This is a guest post.
In the wake of the financial crisis, finding ways of saving money has become something of a national obsession. At the same time, banks are less and less willing to offer credit, in the form of personal loans, mortgages, and loans to companies, despite the relatively low interest rates that are on offer.
Nonetheless, in recent months there have been signs that things are looking up a little and banks are becoming more willing to offer credit. Increased competition in the UK marketplace through the arrival of Santander to challenge the traditional big four with competitive Santander personal loans and the like has helped, as well as government efforts to force banks to offer better deals.
It is, however, understandable that getting credit isn't easy, after all, many experts argue that it was mortgages being offered to inappropriate people in the United States that kicked the entire financial crisis off.
The advice then, as it is now, is to build a relationship with one financial institution. Banks are more likely to offer you a deal on a loan or a mortgage if they know you, because that way they will have seen how responsible (or otherwise) you are with your money and know that you can make your income match your outgoings.
For that reason, a lot of banks are offering deals to customers who consolidate their various service. For example, certain banks offer high rate accounts, or special offers, only to customers who have a mortgage already, or a credit card. By bringing all the various services together under one house, you can often save costs, or get better deals, so it's worth taking a bit of a look round.
Also, you're much more likely to get some form of credit if you have something to secure it against, and that makes holding a mortgage with the same financial institution a good idea. On the flip side, if there's any doubt that you won't be able to pay off the loan, then you shouldn't get it secured because you stand to lose your house, but then, if there's any doubt that you'll be able to pay off your loan, you should think seriously about whether it's a good idea to have it or not.
At the end of the day, there are good deals around on financial products for people who are willing to hunt for them, and the best place to start isn't the internet, it's actually by going in and talking to your bank. Every bank in the country has trained financial advisors who can help, and if you bank with several different institutions, go and talk to them all and see what are the best deals around for you. A little legwork now can save a lot of money in the long run.