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Orange Slovakia is offering all its customers with minimum monthly spending of EUR 20 the benefit of free on-net group calls, SMS and MMS, as part of its Christmas campaign starting 24 October. In addition, for every new service customers order from 1 December, Orange will contribute EUR 0.50 to the grant programme Donate Christmas. For prepaid customers Orange offers Smart Prima with starting credit of EUR 10 for a promotional price of EUR 5.

The operator also offers additional benefits for customers taking a combination of fixed and mobile services. If a customer chooses a package of fixed or fibre-optic internet and TV, he can choose one of the prepared benefits. Every customer with any voice subscription of at least EUR 10 can get fixed internet or the double-play package of fixed internet and TV with a discount of EUR 5 a month during 30 months. Another benefit is a tablet for EUR 1 and Mobile internet Start for half price – EUR 4.99 a month.

For the most demanding customers who choose the flat subscription Orange Panther Pro, Orange will automatically give 1,000 incoming roaming minutes in the EU, and with the subscription Panther Pro EUR 65 and EUR 100, also 100 minutes of outgoing roaming calls in the EU over the whole contract period.

The bonus for porting fixed internet from the competition is EUR 90 over 30 months, and when porting a mobile number online, the customer gets a bonus of EUR 150 in the form of a EUR 5 discount on monthly subscription.

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) fell down as the benchmark stock index in Athens fell over 10% before recovering a little to close down 6.25% on Wednesday. Shares of Greek banks were among the hardest hit, with the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) falling as much as 13% at one point.

The selloff came after Fitch said Greek banks remain fragile despite improving their balance sheets and showing progress on restructuring plans.

National Bank of Greece Equity Analysis

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) opened trading today as $2.36 and is trading in the range of 2.08-2.40 today. National Bank of Greeces current market cap stands at $7.67 billion.

Compared to other peers in the Banking sector, NBG has outperformed in terms of quarterly revenue growth year over year at -0.41 vs. the industry average of 0.12. National Bank of Greece s earnings per share is currently at .80, which is below the sector average of 1.16.

Corporate Profile

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) together with its subsidiaries, offers diversified financial services primarily in Greece. The company is involved in retail and commercial banking, investment management, investment banking, insurance, investment activities, and securities trading activities. It offers demand deposits, savings deposits, and time deposits, and current accounts; investment products; consumer loans, personal loans, mortgage loans, automobile loans, overdraft facilities, and foreign currency loans, as well as letters of credit and guarantees; credit cards; currency swaps and options; and ATMs. The company also provides financial and investment advisory services, foreign exchange, custody services, and trade finance services; and shipping finance, project finance, leasing, factoring, treasury, private banking, private equity, and brokerage services, as well as asset management, including mutual funds and closed end funds.

REUTERS/Thomas PeterChinas Premier Li Keqiang.

BEIJING (Reuters) – China needs to accelerate reforms and not rely solely on its central bank or government spending to drive growth, the head of the World Bank said Tuesday.

I would recommend not really relying more on their macro policy, specifically on the monetary and fiscal side, because its been done before, especially post the global financial crisis, Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati told Reuters in an interview in Beijing.

It is now time for really deepening and doing the reforms in a much faster way.

Indrawati made the comments in the run-up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APAC) conference of finance ministers held in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, China posted its weakest economic growth rate since the 2008/09 global financial crisis, and now risks missing its official annual growth target for the first time in 15 years, adding to concerns that it is becoming a drag on global growth.

Analysts expect Beijing to roll out further stimulus in coming months in an attempt to boost growth, following a series of measures earlier in the year.

(Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Kim Coghill)

The paper was first delivered in August to a meeting of the Canadian Association of Business Economists, and it is clearly aimed a narrow audience of monetary wonks and other professional market watchers. In direct language, he officially pulled the Bank of Canada away the forward-guidance policy that his predecessor, Mark Carney, had instituted.

“No question, Poloz threw guidance under the bus and drove back and forth over it a few times,” said one economist who read Mr. Poloz’s comments.

