Bank Loan Modification – 5 Basic Tips to Stop Bank Foreclosure Now

A bank loan modification agreement is a long-term solution for those who will never be able to repay their existing loans. Millions of homeowners unable to refinance their loans may be looking for other ways to avoid or stop bank foreclosure over the next few years.

A bank loan modification is a change worked out between you and your bank. Your existing home owner’s loan is reworked in response to your long-term inability to repay the loan. In order to avoid foreclosure the modifications will typically involve one of three changes or a combination of the following three: they may reduce the interest rate on the loan, make an extension of the time you have to repay the loan, or create a totally different type of loan. The lender will hopefully be open to modifying a loan because the cost of making the change is often less than the cost of loan default.

When you are facing foreclosure, dealing with your lender can be much like dealing with an angry family member who you owe money to. Some lenders are just not willing to negotiate when you are facing financial difficulties. Loan modification foreclosure prevention can help you avoid the stress and anger involved with trying to keep your family in your home. It is up to you to convince your lender that it would benefit them to agree to a workout arrangement with you. Unfortunately without proper guidance this may be more difficult than you had imagined. The use of foreclosure prevention counselors can make the process much easier to deal with.

Losing your home may be a fear many of us will soon realize but learning to navigate through the system of bank loan modification may be the answer to keep your family in a more stable situation and stop bank foreclosure.

5 Tips to Avoid Foreclosing on Your Home

Don’t spend your house payment: you may get confused deciding which bills to pay. Knowing you may lose your home, you may decide to pay your other bills in order not to fall behind and go into collections.
Save time: using foreclosure prevention counselors will save you the time it will take to learn from your mistakes in dealing with your bank.
Have a professional on your side: your bank will have a team of experts on their side. This process is scary and difficult to accomplish on your own.
Learn the right way to work out your problem. Your home is at stake! Learn to properly navigate through the process of bank loan modification; this is no time to guess.
Relax help is only a click away: you are a responsible homeowner, FIGHT BACK against the conditions you find yourself in.

Struggling borrowers can stay in their homes – even as values decline sharply – as long as they can make their monthly payments.

Get Help From Loan Modification Experts

Talk to a bank loan modification [http://www.stopforeclosuresnow.info] expert today. If your mortgage balance is over $100,000 click here [http://www.stopforeclosuresnow.info] and simply fill out the contact form for a free consultation.

Bank Owned Foreclosures – All You Need to Know About Them

Presently number of foreclosed properties is increasing day by day in the market. It has resulted in an increase of specialized realtors in the foreclosing. Many agents are working either alone or with a franchise. They are like multi-hands of an international organization. The major focus of all these is to provide commercial and residential real estate.

One has to acquire exceptional knowledge and skills so that he can do successful transaction associated with real estate. You will be on the search for the most recent bank owned foreclosures and finding one may be difficult for you. But many websites have emerged to give you a helping hand so that you can zoom in for a few of your choice. This also helps in giving you other related details such as the location, the square footage, concerning amenities, its price, etc. Simultaneously you can search for an agent that could help you most with the required information of bank-owned foreclosures.

Sales of any foreclosed holdings are quite different than sales made via auction along with the bank owned foreclosures. Both should not be considered for one and same. Foreclosures owned by bank are known as REO properties. The term REO is an abbreviation of Real Estate Owned. Sometimes a property is not sold at auction and it is turned back to the concerned bank. In such a case no mortgage note is valid as the bank turn out to be the possessor and bank can sell it only at an established price.

Two possibilities arise here. First, it may be a foreclosed property at an auction and second, it may be a property possessed by bank, bank-owned foreclosure. In first case, the creditor liens and tax are always attached with it and you must reimburse it when you are buying it. While in the second case, liens could be contracted or even kept aloof depending on some negotiations along with the concerned parties!

If you buy the foreclosed property through and auction, you will always have an advantage that you can manage its evacuation from the people who are still residing there. On the contrary side, the bank owned foreclosures never happens to be influencing and are not very much effective.

Finance is one of the most important factors which are to be taken care of. A purchaser must find one financier so that he can provide the documentary proof and claim the offer at the first. This is more important in cases where one is concerned in purchasing foreclosures from any particular listings. The purchased must should get an expert appraisal of the property before he is making the final and end deal. This expert appraisal helps in finding any critical and severe problem that the house involves. In this case he should rethink and talk about the offers.

There are many realtors and agents who work in this field and provide valuable information such as security listings, listings of bank owned foreclosures, and its maintenance, interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, processes of eviction, and more.

Bank owned foreclosures are generally sold with the exact market value. But in case these properties require too much overhauls and renovations, then its cost will surpass its real value. For this reason you should give proper attention to find a property and it expert evaluation must be done before deciding for a property.

5 Ways Posting to Article Banks Can Spark Your Writing

During a slow period of my writing career, I found myself only writing queries. With article assignments temporarily slumping I soon started losing the “edge” that kept my writing tight, sharp and crisp. As a new or practicing writer, it is important to establish and maintain good writing habits. Writers write, and “practice makes perfect” as they say. So thinking that “a little more writing exposure never hurt anyone”, I took the plunge and signed on to one of the internet’s largest article banks, also called article submission sites. It was a move that sparked my writing like never before in my writing career.

