Loose change: Variable-rate mortgages, remortgaging, New Star

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A survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) shows many bank-standard variable-rate mortgages are more expensive than those from building societies. John Davies, Acca's head of business law, said: "Supporters say demutualisation offers financial advantages to society members, but members should not be blinded by one-off cash windfalls. When a society becomes a bank it has more financial demands to satisfy, and that usually means more expensive mortgages."

Homeowners miss their share of a potential £22bn windfall by not remortgaging, says Direct Line. Nearly half of us could save £200 a year by changing mortgage lender. And overpayments of £100 a month on a £75,000 mortgage can save £20,000 and pay off mortgages seven years, seven months early.

New Star is offering a 1 per cent initial charge discount for all PEP transfers into its open-ended funds until 5 April, including UK Growth, European Growth and UK Aggressive funds as well as the Higher Income Fund being launched in February.

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