Archive forSeptember, 2015

Blackstone Mortgage Trust Given Buy Rating at Deutsche Bank (BXMT)

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 30th will be issued a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 8.62%.

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on BXMT. Zacks upgraded Blackstone Mortgage Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $33.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, July 31st. Bank of America upgraded Blackstone Mortgage Trust from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $32.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, June 22nd. Six analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $32.50.

Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc. is a holding company. The Company is a real estate investment trust (NYSE:BXMT), which is a real estate finance company that originates and purchases senior loans collateralized by properties in North America and Europe. The Company has two operating segments: the Loan Origination segment and the CT Legacy Portfolio segment. The Companys Loan Origination segment includes the Companys activities associated with the origination and acquisition of mortgage loans, the capitalization of its loan portfolio and the costs associated with operating its business. CT Legacy Partners portfolio consists of cash, loans, securities and other assets. The Companys focus is to originate loans and invest in debt and related instruments supported by institutional commercial real estate. It directly originates, co-originates, and acquires debt instruments in conjunction with acquisitions, refinancing and recapitalizations of commercial real estate around the world.

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Volkswagen scandal parallels finance industry fraud

There’s never just one cockroach. That’s what we learned from the market-rigging scandals in recent years. Be it the London Interbank Offered Rates, currencies, metals, oil or(you get the picture), it turned out that every bank and broker that touched every market benchmark left grubby fingerprints of fraud, collusion and deceit. So the revelation that Volkswagen cheated for years on tests measuring how much damage its diesel engines do to the environment raises a mammoth question: Who else did the same?

The parallels between the shameful behavior in finance and the backdrop to executives at Volkswagen deciding it was OK to program 11 million cars with deceitful software are compelling. In both industries, the regulatory structure left large areas of territory open to manipulation. In finance, self-regulation produced flagrant and widespread abuse; in cars, enforcement of diesel emissions rules was lax and testing was easily gamed. And in both industries, that’s created an attitude of “what can we get away with?” rather than “what’s the right way to behave?”

While the market was shocked at VW’s flagrant deception, just as it was the Libor scandal, in both cases manipulation was an open secret for industry cognoscenti. There is an echo here of the broken windows thesis that argues buildings where a single pane is left broken are more vulnerable to further vandalism than those were the breakage is repaired. If the overseers of an industry turn a blind eye to some kinds of misbehavior, they’re opening the door to a culture that regards rules and regulations as obstacles to be dodged rather than standards to be observed.

So while the US Environmental Protection Agency and its peers around the world can probably be excused for not spotting the VW dodge – the idea of software that can switch engine emissions behavior when it detects that there’s a test underway is the stuff of an Austin Powers movie, if not a Bond flick – the entire regime of testing seems riddled with the kinds of flaws that should have been fixed years ago.

Korea’s Hyundai paid $100 million last year, as well as foregoing $200 million in emissions credits and spending $50 million on preventive measures, to settle charges it exaggerated both fuel efficiency and carbon emissions to the EPA. A June 2013 article by Steve Abrams for the website Road and Track explained how electronic management systems can be tailored to game the EPA’s tests:

Engineers know exactly how their vehicles will be evaluated. They know exactly how fast the car will go, and how long and how quickly it will accelerate or decelerate. When engineers program the control logic, they can monitor parameters that correspond to the test cycles, such as speed, acceleration and pedal position, and select the gear ratios, throttle positions and air-fuel ratios that will deliver the minimum possible fuel consumption.

Even before the Volkswagen bombshell, there was plenty of evidence that automakers aren’t exactly adherents to Google’s “Do No Evil” corporate pledge. While logic suggests that reputational concerns, if not outright litigation risks, dictates high standards of probity, it took General Motors more than a decade to recall cars that had a faulty ignition switch that’s been blamed for at least 124 deaths, costing the company more than $1.5 billion in this month’s settlement. It took a four-year criminal investigation before Toyota conceded last year that its accelerator pedals were jamming, leading to 10 million vehicles being recalled and a settlement worth $1.2 billion.

