Lending Club Review – Peer to Peer Lending Platform Review

Peer to Peer Lending (or P2PL) is an industry that’s still in its infancy. But in the United States, it’s not altogether clear whether the P2P ethos is going to survive! Many of the early US P2PL players have been co-opted by the large financial institutions they were meant to supplant. Next time you’re thinking about investing or borrowing with an American company that’s nominally “P2P”, read the fine print and see where your money is coming from.

That said, there are still a couple of American lenders that still hold the P2P line pretty well, Lending Club being the most well known, along with Prosper. Lending Club is coming off of a big year. In 2014, LC had the biggest IPO of the year, was valued at over $8 billion, and reported more than $6 billion in loans issued. For a business that, at it’s core, is just people lending money to people, this was quite an accomplishment.

So, does Lending Club still have what it takes to be a compelling lending option to a diverse array of American borrowers? And will investors still have something to smile about when they see their returns? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, but I will say there is still plenty to love about Lending Club, all of which I will make clear in this Lending Club review.

First Review Impressions

So why P2PL at all? Well, Peer to peer has a lot of advantages over traditional lenders. First, banks take a lot of time to issue loans. They also tend to have high standards for their borrowers. People with mid-to-low credit may be denied a loan entirely, or given an APR that’s in the stratosphere. There are all kinds of P2P companies, some of which cater directly to folks that are denied loans by these institutions. Second, because these loans are financed by individuals bidding on them in a “reverse auction” format, loan rates are driven lower, at least in theory. In true P2P, rates go as low as an individual investor is willing to risk.

Lending Club doesn’t totally solve either of these problems. In the case of high standards from traditional loan providers, Lending Club also expects a lot from their prospective borrowers. their minimum accepted credit score is 640, which isn’t that low. But at that level, a borrower may have an APR in the upper 20’s per cent! That’s not what I would call affordable, so right away this is going to put a Lending Club loan out of reach for many people. This is not necessarily a bad mark for Lending Club. They’ve got to be picky. Otherwise, users would default all the time, which would jeopardize the other side of their business, the investors. Most borrowers see interest rates in the 7 to 15% range. That’s not so bad.

In the real world, some users pick Lending Club because they have no other option, even if the interest and fees paid are pretty expensive. Accessibility and convenience is a key leverage point for Lending Club, and a key to their continued success. As always, look for the best loan available if good terms don’t seem to materialize. But even if you can’t secure Lending Club’s best rates, you can be sure that this is reputable company. There won’t be any surprise fees, and even their middle rates can save you money, especially if you’re paying off a credit card debt or other expensive loan.

In the case of investors driving down interest rates through competition, it doesn’t quite work that way with Lending Club. Borrowers are lumped into “Loan Grades” according to their credit score and Debt-to-Income ratio. Interest rates are pretty much set in stone from there, so there’s no real “Reverse Auction” power happening. Borrowers get what they get, as do investors. Again, this isn’t necessarily a negative comment. In fact, it’s all pretty transparent. Borrowers will know exactly what they’re getting, and investors will have a very good idea of the default risk they are taking on. Whether individual borrowers will be able to qualify or afford the loans…that’s another story. But for highly qualified borrowers, Lending Club personal loans may be the cheapest and most convenient option in the country.

A Deeper Look

So you get the basics. But how does borrowing and investing look for real users. The average 36 month personal loan APR is 11.72% at the time of this writing, 60-month 15.67%. There is no fee for early repayment. Borrower candidates that I can see benefiting from this model, at these rates, are high-credit-score candidates who need money fast, but don’t want to get screwed by usurious quick lending loan sharks. For these folks, this will be an affordable loan, provided faster than could be had through a bank. Lending Club is especially great if you can afford to pay off your loan faster than the 36-60 month loan terms. That’s where you really save. People who use Lending Club in this way love it!

For lender/investors, users are seeing an average 8.6% annual return. I like that number. Investing with Lending Club is more “hands on” than other investment forms. You’ve got to do a fair bit of mucking around on the loan forum, jumping on promising loans when you find them. Your success as a Lending Club investor depends entirely upon your energy, commitment, and skill. If you fund hundreds of quality loans, you can see returns that well exceed 10%. But then, you’ve got to put in the work. With Lending Club, you’ll get out what you put in more than any other investment form I can think of.

