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The Independent Online
MIDLAND BANK is offering fixed-rate mortgages at 5.74 per cent for a year for first-time buyers, plus 7.99 per cent fixed for two years and 9.49 per cent for five years for all-comers. Discount mortgages go as low as 3.84 per cent for the first year.

TSB has launched a three-year stepped bond paying 7 per cent gross in year one, rising to 8 per cent in the second year and 9.5 per cent in the third on sums of more than £10,000. Monthly interest is available, but rates are 0.25 per cent lower

REA BROTHERS are launching Finsbury Worldwide Pharmaceutical, an investment trust that will invest in pharmaceutical companies. Up to 25 million shares at 100p are being placed or offered to the public. Closing date is noon on 27 April. Most money will be invested outside Britain, and it will not qualify for PEPs. Charges are 1 per cent a year, plus a fifth of any gain in excess of the Datastream Pharmaceuticals index each quarter.

The first of a national network of 20 credit counselling centres has opened in Nottingham, part of the Chancellor's constituency , to offer advice to people with multiple debt problems.

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