Evaluate Quotes on Medicare Complement Insurance coverage

Medicare complement insurance coverage, or Medigap, is private medical insurance that insurers promote to fill in the gaps in regular Medicare coverage. These supplemental insurance coverage policies pay a number of the health care costs that Medicare does not cover. If you have both Medicare and a Medigap coverage, the 2 policies share the prices of lined health care. If you’re in unique Medicare and you have a Medigap coverage, Medicare will pays its share of the Medicare-authorised amounts for lined health care costs. After Medicare pays, then the Medigap coverage pays its share Supplemental medicare insurance comparisons.

Insurance corporations might promote any of 12 completely different standardized supplemental insurance coverage policies called Medigap Plans A by way of L. These policies should observe federal and state legal guidelines designed to protect consumers. As a result of state legal guidelines vary, customers in different states might have completely different options. For example, in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Medicare complement insurance coverage policies are standardized in different ways. One factor is identical in each state: All Medigap policies should carry the words, “Medicare Supplement Insurance.”

Every plan, A by way of L, has a different set of benefits. Every insurance coverage company decides for itself which of the A by way of L policies it wants to sell. An insurance coverage company should, nevertheless, promote plan A if it sells some other Medicare complement insurance coverage plan. The advantages in plans A by way of L vary, but they are the same for any insurance coverage company. That is, plan A has a different set of benefits from plan B, but plan A has the same benefits irrespective of who sells it. Nevertheless, completely different insurance coverage corporations can charge completely different premiums. So, while plan A has the same benefits irrespective of who sells it, completely different insurance coverage corporations can charge completely different premiums for a plan A policy. That’s why it’s necessary to compare costs.

Generally, customers who buy Medicare complement insurance coverage policies should have Medicare Part A and Part B. Shoppers have to pay the month-to-month Medicare Part B premium plus the Medigap premium.

Married couples should buy separate Medigap policies. Medigap policies don’t provide any spousal benefits, nor do they cover lengthy-time period care, imaginative and prescient or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and private-obligation nurses.

Shoppers ought to compare Medicare complement insurance coverage policies as a result of costs can vary. Every insurance coverage company decides how it will set the premiums. Some insurance coverage corporations supply reductions for low risk individuals, comparable to non-smokers or for certain forms of fee options. On-line Medicare complement insurance coverage agents can assist customers compare costs for their states.

Ideas For Property Sellers At Any Level

Time was, you could list just about any property of any condition and sell it without any hassle. Needless to say, people are more cognizant these days and would not settle on a home that is not properly maintained. Consider these quick tips.

Are You A Property Seller? Some Quick Guidelines

As we mentioned earlier, it used to be quite easy to sell property. As long as the structure was in any kind of decent shape, you could expect offers to rain down when it hit the market. Why, it was even possible back then to close a sale before the fact – before the property ever hitting the market! Yes, those were the days of the sellers’ market, but those days are far behind us now.

Unfortunately, the real estate market has cooled off quite a bit. It is not as big a hit as it was about five to ten years ago. As a seller, this means you need to start focusing on the fundamentals of selling your property. This is a comprehensive, yet concise list of tips to help you to this end.

Buying a piece of property involves the buyer’s emotions. Your goal is to inveigle your potential customers by setting up your property accordingly. In short, you may have to seriously redecorate or redesign your property. And here are some ways how:

Cut back the forest known as your yard.

If your landscaping isn’t that great, spend the money on new plants to make it look appealing. This means purchasing new plants, because after all, the buyer will want to envision himself/herself residing in the property.

Clean the roof and fix any loose shingles, etc. The roof will often be scrutinized closely by buyers and appraisers.

Be meticulous in making sure your house’s interior still has an immaculate paint job, including all nooks and crannies. This is because buyers will inevitably be twice as meticulous as the owners.

Of course, you should also take care of paint issues found on your property’s exterior. You want to be especially vigilant about the sides of your property and behind any plants that may be poised against the walls.

Buyers will look closely at your garage – clean it up, especially the floor. You may not believe it, but oil spots, no matter how small they are, can be a deal-breaker. A super clean driveway and garage floor is a sign of a seller that has made a major effort to maintain the property, a factor buyers will view very favorably.

Last, but not the least, use the Internet to list your property for sale. More so than ever before, people are using the online medium to find pristine pieces of property. People will not see your property if it is not listed.

At the end of the day, all of the above boils down to one real theme. What would you look for if you were out shopping for a property? Use this for your data gathering, analyze, and draw a conclusion that should tell you what exactly needs to be fixed up in your property.

Trust us for your next baton rouge custom windows project. Make a great first impression by adding baton rouge custom doors to your home.

Boosting Your Enterprise With Medicare Complement Leads

Working as a profitable insurance agent in at this time’s struggling financial system is not at all times simple, and since times are powerful for everyone, it is a really perfect opportunity to provide your consumer base a boost with certified Medicare supplement leads Medicare supplement insurance leads.

Whereas the financial system has been difficult for everyone, it is played a particularly damaging role within the lives of senior residents, a majority of whom are struggling to afford medical care and really feel a common sense of uncertainty within the world. Whereas Medicare covers a great number of expenses, it does not pay for the whole lot, and a Medicare supplement can go a great distance towards relieving the monetary burdens many seniors face.

Sadly, too few seniors perceive the way the system works, and are frustrated and disheartened to learn that even with Medicare and Social Security, making ends meet is not precisely a simple task. Even fewer seniors are aware that supplemental Medicare insurance exists, until they’re being informed about it by a sketchy telemarketer, making the whole thought look like a scam.

Connecting seniors in need with reputable and experienced insurance brokers is beneficial to all, and one thing as simple as certified Medicare supplement leads is all it takes to begin the ball shifting in the fitting direction. Sadly, these leads are too often not the ones supplied by lead era providers employed by insurance companies, leaving everybody concerned feeling a bit disillusioned and like the unwitting sufferer in a world filled with scam artists.

Thankfully, there are alternatives, and finding a legitimate and nicely-established lead era service to provide you with pre-certified Medicare supplement leads may be precisely what you’ll want to put some additional revenue in your life, whereas helping others that genuinely need the advice. The trick is solely to seek out a couple of hidden gems among the virtual bevy of options.