In theory, under forward guidance, the central bank could next Wednesday signal that it intends the overnight rate of 1% to hold for six months to a year. In Mr. Poloz’s view, that would “shift too much of the burden of equilibrating tatonnement away from the market and onto the shoulders of the central bank.”

Tatonnement is economist talk for a market process in which traders constantly trade their way to the right price for something, buying and selling at various prices through time, based on the information available at the time. In short, Mr. Poloz was saying: That’s the market’s job to figure out, and the central bank should stay out of it.

It shouldn’t be part of the normal monetary tool kit

Even more dramatic were Mr. Poloz’s comments on some of the core tools of the modern central bank. He was especially hard on economic models used by central bankers and outside economists as guides to national and international economic futures. In some ways, not only did Mr. Poloz throw forward guidance under the bus, he also threw a load of economic forecasters off of it.

JOHANNESBURG ( While precious metal markets were influenced by monetary conditions, industrial metals have managed to remain somewhat detached from generic economic conditions, with prices being determined by fundamentals of supply and demand that were, in many cases, specific to each metal, French corporate and investment bank Natixis said in its 2014 second-half metals review released this week.

Factors impacting on the industrial metals market included structural change in China and other government policies around the world, such as Zambias government struggling to administer a fair tax on mining companies and Indonesia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo trying to boost economic development by encouraging mining companies to process ores and concentrates locally.

Natixis said that, aided by cutbacks in output by western producers, as well as Chinese smelters, the aluminium market looked set to experience its first yearly deficit for eight years, which had supported an improvement in aluminium prices, although this gain has been split between modestly higher London Metal Exchange (LME) prices and a further escalation in aluminium premiums.

In the very near term, there is a risk that higher Chinese output of aluminium, accompanied by higher exports of aluminium products, could lead to near-term weakness in aluminium prices, the bank said, noting that over the period 2015 to 2016, however, Natixis expects the shift towards deficit to become more firmly entrenched within the aluminium market.

As a result, aluminium prices are expected to push higher.

Natixis said that, after averaging about $1 860/t in 2014, it expected aluminium prices to rise to an average $2 070/t in 2015 and $2 240/t in 2016.

Further, in terms of copper, the bank said a surplus was expected to soon become visible, which was, in turn, expected to lead to further weakness in prices over the period 2015 to 2016.

We are, therefore, projecting a decline in copper prices to somewhere around $6 335/t in 2015. This would be followed by a gradual recovery in copper prices during 2016, averaging $6 500/t, as market expectations focus increasingly on prospective deficits in the period out to 2020 rather than the surplus in the market during 2015 to 2016, Natixis said.

Meanwhile, global demand for lead remained weak in 2014 owing to a second consecutive yearly decline in Chinese apparent demand.

While other base metal markets with stronger fundamentals have seen prices push higher, lead prices have instead remained trapped in a narrow range, the bank said, adding that its analysis of supply and demand suggested that the lead market would run a cumulative deficit of perhaps 20 000 t over the period 2015 to 2016.

Therefore, Natixis forecast a modest increase in lead prices from an average of around $2 120/t in 2014 to $2 245/t in 2015 and $2 195/t in 2016.

Meanwhile, the bank said perhaps the greatest potential uncertainty surrounding the outlook for nickel related to aspects such as the strength of Chinese demand and the size of unreported inventories held in China.

Our central forecast anticipates a period of deficit during the first half of 2015, resulting in an average LME nickel price of around $19 000/t over 2015 as a whole, although there is scope for substantial variation around this mean. By 2016, we would expect the market to have settled more closely upon its longer-term equilibrium, hence our forecast for an average price of $17 375/t for that year, Natixis said.

Further, despite forecasts for modest demand growth over the coming two years, the global zinc market was expected to tighten further as supply becomes increasingly constrained, and new mines are not expected to arrive until existing inventories are dangerously close to depletion.

Against such a backdrop, Natixis said it would expect to see substantial upward momentum in zinc prices over the period 2015 to 2016.