Arguably, what’s being uncovered in the auto industry is even worse than the wrongdoing in finance. In the bank scandals, it’s only money. But, as US District Judge William Pauley said in March when Toyota reached its deal with the authorities, “corporate fraud can kill” when safety is involved. As Wired magazine points out, the reason for having auto emissions regulations in the first place is because nitrogen oxides hurt health:

Exposure to nitrogen oxide and ozone is linked to increased asthma attacks, respiratory illnesses and in some cases premature death. Ozone also worsens existing cardiovascular and lung disease.

Volkswagen shares were already in a funk; The Sept. 18 revelations have wiped a third off the value of its shares, leaving the company’s value at less than half of where it was in mid-March:

That drop of 23 billion euros ($25.5 billion) between Friday and Tuesday reflects expectations for how much the company might pay in fines. But given that the banking industry has paid $10 billion just for rigging currency rates – deplorable and dishonest, but not actually a health hazard – maybe investors in car company shares should brace themselves not only for more bad news, but for fines that might make the banking scandals look like small beer.

Gilbert writes for Bloomberg View. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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Bad credit? Learn how to still run a successful business

If you currently suffer from bad credit, then you may be worried that you wont be able to run a successful business. However, your dream can still come trueyou can have your own company, despite a low credit score.

Originally reported by our sister brand, Business Review Canada, many believe that one of the consequences to having bad credit is the inability to become an executive in the business.

RELATED TOPIC: 4 key ways establishing credit insurance mitigates risk

Sure, you may face some challenges or roadblocks along the way (ie getting the proper funding to initially start your business), but bad credit doesnt have to completely hinder your dreams of starting your own company.

The following tips can help you get your company up and runningtake a look!

Look beyond banks

As the article, Just Exactly What Is Bad Credit? points out your credit score is used to assess how much of a risk you are to loan money to.

If youre showing unpaid debts or skipped payments, that wont inspire confidence in a big lender such as a bank.

But its interesting (and vital) to know that banks are not your only choice when it comes to borrowing large amounts of money.

Online lenders have risen in popularity in recent years, and can be a viable alternative if you dont have the best credit score. Online lenders are more willing to take risks.

Do be aware that online lenders often charge higher interest rates than banks, and are not as strictly regulated. Thats why you should always read the fine print in detail, and look to reviews, ratings and personal recommendations when making a choice.

Micro lending is also an option for those with poor credit.

Micro lenders such as ACCION, Grameen Bank and Kiva provide small loans (typically around $1,000- $5,000, though amounts may vary). Micro lenders look beyond your credit score, taking into account your passion, experience, and the viability of your idea.

Consider crowd funding or peer to peer lending

Crows funding is also an option that you may want to consider pursuing.

Crowd funding sites allow you to raise money by letting people know how brilliant your idea is and getting them excited about it. The more effectively you can market your idea, and your crowd funding page, the more likely you are to succeed.

Peer-to-peer lending removes the financial institution; allowing investors to lend directly to businesses.

Whether you are a candidate for peer to peer lending will depend on just how bad your credit score is, as it may still be taken into account. However, with typically lower rates and more flexibility than blanks, peer to peer lending is worth investigating.

Investigate grants

Lending isnt the only way to finance a business.

You can also look into the possibility of grants. Be wary of websites that promise to find you Government funding – getting a grant is by no means an easy route, so be wary of any company that makes it sound simple.

Be prepared to do a lot of research into what is available both for your type of business and in your geographical area.

Grants are strictly administered, but depending on where you live you might find grants available for healthcare companies, technology (especially green technology), tourism businesses, or retail in poor areas.

Clean up your credit score

If you want to help your business financially in the future, do all you can now to clean up your credit score:

  • Pay off those credit card balances if you can;
  • Be mindful of the ratio of what you put on your credit card compared to what you pay off monthly;
  • Try to consolidate credit card usage into one or two go-to cards rather than using lots of cards;
  • Pay bills and balances on time;
  • Make sure you see a copy of your credit report and query any charge or debts you feel are unfair.