Be Cautious About Finding Your Medicare Complement Leads

The truth of the matter is that virtually anybody can set up a lead era company, notably if they’re banking on making a living promoting amount over quality. The difference between most of these firms, and more legitimate, nicely-established options, is that they’re interested primarily in promoting you a product and getting you out the door. They’re nicely-aware that you’re prone to be dissatisfied with their service and aren’t relying on you as a repeat customer. As a substitute, the company is banking on a unending provide of first time clients desperate to boost gross sales

A good lead era company, however, is going to sit down down with you and talk about your personal needs, at all times going the additional mile to match your product with the target demographic. In terms of the Medicare supplement leads you need, you possibly can’t afford to deal with something less than the most effective, so if a company does not strike you as professional and knowledgeable, it is time to go elsewhere.

Medicare Change Creates Alternative

Reform translates as change. The brand new Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirement of eighty % for the person and small enterprise market in addition to 85 % for giant enterprise protection implemented by healthcare reform could have more and more lengthy-term implications for many insurers Medicare changes for 2012.

Roughly forty seven million people throughout the USA are enrolled in Medicare, after which about 25 % of those persons are enrolled in Medicare Benefit policies. MA policies were onerous hit by healthcare reform. Starting 2011, the government will substantially minimize funding for MA policies to attempt to bring expenses consistent with conventional Medicare. In response to a recent government survey of Medicare Benefit insurers by the Vitality and Commerce Committee, -thirds of MA plans fall short of the newly obligatory eighty five % loss ratio, which implies greater than 15 % of their premium dollars went to revenue, advertising, in addition to different corporate and administrative expenses – not to medical expenses. In contrast, 98 % of conventional Medicare’s cash is spent immediately on medical care. In response to committee chairman, Henry Waxman, “This report shows Medicare Benefit insurers are squandering billions of dollars on overhead costs – in truth, they spend 10 instances the overall quantity per beneficiary as conventional Medicare.”

Troubles with the 5-Star Ranking System
Another trouble for MA insurers usually is the Five-Star Ranking System. Just a few years back, this government commenced ranking Medicare Benefit policies by a scale of 1 to 5, with five being the best. The system was created to make it easier for Seniors to make extra knowledgeable decisions. Under healthcare reform, the ranking system can be used to award bonuses to the most effective policies, and MA firms will have an incentive to shed areas with low satisfaction and high criticism ratios, spurring even more dis-enrollments. However the ranking system means little, if something, to most Seniors, who choose their Medicare Benefit plan based on value and entry, not ratings. The overwhelming majority of MA members aren’t in highly rated policies as a result of the plans aren’t accessible in their areas, so bonuses make little sense and do not benefit Seniors. They only add to the cost of MA programs. MA policies’ gross overspending and incapacity to fulfill the 85 % MLR means many extra Medicare Benefit insurers will continue leaving the marketplace as several have already. That means tens of millions of Seniors may be turning back to Unique Medicare and looking for a traditional Medicare Supplement.

If they spend cash with a Plan F and have few claims, they’ve, nonetheless, still paid increased premium. With an HDF lower premium, they’ve an opportunity to take care of the difference in premium and contribute some part of those savings to our optionally available Reserve Fund Annuity at a three % rate of interest, which exceeds the return on most financial institution accounts and CDs. When you sell an HDF plan (as a substitute of a Plan F) with an optionally available Reserve Fund Annuity, it allows the prospect to fund their annual deductible quantity through a Firm car, whereas earning a very competitive three % interest on their deposits. The RFA allows the Firm to pay for the policyholder’s medical expenses before their coverage benefits take effect, utilizing buyer funds from the RFA. Even whereas utilizing fifty dollars minimum monthly allocation in direction of the RFA, the customer spends less total than if they’d bought a plan F by itself. That frees up cash for them to buy further protection they might need. This can result in further commission for you, not to point out a properly-cared-for buyer!

What is forward for Worksite sales?
The U.S. economic system still may be struggling, however employers’ interest in voluntary benefits is not. In response to Eastbridge Consulting Group, main consultants in the worksite market, “As employers’ budgets have been squeezed and medical health insurance costs have continued to rise, the function of voluntary benefits has grown. We have heard from employers who believe in the importance of voluntary benefits, and these employers anticipate 2010 to be a good year.”

During a survey of greater than five hundred benefit managers in businesses ranging from ten staff to 1000′s of staff, Eastbridge found the variety of employers offering at the very least one voluntary benefit increased in the final 3 years. At this time, sixty six % of all employers provide a minimum of 1 voluntary benefit, and employers with 10 to one hundred staff have seen probably the most growth in recent years. The Eastbridge survey showed the everyday variety of merchandise offered by an employer is three to 4, however some employers surveyed offered as many as 12.

Uncover the 8 Vital Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medicare Complement Plan

Once you qualify for Medicare, there are a lot of options for a Medigap, or supplemental coverage plan. All the knowledge out there can make the method confusing, nevertheless use this information to assist assist ask the fitting questions so you can perceive the differences Medicare advantage plans in florida.

The 8 Essential Questions YOU MUST Ask When Choosing a Medicare Plan

1. Do I retain my rights to Medicare Part A & B?

The reason you want to ask this question is because despite the fact that you could have your rights to Medicare Part A and B, your choices on where you employ your advantages could also be limited. For example, Most Medicare Advantage plans have a community which you need to use to get your advantages, if you happen to exit of the community you could pay a much higher portion of the bill or not even covered at all unless it’s an emergency situation.

2. Will I be capable to see the same physician or visit the same hospital?
Simply as in the question above, if your favourite physician or hospital is just not in the Medicare Advantage community, then you will have to make a selection on whether or not the plan is worth it. Alternatively a Medicare Complement plan together with Unique Medicare will not restrict you to a community, so long as the physician or facility accepts Medicare then they are going to settle for your Medicare Complement as well.

3. Is there a co pay-and if that’s the case, how much?
At present the Medicare Complement plans would not have a copay choice, nevertheless among the plans to require you to maintain your Part B deductible. Depending on the plan, this might nonetheless be a great choice relying on what your month-to-month premium is. There are some supplement plans that maintain each your Part A & B deductible for you.
Medicare Advantage programs typically have a co-pay, deductible and an out of pocket maximum that you’re accountable for each year. Watch out, these plans additionally change each year as properly, so your co-pays and deductibles might enhance from year to year.

4. Is there an out of pocket maximum?
Medicare Advantage plans do have an out of pocket maximum, which is the portion you are required to pay above and beyond your deductibles and co-insurance. Medicare Complement plans typically have a deductible you need to meet if there’s one and that is it, when you meet your deductible the plan takes care of the rest.

