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Another one of my earlier efforts that has had a complete overhaul ==================================================
Did you know that MBNA Corporation is the world’s largest independent credit card lender, with managed loans of US $95.4 billion.
The arm of the company that operates in the UK has recently changed its name to MBNA Europe Bank, but the levels of customer service and freephone telephone numbers remain the same.
MBNA works on the philosophy of getting the right customers and keeping them, and base it on their provision of superior customer service. Frequently if you ring their credit card arm to close an account or have recently transferred a balance away, they will offer you financial incentives to transfer it back, frequently making special cash and balance transfer offers that last for a period of 6/9 months annually and more than make up for their slightly higher than average Credit card APR's.
MBNA also provides unsecured loans and insurance products, and therefore as it was the company that I had my first credit card with, it seemed to me only common sense that they were the first company I approached when I was seeking a loan to meet a few unexpected expenses a couple of years ago.
WHAT DOES THE LOAN-ARM OFFER? o Unsecured loans ranging from £1,000 to £25,000 (higher amounts will be considered on an individual basis)
o Repayment periods between 1 and 5 years (Marbles currently offer repayment periods between 1 and 7 years.
o APR’s between 8.9% and 15.9% dependent on how much you are borrowing – as the amount goes up, the APR reduces. o 15.9%APR up to £2,000 o 11.9%APR up to £5,000 o 10.5% APR up to £10,000 o 9.9% APR up to £15,000 o 8.9% APR over £15,000
NOTE: MBNA have been known to offer rates up to 1% less than these for existing credit card and loan customers
o Payment protection to protect you again redundancy (maximum of 12 months unemployment), sickness and death. A word of caution is advised here – check your eligibility.
I am not saying you shouldn’t take it, but you also do not want to be paying out for a service you find you can’t utilise when you most need it. This protection will cost you just over £10/month for a loan of £2,000 over 5 years and a whapping £78/month on a £20,000 loan over the same period – although I should imagine that the larger the loan the more the company could possibly be within their ‘nervous’ rights to refuse you a loan without the knowledge that you have someway of repaying it – I believe that companies can take you to court and put a charge on your property should you default on the payments
=======================================MY EXPERIENCES I took out a small loan about 4 years with what was then MBNA International Bank to meet a few sudden expenses. I was asked a few quick questions and told to ring back in three days during normal office hours to get their decision. Being in work this really wasn’t an option for me, but the company actually rang me at work around 48 hours later to confirm approval. This seemed a little strange at the time, but in fact I guess for them it is a sharp move in confirming that the details you give them are correct.
Then……. (I discovered one of the additional angles that MBNA use to retain their customers)
About 3 years ago, whilst preparing to move house, I was again looking for a loan to consolidate a few debts. For some reason this time I didn't even consider going back to MBNA, maybe I was a little more worldly wise in respect of consumer credit (not)
I applied on-line to another well-known finance company and got an 'agreement in principle' for the required sum. I then contacted MBNA to obtain a settlement figure for my existing loan and was amazed to discover that the settlement figure would be higher if I refinanced through another company than if I refinanced through them, one very good reason for staying with them I guess. The gentleman was determined I wasn't going to leave them without a discussion on the matter.
I duly provided them with the information, terms and conditions from the competitors loan offer and within half an hour later they were offering me the same amount for £12 a month less (c.10% APR), this doesn’t sound a lot of money, but over the full period would save me around £700, I duly accepted and they cleared my relevant MBNA credit card accounts and the remainder of the money was in my bank within 3 days. The service was helpful, friendly, competitive and speedy.
However, and this is the crunch, fairly recently I had a bit of spare money and decided it would be a good idea to clear the loan, I contacted MBNA at which point I discovered that for the last 3 years I had merely been repaying the interest on the loan and that the amount actually outstanding was not much lower than that I had originally borrowed – not so much penalties but an assurance on their part that they were going to recoup every last penny of interest from me irrespective of whether the loan went to term. It was at this point I elected to keep the loan until it has is cleared, but I can guarantee that if I ever consider taking out a loan with anyone again, I will explore all the options and small print before signing anything.
REPAYMENT After agreement of amount, repayment etc, the money will be deducted from your bank account on an agreed date, or the closest working day after that date.
TO APPLY This can be done both on-line at www.mbna.co.uk, or by contacting them direct on 0800 551 441. A decision will usually take around 24 hours.
MBNA bombard their customers with correspondence offering them refinance of their loans both through their credit card and loan databases, needless to say I get plenty of junk mail from them, and despite advising them on several occasions that I have actually moved, they persist in sending all the correspondence to my former address. The only apparent consolation to this is that if someone applied for a loan in my name, they would only transfer the money to MY bank account from which they remove the direct debits.
EARLY REPAYMENT With interest rates being at their lowest for 40 years, the time had come to refinance. Having a look around at a few companies I came across someone who could reduce my repayments by around £20/month, whilst clearing a rather heft credit card bill. I contacted MBNA to obtain a resettlement figure and upon receiving this and doing some sums, I discovered I was saving the measly sum of £300 over the term of the loan despite repaying it 2½ years early. I was so disgusted that I have decided, despite the extra cost to take the refinancing option and send MBNA to the big bank heaven in the sky.
Incidentally, when I first contacted them to obtain the settlement figure, I was refused one and advised to write in.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR CIAO –03/01 - UPDATED 06/02 - 08/02
Argh I've just got an MBNA related credit card, hope that doesn't mean I'll be bombarded with adverts too!
Pelenya 20.06.2002 13:25
Thanks for this very helpful info. We have been looking for an international bank since Jon's disastrous experience with LloydsTSB. I can deal with junk mail better than than the experience Jon has had with trying to reach Lloyds TSB from the US. I'll tell him to read your op and consider opening an account with MBNA. Ellen :)
husky 15.06.2002 18:52
With my bad track record with money I'll steer clear.