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The Independent Online
Clerical & Medical, the mutual insurance company that is seeking a buyer, is offering investors a chance to buy an endowment policy with a lump sum investment from pounds 4,000 upwards. The offer is targeted at investors with maturing Tessas who think current interest rates are unattractive. Single- premium endowment policies are relatively rare, and offer a combination of investment growth and life assurance.

National Counties Building Society, based in Epsom, has launched a new Visa card that combines no annual fee with an initial interest rate of 14.9 per cent until July, when it rises to 18.9 per cent. It also offers pounds 75,000 free travel insurance, full banking facilities, and membership of a wine club.

Mortgage Express is launching a negative equity mortgage lending up to 130 per cent of the value of the property. The interest rate varies from 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent above current base rates and falls through the range as the amount of negative equity is reduced. The amount of negative equity is recalculated every year as the loan is repaid and the value of the property itself is linked to the Halifax house price index. Regular repayers can also earn a performance bonus, reducing rates by a further 0.25 point.

TSB is offering new fixed- rate mortgages on 95 per cent loans at 5.99 per cent for three years, five years at 7.45 per cent, (or 8.19 per cent for 100 per cent loans) or 10 years fixed at 8.45 per cent.

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