Getting capital for your business can be challenging when you have credit problems, but bad credit doesnt have to spell disaster.

Remember: Even with bad credit, you can still get funding to start a businessyou just have to get creative. Think outside the box. Just remember to always read the fine print of the contract and to never borrow more than what you will be able to pay back.

RELATED TOPIC: 3 ways your business can improve its cloud safety

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on a range of topics including social media, SEO that works, and how to find funding for your business.

Lets connect!

Check out the latest edition of Business Review Australia!

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Credit histories to help set pricing for Florida’s fourth-largest homeowner …

In an interview, Heritage President

Richard Widdicombe said the companyapos;s intention is to give existing customers with good credit a rate discount of up to 20 percent so Heritage can offer rates more competitive with other insurance companies in Florida that charge less.

This isnapos;t something designed to increase rates, he said. But he acknowledged that rates could be increased for existing customers if the company discovers what it considers a bad credit score along with a history of filing excessive claims.

But for potential new customers, their credit scores will affect the rate they are offered, Widdicombe said. Applicants with a history of bad credit and excessive claims wonapos;t be offered policies at all, he said.

Widdicombe said Heritageapos;s new policy is his first experience using credit checks in property insurance pricing in his 35-year history in the industry.

Formed in 2012, Heritage is one of several Florida-grown insurance companies that owe their existence to the stateapos;s decision that year to downsize the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which had swelled to 1.5 million policies.

As of June 30, 73 percent of the companyapos;s 221,700 policies resulted from the stateapos;s policy of encouraging newly formed insurers to select Citizens policies for take-out. Under the law governing takeouts, companies select the most attractive Citizens policies and upon approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation send letters to the Citizens policyholders informing them their policies will be transferred unless they complete and return opt-out forms stating they want to remain with Citizens.

Citizens, now with about 600,000 policies, has never conducted credit checks on its policyholders, spokesman

Michael Peltier said. The proper use of credit scores involves a thorough analysis of the various credit factors and their correlation to actual loss experience. That type of analysis is an expensive undertaking that we have chosen not to include in our underwriting process, Peltier said.

State law allows companies to use credit scores to price policies if they receive prior approval from the state, which Heritage has,

Amy Bogner, spokeswoman for the state Office of Insurance Regulation, said in an email. Some homeowner insurers use credit histories but most do not, she said, adding that credit-based insurance scores can be applied only to the non-hurricane portion of the homeowners premium. The hurricane or windstorm portion represents roughly a third to half of a policyapos;s cost in Florida.

When a credit score results in an adverse decision, the insurer must notify customers of the reasons for that decision in a manner understandable to the customer, Bogner said.

Universal Property Casualty Insurance Company, the stateapos;s second-largest insurer by number of policies, declined to answer questions about whether it uses credit reports in pricing policies.

Security First Insurance Company, the stateapos;s third-largest company as of March 31, doesnapos;t look at credit reports because with the cost of hurricane coverage, it has less overall impact as a differentiator,

Werner Krupp, the companyapos;s chief operating officer, said in an interview.

Also, the amount of time it takes to analyze a credit report would delay the companyapos;s ability to quote a competitive rate when an agent is comparing prices for a customer, he said.

But if enough competitors adopt the practice, Security First might have to follow for defensive purposes, Krupp said.

Critics object to use of credit scores to price insurance because it tends to disproportionately affect low-income policyholders. But supporters contend that low credit scores are a reliable predictor that a customer will file more claims, and claims that cost more, Krupp said.

While thereapos;s no evidence people file more claims because they have low credit scores, people with low scores are charged higher rates because people with the same credit scores have higher loss experiences, he said.

Opinions vary widely within the industry over use of credit scores, says

Jay Neal, president of the Fort Lauderdale-based Florida Association for Insurance Reform. Neal says many in the industry, including him, oppose the practice because a low credit score doesnapos;t reflect possible reasons, like job losses or medical problems.

