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Monday, May 16, 2016

Lessons from the Greek economic crisis

The Greek economic crisis contained many lessons, some of which are illustrated in the following infographic. When it comes to the EU, Greece wasn't necessarily a black sheep as much as it was a lost sheep or the one that got away. In other words, the Greek economic system was not in line with much of the rest of the EU in terms of effective tax collection, national debt levels and gross domestic product. Perhaps some trimming and pruning of economic best practices gone wild might be in order. Indeed, that is what the European Troika intended to encourage with its financing requirements of austerity, tax receipt goals and institutional oversight.
Lessons from the Greek Economic Crisis
Embedded from EazyCash

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to find a good mortgage company

By Moneycation

Securing the right mortgage from the right mortgage lender can be taxing. There's too much red tape in the works that make it fairly easy for the average Joe with his/her untrained eyes to miss several key things from prospected plans. Below, you'll find out what exactly a mortgage company is, and most importantly, how to choose one from the dozens of registered companies operating in the country. 

What is a mortgage company?  

These lenders are involved in the business of writing and funding mortgages for either residential or commercial real estate. Contrary to common belief, mortgage companies do not provide the actual capital used to procure property, but rather act as the originator of the mortgage. The funds come from one of many partnering financial institutions that the mortgage company has already established a relationship with.  

Post-recession mortgage lenders 

A vast majority of mortgage companies filed for bankruptcy during the 2008 crisis involving subprime mortgage loans. Since they do not fund most or all of their offered loans, most companies had their assets dry up and their cash flow rapidly corrode. Nevertheless, the industry remains vibrant and a great number of companies are still in operation.
Credit score impacts mortgage rates

Boost your credit score

Your credit score has the single largest impact on your monthly interest payments. Before consulting a mortgage company, tie up loose ends by paying small outstanding balances on your credit cards and utility bills. If necessary, take some time to build a credit score to reduce total mortgage cost.

Contact a mortgage company

You don't necessarily have to apply for a mortgage to be able to speak with a representative and inquire. You can learn by contacting the company's provided number and asking about their offered programs. If the loan officer seems too aggressive, unhelpful, or shady, you should hang up the phone and look for a different mortgage company. The location of a mortgage lender and the time of year are also factors in determining their worth as evident in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data.

Mortgage loan tips
September and December are the best months to apply for a home loan per government research

Compare quality of mortgage plans 

Every mortgage company handles things differently, at least to some extent. For this reason, you should request and obtain a written statement or spreadsheet that details all important information relevant to the mortgage program. To simplify the process of comparing different mortgages, limit your questions to the interest rate, points, and all fees charged. Sure, you can also ask about tax and insurance, yet both of these unknowns can be determined later. 

Select a mortgage lender

Finding a good mortgage company is not rocket science. However, it does involve a level of complexity that substantial preparation and research helps with. Use the guidelines above to give you a robust foundation before looking for a mortgage company. You can also find a lot of useful online informationcomparing mortgage companies to help you find one that suits your needs. One team reviewed 181 lenders over the course of 6 weeks, speaking with experts, digging into the rates and getting pre-approved to find the best mortgage companies out there. You can take a look at their full resource here: http://www.reviews.com/mortgage-companies/

Images: 1. Pne/Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0; 2.  LauraHale/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What to ask before you decide to invest in a business process management system (BPMS)

By Amira Chugunova

Business process management systems (BPMS) focus on helping an organization improve their efficiency and productivity. BPM systems strives for business process optimization, helping businesses to minimize their costs and maximize employees’ time and, eventually, increase their profits.

A lot of organizations spend a significant amount of time analyzing various business process management solutions, in search for the perfect match. Most of them end up finding a solution but they are not sure which processes should be automated in their workplace.

An issue arises when an organization is unsure whether to start by automating the easiest or complex processes. Finding out which processes will benefit most from automation can be tedious.
This article presents you with five questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision. Keep in mind that BPM solutions are offering a solution to your existing issues. As such, you should not choose a BPM system that is the most complex and not fully applicable to your organization’s needs (a good discussion on this topic is found here at LowCodeBPM.com).

business process management
How business processes are structured and integrated impacts overall operational efficiency

Is a paperless office more efficient and beneficial to bottom lines?

The first question that should be asked is if your business is very reliant on paper processes. To help you out with this one, a paper process could be a form that is sent around the office to multiple employees as part of a task.

Does delayed access to information cost your business money?

Question two is how long your employees spend searching for paperwork, documents, files, and forms necessary to complete their daily tasks. If they are spending a lot of time on such a basic tasks, you will benefit by using BPM system since it keeps all of your data and files in one place.

