SMEs are "suffering in silence" over their banking set-up said YouGov research (Reuters) Almost three quarters of British small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) feel it is too arduous to change who they bank with, despite being slapped with high, complex and unfair business account charges and are left "suffering in silence", according to research by pollster YouGov. YouGov's SixthSense SME Banking Report found that smaller businesses are paying bank fees for services that were previously free, and those forking out feel like they are getting poor value for a number of reasons, including bad customer service and a lack of clarity on the fee structure. "The level of charges and fees imposed on SMEs by banks for the operation of the accounts has long been a source of dispute between the two parties," said Simon Mottram, director of financial services consulting at YouGov. "Yet smaller businesses appear to be suffering in silence over this issue. SMEs also feel current complaint processes take too long, impose too many burdens on them and are generally too complicated. Banks need to be careful with their policies on bank charges, lending terms and complaints because it is the most profitable SMEs - the larger ones - who have the most negative view of them." Of those surveyed 58 percent reported their bank charges being too high, 27 percent said they were unjustified, 24 percent felt they were too complex, and 21 percent thought they were unfair.
Alcohol illegally smuggled into the UK is costing the taxman £1.2bn in lost revenues (Reuters) The UK taxman is so in the dark about alcohol duty evasion that the UK Treasury loses £1.2bn a year in revenue from booze smuggled illegally onto Britain's shores, according to a report by a group of MPs. At a time where the UK enters a double-dip recession and the tax generated from alcohol duty could help the economy further, better intelligence gathering on alcohol duty fraudsters and cross-border collaboration with overseas authorities, as well as ensuring all those caught are pursued through the courts to reinforce the deterrent of the law, are all essential on minimising lost tax receipts from imported beer and spirits, said MPs.
The Ford brand will continue rolling off on Australia n roads but it remains uncertain if the same applies on the carmaker's local production lines. Ford Australia president and chief executive Bob Graziano unveiled on Tuesday the company's new virtual-reality car engineering design tool at the Broadmeadows facility in Melbourne, which he touted as representative of Ford's edge in the design and engineering aspect of global car-making. The half-a-million dollar system, Mr.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke 's much-anticipated speech on Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., has every one in "wait mode." The Fed Chairman's speech on "Monetary Policy Since the Crisis," scheduled at 10 a.m. E.T., follows weeks of speculation about whether the central bank will carry out a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3. While this topic should give Bernanke plenty of room to review both the actions the Fed has taken to date and to discuss what remains in its "toolkit," economists and Fed watchers think investors looking for him to lay out specific plans for new stimulus are probably in for a disappointment
Summer vacation in the euro zone is almost over. And so is the sovereign debt debacle that has dominated financial headlines for years. Seven events over the next two weeks will be crucial in deciding whether one or more countries decide to leave the euro zone and even if the monetary union itself survives in recognizable form.
Catalonia will seek €5 billion euros ($6.26 billion) in aid from the country's national fund to cut the region's deficit and to pay off debts, officials of Spain's northeast region said Tuesday, in the latest example of how the euro zone's fourth-largest economy is struggling. The region, which accounts for around 20 percent of the Spain's output, became the second Spanish region to seek aid from the €18 billion fund.
Spain's recession is deepening and depositors are pulling their money out of the nation's banks, with 5 percent of total deposits getting withdrawn last month. Europe's fourth-largest economy shrank 0.4 percent in the second quarter from the first three months of this year, but compared to the second quarter of 2011 the economy fell 1.3 percent, Spain's INE statistics institute said Tuesday. The INE also revised down its 2011 fourth-quarter GDP to minus 0.5 percent from minus 0.3 percent.
Man cycles by shipping containers in Tokyo. The Japan ese government has cut its economic expectations for the first time in ten months on concerns of continuing European debt crisis and global economic slowdown. In its monthly economic report, the world's third largest economy noted that "further slowing down of overseas economies and sharp fluctuations in the financial and capital markets under a high degree of uncertainty about the prospects of the Eurozone debt crisis, are downside risks of the Japan ese economy". Japan's export-oriented economy is under pressure as the recovery in major economies such as the US and China is not showing any upward momentum coupled with fluctuations in the financial and capital markets.
(Photo: Reuters) The world's biggest companies are so large and influential that they exceed the national GDP of their home country in some cases, according to a new report in The Economist. Using the Dow Jones Global Index to identify firms whose revenues ranked highest in the country of their listing, the report found that the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, achieved revenue worth 161 percent of Luxembourg's GDP for 2011