Final Thoughts on Lending Club

So to me personally, Lending Club is more attractive to the lender than the borrower. This is not to say that there isn’t a certain type of borrower who will love Lending Club. To reiterate, this is a borrower with strong credit credentials, a need for fast lending, and the ability to repay faster than the given terms of their loan. To me, it’s hard to imagine this candidate not having even better loan terms available from other providers, but let’s say there aren’t and you can’t wait. If that sounds like you, Lending Club will be your best friend.

Investors, especially those who like to tinker, will really like Lending Club. While 401(k)s and IRAs are available, the ideal investor candidate will be someone who is interested in the P2PL format for its own sake and will savor the hunt for juicy loans! These folks can see awesome returns, even better than passive investment options like set-it-and-forget-it stock and bond funds. But it takes some work and experience to learn the system, what to look for, and how to make the most money.

At the end of the day, Lending Club is a quality company, though one that isn’t right for everybody. If it’s a good fit for you, you can rest assured that it is a reliable service. Lending Club has very detailed, transparent terms, rates, and user statistics. The risk that is involved is laid out on the table, where everyone can see it. Whether this is a system that works for you, that’s up to your best judgment. But for certain individuals, Lending Club’s take on P2PL will be both profitable and inspiring.

Betterment Investing Review

Hey everyone, Josh here again for another review. I really enjoy talking about investment options, strategies, trends, etc…. So, today, I’d like to go over a new investment option that you may really enjoy. It’s called Betterment Investing. Just in case you haven’t heard of them. Betterment is a relatively new company in the investment market and, they are really making a name for themselves pretty quickly. In this Betterment review, I plan to tell you why they are growing so quickly, inform you of the positives in working with them and of course go over the cons of working with them. So, let’s get to it…

Short Betterment Review

Betterment Pros – Betterment boasts about smarter investing for busy people and, they are really able to do that! They’ve created a platform that helps to automate the process of investing by assessing risk vs. reward and making the split second decisions that you simply don’t have the time to make. With straight forward pricing, Betterment is not only an easy choice, it’s a fairly low cost one!

Betterment Cons – Although the costs associated with investing with Betterment are very straight forward, it’s important to remember that there is a cost associated with automation. The automation Betterment provides helps to increase your investment dollars as fast as possible but, the increases do come at a cost. It’s important to decide if the added cost of automation is worth it for you.

Betterment Overview – Betterment really is a great company to work with. By providing ways to automate your investing, they have become a great start up investment for new investors that don’t have too much to work with. They give consumers the opportunity to invest very little and grow. However, if you’re a bigger investor, you may want to consider other options to avoid the added cost for automation that you don’t need.

Long Betterment Review

OK, now it’s time to get into the juicy details that I just can’t get into when it comes to a short review. Wow, there is so much…I’m not quite sure where to start. I guess I’ll start with pricing which, is pretty unique in this case. With most investment platforms, we see pricing on a per trade basis. You have to worry about what type of trade, is it broker assisted, ect… With Betterment, the pricing structure is quite a bit different. Instead of charging a per trade cost that can be difficult to calculate, they charge a small percentage based on the type of account you have and the amount of money that you have in the account. So, depending on your exact account, your fees will range from 0.15% to 0.35%.

How Does It All Work?

Betterment set out to make their platform as simple and use friendly as possible. So, the process is pretty simple. First, you sign up for a free account and link the account to your checking account. You can set up automatic monthly withdrawals so that you don’t have to think about when it’s time to invest as well. Once you account is set up, you have 2 options. Either you can invest in a predetermined basket of stock ETFs or you can invest in a predetermined basket of bonds. Either way, Betterment has done a good job of diversifying the baskets to make sure that chances of loss are pretty slim.

What Investment Options Are Available

Currently, betterment allows you to put your hands into 6 different stock ETFs. Here is how it works… 25% of the investment will grow through the Vanguard Total Stock Market, another 25% will go into the iShares S&P 500 Value Index, 25% into Vanguard Europe Pacific, 10% in Vanguard Emerging Markets, 8% in iShares Russell Midcap Value Index, and 7% in 7% iShares Russell 2000 Value Index. As far as bonds are considered, they work on a 50/50 split between iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund and iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond FUN. As you can see, Betterment does a pretty good job of diversifying your investment profile for you so that you don’t have to!