However, he called Heritage an exceptionally good operator and said he believes that they want to use credit scores to offer discounts. If every company was doing it, it would be a lot more of a problem, Neal said. But there are plenty of companies, big companies, that donapos;t believe in it. So if you have bad credit, youapos;re going to find a place in the private market.

Heritage had 64,357 policies in the tri-county area as of Dec. 31, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Employers are Rejecting Job Applicants for non-Financial Jobs because of Bad …

One of the ugliest aspects of American capitalism is its tendency to kick ordinary people while they are down, then keep kicking them. Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing new legislation that would help stop one of the most egregious practices – employer credit checks.  Considering the “kid glove” treatment Wall Street and the financial “services” industry got after their criminal actions nearly brought down the world economy in 2008, it’s the worst kind of double standard and an outrageous injustice – and Elizabeth Warren wants to put a stop to it.

In the minds of many employers, a person’s credit score is a reflection of how well that person might perform in the workplace. According to their logic, a person with “bad credit” is irresponsible and is likely to be a poor employee. In a recent editorial for Money magazine, Senator Warren points out what the rest of us know quite well: “A person’s credit history has no correlation with his or her ability to succeed in the workplace.”

The fact of the matter is that consumers incur negative credit for many reasons: a death in the family, divorce, medical bills, injury, a natural disaster, a sudden drop in income and job loss. And employers are using that information to discriminate, plain and simple.  At the same time, the vultures at TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, all of which make large sums of money selling credit information, admit that there is no research or evidence demonstrating “any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance.”

Meanwhile, even if that person manages to catch up on bills and keep them current, the Almighty Credit Bureaus continue to hang negative information around a consumer’s neck like the proverbial millstone for seven years. In an appalling number of cases, credit information can even be inaccurate.

Aside from the fact that the Wall Street institutions responsible for the economic crisis that put millions of people in that position were allowed to skate and have suffered no consequences, the bitter irony is that the one thing that people need to recover is a decent-paying job. Yet, because they have been through hard times, the system judges them unfit to lift themselves up. Employer discrimination based on “poor credit” is not all that different from what health insurers did before enactment of Obamacare, denying coverage based on “pre-existing conditions.” As Senator Warren points out, it is “one more way the game is rigged.”

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Bad Credit And A DUI Arrest Can Make Car Insurance Very Expensive

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — has released a new blog post explaining that bad credit and a DUI arrest can makecar insurance very expensive.

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A combination of traffic violations and bad credit can make purchasing car insurance very expensive. However, many drivers ask which is worse? A bad driving record or a bad financial record? The article investigates and shows that a poor financial credit can actually count more than a DUI arrest.

Many agencies believe that someone who does not pay their premiums on time is a bigger liability than someone who drove recklessly in the past. Of course, making both mistakes will also contribute towards higher premium costs. Thus, it is important for drivers to not only keep a clean driving record, but to also keep their finances in order.

Now, it is easier to shop for car insurance because a brokerage website provides all the necessary resources for finding car insurance quotes. Auto insurance quotes are essential for reviewing and comparing prices and clients can now get free quotes by visiting

The website uses a professional search engine to review every clients insurance needs and to determine which plans work best for a specific driver. Visitors will have to complete a simple quote form to get free auto insurance quotes. The questionnaire requires information about the drivers financial and driving record. Drivers will also have to provide details about the vehicle that they want to cover.

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ArtsBeat | Banksy’s Dismaland Deconstructs Capitalism, and Rains Profit on a …

In one corner of a rundown former public swimming baths in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside resort in southwest England, an image of Prime Minister David Cameron, wearing a tuxedo and toasting onlookers with a glass of white wine against a backdrop of London skyscrapers, grins from a billboard that is being scrunched up from one side.

In another nook, a vendor offers cash loans to children with interest rates of around 5,000 percent.