Article banks – What they are

Article banks (article submission sites) are websites which allow you to post focused articles on a number of topics. You get published on the web for free but you are not paid for the article. The catch is that the piece can be freely distributed everywhere to other websites, e-zines or read and used by anyone as long as they leave the entire article intact including your byline and bio. There are stringent writer guidelines at the better sites, format and content restrictions, but certainly nothing I found prohibitive in any way. Guidelines also vary somewhat from one site to another.

Crank up the volume

Write an article a day? Are you kidding? Yeah, that was my answer too when asked that question in one of the many writer-inspiration pieces I gobble up in my spare time. Even though writing an article a day seems daunting at first, you can work yourself up to that with some persistence and guidelines. How about putting out one or two articles per week? How many thousand-word pieces could you reasonably pump out in one month? Wouldn’t you like to know? Well, here’s your chance to find out. Use a simple “article template” or article outlines to help. If you’d like the templates I use, e-mail me and I’ll send them right out.

Practice slanting and re-slanting

Online marketing professionals need to write about the same topic over and over. How do they do it? They slant and re-slant the articles. Writing multiple articles in your areas of specialization (you DO have them, don’t you?) will give you needed practice in devising a variety of slants for your articles. Can you focus your article idea towards women, children, teens, men, seniors, businesses, students, an ethnic group or other target group? Practice in developing an “eye” for different slants will be invaluable for your querying and article marketing efforts.

Speed up and refine your research skills

If you are wringing articles out of your muse at record speed, you’ll need to hone those research skills to razor sharpness. Finding quotes quickly, using keywords to focus the reader’s attention and digging up an expert or two quickly will soon become second nature as regular practice fine tunes your skills. Skills you’ll need for those high-paying writing assignments to come. If you need to use keywords in your piece, you can make use of Google Ad words Keywords tool at: http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox for a keyword search of high-ranking possibilities.

Looking for a poignant quote or two or more, try: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art4753.asp

Another good site for quotes is: http://www.quotationreference.com/quotefinder.php

To track down some topic experts go to: http://www.ideamarketers.com or the exhaustive http://ezinearticles.com both of which allow expert authors to post.

For press releases page through: http://prweb.com . As you hum along you’ll surely develop other resources of your own.

Become a “household” name

Are you famous yet? Sue Grafton, Edna Buchanan, Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowlings may not need their names and brands marketed, but in all likelihood you might. An article posted to an article bank like EzineArticles.com will probably be read by hundreds or even thousands of people in a relatively short time. I’ve had more than a thousand views of my articles in less than a month. It’s a fast, cheap, sure way to get your name and writing specialties out in front of myriads of people. Some sites have counters which allow you to track the number of times your article is viewed in real time. At the end of each of your articles there is a “resource box” or SIG where you are allowed to place your bio, e-mail and website, or even a short “promo” piece if you have a book or product to sell. Articles stay available online for months or years. Imagine how many times your piece might be read over time.

How and where to post

There are scores of good article submission sites online. A Google search under “free article submissions” will net you hundreds of viable sites. They are not all equal. The best article submission sites will have a high search engine and internet traffic ratings. They’ll also have an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed of articles posted there for maximum article syndication. Here are some of my favorites:

o http://ezinearticles.com

o http://www.goarticles.com

o http://www.buzzle.com

o http://www.articlealley.com

o http://www.web-source.net

While I’m not a staunch advocate of “working for free”, I do recommend posting to article banks as a way of keeping the flow going and maintaining the habit of writing regularly. Pulling a piece together and having it published within a couple of days online for all the world to read, is extremely encouraging. It may be just the thing you need to lift you out of the doldrums and keep you going – and writing – during a slow period.

Finally, if you’d like to get a better idea of what typical postings are like, feel free to look at some of mine at:

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Larry_M._Lynch

By the way, this article was conceptualized, outlined, researched, drafted, written refined and sent – all in one day. If I can do it, so can you.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free.

For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost PDF Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, immediate delivery details and no-obligation information are available online now at: http://bettereflteacher.blogspot.com/

Need professional, original content or articles for your blog, newsletter or website? Have a question, request, or want to receive more information or to be added to his articles and teaching materials mailing list? Then contact the author at this website for a prompt response.

The Benefits of Bank Reconciliation Services

Bank reconciliation is a process that explains the difference between a balance shown in an organization’s bank statement, as supplied by a bank and the corresponding amount shown in an organization’s own accounting records at a certain point of time.

Organizations can reconcile an accounting difference by tallying every transaction of the bank statement and an organization’s cash book. However, it is a very tedious and time consuming job. A service provider takes care of end-to-end bank reconciliation services.

Some of the common accounting errors that occur while reconciling are, a check or a list of checks issued by an organization not being presented to a bank, differences in bank transactions such as credit received or extra charge imposed by a bank hasn’t been recorded in an organization’s books and so on. To overcome or resolve such errors, entrepreneurs need an expert to handle their bank reconciliation functions. They do the necessary modifications in the cash book and the differences are recorded, to assist an entrepreneur for future reconciliations.

Reconciliations are performed by dedicated account professionals by using advanced software. It is important to have an understanding of what errors might occur and how to rectify them for a successful reconciliation.

Bank reconciliation services helps in reviewing an organization’s bank balance as per their own record books and balance sheets issued by banks. This service also helps in rectifying entries that cause a difference between the two balances. Timely reconciliations allow enterprises to identify and prevent intentional fraud, along with finding errors made by bank representatives, accountants, employees and management. Though bank reconciliation is usually a month-end procedure, organizations with smaller cash resources might also carry out the process weekly (if required).