5. What happens if I travel to Florida or exterior of my normal space -am I nonetheless covered?

With Medicare Complement plans, the only requirement is that the provider accepts medicare, then your advantages will maintain the remaining as much as your plan limits. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you could only be covered in emergency conditions or if there happens to be coverage you are typically uncovered for much rather more of the expenses incurred. Make sure you look at your plan advantages abstract to see what your true monetary publicity is.

6. Does it cowl prescriptions? Glasses? Dental?
Medicare Complement plans don’t cowl prescriptions glasses or dental, you will have to obtain a separate policy for these coverages. Medicare benefit programs usually are not required to offer all of those advantages however you could find some plans that incorporate a few of these advantages inside your plan.
There are some Medicare Advantage plans that do have prescription coverage included, nevertheless the included prescription plan is probably not the best option for you. Make sure you look at all options earlier than you select a plan.

7. What does the coverage price, and can my charges go up?
Sometimes the Medicare Advantage have a lower month-to-month premium when in comparison with a Medicare Complement program, nevertheless your potential total expenses each year could also be 2x, 3x, maybe even 5 instances the amount you’d spend on a Medicare Complement plan. Don’t just look at the month-to-month, additionally factor in your doctors co-pays, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses you’d be accountable for during the year.

As for charges going up, just as with every other type of insurance program, charges do change infrequently because they need to compensate for his or her actual expenses .

Medicare Advantage programs however also have one other issue you could want to consider, the current administration has made many statements and started to take motion in the direction of decreasing the funding for the Medicare Advantage programs, because of the fact that it costs Medicare more than Unique Medicare benefits. Which as an agent concerns me as to what is going to happen to the advantages of those programs over the lengthy haul.

8. As my agent, how much commission will you make?
Each firm sets a commission amount that they’re prepared to pay an agent or advisor to recommend their product. The businesses pay the brokers instantly so you must never need to pay an agent for his or her services. The opposite thought course of is that you’re paying that agent for his or her companies by being their shopper, so are they thinking about more than what they’ll make for each sale. Medicare Advantage commissions are accredited by Medicare and launched by the personal companies, relying on the scenario there could also be extra of a monetary incentive for an agent to position you in on product as an alternative of the product that’s best for you. Do not be afraid to ask your potential agent how they will be compensated for that product they recommend, in comparison with other potential products.

Choosing a Good Fuel Card

For a variety of reasons, from conservation to price, it's more important than ever to think about your car's fuel consumption. With the current concerns about fuel shortages and rising prices, you probably think more about the amount and expense of fuel you put into your vehicle than you used to. Because of this, many gas or petrol stations have made efforts to introduce quality fuel or gas card programs. Consumers are more aware that ever of gas prices, and every little bit of money saved is an incentive.

There are several types of gas cards available. Some are geared towards individuals and work like credit cards. Others are for businesses, and work only in certain locations or for certain vehicles. Gift fuel cards are also available in a variety of money amounts --and while a fuel card may not be the most romantic gift you'll ever give, it just might be the most useful.

Gas Card Options

Most private fuel cards work just like credit cards. You simply apply for the card online or in your favorite gas station. There are several benefits to owning a gas card, and these benefits depend entirely on the kind of card you choose. Some, such as the Discover Open Road card, work as both regular credit cards and gas cards. These cards tend to give you a cash back bonus on all gasoline or automobile maintenance purchases. In the case of Discover Open Road, this bonus is 5%. The benefit to this kind of card is that it can be used at any gas or petrol station.

Others, such as the Chevron Texaco Basic Card, offer you a 5$ per month credit when you fill up your tank using the card at least twice each billing period. This card also offers a premium plan for $25 per month. This plan works just as the basic plan, but also offers discounts on hotels, car rentals, flights, etc. Most gas or petrol station offer cards with similar plans.

Another good option when it comes to fuel cards is pre-paid cards. Pre-paid fuel cards allow you to put a certain amount of money on a card, then use it like a credit card. Similar to pre-paid calling cards, pre-paid gas cards make great gifts, and also work well for business purposes or employee perks.

Another option for businesses which pay to fuel company-owned vehicles is the business fuel card. Business gas cards allow businesses to control and analyze fuel expenses. Most of these cards, such as the Chevron Texaco Business Card, offer customized cards for each driver and vehicle, as well as itemized statements and reports to help businesses analyze and track fuel purchases throughout their business.

Whether looking for a way to pay for a teenage child's fuel, or to save some money on skyrocketing fuel prices, or to track business expenses, a gas card really can make your life easier. As fuel prices only continue to rise, the savings they offer begin to pay off more and more.

How To Apply For A Bank Loan

Many small businesses will visit banks hoping to receive a loan to get their business off the ground and of those only a few will walk out with a check. Most financial institutions are over cautious when it comes to lending money to new businesses due to the historically high failure rate of new businesses.

Its no real secret that in order to get a business loan from most banks, you have to be able to show that you really do not need their loan. While bank may be interested in financing businesses, their main concern is the ability to repay the money and insuring the business owner has sufficient collateral and liquid assets to help meet expenses during downturns in the business.

While they may be reluctant to hand money out for a new business there are some thing a business can do to promote a favorable decision and walking into the loan officers office on your knees with your hands folded in a pleading position is not one of them. You must walk into the office with air of confidence, not to be confused with arrogance and dress professionally looking like a potential business owner and a person of integrity who is capable of accepting responsibility for their actions.

Check your credit report before applying for a loan and work to clear out any negative items it may contain. This can take some time so starting on it early can have it cleaned up to more accurately represent your credit worthiness at the time the application is submitted. There are different types of business loans available, some for equipment and some for operating capital and they all have different criteria, which must be met. Make sure you are applying for the right type of business loan. You may qualify to borrow money for new equipment or upgrades but not qualify for an operations expense loan.

Regardless of the type of loan you apply for, be prepared to offer specific reasons why the money is needed. It will not be enough to state the money will be used for business expenses. You will have to break it down into specific amounts for specific purposes. Many bank will not ask for the use of each and every penny of the loan but generalizations about the use of the cash will not be looked upon favorably.

Even with these three issues being addressed there are other factors that will play into the banks decision such as the type of business you are starting and your experience in running that type of business. For example, if you managed a video store for several years and want to open a restaurant, the business aspect of running the store will be a plus but having little or no experience in food service willl be a negative on your application.

Equipment Leasing Gives Your Business the Competitive Edge

Equipment costs are a huge business expense, whether you are purchasing the equipment to start your business or upgrading your machines to the latest technology. With so many businesses running on thin profit margins, equipment financing decisions can make or break a company.

