Apprisen Financial Advocates Offer Financial Help Online

Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency which provides personal financial counseling and education, has launched Webvisor. This free, financial counseling and education application can be accessed directly on the Apprisen website, at http://www.apprisen.com. Webvisorsm is an online, self-directed application to help consumers evaluate their finances. Consumers do not have to provide personal identifying information to complete the program and options are presented which are tailored to each individual’s specific financial situation.

Hectic work schedules, busy families and too few hours in the day prevent consumers from spending the time needed to properly manage their money. In addition, some consumers are uncomfortable or may feel embarrassed to sit face-to-face with a credit counselor to discuss their finances. Unfortunately, despite their best hopes and wishes, financial challenges do not magically disappear. An increasing number of people are now turning to the Internet for information and answers they desperately need.

Apprisen Financial Advocates, known in communities where it has local offices as Consumer Credit Counseling Service, believes Webvisor provides a convenient web-based tool to help consumers tackle their personal finances. Webvisor helps people organize their finances and then creates a plan of action to deal with difficult money management issues. Webvisor provides consumers with the support and confidence necessary to manage their money, from the security and privacy of their own home.

“What makes Webvisor unique? It’s convenient; it can be used whenever and wherever you want. No appointment or rearranging your busy schedule is necessary. Webvisor is confidential and anonymous with no pop-ups or advertising and it can take less than 30 minutes to complete,” says Michael S. Kappas, President and CEO of Apprisen Financial Advocates.

Webvisor analyzes information provided by the consumer and identifies areas where improvements in their money management can be accomplished. Webvisor provides consumers with a budget and action plan detailing suggestions and recommendations for their specific situation. It suggests ways to increase income, reduce expenses and provides guidance on which bills should be paid first. Guidance is also provided on methods to deal with debt as well as a list of helpful financial resources. Webvisor provides both professional and practical advice for consumers to use everyday to improve their financial well-being.

Results of the 2010 National Financial Literacy Survey indicate that many adults engage in risky financial behavior. The survey of adults reports that: 56% do not have a budget, 30% have no savings, 41% carry credit card debt and 78% agree that they would benefit from professional financial advice.

“Webvisor helps consumers address those issues. Its unique features complement our current face-to-face and phone methods of counseling. We also hope organizations and businesses recognize the importance of people completing a financial checkup and consider adding Webvisor as a link in their website,” Mr. Kappas points out. “Webvisor is an excellent example of how our agency recognizes, responds, and develops innovative financial services that consumers have come to expect from Apprisen.”

Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt since 1955. Certified counselors provide money management, debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling and financial education. Services are provided in-person in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit credit counseling agency in the country, Apprisen Financial Advocates is known in its local communities as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. For more information call 800.355.2227 or visit http://www.apprisen.com.

Contact: Kathy Virgallito, 614-552-9578
kathy(dot)virgallito(at)apprisen(dot)com

Cleantech Group to Focus on Emerging Opportunities in Water Technology

Cleantech Group to Focus on Emerging Opportunities in Water Technology-Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

Cleantech Group, the leading global research and advisory firm focused on cleantech innovation, announced the Cleantech Focus Los Angeles event to be held on November 3-4, 2010. Developed around Cleantech Group’s key water research themes, the event will feature leading global corporations, cutting edge start-ups, and active investors discussing the state of water innovation, corporate water policies, current best practices in water management, relevant policy and regulation, and the technology solutions available now and on the horizon. Cleantech Focus Los Angeles is the third Focus event this year, focusing on exploring the commercial opportunities in water.

“The pressures of global population rise and industrial development on water demand are obvious, water is an increasingly scarce resource” said Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, “but it’s also a massive clean technology opportunity yet to be fully tapped.” Sheeraz continues, “Large corporations are just beginning to start addressing the challenges of water conservation and utilities are finding that leveraging leading edge technology from source to spigot can have dramatic differences.”

To highlight these technologies and facilitate further clean technology innovations, Cleantech Focus Los Angeles will bring together hundreds of influential industry players, including corporate leaders, venture capitalists, economic development agencies, entrepreneurs and policy makers to Los Angeles, an area in the crosshairs of water resource management and ever-increasing demand.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to connect with key industry influencers during various networking sessions, hear research and trends from Cleantech Group analysts and participate in interactive case studies covering how corporations addressed and successfully implemented water and energy efficiency policies and processes to satisfy investors and customers.

