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The latest financial news:

December 21, 2012

Gender directive could slash men’s annuity payouts

by Jan Harris
Gender directive could slash men’s annuity payouts
The EU Gender Directive, which came into force today, could see men losing up to £10,000 from their annuity payouts, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Under the new rules insurers are no longer allowed to take gender into account when setting annuity rates and premiums on insurance products. Men previously enjoyed higher annuity rates than women because their life expectancy is ...




Home rental costs down in November

by Jan Harris
Home rental costs down in November
The cost of renting a house in England and Wales fell by 0.4 per cent in November, its first dip since March, according to a survey by LSL Property Services. Average rent was £741m during the month, returning to the level seen in September. However, it was 3.4 per higher than in November last year. The south east of England ...




December 20, 2012

Lloyds TSB halts sale of packaged accounts in branches

by Jan Harris
Lloyds TSB halts sale of packaged accounts in branches
Lloyds TSB will stop selling packaged account in its branches from 1 January 2013, until its sales procedures are brought into line with those operated by sister bank The Halifax. Lloyds TSB is one of the main providers of packaged accounts in Britain, with around one in three of its customers choosing to pay fees ranging from £9.95 to ...




Housing market recovery to continue next year

by Jan Harris
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Recent improvements in the housing market should continue into next year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) Gross lending is estimated to have increased to £12.9 billion in November, helped by the Funding for Lending scheme which provides banks and building societies with lower-cost funding, which they are then supposed to pass on as home loans and loans to small businesses. House sales are increasing ...




December 19, 2012

Newcastle Building Society exits interest-only mortgages

by Jan Harris
Newcastle Building Society exit interest-only mortgages
Newcastle Building Society has stopped offering interest-only mortgages to new borrowers, following the lead of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, Co-operative bank and Coventry Building Society. The decision will not affect existing Newcastle customers and applications for interest-only mortgages received before 14 December will still be processed. Prior to the credit crunch, interest-only mortgages were a popular option as they offer ...




Less than half of Brits considered creditworthy

by Jan Harris
Less than half of Brits considered creditworthy
Fifty-seven per cent of UK adults are at risk of having an application for credit turned down by a mainstream lender according to a new report. The ‘Mind the Credit Gap‘ report commissioned by aqua credit cards suggests that even people with a good credit rating and earning more than £50,000 could have a credit application turned down. Since the financial ...




December 18, 2012

Monthly incomes £22 lower in 2012

by Jan Harris
Monthly incomes £22 lower in 2012
The average monthly income of UK households fell by £22 in real terms compared with last year, according to a survey carried out for the Bank of England (BoE) by NMG Consulting. People on lower incomes have seen their income eroded more than higher earners and households still have high levels of debt the BoE reported. The survey, which was published by ...




Savers dig deep to fund Christmas

by Jan Harris
Savers dig deep to fund Christmas
New research from the Halifax suggests that savers are funding their Christmas spending with money set aside for other purposes. Thirty-seven per cent of 2,138 savers surveyed by the bank at the end of November had withdrawn savings in the last three months. The average amount withdrawn was £1,186, more than double the average savings of £555 made by 75 per cent ...




December 17, 2012

Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords

by Jan Harris
Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords
According to a survey by the Payments Council the problem of having to remember a different password for several accounts means that many internet users are compromising the security of their financial data. Internet users have 22 password-protected accounts on average and many use the same log-in details for more than one account, even though this is a greater security risk ...




Wonga launches Paylater loans on retailer website

by Jan Harris
Wonga launches Paylater loans on retailer website
Payday loan company Wonga has launched a new Paylater service on furniture firm Cotswold Company’s website. The service, which allows customers to "buy now, pay later" will be introduced on other retailers’ sites in the near future. Although the Paylater branding is similar to Wonga’s, the Wonga name only appears in the small print. A spokesman for Wonga said: ...