Seasoned business owners know that leasing equipment is a much more profitable choice than purchase for many reasons.

Financial advantages of equipment leasing:

Financing new equipment usually means taking a bank loan with the associated fees and interest. During this time, the equipment loses value faster than balance of the loan decreases, leaving the business in a negative asset situation. If the equipment needs to be replaced before the loan is paid off, it must be sold at a loss and another loan secured to purchase new equipment.

With leased equipment, the business pays for the equipment only as long as it is useful. If the company ever wishes to upgrade to newer technology, the old equipment is taken away and new equipment delivered. With a new lease in place, equipment financing continues as before without a loss of assets.

Technological advantages of leasing equipment:

Today almost every piece of equipment a company acquires is obsolete long before it stops working. With the substantial costs of upgrading, companies can be forced to use old machinery when more efficient options are available.

Leasing equipment allows a company to upgrade at any time, staying on the leading edge of technology and getting an advantage over competitors still using traditional purchase arrangements.

Finding equipment to lease:

With leasing being such a cost-effective choice for businesses, there are plenty of equipment leasing companies competing for your business. Shopping around allows you find the company that provides the best terms for your unique business needs.

When evaluating leasing companies, consider more than just your bottom line payments. The terms and conditions of a lease can vary widely so read them carefully to ensure you are getting the contract your organization needs. Features such as approval time or payment deferral options can make a contract even more attractive.

How equipment leasing brokers work:

Shopping equipment financing options can be a daunting task, which is where a broker can help. Brokers handle all of the legwork and have the expertise and contacts to find the best terms, prices, and conditions. Best of all, the service costs you nothing.

Because brokers represent a wide range of leasing companies, your business gets the advantage of more leasing options, thus improving your chance of finding the perfect deal to maximize company profits. By forming a partnership with a qualified and experienced broker, you give your company a competitive edge over other providers in your industry

Bank of England Shipwrecked on Northern Rock

The handling of the liquidity crisis at Northern Rock by the UK authorities has become a major embarrassment for the government and Gordon Brown in particular. The new Prime Minister has always stressed his achievements as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the period 1997 to 2007, while he was waiting in the wings for Tony Blair to retire. Yet within several days, his reputation for prudent economic management has been undermined.

The problems at Northern Rock, and other financial institutions, did not appear overnight. The crisis in the USA subprime loans market was well documented, as was the fact that this dodgy debt had been repackaged and sold on to UK and EU banks. Major banks in Germany as well as Barclays Bank in the UK are rumoured to have significant exposure to these dubious assets.

Northern Rock is a proactive UK mortgage lender who attracts some 73% of its funds from the wholesale market, and only 27% from private depositors. The subprime banking crisis effectively dried up the source of these funds from other mainstream UK banks and financial institutions.

What differentiated the UK from the USA and the EU, was the response of the respective governments and central banks. The Federal Reserve and the EU central bank were significantly easing liquidity pressures in financial markets during the summer of 2007. The Bank of England adopted a laissez faire posture and made statements to the effect that financial institutions should not expect to be protected by the Bank of England if they make imprudent decisions.

When the Northern Rock crisis became public and the Bank of England announced support, its position was endorsed by the UK government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. However, ordinary investors were not persuaded by the Chancellor's bland assurance that Northern Rock was solvent, and there was a run on the bank.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme means that savings up to GBP2,000 are protected in full, and the next GBP33,000 at 95%. Beyond GBP35,000, there is no protection. Savers who were in a line outside Northern Rock branches often had deposits in excess of GBP50,000 invested in the bank.

The media coverage of panicking depositors who took no notice of the assurances of the Chancellor of the Exchequer evidently riled Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister. On 17 September 2007, the government announced that all savings in Northern Rock would be protected. This had the desired effect, and the run on the bank was contained.

On 19 September, the Governor of the Bank of England made a major U-turn. Only the week before, he was stating that central banks should only intervene when there are 'economic costs on a scale sufficient to ignore the moral hazard of the future'.

In plain language, what this means is that intervention by the Bank of England is a last resort. It should only take place in dire circumstances. If the Bank bales out any financial institution which experiences problems, due to its own stupidity or imprudent policies, the Bank's support could be construed as endorsing or even rewarding bad practice and could encourage other institutions to take excessive risks in the pursuit of profits.

The Bank of England has now announced a package of measures which will effectively enable all UK banks to weather the current crisis, regardless of whether they have operated imprudently or not.

This has now moved the focus of attention away from the troubles of Northern Rock and has led to questions concerning the Bank of England's handling of the crisis.

This U-turn raises a series of intriguing questions. Firstly, if these measures had been put in place two weeks ago, would the crisis at Northern Rock have been averted?

Although this is a hypothetical question, the answer is probably in the affirmative. Whether such a move would be good for the UK economy is probably to be answered in the negative.

Secondly, could the problems at Northern Rock have been handled better? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Northern Rock would have been an attractive target for takeover activity. However, the damage to the brand name is now irredeemable and there is little likelihood of a takeover at an early date. In any event, the brand name is likely to be a liability rather than an asset.

Thirdly, is the Bank of England to blame? While the Governor of the Bank was forced to make an embarrassing U-turn, the hidden hand of the government is easy to detect. There are few precedents for UK banks going bankrupt in recent history. While London and County Securities and other secondary banks went bankrupt in 1973, none of these companies was a major player on the scale of Northern Rock. However, in 1973, the Bank of England did launch a lifeboat scheme in order to avert a domino effect. It was rumoured at the time that Nat West Plc was at risk.

The 1973 lifeboat scheme is obviously well known to current Bank of England staff. One can infer that the Governor and his colleagues were initially prepared to let Northern Rock go into receivership and for its mortgage loans to be taken over by a stronger organisation. The depositors' funds would be safeguarded, but there would have been many sleepless nights.

It would seem that the Bank of England is independent of the UK government when it is pursuing government policy. However, if it pursues policies which it deems in the interests of the UK economy, yet are contrary to short term political expediency, then this independence is an illusion.

By sending out a lifeboat, the Bank of England has become shipwrecked on Northern Rock.

Ernie Johnson Jr. Inspires Teams at Dr Pepper TEN Classic Luncheon

An incredible weekend of high school basketball tipped off on the afternoon of Feb. 5 with a message of love, gratitude and faith from famed broadcaster Ernie Johnson Jr. at the Mountain View Auto Group Luncheon to open the Dr Pepper TEN Classic at McCallie.