Natixis expected events in the US to exert the biggest impact on gold prices going forward, stating that as the US economy improved, investors need for a safe haven dissipated.

With this economic improvement comes a strengthening dollar as the US bond market pushes yields higher in anticipation of interest rate hikes. These factors are expected to have a mildly negative effect on gold prices over the forecast horizon, given the substantial rally in the dollar and rise in US yields that has already taken place so far this year, Natixis said.

Further, there was a risk that miners could return to hedging future output if gold prices threatened to fall below the cash cost of production, which represented a
potential source of supply in the market, which could help to accelerate any decline in prices.

Therefore, Natixis base forecast was that gold prices would average $1 170/oz in 2015 and $1 180/oz in 2016.

Meanwhile, silvers strong correlation with gold meant that the price of silver had also dropped as a result of a stronger dollar and US economy.

Based on our positive outlook for the US economy, and additional downside risks attaching to silver prices, [such as] low cash cost of production and potential for sales from exchange-traded products, our forecasts envisage an average silver price of $15.8/oz in 2015 and $16.1/oz in 2016, the bank said.

Natixis further said that, over the last two years, supply-side issues had been the main drivers behind the price of platinum.

Along with frequent strikes in South Africa, which have caused supply cuts, falling prices have forced producers to cut back output at their higher-cost operations, the bank said, adding that, since the end of the strikes in July, the price of platinum had collapsed, as a result of extreme weakness in demand.

At the current low prices, we could see an increase in Chinese platinum jewellery demand once again, especially if the platinum/gold price ratio continues to fall. While we do not expect a strong increase in European automobile demand, replacement of Europes ageing car fleet should be enough to support moderate growth in demand for autocatalysts over the coming two years, the bank said.

Natixis forecast the platinum price rising to $1 450/oz in 2015 and $1 550/oz in 2016, while palladium prices were expected to increase to $770/oz in 2015 and $740/oz in 2016.

In the face of such jarring demographic shifts, the need for some options — Catholic schools, specifically — remains eternal, said archdiocese school Superintendent Julie Vogel, who oversees campuses in a 10-county region.

“I don’t think the need has ever changed,” Vogel said. “I don’t think the mission has ever changed. I believe parents who raise their kids in a faith-based setting always have been part of who we are.”

Vogel, 49, this summer came to head the Houston-area parochial system from Portland, Ore., where she spent 14 years with Catholic schools. As a principal, she was credited with turning around a struggling school, increasing enrollment by 74 percent in a single year and eliminating debt while maintaining key academic programs. Most recently, she was the Portland system’s director of instructional services and accreditation.

The mission is to be open to all people, to respect the dignity of the human person. They are created in the image of God, regardless of skin color. They are all part of the body of Christ.

– Rev. Sean Horrigan

Vogel’s immersion in the local parochial system was swift.

“My short-term goal right now is to really have a clear sense of what’s happening in Galveston and Houston,” she said. “I don’t want to make any decisions until I have that background.”

Already she has visited 10 schools, including Christ the Redeemer, meeting faculty, students, parents and priests. “I want to meet each particular community. We are united in faith, but there are subtleties,” she said.

School system leaders are open to building inner-city schools if demand is sufficient, Vogel said.

“We are carefully watching the inner city as well as the suburbs and are committed to providing a Catholic education in any location where there is interest,” she said.

Vogel said she was struck by the ethnic diversity of the Houston area and its parochial schools.

Since the 2009-10 school year, Hispanic enrollment has grown from 29 percent to 34 percent in elementary schools and from 22 percent to 29 percent in high schools. African-American enrollment held steady at 8 percent in elementary schools and increased 1 percentage point to 9 percent in high schools. Total system enrollment grew from 16,995 in 2004-05 to 18,902.

Horrigan said his parish, where 172 students are enrolled in the new school, reflects the diversity of the larger Houston community.

“We’re not a private school; we’re a Catholic school,” he said, “and the mission of Christ the Redeemer looks a lot like that of the church. Our archdiocese is one of the most diverse in the country. The mission is to be open to all people, to respect the dignity of the human person. They are created in the image of God, regardless of skin color. They are all part of the body of Christ.”