What are the benefits of reconciliation services?

Detects Fraud

With the help of the bank reconciliation process, an organization matches its distributed checks with the amount or entry entered in bank statements. A vigilant review based on proper sheets and procedures help to disclose fraudulent activities such as payment made for illegitimate business purposes, payments transferred to illicit employees or unauthorized vendors and not revising sanctioned check amounts and details.

Prevents Overdraft

The on-hold time between cash outflows to vendors and employees as well as payments coming from clients and customers can vary greatly. This particularly affects an organization with very low cash reserves. Regular bank reconciliations help entrepreneurs manage or postpone payments that may safeguard organizations from business overdrafts, bounced checks, insufficient funds and extra interests.

Identifies Bank Errors

Bank representatives may make accounting errors such as transfer wrong sum, record wrong check amount, enter the amount in a wrong bank account, omit an entry from an organization’s bank statement or record a duplicate transaction. Reconciling bank accounts give entrepreneurs time to notify a bank of its errors, allowing them to find the difference and correct the error.

Improves Collection

Bank reconciliations let organizations handle their accounts receivable better. When a customer’s payment is cleared from a bank, the receivable remains no longer outstanding and therefore, requires no further action. However, if a client’s check doesn’t clear, that alerts management to be more focused in its collection process.

In order to use bank reconciliation as an effective method of protecting an organization’s cash assets from internal fraud, it is always advisable to take an expert help or outsource professional bank reconciliation services.

Foreclosure Process And Foreclosure of Mortgage May Contain Bank Lender Mortgage Contract Fraud

The foreclosure of a mortgage is a simple foreclosure process where a home owner fails to make a monthly mortgage payment to the bank and the banks takes the borrower’s home or commercial property. Both home and commercial property foreclosure process work basically the same way for a foreclosure of the mortgage. In many cases, the bank lender commits mortgage contract fraud.

You have underwater value and want a loan modification
You fail to make the mortgage payment due to financial situations
Bank gets paid by insurance company and IRS
Bank starts foreclosure of mortgage in a foreclosure process in court as plaintiff
You do nothing and let the bank take your property easily
You fight the bank foreclosure of mortgage and process in court:

A. Bank wins 99.9% of cases

B. Home owner or commercial property owner wins free and clear mortgage 97% to 99% of foreclosure cases

Being underwater in value means that your home or commercial property is worth less than what you owe on your mortgage. You ask the bank that you make your monthly payments to for a mortgage loan modification under the government program and the bank tells you that you have to miss a few payments to qualify for the modification. You don’t pay your mortgage for one or two months and apply for the modification. While you are in the modification process the bank gives you a notice of default and starts a foreclosure. You don’t know why the foreclosure process was started.

You become ill, have an accident, lose your job, have a job transfer, or some other financial situations and setbacks and fail to make your mortgage payment. The banks sends you a collection notice as a debt collector under TILA. You cannot pay, so you miss another payment. The bank gives you a notice of default and starts a foreclosure process against you to take your home or commercial property.

On the 91st day of you failing to pay the bank, the dirty bank collects the insurance money for the full amount of the loan from the mortgage insurance company that you have been paying since your mortgage and note closing upon purchase. The bank also collects 85% of the total amount of your note and mortgage loan from the IRS. The bank and all third parties have been paid in full for the loan.

Then the bank gives you a notice of default and starts the foreclosure of mortgage in a foreclosure process against you in local court as the Plaintiff, the one being harmed, to take your home or commercial property.

You do nothing and let the bank take your property easily while thinking, ‘Let them have the damn home or property.” and wait for God to help you keep your home or commercial property. You let the bank have your property and are evicted by the sheriff and lose your home and most of your possessions that you left in your home or property, because the sheriff only gives you up to 15 minutes to take what you can out of the dwelling and locks the doors for the bank to resell.

You fight the bank foreclosure of mortgage and foreclosure process in court with two different outcomes.

A. The bank wins 97% of cases, because you go into court, Pro Se, without an attorney, with your Federal laws and State statutes and feel confident that you are going to win your foreclosure, but you don’t know the court rules. The judge does not listen to you, because the foreclosing attorney tells the judge that you are a deadbeat and want your home or commercial property for free and you are behind on payments and in default as per your mortgage contract that you signed. The judge, being an attorney card carrying member of the BARR corporation the same as the foreclosing attorney, listens to the attorney and allows the foreclosure of mortgage to be carried out and you lose your home or commercial property. OR…

B. You, the home owner or commercial mortgage property owner are prepared with an attorney representing you and proper evidence, proof that the mortgage and note have been paid in full by you with a BOE or bonded promissory note, dishonored Notary admin process, and the best securitization audit, with expert proof of bank fraud and go in front of the judge. Your attorney argues your case and the judge finds that you prevail and win the case and signs the final order to dismiss the case with prejudice, release and remove your mortgage lien and give you your home or commercial property without any more payments, because the bank and all interested parties were paid in full many times. This happens in 97% to 99% of all foreclosure of mortgage cases in the United States with help from a little known consumer advocate company.

This is the Foreclosure Process And Foreclosure of Mortgage That May Contain Bank Mortgage Contract Fraud. Are you going to fight to keep your home or property?

All the expert evidence to win foreclosure of mortgage and foreclosure process mentioned above has been provided to over 200 home owners and commercial property owners that have won against the foreclosing banks by Day Global, LLC at the website of www.1RealEstateHomes.com. Visit today and fight the foreclosure banks and win your mortgage free and clear of any and all mortgage liens and stop your foreclosure.