Mr. Johnson is the host of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, where he does his best to keep control amid the antics of co-hosts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith, and he shared some of the more funny moments from the show to open the luncheon. However he brought a more serious message to inspire to the players from McCallie, Oak Hill Academy, Chattanooga Central and Hamilton Heights, as well as the many guests who came to the luncheon at Walker Forum in the Sports and Activities Center.

Mr. Johnson is the son of former Atlanta Braves broadcaster and Milwaukee Braves pitcher Ernie Johnson Sr., and his address at McCallie was titled “An Unscripted Life” to reflect the joys that living life in full regardless of the ups and downs one faces along the way.

With two days of basketball about to begin, Mr. Johnson urged the athletes to remember that “sometimes the game isn’t the most important thing.” Rather, looking for special moments and ways to connect with those around you are what will create the lasting memories and impact in life.

These special moments of unexpected joy are what Mr. Johnson calls “blackberry moments” after an incident he experienced in little league baseball as a child.

Mr. Johnson also discussed some of the challenges in his life, from his battle with cancer to raising his adopted son Michael, who struggles with several physical problems yet still brings joy to his family and everyone around him.

“I wouldn't want to change a thing because it's taken me places I never would have gone,” Mr. Johnson said of his life. “I just want to live in the moment and leave a legacy for my grandkids.”

To conclude his remarks, Mr. Johnson urged his audience to live in such a way as to make every situation in life better because you were there and left the the athletes and coaches with three things to remember in life and sports.

Add value.
Trust God. period
Never fail to stand in awe of how God connects the dots.

Mr. Johnson’s visit to McCallie was the fitting start to a great weekend of basketball. Oak Hill Academy — the No. 2 high school team in the nation — won both its games, and had a strong performance by Warriors guard Lindell Wigginton, who also won the Lamp Post Group Dunk Contest and the Platinum Financial Funding Three-Point contest.

McCallie played well in its loss to Oak Hill on Friday, and bounced back to beat Central on Saturday night in front of a sell-out crowd on the final night of the event.

The first-ever Dr Pepper TEN Classic proved to be a huge success, giving Chattanooga basketball fans a chance to see some of the best high school players and teams in the nation at McCallie. The interest of fans and the great experiences had by all four teams in 2016 lays the foundation for even better things in coming years.

A Reflection on This Year

No one asked me point blank, but should the question come, my answer for why USN is here in 2016 would be twofold—for starters, we pledge to the world that we “model best educational practice” (drawn directly from our underplayed mission statement), and past that, we carry a responsibility to do our part writing the school community’s story on our watch. Seeing our work in focus through those two lenses puts the daily stuff, the mountains and mountains of daily stuff, in context, at least for me.

On the best practice front, it’s as simple and as humbling as asking whether everything we do rises to the level of being a model for any school in our circumstances, and maybe for any school at all. What we teach, how we teach, and why we teach combine to define a curriculum, a K-12 odyssey of things to know and to do and to think about. Every program component, every educational experience, every familiar routine, every cherished tradition, every idea yet to be realized should get the same scrutiny. It's no small task, and no task ever fully completed, but the commitment to do the work is disarmingly simple.

Examples of this promise pursued would be 2015-2016’s range of “vertical team” teacher conversations about our K-4 academic scope and sequence, while the 5-8 faculty looked at whether and how to continue with a one to one technology program, and the 9-12 faculty launched a test version of a course for new high schoolers to help build their capacity to succeed with the challenges they will face here. Meanwhile, our web guru Steve Smail and his project partner Matthew Haber did the grunt work to get our massive curricular design and description software complete and ready for wider use by June.

This is also the year we sponsored a look at our diversity and inclusion work, squarely within the best practice mandate, hosting Patricia Romney in October to provide observations and insights. We’ve since been talking about how to best turn her recommendations on curriculum, community, hiring, and cultural competence into productive next steps, and response from my colleagues has been enormously gratifying. Best practice culture is just as crucial as best practice program.

The other pillar of purpose for us is to not take this post-Centennial moment for granted. Given the hundred year running start for our future, we need to get our feet on the pedals and not coast. Yes, our material realities have never been better, and yes, the challenge of making USN accessible to a wide range of household incomes has never been greater. Talking about the phenomenon, as I did at a SunTrust-sponsored panel for 50+ school people just two days ago, is necessary but far from sufficient. We are, in our own quiet way, hustling harder than I can ever recall to build a financial footing here that our successors will take as inspiration for their efforts in turn.

This may be remembered as the year that we began asking, perhaps for the first time in generations, some basic, basic questions about the nature of our educational model—not to risk our future but instead to guarantee that we will be around for a bicentennial. We’re more aware of our place in the sectarian, uncivil, partisan political dialogue locally and nationally, a dialogue that makes USN feel ever more like a bubble. We come at that work committed to best practice, and from a position of strength, conscious of parent-of-alumni and poetic songwriter John Prine’s pearl of wisdom that “happy people don’t write a lot of music.” But these happy people need to write that music.

Continue to see a downward bias as the year progresses

Research Team at BNZ, suggests that the weaker fundamentals for the AUD have helped drive the NZD down over the past couple of weeks.

“A mild recovery in the USD after being hammered through March-April has been an additional factor in driving NZD/USD down 3 cents off its recent high around 0.7055.

We continue to see a downward bias for the NZD as the year progresses, helped by further RBA and RBNZ easing, in a world where other central banks have approached their limits for further policy easing. Another US Fed rate hike is expected to come into play later in the year, adding to a downward NZD/USD bias.”

What Dark Knight Rises and the CFPB’s First Anniversary Have in Common

A dark army descends on Gotham. Hungry for power, possessed by delusion, its leaders will stop at nothing in their quest to destroy the work of honest men, intimidate those who fight for good, and force free citizens into cowed subservience. I am not talking about “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest installment of the Batman franchise, the premier of which this Friday I (and the entire free world, it seems) am avidly waiting to see. No. The army of evil that troubles me far more is the one aimed squarely at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which celebrates its first birthday this week.

The bureau, created two years ago as the centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is a critically important force for good in our economy. As it develops and matures, the bureau will be crucial in stopping predatory mortgages, bank fee gouging, credit card interest ponzi schemes, payday loan sharks and all manner of financial tricks invented by the financial services industry to fatten big banks’ wallets and fleece ordinary Americans. That’s good for consumers, it’s good for legitimate businesses, and it’s good for the long-term health of the banks themselves.