Construction of the school grew out of a 2008 master plan that pinpointed optimum neighborhoods for new schools. Since then, the archdiocese also has opened Frassati Catholic High School in suburban Spring and Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep School in an inner-city neighborhood near Hobby Airport.

Still, in 2009, the same year Cristo Rey opened, the archdiocese closed or consolidated four schools in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods, spawning accusations that it was seeking to serve the affluent at the expense of the poor.

“It’s a sin of omission,” CE Johnson, a school board member at one of the affected schools, said at the time. “You see a problem, and you do nothing about it.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo defended the action, saying the schools targeted for closure suffered dwindling enrollment, financial pressures and, in some cases, aging infrastructure.

Locally and nationally, Catholic education leaders said, parent demand is among the strongest determining factors of where schools will be built.

When French missionary the Rev. Jean Marie Odin arrived in Galveston in 1840, he was surprised to find that Catholic parents had opened their own religious schools in Galveston, Houston and Victoria without the help of priests.

At Christ the Redeemer, said principal Betty Sierra, parish parents have helped shape the school from its inception.

“They have beaten down the doors to volunteer,” she said. “They really want to be involved. They want to make sure they’re part of it.”

The new school opened its doors early last year as a facility for the religious training of more than 2,000 parish youngsters. Plans, Sierra said, called for expanding it to offer pre-K through third-grade instruction, possibly in the 2015-16 school year. Parent demand, though, accelerated the process, the principal said.

“Third grade came up on the radar,” added Horrigan. “As we took the plunge into third grade, the response from parents was tremendous. I had 15 or 18 emails saying that if we’d open fourth-grade classes they would provide the kids.”

Plans call for adding a grade level each year up to eighth grade.


Information from: Houston Chronicle,

Los Angeles, CA — (ReleaseWire) — 10/23/2014 — Every year, thousands of consumers are cheated by automobile dealers.  In many cases, when dealers take advantage of unsuspecting buyers, the buyers don’t know they have been deceived until something happens later; prior accidents are discovered, frame damage, etc.. Dealership fraud is very common in the used car market. Car dealers use many tricks and tactics to deceive innocent consumers. The  auto fraud lawyers  at CALG are fighting t to put an end to dealer fraud.

Consumer Action Law Group  has a comprehensive website which offers articles and free legal advice on  car dealer scams  and other predatory practices that affect consumers and car buyers. now features tips and best practices for car buyers. The lawyers at Consumer Action Law Group offer free services to consumers and car buyers who have questions about their contracts, warranties, past recalls and repairs, prior accidents, and many other issues that affect car buyers.

Pauliana Lara is the lead auto fraud attorney  of the auto fraud division in the firm. Every day her team fields calls from car buyers who need help. Lara said, “dealership scams cost drivers and car owners a whopping $6 billion every year.” Purchase contracts and documents are tampered, consumers are misinformed and misled, and auto dealers deliberately rip off consumers to make as much money as possible on every transaction.

“We, as a consumer fraud legal action group, have been working relentlessly to provide legal assistance to car buyers who have been deceived.   Auto fraud cases are on the rise and we offer the most effective legal assistance to car buyers and consumers who are outraged on their dealers.” Pauliana Lara adds: “We are committed to providing justice to chiseled consumers and we have a solid track record in handling auto fraud lawsuits.”

About Consumer Action Law Group
Consumer Action Law Group has offices in California and relationships with others law firms throughout the US. From mortgage litigation to eliminating debt, the law firm has been offering legal services to consumers in and outside California.

To find more about the legal services the group offers, visit

Contact info:
Fax: 866-936 6916
Phone: 818-254-8413
3700 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90065

For more information on this press release visit:

The US dollar recovered against a basket of major currencies on Thursday on the view that Wednesdays selloff was overdone given the relative strength of the US economy and the Federal Reserves commitment to tightening US monetary policy.

