortgage IFA of the Year – Financial Adviser – 2008

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Top Mortgage Company Agent Adam Thomas From Invis Inc. Has Become A Business Referral Partner With Debt Settlement Service Companies To Assist Canadians In Debt Elimination


Top mortgage company agent Adam Thomas from Invis Inc. becomes business referral partner with debt settlement services companies launching a new website that reportedly aims to assist Canadians with debt relief programs and debt relief assistance.

In a society where residents are weighed down with debt repayment and debt consolidation problems, the new website promises debt relief/debt assistance by paying off such debts, lowering monthly payments and increasing cash flows. This would help them to stay debt free and increase their savings for retirement, renovations, and children’s education or make purchases they desire, while improving their overall financial situation. Our average client saves $500 to $1000 per month and more in some situations, as well; we follow up with ongoing support, guidance and planning as well.

The website further proposes to assist people in debt relief through various mortgage financing programs for their primary residence, investment properties or commercial property tailored to meet their situation and needs. It offers solutions relating to individual credit, income, assets and property equity positions. Programs are also available thru this partnership to assist those homeowners who don’t have the ability to obtain financing and who truly need debt relief. The site has been developed to be a complete one-stop shop to help everyone to receive debt relief help no matter what their current financial situation may be.

Proposed methodologies of is assessing each individual applicant according to their income, credit, assets and property equity position and thereafter formulate plans to sort out the problem through a first or second mortgage, private funding or thru a debt settlement agreement plan.

“No planning is finalized without due approval of the client and each step is followed up leading the client from initial through final stages of the process” declares Thomas. “Thru this partnership customers are able to receive financing and debt relief assistance. Though the customer’s we most often help are homeowners with high debt balance, we will of course try to help all who apply even non-homeowners. During the process, we will review and analyze all options available to the client and explain to them what programs we have to help them, we then make recommendations for the client to succeed in what they want, this way the client can make a informed decision on what’s best for them,” he adds.

The partners claim that they can help in debt elimination of their clients under their debt relief assistance programs since it has built sound relationships with mortgage agents, debt settlement companies and trustees. Either a straight refinance for debt removal or other debt settlement agreement plans, ensuring debt relief would put clients into a better financial condition, they assert.

The partners also assure their clients that they can provide adequate support where people with multiple loans and consequential higher premiums do not know the way out. With only one consolidated payment substituting your multiple premiums, your savings would be considerable, they claim.

About Adam Thomas:
Top Mortgage Agent Adam Thomas of Invis Inc. the leading mortgage brokerage company in Canada dealing in financing to help with debt consolidation and mortgages of all types, with the aim of expanding operations, has now become a business referral partner with other debt settlement and trustee firms, who have come up with the new website providing a number of services related to debt consolidation and debt settlement for its clients.

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Sunwest Trust Claims Their New Friends And Family Lending Program Will Be A Contributing Solution To The Credit Problem

In the wake of the National Credit Crisis, Sunwest Trust, Inc., a leading financial company, unveils its new “Friends and Family Lending Program”. The program seeks to interchange the roles of lending banks with financially solvent family members taking up such a role.

Outlining their new plan, the Company insists that solvent members in the family can assume the role of bankers. They could be lending to such members who are seeking loans for purposes such as having a new home. “The ability to fall back on solvent family members for financial support would be a welcome alternative for people who are finding that getting loans is difficult,” says Terry White, CEO, Sunwest Trust, Inc.

The logic behind the argument advanced by Sunwest Trust is that such lending could result in mutual benefit for the lender as well as the debtor. The debtor would benefit from the lower interest rates and the convenience of getting financing. Lenders, on the other hand, will gain from higher interest rates than they could get in comparison for their deposits made in the bank. “Thus, it will be higher income for the lender while a lower loan burden for the debtor,” adds White.

Another aspect of their statements in favor of the new plan is that with such loans, the lender’s money is more secured in comparison to those lent out to strangers. At the same time, the debtor gets significant income tax benefits.

Sunwest Trust, Inc. assists clients through the process by administering the loan in such manner that everything is well organized. “We can collect for taxes and insurance payables on a monthly basis so that the payments are spread throughout the year”, denotes White.

“Payments will be made to Sunwest Trust who will allocate these payments dividing them to principal and interest. The money can be deposited directly into your checking, money market, or savings accounts”, White further adds.

The Company cautions its clients that every investment is coupled with the risk of loss; however, this is a preferable risk being helpful both for the lender and their family members.

Sunwest Trust is confident of the success of their new program and the “Friends and Family Lending Program” is now currently offered to interested parties nationwide. Learn more by watching our video at

About Sunwest Trust
One of the leading financial Companies in Albuquerque, Sunwest Trust Inc. is the only one dealing with both escrow and completely self directed IRA simultaneously. The New Mexico Financial Institutions Division granted it with Trust powers in the year 2003, but has been an escrow company for over 21 years. While Sunwest specializes in self directed IRA, they also deal with real estate contracts, and mortgages. The Company is presently servicing over $900 Million in assets for over 12,000 individuals.

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New Research From Barclays Financial Planning Shows A Worrying Trend Of People Not Providing Themselves And Their Families With A Suitable Financial Safety Net

Despite the level of fear surrounding unemployment and debts in the current environment, an online poll of 2001 British adults between 24th and 28th October 2008 conducted for Barclays Financial Planning by Opinium Research shows a worrying trend of people not providing themselves and their families with a safety net.

According to the research, over half the people questioned are worried about being able to maintain their outgoings over the next 12 months, pushing essential safety nets like income protection and critical illness cover to the bottom of their priorities. The results show, nearly half (47%) of UK adults have no protection policies in place whatsoever, to protect them and their families in the event of losing their income, health issues or even death.

The safety net gap:
52% have no life insurance
75% have no critical illness cover
78% have no income protection cover

Those aged between 35 and 54 often have the most responsibilities in terms of dependants and outgoings, but showed a large gap in their protection cover, with 45% having no life cover and 74% with no income protection insurance.

Alison Tattersall, Head of Customer and Proposition at Barclays Financial Planningsaid: “When finances are tight it is often responsibilities like protection policies that fall to a lower priority, and of course these policies protect outcomes that people don’t want to think about. But people must consider the financial consequences of what would happen if they were unable to work, or their dependents’ situation if they died, it would be far worse than any concerns they currently have over struggling to meet their outgoings.”

When looking at what other safety nets people could be relying on, the research reveals that 60% of people admit to having nothing saved, having less than one month’s salary in the bank, or not knowing what they have in savings at all. Worryingly the report also reveals that nearly 40% of people don’t receive benefits such as sick pay, death in service or health insurance, or simply do not know if they would be entitled to them. Coupled with 81% of people not knowing what they would receive in benefits from the state if they were too ill to work.

Alison Tattersall continued: “This is a worrying trend. People need to know what their state and employee benefits are before they are able to plan their protection needs properly.

“Over half of people that do have protection policies said they did not take advice or did not know if they had taken advice when buying their cover, and over 70% do not know or only have a rough idea what level of payout their policies would give them if a claim was made. This could clearly mean people end up without the right cover for their needs, which is often just as bad as having no protection at all. We urge people to seek professional advice and review the level of protection insurance they have to cover themselves or their family.”

About Barclays Financial Planning
Barclays Financial Planning (BFP) provides tailored financial advice on life, pensions and investment products across a carefully selected range of products from a range of product providers according to customer needs. It is one of the largest financial advisers in the UK, with over 700 advisers. A no obligation financial planning consultation is available to personal, business and corporate clients, and our advisers have a range of solutions available for businesses wishing to discuss succession planning.

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