The artworks are part of Dismaland, the twisted, sardonic bemusement park assembled by the graffiti artist Banksy. Dismalands exhibits riff on anticapitalist, antiestablishment irony, and theyve struck a chord in a country seemingly ready to rebel against austerity — around 170,000 have visited in just under six weeks, despite crashes of the ticketing website and long lines at the installation, which is also in a relatively remote part of the country.

But as the event draws to its end on Sunday, another noise can be heard along the seafront shops near the park: the sound of storekeepers, businessmen and local politicians praising the 20-million-pound, or about $31 million, bonanza that Dismaland — notwithstanding its sledgehammer-subtle railings against the profit motive — is said to have provided.

Visit Somerset, a local tourism authority, announced the numbers on Friday, noting that the park had raised the number of local hotel stays by around 50 percent and doubled the number of train travelers from London to Weston-super-Mare over the past six weeks. The group’s chief executive officer, John Turner, called £20 million a “very conservative” estimate of the theme park’s local economic impact.

Taglined Britains most disappointing new visitor attraction, the anti-Disneyland also includes a sculpture of paparazzi snapping photos of a mangled Cinderella hanging out of the window of her horse-drawn carriage after a crash, remote-control boats filled with models of refugees, and a derelict version of Disneys fairy tale castle.

In a phone interview, Mr. Turner described a flood of international interest (and money) pouring into the region because of the event: He said that around half a dozen private planes had flown into Bristol’s airport just to visit Dismaland, and that several private limousines had whisked international visitors to the gloomy lido on the coast. One guest, he said, booked a flight from China, visited the park, and flew immediately back to China.

He said the exhibition had offered a chance for the district, which is not far from the much more popular tourist destinations of Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, a chance to shine. “He’s given a gift,” he said of Banksy.

Mr. Turner cited the Glastonbury Festival, Cheddar cheese and cider as three of the region’s most prized inventions, but noted that the area “has never really been seen as a major tourism priority,” noting that, at least for a short while, the exhibition had changed that.

He shook off the implication that there was irony in an anticapitalist theme park proving a big tourism boon. “At the end of the day,” he said, “Banksy is a huge UK brand.”

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Former Brookfield Public School Finance Assistant Arrested for Conspiracy to …

Elizabeth Kerekes, 41, Brookfield, is alleged to have conspired with another school official in the misspending of more than $30,000 for personal expenses.

Kerekes is one of two former Brookfield Public Schools employees to be arrested in relation to misappropriation of school funds for personal use. Last March Patch reported that former finance director Art Colley, 57, was charged with second-degree larceny and third-degree forgery. He was accused of trying to claim reimbursement for three iPads that were never purchased.

An audit revealed nearly $124,000 in questionable spending by former Brookfield schools finance director Art Colley and his assistant Elizabeth Kerekes. The forensic audit analyzed more than 600 transactions involving Colley , Kerekes and other present and former school employees, the paper reports. The expenditures included payments to Colley’s daughter’s landlord, credit car payments and payments for electronics.

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Finance Minister floats possibility of dividing up NIS

In a visit to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) headquarters, Brickdam yesterday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan floated the possibility of dividing it up and raised whether it should at some stage be providing unemployment benefits.

GINA said that he was able to interact with close to 3000 staff members. General Manager of the NIS, Doreen Nelson and other senior staff accompanied the Finance Minister on his visit which also saw him interacting with members of the public doing business at the institution.

Describing the NIS as an important component of Guyana’s social protection system, Jordan said that, the agency is experiencing financial problems. “Its capital is under challenge in terms of paying benefits,” Jordan said, adding that the NIS needs to adopt a more prudent approach to investing. “It is unfortunate about what has happened over the last couple of years to its (NIS) investments, especially in the CLICO and the Berbice Bridge. None of these investments; which are substantial, is giving NIS any income, which it should have been earning by now. As a result, the NIS has had to pare back benefits, in terms of quantum and I believe even in terms of quantity that you have been trying to give to people,” Jordan stated, according to GINA.