Managing Risks In Core Banking Replacements

Survival of the Transformed

I arrived at the symposium half expecting last year’s critical themes again. Why would I expect a change-after all, the world of core banking technology had not changed all that much in the last 18 months – or had it? A couple of years ago, at the same symposium, all I heard was that core banking solution replacement was an idea whose time had NOT come. The risks were just too great, said experts. Others opined that the costs of such a dramatic change in the technology infrastructure were just too high to justify undertaking the risk. And as I considered these views very objectively, I realized that they were all correct. The risks were indeed very high, costs potentially bordering on the prohibitive and in-house systems had indeed served the purpose. However, what I had heard at this year’s session was refreshingly different. There was still widespread cognisance of the risks and costs, but there was something else in the air, an acknowledgement of the fact that banks, irrespective of size and geography, face the dual challenge of cutting costs and increasing internal efficiencies, with the ultimate aim of improving margins, which are clearly under strain. There are visible signs of large global and regional banks willing to take the plunge. While some openly stated their intentions to consider a core banking solutions replacement, there were some others who had already taken the first steps towards this brave move. More than one global bank is considering a new application -if not in their home market to start off with, then at least elsewhere.

This is a significant step and I strongly believe that all it requires is a couple of successful migrations before this develops into something like a wave.

What then are the risks that banks should take cognisance of, before embarking on what is clearly going to be the single biggest technology initiative within the bank?

Vendor or partner risk

Analysts rate this as the single biggest risk while evaluating enterprise applications. After all, if a core banking systems replacement is going to be the single biggest initiative, the solution provider should be a partner rather than a vendor. There are various questions to be considered while evaluating a vendor’s credentials.

Some of these are:

Is the vendor financially strong?

It is imperative that the vendor is financially very strong, and capable of tiding over the bad times so as to be able to capitalise during the good times.

Is the vendor committed to the business?

It is vital for a vendor to have a long-term view of the banking business just as a bank would have. They should understand the business, make regular investments to track and understand the business, and above all, give it the focus that it deserves.

Does the vendor conform to quality standards?

For a software vendor, adherence to various quality standards is of paramount importance.

What do others have to say?

The different accolades received pertaining to corporate governance, the quality of management and their vision, and so on are positive indicators. Vendors of core banking solutions are more than just developers of another piece of software and banks are recognising this.

Solution risk

At the end of the day, a solution is what the bank buys. And therefore, evaluation of the solution itself is very important. For example, it is expected that the vendor would invest in benchmarking the solution features against best practices as its geographic footprint grows. Critical evaluation of solutions by research analysts and consultants also can provide banks with key insights into the solution. Banks should also look at the vendor’s strategy in future-proofing the solution for emerging requirements.

Technology risk

It is a must that a bank’s partner is at the cutting edge of technology. For example, a few years ago, the adoption of web technologies was considered necessary-and solutions, which had adopted these technologies early and web-enabled their systems, were clearly the more progressive ones. In today’s environment, experts are talking of Web Services and a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), so solutions that conform to this are obviously more than a step ahead. There are other factors to be considered too, such as:

Is the solution scalable?

Banks should closely look at vendors who have performed scalability benchmarks. However, the (real) proof of the pudding is in the number of ‘live’ sites say 500 branches, or where transactions volumes per day are more than 5 million..

Is it based on open and inter-operable standards?

The core banking solutions will co-exist with other internal and external applications. It is important that interfacing and integration capabilities are proven beyond doubt.

Implementation & support risk

The banking world has seen many projects fail. It is often said that selecting a vendor is the easier part. The more difficult and challenging part is, of course, carrying the project through to a successful implementation. An experienced vendor with impeccable implementation credentials is one who has managed all challenges well. Some of the key questions that banks should be asking while evaluating this risk are the following:

How Does the product require large-scale customisation? How will this be managed as part of the implementation plan?
Will the vendor make many changes to source code on-site?
What is the implementation methodology that the vendor adopts? Is it comprehensive and does it incorporate aspects that are critical to the bank itself?
What is the vendor’s track record with implementations? A clean track record here is a significant plus, as there are not too many vendors who can claim to not have even a single failed implementation.
Does the vendor have experience with different types of implementations-in different geographies, big bang migration as well as phased roll-outs, etc. A related but an equally important issue is the post implementation support that vendors provide.

Positive pointers that banks should be looking at are:

What is the vendor’s strategy for post implementation support?How many levels of support does the vendor provide?
Is the vendor equipped to handle support in different parts of the world?
How do upgrades and enhancements come to the bank after implementation has been completed?
What do long standing customers have to say about post implementation support?

Concluding remarks

It is important that banks take a holistic view while considering the replacement of their core banking platform. While the benefits of implementing packaged solutions built on modern technology are all too obvious, one cannot deny that such an exercise is fraught with risks. The risks can be mitigated and managed-a good starting point would be for the bank to recognise the different risks and consider strategies to mitigate them. As I said at the outset, the perspective at this year’s symposium was refreshingly different. I am confident that next year, the mood will be a lot more optimistic as it will be built on the plank of successful implementations by the few courageous banks which have taken the first steps. And these banks would be those which would have evaluated and managed the different risks successfully.

Finacle from Infosys helps global banks operationalize core banking transformation by providing a holistic and integrated approach, complete with banking software solutions and services.

