Briefly

ALLIANCE & LEICESTER Building Society has cut interest rates on unsecured home improvement loans from 17.5 to 14.9 per cent on amounts between £5,000 and £7,500 for non-members and up to £10,000 for existing customers. Rates on amounts between £2,000 and £5,000 have been cut to 15.9 per cent.

NATIONAL POWER was the most popular share for private investors to buy last month, as shareholders topped up their holdings after the issue was scaled down, according to Fidelity Brokerage.

ABBEY NATIONAL is offering new variable rate discount mortgages until July next year at an initial 2.99 per cent for existing customers and 3.15 per cent for first-time buyers and remortgages. Discount rates start at 6.5 per cent until June 1998 and 7.25 per cent until June 2000 for loans under 75 per cent of valuation. Rates for 95 per cent loans range from 3.65 per cent to 7.54 per cent.

NATWEST has launched two new short-term fixed-rate mortgages at 6.49 per cent for first-time buyers and 6.99 per cent for others, until July 1997. First-time buyers pay a £100 arrangement fee, others pay £250, but cashbacks of up to £450 are available on applications before the end of April.

C&G Channel Islands is paying 5.5 per cent gross on £10,000 and 6 per cent gross on up to £25,000 from Monday. Woolwich has launched a two-year fixed-rate bond paying 8 per cent gross annually or 7.72 per cent monthly. Minimum amounts are £500 and early withdrawal is not permitted.

BIRMINGHAM MIDSHIRES is offering new discount and fixed-rate mortgages. These are 2.9 per cent off for two years, plus a £500 cashback with a four-year lock-in period, or 3.5 per cent off for 18 months plus £200 cashback, free survey and low-cost legal fees. There is also a 2.49 per cent fixed rate for a year, 6.74 per cent fixed for two years and 8.49 per cent fixed for four years, with three-, four- and five-year lock-ins respectively.

NORWICH & Peterborough Building Society has extended its Builder's Cashback mortgage scheme to cover part-exchanged properties where a builder re- sells property that he has taken in part exchange in order to sell a newly built home.

BARCLAYS BANK has just launched a fixed-rate Investment Bond, offering up to 7.75 per cent a year gross. The minimum investment is £10,000 and the maximum £1m.

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