Prudential yesterday cheered its millions of with-profits policyholders with news final payout values have been boosted by up to 17.5% and the majority of mortgage endowments are on track to pay off home loans, says the Guardian .
The insurer said its £85bn with-profits fund, in which 4.4 million people have their savings and investment cash, delivered an "exceptionally strong" performance in 2006.
It notched up a return of 12.4% before tax last year, with the total return over five years standing at 64%, says the paper.
As a result, the company is adding £2.5bn to policy values in respect of 2006, and most customers will see their policy values increase by more than 10%.
It reassured those homeowners relying on its policies to pay off their home loans that all Prudential mortgage endowments and an estimated 96% of Scottish Amicable-branded policies maturing this year will meet their repayment targets.
MORTGAGE LENDER Alliance & Leicester said the more than 40% jump in its bad debts last year represents a peak, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Bad debt charges increased to £105m from £74m in 2005, as Britain suffered from record levels of personal insolvencies.
Much of Alliance & Leicester’s bad debt charges stem from unsecured personal loans for which the bank expects the charge to fall next year after tightening their lending criteria.
New unsecured personal loans fell to £2.3bn last year from £2.5bn in 2005 and around 5.6% of unsecured personal loans were in arrears at the end of last year.
Despite the higher impairment charges, the bank reported a 4% rise in pre-tax profit to £569m while total income went up 5.7% to £1.5bn.
BIG BANKS came under renewed fire yesterday after Barclays posted £7bn profits amid accusations the industry is inflicting "extortionate" charges and poor service standards on customers, says the Scotsman.
Consumer groups said firms were making profits by levying unfair charges and were failing to spend their record earnings on improving customer service.
Analysts predict the "big five" alone will report more than £38bn in profits from last year. HSBC is expected to report the largest profits, early next month, forecasting £11.56bn for the group in 2006, while Royal Bank of Scotland is set to follow, with analysts expecting pre-tax profits of £9.16bn.
The UK's top five retail banks are predicted to have made more in profit per customer last year than ever before, earning £112.20 per customer, up 11.6% on 2005, according to research from Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software.
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