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Archive for August, 2010

Contributed By:  Tim Coutts, President, CB&T Mortgage
Smaller is better

On August 12th Freddie Mac announced the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was just 4.44% – the lowest rate since Freddie began keeping records in 1970. So if you are like me, you might assume that you would be able to lock in a rate around 4.5% at most banks, large or small, and not worry too much about rate shopping.

Well, think again my friends. On average the three biggest banks – Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. – offer rates of 4.66% on 30-year fixed mortgages while some of the smaller regional banks are offering rates .25% to .5 less.

So, why is there such a difference?  The largest factor is because of the consolidation during and after the financial crisis. The big three banks accounted for over half of new mortgage originations during the first half of the year and frankly they don’t have to compete on pricing the same way smaller banks do. (more…)

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Contributed By:  Jill Johnson, Director of Marketing, Central Bancorp

Because our company often collaborates with other businesses for seminars and presentations, I get the unique opportunity to review scores of power point presentations to ensure brand compliance.  Yes, I know, you are all very jealous of my job now!

While building a solid power point presentation can be complicated, it doesn’t have to be.  Whether you have a fancy template or not, here are 6 very simple principles you can observe.  If you do, I promise you your presentation will be more refined than most.

  1. THERE IS NEVER A GOOD REASON FOR EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPS, BOLD, THE COLOR RED AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! You may be passionate about your topic, but let that come through your personality, and use restraint in your actual presentation.
  2. The use of bullet points:
    –  When a bullet is a complete sentence, include a period at the end of it.
    –  No period here
    –  And though I’m breaking my own rule here – Be consistent in a set of bullet points by making them all complete sentences or all phrases.
    –  Use CAPS consistently in your bullets as well – especially in a list of bullets with several, short phrases.  Either capitalize the first word of each phrase and none of the others, or capitalize all proper words in each phrase.
  3. Small, the new big. For some reason, many users fall prey to the temptation of making fonts as large as physically possible.  Don’t do it.  White space has value and makes for a more clean read for your viewers.  Especially if you will be projecting the presentation on to a large screen, stick with a reasonable font size.
    –  If using a Times font, larger than 48 pt isn’t necessary. Somewhere between 24-40 is about right for headers/titles, and then between 16-24 for your text.
    –  Don’t go too small either or you run into another visual challenge.  If you are forced to go below a 14 or 16pt Times-style font, break that slide into two. (more…)

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