But the army of darkness isn’t in this game for what’s right. It is interested only in maximizing short-term profit and campaign contributions, even if it means destroying Gotham, the American electoral system (here’s lookin’ at you, Citizens United) and the American middle class. This cast of villains wants only one thing: deregulation. In the case of the CFPB, this means gutting it entirely. That’s because only deregulated markets offer the kind of volatility on which much of Wall Street now depends. The economy improves, or the economy drops off a cliff. It doesn’t really matter to Wall Street because either way, some traders will call their bets and reap billions in profit. And the good citizens of Gotham get taken by the house.

Wall Street’s cast of villains can’t kill the CFPB by themselves, of course. That’s why they bankroll a staff of senators, congressmen and now a presidential candidate. These elected officials act as the army’s public face, and they have been quite industrious in their efforts to kill the bureau from the start. First, Republican members of the U.S. Senate threatened a filibuster to prevent President Obama from nominating a director to lead the bureau. Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law Professor birthmother of the CFPB, was driven out of town. Then, the Gang of 45 signed a letter to the president demanding changes that would gut the bureau’s power, and responded with howls of fake indignation when the president (rightly) ignored them. They even pulled an obscure parliamentary trick to get Congress to try and prevent Obama from appointing a director while Congress was in recess (a ploy that the president also ignored, thank goodness).

None of the bad guys’ tricks has worked so far. But that doesn’t mean they’ve given up. They are a dogged lot. Already they’ve introduced nine separate bills to undo the most important protections created by Dodd-Frank. (Would you expect any less of a crew which has unsuccessfully voted to repeal Obamacare 33 times?) And Mitt Romney, this year’s standard bearer of Wall Street’s army of NoMads (“No you can’t,” and “I’m mad as Hell” Tea Party loyalists), has promised to gut the CFPB entirely if he wins the Oval Office this November.

In the spirit of service to Gotham and good citizens everywhere, I offer this compilation of leaders of Wall Street’s army of darkness. Over the last two years they have proven themselves to be persistent enemies of good government and the rule of law (remember fellas, Dodd-Frank is the law).

As you prepare to spend a couple hours in air conditioned splendor watching the Dark Knight kick some evil butt, keep this list in mind and ask yourself, “Who will be our guardian angel to protect us from these all-too-real forces of destruction?”
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) — “The Joker”

Rep. Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, likes to think he’s funny. In a speech before the Community Bankers of America in May 2011, the Distinguished Gentleman (I use the term advisedly) from Alabama said that his opposition to the CFPB “Has nothing to do with Elizabeth Warren, it really has nothing to do with her.” And then, with a laugh, he added, “I will not take a lie detector test.”

The hilarity does not stop there. In 2010, Bachus told the Birmingham News, “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks. (emphasis added)“ This brand of hubris and lunacy would have been funny if this point of view hadn’t already caused the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
This paragon of comedic irony has over the course of his congressional career (since 1992) been the recipient of some $5,876,134 in personal and PAC donations from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) — “Two Face”
Sen. Shelby likes to talk about how much he supports the consumer bureau’s mission. “Everyone supports consumer protection,” Shelby has said in press releases and committee hearings.

But his other face tells a different story. Shelby continually stretches the truth regarding the bureau’s power. He has called it “the most powerful, yet unaccountable agency in the federal government.” Not true, but that’s of little consequence to the Senator. In reality, the CFPB has more checks on its power than any other financial regulator, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which gives other agencies the power to veto any of the CFPB’s rules.

Since 1989, Senator Two Face has been the grateful recipient of $6,316,830 in personal and PAC donations from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.
Rep. (and Speaker of the House of Representatives) John Boehner (R-OH) — “The Black Mask”

In Batman comic books, the Black Mask led a shadowy organization called “The False Face Society.” Like him, Rep. Boehner loves to paint his enemies with false faces. To prevent President Obama from naming a director to lead the CFPB while Congress was in recess, Boehner helped concoct a bizarre parliamentary ruse called “pro forma” sessions, which kept Congress nominally open by having a lone representative gavel the body into session each day (some “sessions” lasted just 30 seconds).

When Obama ignored this silly attempt to stymie a president from using his Constitutionally-mandated power to appoint people to the executive branch, Boehner exploded. “This is an extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab by President Obama that defies centuries of practice,” Boehner said, conveniently ignoring his own extraordinary and unprecedented power grab.

The Speaker also likes to talk a lot about lowering government spending, while doing his best to raise it. He says the budget that he is currently ushering through Congress would reduce spending on the CFPB, which this year represents $356 million. But bringing the bureau under Congressional budget authority would actually increase the burden on taxpayers, since currently the bureau’s money comes from the Federal Reserve, which is paid by lenders.

Why would Boehner be so quick to shift costs from big banks onto taxpayers? I don’t know, but I do know this: Since 1989, the Speaker has raked in $6,755,192 in personal and PAC donations from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — “Mr. Freeze”

Sen. McConnell has pledged to do everything he can to put the administration’s consumer protection agenda (well, actually any Obama agenda) on ice, and he’s not above using a little hyperbole to do it. McConnell apparently (and falsely) believes that the CFPB Director has enough power to “bring down the banking system in this country if he chose to, because he has unlimited power.”

Consider this: When President Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, visited Kentucky in February, McConnell welcomed him with open arms. But when it came to protecting consumers, McConnell suddenly changed his tune. “Yes, here’s the problem: this new agency answers to no one, absolutely no one — another unelected czar. We’ve got a bunch of those in the White House. We don’t need any more of them,” McConnell said to Fox’s Chris Wallace.

Perhaps Sen. Freeze was for czars before he was against them (sound familiar?).
In any event, the Gentleman from Kentucky has taken in $6,887,747 since 1989 in personal and PAC donations from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.
Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) — “Bane”

A villain of intense strength and intellect, Bane once succeeded in breaking Batman’s back. And Romney, the man who got rich at Bain Capital in part by sending American jobs overseas, would love to break Obama’s back over the CFPB if he wins the keys to the White House this November. Even though Romney isn’t exactly a darling of Congressional Republicans (but, hey, what choice do they have?), he recently applied his Etch-A-Sketch skills to pick up Rep. Bachus’s rhetoric, recently calling the CFPB “the most powerful and unaccountable bureaucracy in the history of our nation.”

If elected, this would-be leader of Wall Street’s army of darkness has a two-pronged approach to killing the CFPB. First, he promises to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act (after he repeals “Obamacare,” of course). If that doesn’t work, in May his top economic advisor, Glenn Hubbard, said that Romney would gut the bureau either by moving it out of the Fed or breaking it up and giving its powers to other agencies — which was precisely the type of ineffective-decentralized regulatory mess the CFPB was designed to reform.