The 10 Commandments of Good Governance in Banks

Due to the banking crisis of 2008, the question of how banks can protect themselves against future failures has attracted the attention of regulators, banking experts and business media. An important area is the need for better transparency, mainly regarding remuneration in the banking sector, and how boards of banks should improve their corporate governance practices to reduce the chances of a repeat of the credit crunch.

The recent publication of Central Bank of Egypt draft Code of Corporate Governance for banks marks a significant step in this process. Banks together with their respective boards should pay close attention to the corporate governance guidelines.

There are several tips and recommendations for good governance available for the board of banks. Yet, I consider the following `10 commandments` are central in establishing a sound governance regime:

1-Set the right tone at the top.

The main concerns for the board should include guiding, approving and overseeing the bank’s strategic objectives, corporate values and policies. This could be achieved by developing a code of conduct for the bank employees, management, and board members. Likewise, the board should clearly define areas of responsibility, authority levels and reporting lines within the bank.

2-Adequate qualifications of board members

The board should have adequate knowledge and experience relevant to each of the material financial activities the bank intends to pursue to enable effective governance and oversight of the bank.

To ensure that non-executive directors have the knowledge and understanding of the business, the board should provide thematic business awareness sessions on a regular basis and each director should be provided with a tailored induction, training and development to be reviewed annually with the chairman. Similarly, suitable arrangements should be made for executive board members in business areas other than those for which they have direct responsibility.

Non-executive directors are encouraged to spend more time in the business to ensure that they can participate effectively to strategy and other board decisions.

3-Appoint independent non-executive directors

To foster an independent element within the board, banks must consider that independent directors should constitute a significant membership of the board, and that the board should have at least three independent, non-executives directors. Larger banks may have a higher proportion of non-executive directors.

Non-executives directors should be able to devote sufficient time to the role in order to assess risk and ask tough questions about strategy.

In UK, there are recommendations for banks to appoint a senior independent director (SID) whose role is to provide a sounding board for the chairman and serve as a trusted intermediary for the non-executive directors, when necessary.

4-Establish board-risk governance

Banks should establish a board risk committee to work in tandem with existing audit committee. The risk committee would concentrate on risk strategy and management, free from any conflict with demands placed on audit committees. The risk committee would report regularly (as part of the annual report) on risk strategy and risk management. The risk committee has authority to seek external advice to test its risk management assumptions, particularly in the context of risk related to significant banking transactions.

Given the importance of an independent risk management function, banks should appoint a chief risk officer (CRO) with sufficient authority, stature, independence, resources and access to the board. This executive should be reporting to both the risk committee and internally to the CEO. Removal of the CRO should be subject to board discussion and public disclosure.

5-Expand scope of the remuneration committee

The scope of the remuneration committee should be expanded to cover all aspects of remuneration policy on a bank-wide basis with particular focus on the risk dimension. The remuneration committee is responsible to review the compensation philosophy and major compensation programs.

In order to reduce the perceived excessive risk-taking within banks, this committee will also be expected to approve the links between performance targets and pay or bonus schemes. At least half of bonuses should be paid in the form of a long-term incentive scheme.

6-Develop Information Technology (IT) governance

IT governance provides the structure that links IT processes, resources and information to the bank’s strategies and objectives, enhances effective board decision-making and creates greater transparency and accountability. IT governance ensures that related risks are properly identified and managed. The board needs to approve IT expenditures and provide adequate oversight over all aspects of IT governance, including procurement, outsourcing, the efficiency of systems and procedures, IT security, customer data protection and adequacy of anti-fraud and anti-money laundering systems.

7-Improve efficiency through board evaluation

The board and board committees should be subject to a formal and rigorous performance evaluation with external facilitation of the process every three years. The evaluation statement should either be included as a dedicated section of the chairman’s statement or as a separate section of the annual report, signed by the chairman. Where an external facilitator is used, this should be indicated in the statement, together with their name and other meaningful details for the shareholders.

8-Manage conflicts of interest effectively

Banks should establish information barriers (“Chinese walls”) between the different departments so that decisions by staff in one department are made in ignorance of confidential information available to staff in other departments which might affect their decision. Conflicts by board members or senior executives should be disclosed to the banks’ compliance officer. A good corporate governance practice is to put in place and disclose a conflicts of interest policy.

9-Monitor the governance of banks’ clients

It is important for banks that their clients apply the principles of good governance. Banks may consider that it is in their own best interest to check the governance framework and practices of their corporate borrowers. Even in circumstances where a bank cannot directly influence the governance practices of their borrowers, it can have an important influence by “leading by example”.

10-Track potential governance failures

Banks should have in place a policy setting out adequate procedures for employees with concerns about the integrity of the bank’s operations or its staff (so called whistle blowing policy). Employees should be able to communicate their concerns with corporate protection from retaliation from the management. The procedure should facilitate the flow of confidential and direct or indirect communication to the board (or Audit Committee) outside the internal “chain of command”. The establishment of proper communication channels would allow bank staff to discuss their concerns in confidence without fear of retaliatory action.

Conclusion

Good corporate governance is crucial for today’s complex and dynamic banking environment to ensure long-term sustainability and trust of stakeholders including regulators, investors, clients and employees. Therefore, it should be cultivated and practiced regularly within banks at board and executive management levels. Remember; Corporate governance is like a muscle, should be exercised or it will atrophy!