The minister said that his visit made it clear that the NIS was, “somewhat behind when it came to having its systems computerised. I see a lot of paper around the place this is very bad for management. I see a lot of old stuff which by now should have been gotten rid of, to free up space.

Recounting his own experiences with the NIS, Jordan said that he has over three years of bills and receipts. “I refused to even come to NIS because of the long issues to get back your money so I just gave up a long time ago. I will reopen the issue soon but, I could understand some of the frustration that people get because I was frustrated enough to just give up, trying to make claims,” Jordan stated.

With regards to the implementation of recommendations in the last actuarial report, the Minister said that these will be looked at as none were really implemented in any serious way.

He further said that the agency; which is observing its 46th year, has to have its organisation and method of operations updated, “We have re-examine whether NIS should remain as a single entity doing these different aspects that they do or whether it can best be done as individuals,” Jordan said, adding, “Maybe one entity that looks at retirement issues, maybe one that looks at the medical issues. Of course you know that NIS doesn’t give unemployment compensation, which of course as you know in these times is something that we could be looking at also.”

The need for the NIS to be more pro-active was also reiterated by the Finance Minister who cited the Guyana Revenue Authority’s actions as an example that should be copied, GINA reported.

In the Minister’s opinion, the NIS should not be seen as an entity which just receives contributions but, it should be pro-active. In this way, the Scheme can pre-empt occurrences such as when businesses are likely to go bankrupt. “It is clear that if you collect NIS this month and next month you don’t see or hear from them, I’m not waiting to find out why. I’m going there. We have to have lots more people out in the field and we can reduce the gap between them collecting the people’s money and not remitting it to the NIS.” Jordan asserted.

The substandard working conditions at the building, which are below the acceptable Occupational Health and Safety Standards were acknowledged and the Minister expressed the hope that the NIS’s Board of Directors will address this soon.

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Bad Credit Mortgage Broker Has The Right Form To Get A Mortgage

A new UK financial website, aims to help people with poor credit history get property finance.

Bristol, UK (PRWEB UK) 17 September 2015

A new UK website has launched to help people with credit problems get a mortgage, quickly and easily. provides no-obligation mortgage quotes to discharged bankrupts, aswell as to consumers with less severe credit issues, like missed payments, CCJs (county court judgements), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and so on.

The site features a fast 60 second application form, gathering in essential information about the visitors credit history, borrowing requirements and contact info.

A new explanatory guide to credit score has also been produced.

The Essential Guide To Credit Score explains why credit score is so important, why credit reference agencies and lenders rate borrowers differently, and gives tips and strategies for improving a persons credit rating.

According to Graham Cox, founder of the company behind the new site XOC Marketing Ltd, theres a huge amount of misinformation regarding credit scoring, and how a persons credit history affects their ability to get a mortgage.

Many people think that the score they see in their credit report is the sole criteria mortgage lenders base their decision making on. When in fact, its just one factor of many.

Eligibility criteria amongst lenders varies enormously. For example, does the borrower fit the mortgage providers lending profile? Are they a previous or existing customer? How is the lenders existing loan book weighted? And what is their attitude to risk?

Graham continues, Many people in the UK are still feeling the effects of austerity since the financial crisis. Subsequently, mortgages for bad credit are in huge demand. Our aim with this guide is to educate consumers in a jargon-free way about how they can improve their credit score and increase their chances of getting a mortgage.

The guide explains what to check for on a credit report, and how to go about removing or amending incorrect information. It can be surprising just how much information the credit reference agencies hold.

Acting as an introducer, the website connects consumers across the UK with specialist bad credit mortgage brokers whom have access to adverse credit mortgage lenders, as well as more mainstream lenders.

Mr Cox explains, The chances of getting a mortgage deal often improve dramatically if the clients credit event, such as discharge from bankruptcy, or payment default, occurred more than 2 years ago. But the brokers can sometimes source deals where the credit event was more recent.

The company has invested heavily in the sites online application form, making it possible to submit a basic application in less than 60 seconds. But a local rate telephone number is also available for visitors who prefer a more human touch.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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