A highlight of featured speakers and keynotes for Cleantech Focus Los Angeles include:

  • Jeff Fulgham, Chief Sustainability Officer and Ecomagination Leader, GE Power & Water covering innovative corporate water policy, current best practices in water management, relevant policy and regulation, or current & required technology solutions to both increase supply and water efficiency.
  • Sally Gutierrez, Director of the National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) for the US EPA, responsible for conducting engineering and environmental technology research on treatment and control of contaminants in drinking water, remediation of contaminated sites, environmental sustainability and environmental technology testing and development.
  • Hank Habicht, Managing Partner, Sail Venture Partners, one of the leading venture investors focusing on water. Hank formerly had leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and at the U.S. EPA as COO (Deputy Administrator).
  • John Picard, one of the preeminent environmental consultants in North America, a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, preeminent environmental consultant and long-standing member of Interface’s Dream Team, and a number of corporations around the world.
  • Michael Kavanaugh, Ph.D., VP and the National Science and Technology Leader for Malcolm Pirnie, Inc, a chemical and environmental engineer with over 35 years of consulting experience in groundwater remediation, risk and decision analysis, water treatment, water reuse, and industrial and municipal wastewater treatment.
  • Mia Javier, Cleantech Group’s Water Technologies Analyst who will highlight her recent research, revealing trends on the state of water innovation globally.

More than ever, multi-national corporations are facing up to water as a real business risk that requires effective management and policies. IT-based solutions that bring visibility to water distribution networks and industrial, commercial and residential water use are helping companies reduce water consumption or lost-water, reduce water pollution and meet regulatory compliance, and improve the energy efficiency of plant/systems operations and distribution.

Cleantech Focus events are part of an on-going series of one-day conferences organized by Cleantech Group held across various cities throughout the world. Cleantech Focus events take a deep dive into the hottest topics in clean technology alongside intimate networking opportunities.

For more information on Cleantech Focus Los Angeles, including agenda and registration, please visit: http://events.cleantech.com/losangeles

For information regarding upcoming Cleantech Forums or other Cleantech Focus events, please visit: http://events.cleantech.com/

About Cleantech Group, LLC
Cleantech Group, the leading global research and advisory firm focused on cleantech innovation, pioneered the clean technology category in 2002. Today, it helps its clients make critical business decisions by providing the latest market intelligence through subscription-based research, custom advisory services, and global networking events. The company’s growing international client base includes global corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, governments, and service providers. The company also produces the premier Cleantech Forum® and Focus™ events worldwide, including upcoming events in Paris, New York, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles. Details are available at http://www.cleantech.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Elke Heiss
Sterling Communications, Inc.
Tel: +1 (415) 992-3209
Email: eheiss(at)sterlingpr(dot)com

Dave Ewart
Cleantech Group
415-684-1020 x6700
Email: dewart(at)cleantech(dot)com

London Rental Market Facing Severe Shortage

London Rental Market Facing Severe Shortage

London Rental Market Facing Severe Shortage-Image via Wikipedia

New statistics from one of the leading London letting agencies show that the capital’s rental market has swung decisively in favour of landlords.

Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings, which has 10 offices across the capital, says the market is now driven by a severe shortage of properties to rent — in the three months to October the firm had 23% fewer homes available than during the same period of 2009.

The trend is fuelled further by tenants who are unwilling to move because they know they stand little chance of finding better, cheaper properties. A record 64% renewed their tenancies in the last quarter, one-third higher than in the same period of 2009.

“My advice to tenants is to put down a deposit as soon as they see somewhere they like. That may be the only way to secure a home: the market is so competitive now we’re routinely seeing rival applicants offering above the asking rent. The busiest sectors are those between 500 pounds and 700 pounds, and between 1,000 pounds and 1,500 pounds a week,” explains Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings.

Even dramatic gestures do not guarantee success. Some of the firm’s corporate tenants offer two or three years’ rent up-front; ironically this can have a negative impact on a landlord’s tax status so does not always mean a deal can be done.

Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings’ figures reinforce data from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, which shows that the number of tenants looking for property to rent is now twice as high as in 2007, and has reached an eight-year high.

London lettings, of course, have amongst the highest demand across the UK according to the ARLA survey — 73% of lettings agents in the capital say they have more tenants on their books than properties to offer, with the imbalance worsening as more and more first time buyers find they cannot obtain mortgages.

“A shortage exists in every sector. For example, there are many more sharers around now because one bedroom apartments are very scarce in central London. This makes it hard for people on lower budgets to find a home,” says Marc von Grundherr.

“My advice to a would-be tenant is simple. If you find something you like, don’t wait — grab it!”

Press enquiries:
Tracie Lack
020 7433 6670
brmarketing@brlets.co.uk

Cedar Shopping Centers, Inc. (NYSE: CDR) today announced that it has completed the purchase of 11501 Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. Route 1) in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for approximately $13.375 million, excluding closing costs and adjustments.  The property consists of an existing 230,000 sq. ft. building on approximately 15.3 acres.  It is immediately adjacent to another property, 11601 Roosevelt Boulevard, now owned by Cedar, consisting of a 430,000 sq. ft. building on approximately 23.9 acres.  Both properties are presently leased to the U.S. General Services Administration for use by the Internal Revenue Service with leases extending to October 15, 2011.  The IRS is expected to vacate the buildings on or before that date.

The purchase for the property was funded with approximately $2.5 million in cash, including, among other things, funds for replacement of reserves and payment of certain transfer taxes, above an existing first mortgage of approximately $13 million due March 2012 assumed by Cedar.

The property, together with the adjacent property, represents an assemblage of nearly 40 acres with an existing signalized entrance on U.S. Route 1, a 10-lane highway with a traffic count of more than 70,000 cars per day at this site.

Upon maturity of the mortgage loan on the property, it is expected that the property will be included in a Company development credit facility.  The Company has announced no present plans for development of the two properties.

About Cedar Shopping Centers

Cedar Shopping Centers, Inc. is a fullyintegrated real estate investment trust which focuses primarily on the ownership, operation, development and redevelopment of “bread and butter”® supermarketanchored shopping centers in coastal midAtlantic and New England states.  The Company presently owns (both exclusively or in joint venture) and manages approximately 15.2 million square feet of GLA at 131 shopping center properties, of which more than 75% are anchored by supermarkets and/or drugstores with average remaining lease terms of approximately 11 years.

For additional financial and descriptive information on the Company, its operations and its portfolio, please refer to the Company’s website at www.cedarshoppingcenters.com.

Foreclosure Victims Get A Helping Hand

Foreclosure Victims Get A Helping Hand

Foreclosure Victims Get A Helping Hand-Image by respres via Flickr

The National Mortgage Complaint Center is looking for a specific group of former homeowners, who were never late on their mortgage payment, who had decided since they were upside down on their mortgage payment they would contact their bank/loan servicer for a loan modification, who were then told by their bank, or loan servicer to stop making mortgage payments, and rather than receiving a loan modification, lost their home to a foreclosure. The group says, “These are the exact people we want to talk to. One of the gigantic problems in the US foreclosure disaster is banks, or loan servicers do not assign a homeowner attempting to take advantage of a loan modification to the same customer service agent. Instead the borrower never talks to the same person twice-no names-e-mail addresses-nothing.” The National Mortgage Complaint Center says, “The group of people we want to hear from are borrowers, who were always on time, who were told to stop making their mortgage payments by the banks, or loan servicer, who wanted a loan modification, but instead got a foreclosure notice.” For more information please contact the National Mortgage Complaint Center at 866-714-6466, or contact the group via its web site at http://NationalMortgageComplaintCenter.Com

The National Mortgage Complaint Center says, “we cannot help people who were already behind in their mortgage payments, before their bank contacted them, or before they were foreclosed on. We think it is very important to find people, who received no notice from the bank, that a foreclosure was imminent, meaning the bank sought foreclosure on their home without first notifying them of bringing the case.” They say, “we know there are tens, and tens of thousands of homeowners, who were not behind on their payments, they simply wanted a loan modification, their bank told them to stop making payments, and instead of getting a loan modification-they got a foreclosure notice-typically without prior notice.You are the people we want to hear from.” For more information please contact the National Mortgage Complaint Center at 866-714-6466, or contact the group via its web site at http://NationalMortgageComplaintCenter.Com

There is no cost to consumers for this investigation, on the part of the National Mortgage Complaint Center.

