He makes 'little guy'aware of RTC salesThe...


He makes 'little guy'aware of RTC sales

The fund "seeks long-term growth of capital through invest

ments in the common stocks of well-established companies with the potential for above-average growth in earnings," according to its prospectus.

Other criteria include seasoned management; an above-average profit margin relative to competitors; strong cash flow; high return on equity and significant reinvestment of earnings. The minimum investment is $2,500, or $1,000 for retirement vehicles.

Investing in blue chips is bold, but we're still waiting for the "Buy Low; Sell High" fund.

Saliva test required for new insurance

It's true that banks are expanding into nontraditional banking services, but this is a new one: Chase Bank of Maryland wants to examine your spit, to put it bluntly.

The saliva test is part of the application process for Chase's new Instant Insurance product, a temporary certificate of term coverage in amounts up to $250,000. Chase isn't just doing the saliva test for kicks; it wants to know whether the applicant is drug-free and a nonsmoker, both of which can be determined by testing the saliva. The application takes only 20 minutes, the company says.

The program is part of an marketing campaign, according to Chase. It's available at the bank's branches in Baltimore, Pikesville, Timonium, Dundalk, Annapolis, Bethesda and Rockville.

Next week: Turn your head and collateralize.

Vanity will cost you with new credit card

Imagine a credit card, the solicitation says, with your name "splashed all over it like it's the name of a bank."

Delaware-based MBNA Corp., one of the country's largest credit card companies, is marketing a designer Visa card emblazoned with the cardholder's last name and family crest.

People who share some of the most common names in America, such as "Wood," are receiving mail solicitations for the vanity card. As an inducement, applicants are told they will receive a free research report on the family name if they take the card.

The card is among the hundreds of affinity cards offered by MBNA, which once was a part of Baltimore-based MNC Financial Inc.

MBNA's portfolio includes cards named for the American Dental Association, college alumni associations, and soon, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR.

With a variable rate starting at 15.9 percent and a $20 annual fee, the vanity card is a so-so offer, says credit card industry analyst Robert McKinley of Frederick-based RAM Research. There are cards with similar rates that have no annual fee, he said.

Vanity has a price.

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