A new five year contract has been agreed between the Alliance and Leicester and Payzone, a 17,000 site network where consumers can pay water bills. Estimated figures for the year are that around 6 million transactions will be processed by the Alliance and Leicester on behalf of Payzone, consumers using either a booklet or credit card style payment card. The relationship between the two companies began in 2007 so this five year deal shows the belief they have in each other now. The commercial side of Alliance and Leicester works with around 1,500 businesses to collect payments from consumers, with most utility companies signed up as well as 8 out of 10 local authorities.
The Prudential, the second largest life insurance provider in the UK, has seen the Peoples Bank of China take a one percent stake in the company, worth GBP130 million. The move puts the Chinese bank into the top 25 of institutional investors in the Prudential, though there is no feeling that the holding is leading up to a takeover bid. The Chinese bank invests in many different businesses and a one percent holding is not uncommon. Speculation came because of the Prudential developing the Asian market though the management at the insurer welcomes the investment. Such is the activity of the Prudential in Asia that their growth for the first half of the year was 14 percent, a remarkable step forwards.
Abbey National is bringing a 10 year fixed rate mortgage to the market this week aimed at bringing peace of mind to buyers concerned about changing interest rates. Recent studies have shown that longer period fixed rate mortgages are more popular with consumers, the 5 year versus 3 year fixed rate options proving this point very well. The move by Abbey National to bring in a 10 year fixed rate option is hoped to win more buyers over to the idea, especially as the interest rate is just 6.24 percent. There is an initial fee of GBP999 but this still represents excellent value whilst providing the security that homebuyers crave. This longer period has impressed industry commentators too since it is expected that Abbey National mortgage customers taking out this option will not be left to face dramatically higher interest rates when the term ends, which is what is happening right now as the plethora of 2 year fixed rate mortgages come to an end.