Hany Abou-El-Fotouh is Chief of Staff & Group Board Secretary, CI Capital Holding – the investment banking arm of Commercial International Bank which is the largest private bank in Egypt. He provides advice and direction to the Board and management with respect to corporate governance practices and formulates corporate policies.

Hany is a leading expert on money laundering and terrorist financing controls in the MENA region. Founder of the Middle East Compliance Officers’ Forum (MECOF), he has been honored for his work in promoting compliance culture and awareness in the MENA region

Hany writes articles to different newspapers and journals on a variety of subjects. He is a public speaker and professional trainer. Previously, he worked in various senior positions in leading banks in Egypt and GCC countries like HSBC, Oman International Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi among others

Hany is a certified member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) and Certified Director by Egyptian Institute of Directors

The Proposed Islamic Banking By Central Bank of Nigeria – The Way Forward

The Banking institution is a place where individuals or corporate organizations alike deposit their money for personal or business transactions for the purpose of savings, current or fixed transactions that would yield profit over a particular period of time. Nigeria as one of the growing economies of the world has taken the right step to restructure the banking system in the country. Dating back to the year 2005 where all the existing banks were mandated to re-capitalize to a minimum balance of Twenty five billion Naira or risk losing its operating licenses during the leadership of Prof. Charles Chukwuemeka Soludo, the then Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Interestingly, this paved way for an organized and thriving banking sector where some of the banks met the expected benchmark while others merged and few dropped by the wayside. Nonetheless, this reform created free flow of capital funds for the banks to play around with – ushering of universal banking. One would not forget the role the banks played in the Capital market during the boom era where investors’ borrowed loans or applied for a margin loan facility from these banks ranging from 7% to 20% interest rates in order to reap bountiful profits on their appreciated stocks invested. Unfortunately, the proliferation of all manner of deals in our capital market over time accounted for the down turn of the economy. It must also be mentioned that Africa was not alone in this economic impasse as most countries of the world suffered the same fate including the United States of America.

In their bid to restore the good old days, economic experts and world scholars proffered solutions to revive the economy. Nigeria was not left out in the fight. With the emergence of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the next Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria succeeding Prof. Charles C. Soludo, he swung into action to continue on the good works of his predecessor. Between 2009 and 2010, about five bank chiefs were indicted and prosecuted for wrong use of depositors funds ranging from personal misappropriation of funds, unauthorized loans with no collateral and wasteful expenses. While others are presently on trial. Having seen the good works of the new Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, the Presidency recently established the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. The objectives of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is to acquire ‘toxic’ assets of the troubled banks and would take majority shareholding of the insolvent banks after plugging their equity shortfalls. The public commentators commended the government for this initiative which gradually restored the confidence of the investors to invest in both the money and capital markets. No wonder in 26 April 2011 the prestigious Times Magazine honored Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in a grand Time Gala Award ceremony held in United States of America. Though, in as much as the reforms may seem to check the excesses of the bank operations, the adverse effects are quite frightening as the capital and money markets are presently witnessing low investors confidence following another purchase of three banks (Afribank, BankPHB and Spring Bank) by three relatively unknown companies (Main street, Keystone and Enterprise) respectively on August 5th, 2011 by the Sanusi led Central Bank of Nigeria.

However, at the beginning of 2011, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi re-opened the implementation of Non-interest banking, popularly known as Islamic Banking, which was initially introduced by his predecessor as one of the verifiable tools to revive the negatively skewed economy. According to Wikipedia, Worlds free encyclopedia, “interest-free banking seems to be very recent origin whereby a working partner gets a greater profit share compared to a sleeping (non-working) partner” What this simply means is that both the banks and investors (working partner) would get a greater profit share after a certain business transaction. One would ask, would this build the economic growth of the nation as being practiced in United Kingdom, Malaysia, etc? Definitely, it would build the fortunes of our economy but how we go about it is what is technically wrong. Please read Business day online of 29th June, 2011 for more explanation. The CBN Governor has the right to talk about the benefits of any product or scheme the apex bank is rolling out, but attaching more of the religious sentiments than professional cum economic gains, would sway the country to a very rough edge.

This proposed style of banking has generated heated arguments and debates across sections of the country. Remember that Nigeria is a secular state with almost equal number of Christian and Muslim faithful in population not to talk of other religious and traditional groups. For instance, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has strongly opposed to the implementation of the Islamic Banking citing some wrong approaches by the Sanusi led Central Bank of Nigeria as using the state funds to promote the implementation of the scheme with no recourse to other religious groups in the country. The country is still facing serious security threats arising from kidnapping, militancy and most worrying, the terrorist attacks by the dreaded sect, Boko Haram especially in the Federal Capital (Abuja) and other northern parts of the country. It is surprising to know that the Presidency have been silent on the matter which needs an urgent intervention to put the facts right as the masses want better governance in terms of economic and social-political gains.

Whatever the outcome of the proposed Islamic Banking by the Central Bank of Nigeria would be, the apex body should please consider the following points as the way forward:

1. That the implementation processes of the non-interest (Islamic) banking should be done in strict adherence to the laid down procedures of the regulatory authority – Central Bank of Nigeria.
2. That It should also have greater benefits for the investors of the Islamic banking without directly or indirectly affecting other investors of interest banking in the same sector.
3. That the Central Bank of Nigeria should please continue to create more public awareness of the non-interest (Islamic) banking by having a round table discussion with all stake holders which includes: Religious sects, Economic experts, Law makers, Government officials and the Media to douse any misconception of the proposed scheme.