The National Mortgage Complaint Center is one of the most quoted source in the United States on predatory mortgage lending. The group has been featured, or quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Good Housekeeping Magazine, Parade Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other news, or media outlets. In the June 2005 edition of Money Magazine, the group warned about a national economic train wreck if banks, and major US homebuilders did not put a stop to appraisal fraud. http://NationalMortgageComplaintCenter.Com.

Investment Group Expands to Multi-Family Market in Louisiana

Investment Group Expands to Multi-Family Market in Louisiana-Image via Wikipedia

Post Investment Group, Inc, a Los Angeles-based opportunistic real estate investment firm, today announced their initial foray into the Louisiana multi-family market with the acquisition of Quail Creek Apartments.

Post acquired the property, a 403 unit class B complex, through an on market transaction brokered by Austin-based Apartment Realty Advisors.  Quail Creek represents the first significant transaction outside of Texas for Post, marking a strategic shift in their investment platform.  In addition to developing inroads into a new market, the property is the first non-distressed opportunity pursued in 2010. In reference to the recent transaction, Post commented that the influx of investment-grade capital in tandem with inexpensive debt has enabled firms to realize positive leverage down to a 4.50% cap rate and thus resulted in a migration toward Class A product.  In conjunction with institutions, dividend-driven opportunistic groups have followed the financially engineered yields to newer product as well, creating a vacuum in Class B appetite and resulting in this opportunity for Post.  According to Scott Pickett, Director of Acquisitions for Post, “Post is actively looking to expand both our core-stabilized and distressed acquisition platforms by identifying strategic assets in fundamentally sound markets.”  Mr. Pickett expands to say, “Post is in the process of evaluating new markets that exhibit strong economic and operational metrics as well as transactional volume and clarity.  In addition to furthering our foothold in Texas, we are currently exploring markets such as Colorado and California and potentially Arizona and Florida.”

Quail Creek is the fourth acquisition for Post in 2010, and in combination with deals currently under contract will surpass their 2010 goal of $120 million in total capitalized acquisitions for the year.  By the end of 2010, Post expects to have expanded its holdings to nearly 10,000 apartment units, an important milestone in multi-family ownership.  Moving forward Post is focused on expanding their breadth of operations in multi-family through continued investment vigor and with the creation of a development division which is expected to break ground on their first two projects in December of this year.

Quail Creek was purchased through a joint venture with a Los Angeles-based private asset management firm.

About Post Investment Group, Inc

Post Investment Group is an opportunistic real estate investment firm focused on the acquisition of multi-family assets nationwide.  The company specializes is both core plus and distressed investment opportunities capitalized through private and institutional investors.

www.postinvestmentgroup.com

Post Investment Group 1-310-788-3445

SOURCE Post Investment Group, Inc

Wall Street Reform Brings Flood of Federal Investigations

Wall Street Reform Brings Flood of Federal Investigations-Image via Wikipedia

When President Obama signed the Wall Street reform bill into law on July 21, he likely ushered in what might be called “the decade of the whistleblower”—an era marked by a flood of federal investigations sparked by bounty-hunting employees looking to cash in on rewards that, in some cases, could turn them into instant millionaires. Indeed, the Dodd-Frank bill became law just three months ago, but plaintiff’s firms already report an astronomical jump in calls from would-be whistleblowers, noted two LeClairRyan attorneys, who will explore the potentially far-reaching impact of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions during an Oct. 29 webinar at www.LeClairRyan.com.

The free Webinar, which runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. EST, will be conducted by James P. Anelli, a veteran labor and employment attorney with decades of experience representing management, and Carlos F. Ortiz, a seasoned white-collar defense attorney who served as a federal prosecutor for more than 15 years. Both attorneys are shareholders in LeClairRyan, based in the firm’s Newark, N.J., office.