Somehow, even in the midst of incessant attacks from this cast of masked villains, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has managed to do good. While dealing with a broad array of regulatory responsibilities, it created a simple, three-page contract for mortgages and credit cards, opened investigations into the secretive worlds of credit reporting and debt collection, solicited and published tens of thousands of complaints against financial institutions and chronicled their responses thereto, and has started effective programs to teach financial literacy to students and veterans.

Batman just wants to do his job of protecting Gotham from crime. And the CFPB wants to do its job of protecting consumers from financial predators. Perhaps as the Dark Knight Rises to defeat the princes of evil, American voters should finally stand up to this army of darkness.

Trump and Christian Captivity to Right-Wing Politics

Note to Readers: this is a reflection containing my opinions. Anyone is free to disagree with me. All I ask is that you hear me out and respectfully consider my perspective. I do not believe there is a uniform political position that all Christians or progressives should hold. Thank You.

The rise of Donald Trump as a serious political option should greatly concern us. One of the questions that now confronts U.S. Christians committed to justice is the following: What if Trump were to become president? Imagine. What if Trump were to become president? What would happen?

What if Trump were to feasibly deport nearly 3 million immigrants? What if he helped cover up corruption and brutality in police departments while closing down public schools? What if Trump supported overthrowing democratically-elected governments in Central America and considered deporting unaccompanied minors fleeing these countries? What if Trump, while claiming to fight for regular people, defended Payday loans which often charge well over 100% interest rates to those in struggling circumstances? What if Trump favored the most militaristic and interventionist foreign policies? What if Trump promised further militarizing the state of Israel while downplaying the suffering of Palestinians?

The list could go on and on. Wouldn’t all of these things be horrible? Well, I think many of us need a reality check. All of the things I've just mentioned, things that Trump might do, have already been done by Democrats within the past 7 years. And I'm not talking about fringe Democrats or exceptions to the party line but I'm talking about Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Debbie Schultz, and Hillary Clinton, the upper echelon and power-brokers of the Democratic Party.

Obama’s administration has deported over 2.5 million immigrants and is only increasing detention and deportation raids at the end of his tenure, including mass deportations of Muslim asylum seekers. Emanuel, as mayor of Chicago, has come under fire for covering up corruption in Chicago's police department and forcuts to public education. Clinton supported the 2009 military coup in Honduras, has called for deporting recently arrived unaccompanied minors, has earned the reputation of being one of the Democrats’ greatestwar hawks (a proud mentee of war criminal Henry Kissinger), and recently gave a speech in which she promised to further militarize Israel while implicitly calling Palestinians the oppressor. Schultz, the current chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been working to gut rules intended to reign in predatory payday lending.
My point is not to demonize Democrats or well-intentioned voters but to raise some serious questions. I’m afraid that many of us, myself included, have welded our faith and political witness too deeply into the ideology of an increasingly right-wing party. In the name of overcoming the problems of the Religious Right, progressive Christians have given Democrats an easy pass. So when Bush goes to war and pushes the Patriot Act, we condemn it but when Democrats extend the Patriot Act and position themselves for more needless, imperial wars, and regime-changes, we consider it the trade-off, the small price to pay in order to stop true evil which is always Republican. When Trump declares the things that he wants to do, we are appalled. But when Democrats have already done, are doing, and will do similar things, we look the other way.

What Trump has said and stands for is terrible. I don’t need to go into detail here since there are plenty of stories, articles, and blog posts that cover that. But I think it’s important to not condemn Trump and Trump’s followers in a one-dimensional fashion.
Last summer, I did my field education placement at a church in rural, western North Carolina. Every morning, I woke up to a Confederate flag raised across the street from the parsonage house where I was living. For a New Yorker who’d never lived in a truly rural area, it was a different experience to say the least. While getting oriented to this new town, I noticed a lot of places with the name—I’ll call it—“Flenca.” Flenca middle school, Flenca park, Flenca lake etc. etc. I asked my supervisor what this Flenca thing was all about. He explained to me that there used to be a factory named Flenca that used to employ a large percentage of the town. Many years before, the plant had left and many in the community hadn’t fully recovered economically ever since. I saw the effects of this legacy up close.

Part of my summer involved working with churches that distributed food and other forms of aid to trailer park communities. In these settings, I saw white poverty like I had never seen it before. These were people forgotten and left behind, both by Republicans and Democrats. And I finally understood why many of these same folks were socialized, by conservative leaders, to blame migrant workers and immigrants. Racism had deep roots but racism was also politically expedient. Because if they didn’t blame foreigners, they’d had to point the finger to the CEOs of Flencas, to the leadership of both political parties, and to an economic order that didn’t even work for all white people.

Jonna Ivin, wrote an essay that deeply moved me called, “I Know Why Poor Whites Chant Trump, Trump, Trump,” in which she talks about her own experiences in poverty and seeing how racism and class compound to divide people. She writes about the history of Virginia and how white indentured servanthood was replaced by black slave labor and how white elites strategically pitted poor whites against blacks.
To be sure, the racism of Trump and his followers can’t be excused. But neither can the indifference to poor people, to workers here and around the globe. In hasty efforts to denounce Trump, it’s important to be aware of the anger and frustration that he’s tapped into, anger that sometimes is actually based on real problems but nevertheless directed in disastrous directions.

As Chris Hedges reminds us, the classic temptation of fascism is to tap into the anger of disaffected people while scapegoating foreigners. Liberals are in the awkward position of having to admit that half of what Trump says about trade agreements is true even if he himself is a walking contradiction. As Christians who live in the most powerful nation in the world right now, for better or for worse, we have a responsibility to think not just about the vulnerable people here but the vulnerable people everywhere who are impacted by what is done or agreed upon here.