The fact that the non-interest (Islamic) banking with its’ numerous economic benefits as been practiced by some countries of the world, the Central Bank of Nigeria under her current leadership have to convince the over enlightened 55% Nigerians on its benefits without negatively affecting the other interest party for economic growth and tranquility.

Offshore Banking Simply Explained

Offshore banking in simple language is utilizing overseas banking business opportunities. This is very common in countries with high taxes. In some countries, investors are required to pay income tax as well as a number of withholding taxes. To avoid many taxes, an overseas account will come in handy. An offshore corporate account can have benefits and features that a domestic corporate account does not have.

Taxes usually eat into business profits. Some nations levy many taxes to investors while some countries are business friendly to investors. Very business friendly countries do not levy withholding tax and income tax to investors. The investor based in a nation that is not business friendly can choose to bank all business profits in a business friendly country. It is totally permitted in most jurisdictions to transfer profits from a local account to a foreign account. As a matter of fact this is called tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is purely legal as it involves taking advantage of legal loopholes so as to pay less tax.

Before moving profits to business friendly countries, advice is needed. Advice must be obtained from only competent professionals. Such professionals are individuals who are well informed when it comes to financial issues. A financial consultant is well informed on different financial issues. Before one becomes a financial consultant, one is required to have graduated with a business degree from a reputable university. Accountants and tax experts are also very informed on different finance issues. Online research will help a person to know the most reputable tax experts based in a particular city.

The stage that should succeed obtaining advice is opening an account. One will be required to provide the foreign financial institutions with certain documents during the account opening process. One of the documents that will have to be furnished is a bank letter from a local bank account. All documents should be sent by email.

During the account opening process, one will be presented with different account classes. The two major classes of accounts are personal account and corporate account. These two classes can further be divided down to savings account, checking account and current. Current accounts and checking accounts have ATM cards.

It takes a lot of effort to be successful banking offshore. A lot of time and effort must be dedicated towards understanding the economic and political situation of the foreign country in question. These two variables affect directly the operation of financial institutions in a country.

The political aspirations of the ruling class of a country will influence foreign banking in the country. Politicians of a country are also tasked with the process of revising and approving national budgets. Such budgets outline tax rates to be followed. If such rates are very favorable, the banks of the country in question can be opted for.

Offshore banking will enable a company to benefit from the good tax policy of a foreign country. Guidance and personal finance advice needs to be obtained before choosing a particular foreign financial institution. Advice from accountants, tax experts and financial consultants is usually credible advice.

US Residents Beware of Dangerous Offshore Products and Banking

Right from the get-go — this is my territory. I know the legalities and practicalities of the offshore world better than all but, maybe, 500 experts in the world. If you don’t know one of these people (and none of them is on the internet trying to sell you something) then please listen to me with both ears.

I know many U.S. residents want to diversity their banking and their portfolios to other countries. I don’t blame them.
I know many U.S residents are tired of the tax system and are looking for relief.
I know many U.S. residents know a bit about “offshore” especially with the bombardment of enticing banking offers in Belize, Panama, or “other jurisdictions”.

I’m going to tell you the truth.

It is nearly impossible for a U.S. resident/citizen to get out of the U.S. tax system legally. It IS impossible for a U.S. citizen to set up a bank account he controls with more than $10,000 CUMULATIVELY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD without reporting it on his regular tax return and a special information filing that makes you actually list the banks and account numbers. Unless the bank is in the U.S.

There are some ways around all this. I have not seen any of those ways ever mentioned on the internet and my email is flooded with offers.

It is nearly impossible to get a foreign bank account without presenting a utility bill. If the utility bill is from the U.S., then why are you even trying?
There is no use in buying offshore companies (IBCs) unless you can get a bank account THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO REPORT TO THE IRS.
That immediately limits your total world-wide non-U.S. deposits to less than $10,000. So why try?
Managing an offshore bank account from inside the U.S. is not just stupid, it’s a death wish. In case you don’t watch the news, these government guys are very, very serious about catching people just like you and making examples of you.

Rule: Panama Foundations are stupid. First: if YOU get a bank account for it, you’re screwed. Second: if you let someone else open an account for you, you’re screwed.

Rule: You do not trust anyone else with your money unless you can also trust them with your life. Even in the U.S. Trusting days are OVER! For example, unless you have family in Panama that you trust, then you don’t know anyone you can trust in Panama. Panama is a synonym for anyplace. You cannot trust banks or lawyers. Period. There are no exceptions.

Rule: If you want to diversify your portfolio to a foreign location, then GO TO THE PLACE and check it out. I’m not a fan of U.S. banking, but I gotta tell you that once you’ve been to some of these places, you wouldn’t want to change a $20 bill at a local bank, let alone leave your money there. You go to a few restaurants and grocery stores and watch them hold every bill you give them up to the light to check it for counterfeiting. What does that tell you?