Is data duplication and transposing worthwhile?

A third question to ask is if some of the business processes require data multiplication by manually copying information from one system to another. For example, if your employees spend significant time transferring contact information of your clients from one system into another.

Do business process glitches waste time?

Fourthly, ask if you have ever been a part of, or heard of a situation in your work environment where a task is interrupted because an email “didn’t go through”. That email could have been crucial for the next step of the task. If this happens, BPM software is your system solution because all communication happens in one place, just as data and files are stored in the same place.

How many tasks are redundant?

How many repetitive, routine tasks consume a lot of your employees’ time. If an email needs to be manually sent out each day to remind clients of their payments, then you might as well implement an automatic process. The time you save can be put to great use in other parts of your business.

If you said “yes” to just one of these questions, you will certainly benefit from investing and implementing BPM in your organization. You can also speak to your employees and ask for their opinion. If a majority finds BPM solution to be beneficial, then you have a clear sign that BPM system will help your company. Most of the employees’ might have already used their creativity and created their own automated solutions. Why not help them out and unite your whole workforce with a unique BPM system that can be used across different departments.

About the author: Amira Chugunova is a business writer with an interest in Business Process Management solutions, such as JobTraQ.

Image: NIH.gov, USGov-PD

Things to look out for in a boiler room fraud

boiler room fraud

Fraudsters seek to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers
By Andrew Reilly

Knowing what to look out for with respect to boiler room fraud is very important and this information may be exactly what you need to know in order to stay safe and not become a victim of fraud.

If you receive a call or contact out of the blue

The first warning sign that something isn’t right comes with receiving a call or communication out of the blue. If this is the first time that the company has contacted you, you should be wary. Why are they deciding to contact you and why have you been singled out to receive this offer. There will likely be an excuse given to you as to why you have been selected, so it is important for you to evaluate this reasoning.

Does it sound plausible? If you don’t think that the explanation provided to you by the fraudster is sensible or likely to be true, you should be very cautious. In fact, you should probably look to end the conversation as quickly as you can.

Be aware if the person on the other end of the line is knowledgeable

One thing that many boiler room fraud victims say is that they were taken in by the fact that the fraudster was well-spoken and knowledgeable about the suspect. The thing is, as this is a very lucrative crime, it makes sense for the fraudster to increase their chances of success. If you were talking to someone who claimed to represent a high standing shares company but the person spoke in slang or didn’t seem to understand the concept of shares, you would be suspicious. In fact, you would think that you’d be mad to give your time, let alone your money, to this person, so you would cut the conversation short.

Fraudsters know this and this means that the people who carry out the call are likely to come across as genuine. This doesn’t help you differentiate between genuine callers and fraudsters but it should prevent you from thinking that every legitimate sounding caller is legitimate. There is nothing wrong with being cautious or hesitant, even when dealing with genuine firms so don’t let a well-spoken person con or fool you.

Be aware if the person is persistent

A common feature of boiler room fraud is the fraudster being very persistent when it comes to getting you to sign up or agree the deal. Even if you politely decline or try to end the conversation, you may find that the person on the other end of the line will keep on at you in an attempt to conclude a deal.

If you under pressure or stressed about their actions, then tell them so and stop the call. If they continue to persist or make you feel concerned, just hang up. A lot of people worry about being seen as acting rude, and this is why they would rather not terminate a call in this manner. However, given that a person is harassing you and is not acceding to your wishes, you are well within your rights to terminate the call as you wish. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, make sure you take control and end the conversation.

If you have agreed, be wary of the fraudster threatening police action

If you have handed over money or you have provide banking information to someone and you now have concerns about this information, it is up to you to inform the relevant authorities. You should know that calling the authorities is a tactic that is available to you, but it isn’t one that any fraudster will undertake.

If you have agreed a deal and then decide against it, you’ll find that the fraudster is very reluctant to let this be the end of the matter. They may threaten you with police action but you should be confident that a fraudster will not do this. They will threaten you with this action but given that a fraudster has a lot more to lose by involving the police than you do, you’ll find that a fraudster will not contact the police.

If you suspect that you have been contacted with respect to this style of fraud, or that you have been a victim of this style of fraud, it is vital that you contact the authorities as quickly as possible. The sooner you provide relevant information, the greater the chance there will be of catching the criminal. There will also be an improved chance of ensuring other people aren’t victims of the same crime or from the same gang. This may not sound like much of a comfort to you but if someone else had reported previous crimes, you may not have been a victim. While providing information that prevents other people from suffering won’t really help you recover your money or feel better, it can help other people avoid feeling as bad as you do.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Got Credit/Flickr; "Fraud Button" CC BY 2.0