While the Dodd-Frank Act has been widely discussed, its extremely significant whistleblower provisions have gone nearly unnoticed, the attorneys said. And yet, under those provisions, whistleblowers that provide information that exposes SEC violations will get up to 30 percent of fines exceeding $1 million. “Bear in mind that recent fines involving violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) have reached up to $100 million,” Ortiz noted.  “The fallout from these whistleblower provisions will be huge. This is an incredible incentive for employees who are looking to get rich to do all they can to gather information on, and report, potential violations by their employers. Why would they go through existing compliance hotlines when they can contact a plaintiff’s attorney and pursue such potentially lucrative payouts?”

Generally speaking, the scope of previous SEC whistleblower laws was limited to cases of insider trading. Dodd-Frank, which will be administered by the newly created Bureau of Consumer and Financial Protection, applies to all potential SEC and commodities-trading violations. For a variety of reasons, it will affect a broad swath of both private and public entities, Anelli noted. “In the old days, whistleblower laws applied to Wall Street traders using insider knowledge to swap ‘hot stock tips’ with each other, but the new framework is quite broad,” he explained. “It applies to virtually any company that deals with consumer credit, loans or property in any capacity, including mortgage brokers, financial advisors and credit-counseling services.”

During the webinar, Ortiz will describe the manifold ways in which public companies that do business overseas could be forced to deal with an upsurge in employee-generated complaints under FCPA. (The conduct of foreign intermediaries, for example, is already under close federal scrutiny.) But public companies are not the only ones that will be affected by the bounty-hunting provisions—their subsidiaries and privately-held competitors might also come under closer federal scrutiny.

“Let’s assume your company is privately owned and does business in Malaysia,” Ortiz said. “If your chief competitor in the market is a publicly-traded American company that, thanks to a whistleblower complaint, becomes the target of a federal investigation, the Department of Justice might launch a broader ‘industry probe.’  DOJ might say, in effect, ‘Now that we know Company X was bribing officials in Malaysia to get work, let’s investigate all of its competitors.'”

Moreover, Anelli added, the new whistleblower provisions apply to all of the subsidiaries of any public company. “A large public company might have 100 subsidiaries, and as long as the financial information of those subsidiaries is used in its consolidated financial statement, those entities are covered under this law,” he said. “The ‘Wall Street reforms’ actually have a reach that is far beyond the publicly-traded realm.”

How should companies protect themselves against bogus complaints filed by bounty-seeking employees? What specific practices and departments tend to be at highest risk of being cited for an SEC violation? How will the new anti-retaliation provisions—which include private causes of action for employees who suffer retaliation—affect the way managers should conduct themselves in the wake of a whistleblower complaint? During the webinar, Ortiz and Anelli will explore these and other questions. They will also offer advice on how companies can develop effective internal controls and document their efforts to maximize compliance.

The potential stakes, the attorneys note, are high: Federal enforcement actions have been increasingly aggressive in recent years, with approximately 150 companies already under investigation for FCPA violations and a growing number of individual executives being singled out for prosecution. “The reforms included a burden-shifting framework that is favorable to employees,” Anelli concluded. “Under this framework, employees in many instances will now be able to show that they meet the burden of proof that is required to recover their cut of the eventual fine. Because of the amounts involved, whistleblower cases are going to turn into big business for plaintiff’s law firms. As more whistleblowers start making big bounties—and headlines—the number of investigations will only grow. Careful preparation clearly is in order.”

To register for the webinar: (“Dodd-Frank Will Usher in the ‘Decade of the Whistleblower’ “) please visit https://leclairryanevents.webex.com. Registration deadline is 11:00 a.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 29.  HRCI credit for the webinar is pending

About LeClairRyan

Founded in 1988, LeClairRyan provides business counsel and client representation in corporate law and high-stakes litigation. With offices in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the firm’s nearly 300 attorneys represent a wide variety of clients throughout the nation.  For more information about LeClairRyan, visit www.leclairryan.com.

Available Topic Expert: For information on the listed expert, click appropriate link.

Carlos Ortiz

https://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=95648

SOURCE LeClairRyan

Mergers and Acquisitions Down for Global Markets

Despite the return of favorable conditions for mergers and acquisitions (M&As), a quarter fewer (29%) global businesses are actively seeking acquisition targets, in stark contrast to the appetite for deals six months ago (38%). The fall comes despite only 16% feeling restricted in their ability to pursue growth through M&As compared to 40% a year ago, according to a survey of over 1,000 senior executives around the world, by Ernst & Young.