THIS IS WHAT WORKS:

Find an HSBC near you in the U.S. Open an account. Nothing to report.
When you are abroad, find another HSBC. Present your U.S. HSBC banking bona fides and your account will be opened smoothly. Don’t put more than $10,000 in the account. HSBC is a synonym for any solvent foreign bank with a branch on U.S. soil. Most advisors say never do this. They’re right. But since it’s very hard to get an offshore bank account as a U.S. citizen without reference letter from your U.S. bank, then I respectively disagree with the experts. Get a bank account at a local branch of a foreign bank and then go open the real account with your sterling U.S. credentials. Not perfect in the hide-and-seek game, but not much is anymore.
If you have real wealth, but not enough to want to spend $50,000 for real international lawyers, start reading about “dynasty trusts” and check out Nevada as a jurisdiction. These are bulletproof U.S. entities that can survive a government or creditor challenge or your death a lot better than an offshore trust.
If you’re really serious, become a RESIDENT someplace else. Not a citizen. A resident. Much easier and it doesn’t cost a kazillion dollars for an economic passport. Once you are a resident, with the proper I.D., you can open bank accounts in your new residence country that are not linked to your U.S. documents. Is there still a reporting requirement if you reach the limit? Yes.
If you’re so inclined, you should explore “territorial tax” or “no tax” jurisdictions for your residency. See if your dream wish list can be matched with countries that have tax advantages.
If you’re flush, then buy a good-deal condo someplace you actually wouldn’t mind living in and then rent it out. If you can get a mortgage on it, great. But foreign lenders usually want 50% down. Make it a cheap condo. The condo gets you the utility bill you’ll need to open a bank account. But once you’re “there” sometimes utility bill requirements go away because your official address is on your government I.D. By the way — YOU CAN USE YOUR IRA FUNDS for buying foreign real estate. If you’re nervous about the state of the U.S., clean out your IRA and buy foreign real estate. Do I need to tell you that due diligence is very, very important. Don’t buy anything that is not someplace you may have to live. You might have to.
If you can’t afford a cheap foreign condo, then re-think the whole international thing and go buy some gold coins or bullion before you have to register it.
If you’re a bona fide resident of a foreign country there is a huge exemption on U.S. taxable income. Take it. That’ll save you a pile right there.
Don’t get too cute about encryption and secrecy. You hide in plain view.
For Godsake, if you’re not a billionaire, don’t renounce your U.S. citizenship. Just get the hell out if you don’t want to stay. Times change. It’s a good passport and with the tax exemption you’ll rarely pay U.S. tax anymore.
Learn to make money via a portable trade or occupation before you move away from the U.S. You take your cash flow with you. And remember the banking $10,000 limit? That’s money you have IN A BANK ACCOUNT. Not money you make and then take out of the bank and keep at home or in a vault. Remember, you’ve declared it even though you didn’t pay tax on it. It’s legal.

HERE IS WHAT THE OFFSHORE PIRATES DON’T TELL YOU — THAT’S ILLEGAL

There is absolutely no way to open a bank account for a COMPANY you own and put more than $10,000 in it and not report it, even if you don’t sign on the bank account. If you don’t report it is a serious felony and prima facie tax evasion. Undoubtedly you’ll also be charged with money laundering.
If you actually sign on the company account, even if you’re a minority shareholder, and there’s more than $10,000 in it and you don’t report it to the U.S., it’s also a felony and is prima facie tax evasion. And money laundering.
If you file a U.S. tax return and fail to report foreign earnings? More trouble.
If you set up a trust, but you indirectly control it, it is a crime if you don’t report it yearly via a very obnoxious IRS filing that’s about 40 pages long.
If you set up a trust with real money in it – in an offshore jurisdiction – but you don’t control it, you’re a fool. I hope you see the rock and hard place set up.
There are trustees you can trust. You don’t know any of them or you wouldn’t be reading this.

THE FINAL OFFSHORE TRAP

Lots of decent-sounding banks have low entrance requirements. They don’t drill down too deeply before they will “accept” your deposits. Nice online service. Encryption. Privacy. Multi-currency accounts. Your confidence grows. You move more funds there. Perhaps you’ve decided you’re going to play tax games and you don’t exactly declare all the money on some country’s tax return. Your balance builds up. One fine day it hits, say, USD$100,000.00 and you decide to pull out $25,000.00. Suddenly your account is frozen by the “compliance” department. They will want to see you passport copy again, your utility bill again (oh, you let that rental condo go?), they’ll want a declaration and proof of the origin of the funds and, yes, they might even want to see a tax return. Folks, I’m not talking about some piece o’ sludge bank in Belize. I’m talking a nice Swiss bank. And not a U.S. citizen owner. And a year to get it untangled.

CONCLUSION

These are troubled and dangerous times. Everyone wants your money – which equates very quickly to a large chunk of your life. Your country. Other countries. Banks. Government agencies. County property tax authorities. State or provincial governments. Sales tax authorities. Added to that list of “official” pirates, you now have offshore pirates who want to sell you legal useless stuff.

Keep your money where you are. If you want to diversify, actually go someplace and do something. As in go explore options and then get the hell out. If you don’t have that kind of money and you’re still scared, join the club. And keep your money hidden in your home and/or buy some silver and gold.

There are NO third party investment opportunities. If you don’t watch your money, it will disappear. Do not lend. All loans are bad loans. Invest in and near yourself.

The real bad times have not even begun. This is, at best, the eye of the storm.

Author: Jack Campitelli, J.D. has lived and worked in a number of tax-advantaged foreign countries. He has taught asset protection inside and outside the U.S. He knows most of the folks in the biz. His website is jackcampitelli.com. His suggested books de jour are “Portable Trades and Occupations” and “Bye Bye Big Brother” available at ascolibooks com. If you want to start a internet business as a portable trade, then consider his Legal Guide for Websites

Jack is absolutely not available for “offshore” consultation!

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