A disappointing auction of Spanish debt and data showing deflation hit five peripheral euro zone countries in September underscored the relative health of the US economy and the divergence between the Feds path toward hiking interest rates and the European Central Banks potential to further loosen monetary policy.

The dollar gained traction after hitting a three-week low against the euro and the Swiss franc Wednesday and a more than one-month low against the safe-haven yen.

Bank of India is planning to set up a subsidiary dedicated to social work, a first among its domestic peers. Amid increasing competition, the public sector lender is trying to consolidate the credit portfolio, cut expenses and focus on fee and treasury income to stay profitable. The bank is focusing on bringing down stressed assets by strict monitoring and faster resolution of cases. Vijayalakshmi Iyer, chairperson amp; managing director, tells Manju AB how she is steering the bank out of its bad debt problem by personally attending to large accounts. Excerpts from the interview:

What is driving business at Bank of India? With credit growth being at a decade low, how will banks beat the trend and still stay profitable?

The growth has been very low in tune with the industry trend post March 2014. This actually provided an opportunity to consolidate credit portfolio and to put more resources for monitoring mechanism. These efforts will result in lower credit cost and will improve profitability. With more focus on timely resolution of stressed assets, the profitability will, in fact, improve.

When do you expect corporate credit to pick up? And which sectors do you see reviving faster than others?

There has been slowdown in corporate credit demand. Many steps are being taken by the government to enable economic growth to assume faster pace. With pro-growth environment being created, we expect credit growth to pick up by the end of third quarter of the current fiscal. We expect pick-up in SME sector to lead.

How is the retail credit growth?

Notwithstanding lower corporate demand for credit, the retail sector continues to grow resulting in better balancing of portfolio. Focus on agriculture, retail and MSME is driving the business. Widespread geographical spread of branches is helping us growing in these sectors. During the first half of this fiscal, schematic retail loan has grown 12.21% from Rs 21,982 crore as on March 31, to Rs 24,665 crore as on September 30. The growth is 28 % year on year (Rs 19,284 crore to Rs 24,665 crore). Home loan growth has been 31% on a year-on-year basis (Rs 11,400 crore to Rs 14,913 crore). Home loan and LAP constitutes 74% of schematic retail loans as on September 30, 2014 (home loan Rs 14,913 amp; LAP Rs 3,424 crore). Total retail loans (personal loan segment) of the bank stood at Rs 29,654 crore as on September 30, 2014. Considering the growth pattern in the earlier years, we expect about 40% growth in retail loans during 2014-15.

What will be the key driver of your profits during the current quarter?

The deposit rates have softened in the absence of demand for credit. This will help in achieving lower cost of fund and better NIM (net interest margin). Initiatives have been taken to curtail operational expenses as well as to increase non-interest income. All out efforts are being made to achieve lower credit cost by improving monitoring process and also by achieving speedier resolution of non-performing assets. There are two major sources of fee income, in addition to general banking services including remittances, etc. That is (1) business related to credit portfolio and (2) fixed income portfolio. Given the softening of yields on fixed rate bonds, we do expect gains on that account to contribute to our profits.

How are your deposits growing? Any specific campaigns to mobilise CASA (current account savings account)?

It is desirable to match growth in deposits to growth in credit business. Given that demand for credit has been muted, the deposit portfolio is registering slower growth in keeping with opportunities for deployment. We are placing thrust on CASA business and special drives are being arranged across the country to expand the customer base further. Technology related initiatives are being implemented to make banking more customer friendly. The government business is also being expanded with a view to increase CASA portfolio.

How is the joint lending forum (JLF) helping the bank combat the rise in bad loans? Is the JLF being implemented in all earnestness with co-operation from all banks?

Joint Lending Forum (JLF) has been helping the banking system in early resolution of stressed accounts as RBI guidelines warrants time bound rectification process by all banks if majority of banks (75% in value and 60% in numbers) agree for any of the three options available, that is rectification, restructuring or recovery. The implementation of corrective action plan under JLF route has almost stabilised barring addressing of few issues like short period available for implementation of restructuring under CDR
on-CDR route.

Asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) say banks need to give bigger discounts for sales to happen. What has been your experience?

In fact, the role of ARCs is very important in faster resolution of stressed assets. We feel that ARCs need more capitalisation to meet the revised norms of payment of cash up-front of 15%. Admittedly, with higher cash up-front, the ARCs will have more commitment, which will lead to even faster resolution. Bigger discounts on sales will force banks to have bigger hit to their Pamp;L.

Now social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are attempting at money transfers, printing cheque books, etc. Is there any threat to traditional banking from these alternate channels?

There is no question of threat. Innovations in technology are always welcome as they help in achieving higher level of efficiency in providing banking services. It is desirable to remain aligned with evolving technology. We have focus on IT enabled services to ensure that our customers have access to state-of-the-art technology. We were the first PSU bank to introduce first ATM long back in the country. Recently, we introduced cash remittance through ATM to non customers without use of ATM card. It has received good response. Most of our ATMs are now enabled to provide this service of Instant Money Transfer (IMT).

Banks are planning to sell off their non-core assets to streamline the organisation What would be your non-core assets that you might put on the block?

We do have strategic investments and keep reviewing the same from time to time. It is always desirable to realise gains on such investments to augment capital. It is a continuous process.

You had plans of setting up a wholly owned subsidiary for corporate social responsibility. What has been the progress of that?

With a view to have consistent approach for achieving our corporate social responsibility objectives, we have proposed formation of a trust. We have approached appropriate authorities for approvals. We are expecting approvals soon.

Will you have to raise money for Basel III compliance? Will you give some details on the fundraising plans of the bank?

We need to strengthen our capital structure to ensure consistent growth while maintain the desirable levels of capital adequacy. This is a continuous process. We are observing capital market developments very closely and have plans to raise capital at an appropriate time.

Finally, how is Jan Dhan scheme faring and how much of deposits in these accounts if at all have you collected?

Our bank has opened 28.82 lakh accounts from August 16 to October 16 under Jan Dhan scheme and collected Rs 70.07 crore deposits. The scheme is in full swing by means of carrying out household surveys in all the allotted Sub Service Areas (SSA) and wards which is expected to be completed by October 31.Number of RuPay Cards issued by our Bank so far is 17.94 lakh. The backlog is expected to be cleared by November 15. Aadhaar seeding and opening of accounts through e-KYC is picking up and we have seeded 23.48 lakh accounts and opened 11,716 accounts through e-KYC so far.

Have you also rolled out Swachh Bharat campaign?

In this national endeavour, BOI has committed Rs 4 crore for construction of toilets in government schools. The project will cover 85 girls secondary schools in Jharkhand. List of schools and districts covered in the state has already been conveyed to finance ministry, and ministry of HRD. Implementation will be done through local agencies in coordination with BOI zonal offices situated in Jharkhand.

In this example, the 4.74 percentage point difference in APRs offered translates into a potential savings of $802.80 over the 36 month life of the loan.

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By completing the online form, consumers are able to gain access to LendingTrees personal loan marketplace and the growing network of personal loan lenders, including both peer-to-peer and traditional lenders. In addition, the all-new My LendingTree experience provides borrowers with completely free credit scores updated monthly, along with analysis and insights into their personal credit and borrowing profiles that impact the offers available to them from lenders. Because personal loan rates offered to borrowers can vary greatly among lenders, sometimes by more than 10 percentage points,there are opportunities to save significantly by comparison shopping and receiving multiple loan offers.

For more information, tools and resources, all completely free of charge to consumers, please visit

About LendingTree, LLC
LendingTree, LLC is the nations leading online loan marketplace, empowering consumers as they comparison-shop across a full suite of loan and credit-based offerings. LendingTree provides an online marketplace which connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business, as well as an array of online tools and information to help consumers find the best loan. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 32 million loan requests. LendingTree provides access to lenders offering home loans, personal loans home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans and more. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of, Inc.For more information go, dial 800-555-TREE, join ourFacebook pageand/or follow us on Twitter@LendingTree.

Megan Greuling
(704) 943-8208

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