The third bi-annual Capital confidence barometer, conducted in October, also finds greater optimism among executives about their own company and local economy prospects tempered by greater pessimism about the global picture. Austerity measures, increasing taxes, currency conflicts and regulatory concerns along with a slowing recovery among other issues are undermining confidence in the global economy and reducing the appetite for M&A.

Half of respondents now feel well positioned to execute an acquisition at short notice – up from 36% in 2009 – but more companies are reluctant to commit to a deal. The majority of those that are, look to acquire in emerging markets. There may be a drop in the appetite for M&A generally but we could see some bold first-mover activity given the fall in respondents saying they were likely or highly likely to make a divestiture over the next six months (down to 15% from 38% in April) was higher relatively, than the fall in buyers – increasing the gap between the number of potential buyers and willing sellers.

Rich Jeanneret, Americas Vice-Chair, Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst & Young LLP, says: “According to our findings, there’s tempered exuberance among executives around the globe. M&A is still very much on the agenda, but we’re noticing a bit of a wait-and-see pattern.”

“While confidence in the economic recovery has waned somewhat over the past six months, our survey shows firms are looking to put their cash to work organically as boardrooms take a more cautious approach. There’s less of a focus on top-line growth through M&A and a greater emphasis on performance improvement.”

Seventy-five percent of respondents are now focused on organic growth as their capital allocation priority, through restructuring and performance improvement, compared to 66% six months ago.

Emerging markets targeted

Most companies recognize the imperative for an emerging markets strategy to position them for future growth and plan M&A accordingly. A third (31%) said they were likely to undertake or seriously consider an emerging market acquisition in the next six months. By contrast, interest in developed markets acquisitions has remained flat over the last six months.

Over half of those who planned to invest in the emerging markets expect to enter via a joint venture or strategic alliances, which also show an upward trend.

Jeanneret says: “Our survey finds evidence of a ‘two–speed’ recovery as emerging markets are continuing to attract attention, even more so then they did a year ago while interest in developed economies has been flat. Companies are looking to take advantage of opportunities and resources in these growing economies.”

Credit conditions improve

Overall optimism is increasing for local economies, as 67% of respondents feel more confident about the prospects of their local economy compared in April. Levels of confidence in India (92%) and China (82%) remain high compared to six months ago, but former leader Australia drops out of the top five most confident economies. Russia (89% from 47% in April) and Germany (84% from 64%) enter the top five, while France (66% from 44%) has also seen a large rise in confidence.

In contrast, the outlook for the global economy is less optimistic, with 34% believing recovery will happen within the next 12 months, compared to 40% six months ago.

Steve Krouskos, Global and Americas Markets Leader, Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst & Young LLP, says: “Market confidence-made up of consumers, investors and credit markets-is the primary driver of deal activity.”

Over half (58%) said credit conditions were better now than in April. However, the global picture is patchy. Among the BRIC nations, the majority of executives said the situation had improved, but in the UK and US, only 33% and 47% respectively, see such an improvement.

Companies’ increasing ability to invest in their business is fortified by easing access to finance. Low rates have made debt markets increasingly attractive, and banks have been willing to work with borrowers’ circumstances.

Indeed, of the companies considering M&As, 61% are planning to fund deals with cash, while bank loans have increased too, other forms of debt and bonds have declined considerably.

As a result, 52% of companies have no need to refinance loans or other debt obligations, an increase of nearly 10% on April 2010. Of the 48% of companies that do need to refinance, 63% plan to do it within the next 12 months.

High risk – high reward

With many more companies now in a strong cash position they could well be placed to take advantage and make ‘all cash’ offers to shareholders. While buyers are likely to pay a premium now, in two years they may pay even bigger premiums.

There will be opportunities to make a game-changing strategic move – the risks may be high but so too are the rewards. How organizations manage their capital today will define their competitive position tomorrow.