First-time buyers take a decade to save for a deposit

by Jan Harris
First-time buyers take a decade to save for a deposit
Before the credit crunch it took first-time buyers two to four years to save up a deposit for a property but a quarter of first-time buyers now say it will take them at least ten years. In its latest Property Tracker report, the Building Societies Association (BSA) suggests that since September 2010 raising a deposit has been the main ...




December 14, 2012

Asda flier promotes expensive cash withdrawals

by Jan Harris
Asda flier promotes expensive cash withdrawals
The ‘Asda Price’ slogan took on a whole new meaning after a flier, designed to look like a Christmas card, suggested that Asda Money customers should withdraw cash from an ATM using their credit card. Customers withdrawing cash on their credit card are charged 3 per cent of the amount withdrawn, or £5, whichever is greater, making it a very expensive transaction. The ...




Car insurance prices falling

by Jan Harris
Car insurance prices falling
The cost of car insurance fell by 6.6 per cent this month, compared with a year ago, according to Tiger Watch, the car insurance price monitor produced by Tiger.co.uk. Compared with November, prices increased by 0.4 per cent, but across a three month period, prices have fallen to a two-year low. Competition between insurance providers is pushing prices down, according to Tiger.co.uk. However, the gap ...




December 13, 2012

Chancellor open-minded about ending inflation target

by Jan Harris
Chancellor open-minded about ending inflation target
Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed remarks made by the incoming Governor of the Bank of England about scrapping the inflation target to focus on gross domestic product (GDP). Such a change in strategy would require the Bank of England to introduce new measure to stimulate the economy, even if this caused inflation to rise. Mark Carney, who will take over from Sir ...




Shepshed Building Society joins with The Nottingham

by Jan Harris
Shepshed Building Society joins with The Nottingham
The Nottingham and Shepshed building societies will merge in July 2013, with Shepshed’s three branches being rebranded under The Nottingham name. Shepshed Building Society, which has branches in Shepshed and Loughborough, Leicestershire; and Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, has struggled to grow in the face of economic downturn and increased competition, prompting it to seek a merger. It has assets of around £93 million and ...




December 12, 2012

Moneyfacts reports fall in number of savings accounts

by Jan Harris
Moneyfacts reports fall in number of savings accounts
The Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), launched by the Bank of England and the Treasury this summer, has caused a sharp fall in the number of accounts available for savers, according to Moneyfacts, a leading provider of personal finance data. FLS is designed to increase the availability of mortgages and business loans by providing banks and building societies with ...




Large deposits still challenging first-time buyers

by Jan Harris
Large deposits still challenging time buyers
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is forecasting a positive year in 2013 for the UK property market, but first-time buyers are still struggling to find the large deposits required by mortgage lenders. The CML has recorded a steady increase in mortgage lending with 49,500 home loans advanced for house purchases in October. This represents a rise of 13.8% from September, a slower ...




December 11, 2012

HSBC fined $1.92 billion by US authorities

by Jan Harris
HSBC fined $1.92 billion by US authorities
HSBC has received a record $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion) fine from US federal and state authorities after its poor money laundering controls allowed it to be used as a conduit for drug barons and nations on which sanctions had been imposed, including Iran. Following a multi-agency investigation HSBC was charged with violating sanctions by transferring billions of dollars for sanctioned nations ...




Northern Rock customers to receive windfall

by Jan Harris
Northern Rock customers to receive windfall
Northern Rock customers could receive a windfall of around £1,700 because of an error in the wording of loan statements. The mistake, made by the nationalised part of the bank, will cost UK taxpayers a total of £270 million. Up to 152,000 customers who took out personal loans of less than £25,000 will receive an average of £1,775 because information was ...




Government acts to curb whiplash epidemic

by Jan Harris
Government acts to curb whiplash epidemic
Medical panels could be introduced to assess car drivers and passengers making an insurance claim for a whiplash injury following an accident. The number of personal injury claims relating to road accidents has soared by 60 per cent since 2006, despite a 20 per cent fall in road traffic accidents and the government is to consult on a number of possible measures ...