My heart is naturally divided across the Americas. Most of my family is in Colombia so when I think about “progress” or “lesser evils” I can’t help but think about what U.S. policies might mean for my cousins down south. The Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which was passed in the most duplicitous of ways under Democratic leadership, not only hurts workers in the U.S. but crushes Colombian workers and does little to help with the high count of labor activist assassinations. Then there’s Plan Colombia (the Mexican version is the Mérida Initiative), a highly militaristic approach to cracking down on drug cartels/gangs/guerrillas which has been debatably effective but has proven to precipitate high numbers of human rights abuses. Not only has Democratic leadership supported this approach, Clinton is eager to implement Plan Colombia in Central America. I’m no strict, doctrinaire pacifist, but I think other, more peaceful approaches are possible and necessary.
I start to wonder, does “intersectionality” ever apply beyond the U.S. borders? I think about Berta Cáceres in Honduras. Cáceres was an Indigenous and environmental activist who was assassinated in March. An outspoken critic of the post-coup Honduran government (which upheld an absolute ban on abortion), United States’ complicity, and transnational corporations, she died organizing the Lenca people in the protection of their ancestral lands and rivers. She is just one example. Neoliberal economic policies are a real thing, hurting the most vulnerable, predominately Afro- and Indigenous people in Latin America, and others around the world. Moreover, U.S. foreign policy continues to devastate our brown siblings in the Middle East. White supremacy is a global phenomenon. Does “intersectionality” apply to them? What does the lesser of evils look like to them?

So what? Some might reply: these are all fair points but it’s a mark of privilege to not choose the less evil Democrat compared to Trump! I’d reply: less evil for whom? On what issue? But local elections matter more than general elections! As someone who’s worked for a civil rights non-profit on Long Island and tuned in to affordable housing efforts in Durham, I’ll be the first to tell you that local politics matter. But many Democrats don’t necessarily transcend these problems on a local level (e.g. consider the problem of gentrification and affordable housing in many “blue” cities). Even more reasons to build long-term alternatives, as Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) has been suggesting. Even more reasons to support grassroots, independent movements such as Black Lives Matter and Fight for 15. Indeed, there are limitations to electoral politics. But we need to stop Trump at all costs! Just support the Democrats this once or try to reform the party from within. Just this once? So the ultra-right, reactionary forces won’t keep on conjuring up monsters after Trump? And about reforming the Democratic Party from within, it’s important to keep in mind past efforts that tried to do this very thing.

So what do we do? There are no easy solutions. What I do know is that when the options continually presented to us are extremely problematic, it’s crucial to keep thinking about alternatives.

Two years before her death, Cáceres was asked about the repressive Honduran government and the dangerous social situation. She provided a profoundly insightful response in one line: “They want to prohibit us from dreaming.”
They want to prohibit us from dreaming.

Many will say today that our imagination must begin and end with Donald Trump. That stopping him and stopping Republicans is the sum of any electoral political witness for social justice. Some will say that to imagine more, to wish more of not just Republicans but of Democrats is to be idealistic, to be unrealistic.
Yet, if any people are technically utopian it’s disciples of Jesus Christ who pray that God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Liberation theologian Franz Hinkelammert has talked about the great illusion of neoliberal economics which came to represent itself as mere realism and any challenge to it as idealism. Nonetheless, it is this hegemonic economic vision which has expanded the incredible gulf between the wealthiest people and the poor and which is currently threatening this very planet. From the waters in Flint to the waters in Honduras.

Unsecured Debt Consolidation

If you are not willing to put your assets or retirement savings at risk but want to take out a loan to benefit from the perks of debt consolidation then you have two ways. Firstly, it is an unsecured debt consolidation; secondly, it is a credit card balance transfer.

If you made a decision towards an unsecured loan MoneyTopics recommends you to start from formulating certain criteria theconsolidation loan should satisfy. First, the interest rate that you expect to receive on your new loan should obviously be lower than what you pay on your current debt. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to consolidate loans to increase costs. Secondly, pay special attention to fees. It is hard work, we know, but try to find loans with no application fees and annual payments. Choose credit programs so that you minimize early termination fees, late payment fees and other penalties.

Along with all the benefits of consolidation loan, taking out an unsecured loan is quick as no collateral is required. You still can expect a fixed rate and repayment period that makes it for you quite easy to plan future purchases. As there is no property to secure creditors from default they charge higher interest in comparison to secured loans and prefer to loan people with good credit score. Moreover, the interest costs are not tax deductible.

Peer-to-peer loans.

This type of borrowing is on the rise right now because of it simplicity. It is worth considering as you get money from other people not from banks and it means that the interest rates are better than in case of traditional loans. Still an intermediator is a peer-to-peer credit company that watch the transaction. After you get a credit score (Check Here), you ask for funds on the loan platform where investors find your request. Generally the money is provided by several investors and to attract them you still need a reasonable credit score. The platforms, which are the largest in the USA, are Prosper and Lending Club.

Personal (Signature) loans.

Personal loans are widely used to consolidate debt. All the transactions can be done via the internet and a credit decision is made within a day and then you can be provided with a loan up to 100 000 dollars. The interest rate is generally fixed and repayment period varies from 3 to 5 years.

Advance Fee Loans.

Be careful with advance fee loans because if a company offers money asking to pay in advance it might be a scam. Moreover, no company can guarantee that you get a loan, but if it does, then it can hardly be a legitimate creditor.

Payday loans.

Never use it for consolidation for your own sake. It is a very risky form of borrowing money. Loans are given within several hours without any credit check and verification of employment history. The money is directly transferred to your bank account but they come at extremely high interest (300%-400%). Do not get attracted by the simplicity of the process. It comes at high price.

Bank Overdrafts Cost More Than Payday Loans: UK Consumer Group Report

High overdraft charges meant ''borrowing'' £100 from some high street banks could cost four times as much as lending from a payday loan company, a Which? report revealed.

The consumer group considered fees charged by high street lenders when customers slipped into unarranged overdrafts and found those needing as little as £100 were being charged up to 12 times more by major high street banks than the amount the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) allowed payday lenders to charge for borrowing over the same period.

Which? compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 28 days and found that a number of banks charged as much as £90, which was four times the maximum charge of £22.40 on a payday loan.
RBS customers faced costs of £90, while customers at Lloyds, HSBC and TSB face paid £80 for the same service.

The finding comes after competition watchdogs recently proposed that banks limit unauthorised overdraft charges. Cost caps were already in place on payday loans over fears of indebtedness of high numbers of payday loan customers.

Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which?, said: "People with a shortfall in their finances can face much higher charges from some of the big high street banks than they would from payday loan companies,'' The Telegraph reported.

According to the consumer group, unarranged overdraft borrowing charges from some high street banks were 12 and-a-half times higher than the FCA cap if consumers borrow £100 for one day. The FCA cap for one day was 80p, as against the £10 for the Lloyds Classic Account or TSB Classic Account.

Unarranged overdrafts had already come under the spotlight recently with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) proposing that banks set their own monthly unauthorised overdraft charge cap, which they would need to show clearly.