About the survey

The Ernst & Young Capital confidence barometer is a survey of over 1000 senior executives from large companies around the world and across industry sectors. The objective of the Barometer is to gauge corporate confidence in the economic outlook, to understand boardroom priorities in the next 12 months, and to identify the emerging capital practices that will distinguish those companies that will build competitive advantage as the global economy continues to evolve. This is the third half-yearly Barometer in the series, which began in November 2009.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information, please visit www.ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global Ernst & Young organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

SOURCE Ernst & Young

Flint Energy Services Ltd. (Flint, the Company) announced that it was awarded a new six-year contract by Imperial Oil Canada Limited for field construction work in Western Canada. The contract includes the construction of a pipeline connection in northeast British Columbia, as well as construction of other field facilities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The agreement also has provision for a further four-year extension after the initial six-year term.

The work will be performed by a number of branches of Flint’s Production Services Division in Western Canada.

W. J. (Bill) Lingard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Flint stated, “We are very pleased to have been awarded this work which will continue over an extended period of time and involve many of Flint’s locations in Western Canada. Our geographic reach, safety record and reputation for project execution, being on time and on budget, have positioned Flint to be able to win these large multi-year contracts with major producers who have oil and gas assets across Western Canada.”

Flint Energy Services Ltd. is a market leader providing an expanding range of integrated products and services for the oil and gas industry including: production services; infrastructure construction; oilfield transportation; and maintenance services. Flint, with more than 10,000 employees, provides this unique breadth of products and services through over 60 strategic locations in the oil and gas producing areas of Western North America, from Inuvik in the Northwest Territories to Mission, Texas on the Mexican border. Flint is a preferred provider of infrastructure construction management, module fabrication, maintenance services for upgrading, and production facilities in Alberta’s oil sands sector. www.flintenergy.com

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this news release may be “forward-looking statements”. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, and as such, they should not be unduly relied upon. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and Flint assumes no obligation to update or revise them, except as expressly required by applicable securities law. Further information regarding risks and uncertainties relating to Flint and its securities can be found in the disclosure documents filed by Flint with the securities regulatory authorities, available at www.sedar.com.

SOURCE Flint Energy Services Ltd.

Jumbo Mortgages Fall Below 5%

Total Mortgage Services, LLC, a leading mortgage lender and broker that offers some of the lowest mortgage rates available, announced today that its 30-year fixed jumbo mortgage rates are back below 5 percent for qualified borrowers. Currently, Total Mortgage is offering qualified borrowers a 30-year fixed jumbo mortgage up to $729,000 at rate of 4.875 percent and an APR of 4.932 percent with 0 points.

“The jumbo market is seeing significant improvement in both competitively priced rates and market liquidity. Many borrowers are taking advantage of this opportunity to lock-in low rates,” commented John Walsh, President of Total Mortgage. “Our team of experienced loan officers are responding to an increase in inquires for jumbo products from borrowers looking to take advantage of some of the lowest jumbo rates in the decades. In effect, the tremendous drop in rates has increased the number of both purchase and refinance transactions. Although underwriting standards remain rigorous, we are seeing an increase in the number of borrowers with strong credit qualifying for a more affordable jumbo mortgage with very attractive terms.”

Jumbo mortgage rates are typically higher than current mortgage rates when compared to conforming mortgage loans because of the increased loan size. Jumbo mortgage loans are mortgage loans that surpass the loan limits set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is why Jumbo mortgage loans are also referred to as non-conforming loans. For example, if a potential borrower is considering purchasing or refinancing a house that costs more than the Fannie Mae conforming limit, $417,000 to $729,750 depending upon location, they will need to get a jumbo mortgage.

Jumbo mortgage rates are always changing depending on many different factors. As of 9:30 A.M. on October 12, 2010, Total Mortgage was quoting the following mortgage rates:

Jumbo Mortgage Rates as of Oct 12, 2010 (also see the chart). (Conditions Apply.)

30 Year Fixed Jumbo Mortgage: 4.875% with 4.890% APR with 0 Points for 30 day lock
15 Year Fixed Jumbo Mortgage: 3.625% with 3.971% APR with 0 Points for 30 day lock
5/1 ARM Jumbo Mortgage: 3.250% with 3.251% APR with 0 Points for 30 day lock
1/1 ARM Jumbo Mortgage: 2.851% with 2.808% APR with 0 Points for 30 day lock

To speak with an experienced loan officer about a jumbo mortgage, please call 1-877-868-2509 or email contact(at)totalmortgage(dot)com.

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