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Archive for the category “Finance”

Financial Literacy Through Advertising

AdCouncil is the place for work that educates and informs people on different things. So it is perfect timing that the AdCouncil run a campaign on financial literacy. Here are links to two campaign they are running at the moment. One for general public, here. And another for young adults, here.

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The Iphone Fuelling Growth In Mobile Banking

Tiny little note that we picked up on the explosion of mobile banking, thanks to the iPhone and the App Store. Look it up here. Another little tidbit, 50 apps that can make you richer, from Mashable, here

Analysing The Financial Crisis

One of the best pieces of reporting we have read about the continuing economic woes, specifically what’s ailing the Asian tigers, The Economist quotes a recent report from HSBC by Frederic Neumann and Robert Prior-Wandesforde; Asia is suffering two recessions: a domestic one as well as an external one. Domestic demand had been expected to cushion the blow of weaker exports, but instead it was hit by two forces. First, the surge in food and energy prices in the first half of 2008 squeezed companies’ profits and consumers’ purchasing power. Food and energy account for a larger portion of household budgets in Asia than in most other regions. Second, in several countries, including China, South Korea and Taiwan, tighter monetary policy intended to curb inflation choked domestic spending further. With hindsight, it appears that China’s credit restrictions to cool its property sector worked rather too well. Tiding over the downturn, the Economist thinks will have to come from within. However, Asian governments have more than this year’s growth rate to worry about. Beyond the immediate crisis, where will growth come from? America’s consumer boom and widening trade deficit, which powered much of Asia’s growth over the past decade, has come to an end. Asia’s export-led growth therefore seems to have reached its limits. It needs a new engine of growth: in future it must rely more on domestic demand, especially consumption. Click here to go to the story. Sure is some interesting insight.

Banks Bailout Windfall.

As the Obama administration decides how to fix the economy, the troubles of the banking system have become particularly vexing. Congress has so far approved the $700 billion rescue plan with the idea that banks would help struggling borrowers and increase lending to stimulate the economy, and many lawmakers want to know how the first half of that money has been spent before approving the second half. But many banks that have received bailout money so far are reluctant to lend, worrying that if new loans go bad, they will be in worse shape if the economy deteriorates. Fearful that the economic downturn could deepen and wary of risking additional losses, the question of what to do with the bailout money comes down to self-preservation. Read more in NY Times.

Pay Debts Faster With Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo has announced new tools to help consumers save more while reducing what they owe, while also introducing resources to use credit better for a lifetime. The Wells Fargo Debt Pay Down Solution allows customers to consolidate their monthly payments through a personal loan and help find money to pay off the loan faster.
The bank is also offering the
Wells Fargo Cash Back Card and the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card to incentivise customers to pay down debt by offering cashback rewards that they can use to reduce credit card or personal loan balances or add to checking or savings. Wells Fargo is also introducing its Smarter Credit Center, an online resource center with information about how to establish, rebuild and use credit. More from Payment News.

The Economist. Reimagining Finance.

A new draft policy getting some notice around the world and in Washington in particular, is looking at some strong steps to set right the financial system that fell apart in 2008. The paper titled “Financial Reform: A Framework for Financial Stability” contains some muscular stuff, according to The Economist. The 18-point agenda includes “strict” capital requirements on high-risk proprietary activities, that is, bets made using their own money. For banks and non-banks alike, the report calls for a more refined analysis of liquidity in stressed markets and more robust contingency-planning. Central banks should have a stronger role in policing such things, the authors argue, and need to be especially vigilant in good times, when credit is expanding quickly. They should also be more involved in supervising bank safety and soundness—although, to safeguard central-bank integrity, the role of chief firefighter is best played by others once trouble ignites. The other important message is that a global crisis requires a global fix. International co-ordination should go beyond rule-making closer to harmonisation including enforcement,
say the authors, and more needs to be done to curb the uneven application of international rules at national level—although they shed little light on how this could be achieved. More in The Economist.

The Bailout. Now A Game.

Enough has been said and written about bailouts in the financial services sector. So now the guys at Blue Interactive has gone out and created an interesting little game. The BailOutGame. Steer a truck across a cityscape and the game ask you to make bets across many famous American bailouts that have taken place in the recent past. A simple yet chilling reminder on how the bailouts are sinking the nation further and further into debt. Play here.

Trillion Dollar Notes On The Way.

Zimbabwe’s central bank says it will soon introduce a 100 trillion dollar note as the once prosperous country battles to keep pace with hyperinflation that has caused many to abandon the country’s currency. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the new notes in denominations of 50 trillion, 20 trillion and 10 trillion would be released for the “convenience of the public”, according to statement released Thursday. The new 100 trillion dollar bill would be worth about $300 in U.S. currency. A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe now costs about 300 billion Zimbabwean dollars — and like most commodities, the price increases every day. The currency is in free fall, forcing traders to peg their prices to international currency to hedge against losses. The Zimbabwean dollar is facing extinction, with most traders now accepting other countries’ notes, claiming that they import their products. Even vegetable vendors prefer the U.S. dollar, South African rand or Botswanan pula, and most workers now demand their salaries in foreign currency. Doctors and nurses have been on strike since last September, demanding salaries in U.S. dollars. The strike coincided with a cholera epidemic that now has claimed more than 2,000 lives. More from CNN.

Making Money With Mobile

Interesting little story in AdAge digital that links into a Yankee Group research. Banks, the study says, should look at generating from people taking their accounts onto their mobile. Generally, banks have largely viewed the channel as a way to generate savings by diverting customer service away from call centers or interactive voice response. But at some point, says Yankee Group, they have to look beyond saving overheads and use mobile as a revenue generator. Using an embedded payment chip on the phone, a mobile phone should be able to do everything a credit card does, faster and without a hassle, hence adding to convenience and more transactions. Read here in AdAge.

30 Million Fakes

One of things you assume would be well and taken care of is the state of currency in most Western countries. This report says not. There are over 30 million fake 1 pound coins in circulation in Britain. A sampling exercise done by the Royal Mint indicated that the number of fake pound coins has doubled over the last five years. The last time sampling test results were released was in 2003 when the number of forged pounds coins was estimated to be one per cent. Robert Matthews, formerly the Queen’s Assay Master until he retired to become a coin consultant four years ago, said confidence in coins collapsed in other countries when forgery rates reached similar levels. In 2004, for instance, people started refusing to take the South African five rand coin due to concerns about the number of counterfeits, and eventually the coin had to be redesigned and re-circulated. More here.

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