My Favorite Part Of The Betterment Platform

I have to say that the coolest feature that they have is the dashboard. When you first sign up, you will create goals that you would like to reach in a specific amount of time. Based on how your investments are performing, Betterment will show you what you need to do to reach your goals and how close you actually are. They will tell you the monthly investment that they suggest as well as other key factors that will help you to keep your goals in the cross hairs!

Who Should Consider Betterment Investing

Because of the ease of use, I would say that this is a great option for the start up investor. This is because, starters don’t generally know how to diversify their portfolios and keep them safe. To learn, they generally work with brokers which can get crazy expensive. With Betterment Investing, all investments are predetermined baskets created with risk in mind. By cutting out much of the risk, it seems to me that Betterment created a platform to meet the needs that the newer guys will have.

Hidden advantages of savings accounts

Savings accounts? Are you crazy? Boo, hiss. These days, savings accounts are only used as joke fodder for late-night comedians. Take the mom who wants to teach her kids the value of prudent financial management, for example:

For little Bobby’s eighth birthday, his mother takes him down to the local credit union to open a savings account. Figuring that all the grownups in his life would pour money into this new savings account to encourage him – without his lifting a finger — Bobby reasons that the offer is hard to beat. So, off to the credit union they go.

At his mother’s prompting, Bobby explains to the banker that he came to open a savings account. The banker gives a knowing glance to the mother and pushes the application form across the desk to Bobby. “Well, sir, this is your account, so you have to fill it out.”

Bobby methodically makes his way through the form, but pauses when he comes to the box that reads: “Name Of Your Former Bank.”

After a minute, he grins as he writes … “Piggy.”

Ba-da-boom! [Cue the clash of cymbals.]

If you’re like millions, you might think that savings accounts have no more use than old-fashioned, lame jokes.

Think again.

I used to stick my nose up at savings accounts too, until my late father-in-law told me he invested in nothing but an old-fashioned savings account. He was a wise man of few words; so when he spoke, everyone listened — including me. Until his death, he lived frugally — but comfortably — on those savings.

My father-in-law’s experience made me look at savings accounts with different eyes. Granted, he did this in the days when they paid interest rates with real numbers before the decimal point. That’s no longer the case, is it? These days the return you get on savings accounts barely moves the needle on the return scale. We often joke that banks use those accounts to challenge their IT people to see how many zeroes they can get into an interest rate, like 0.000001%.

Ha-ha! [Cymbals.]

Nevertheless, I still believe savings accounts are a viable part of a successful investment strategy.

Why in the world would anybody think that?

Well, first of all, there are the old standby arguments you always read when you do a search for something like “the advantages of savings accounts.”

The obvious advantages of savings accounts

1. Liquidity

With most investments, there is a time delay involved in getting access to your money. But sometimes you need quick access to your funds. Our furnace went out a short while ago, right before a really cold snap moved through. (In fact, it was only when I went to turn on the pilot light that I discovered it had given up the ghost after 30 years.) Thankfully, we had enough sitting in a savings account to take care of that problem immediately.

2. Safety

Everyone knows that (in most cases) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guarantees up to $250,000 of your money in a savings account. Now, I know there is a cadre of people out there who believe the sky is about to cave in on us and that that guarantee is worthless; but for the rest of us, that guarantee makes a savings account as safe as anything you are going to get anywhere. And as Warren Buffet often remarks, “Rule #1 in investing is: Don’t lose it. Rule #2 is: See Rule #1.” For safety, it is hard to beat the savings account.

3. No hurdle to start

As Bobby’s story above illustrates, getting started with a savings account is both quick and easy. No minimums, no fuss, no conditions, no nothing — just “git ‘er done” and you’re in business.

The not-so-obvious advantages of savings accounts

Now, as Tom Selleck used to say in “Magnum, P.I.,” “I know what you’re thinking.” We’ve heard this a million times, and by now those arguments insult our intelligence because they downplay the abysmal returns quantitative easing is causing us to endure. You are just writing this to get another post out there, or who knows why. Wake us up when you have something real to say. How do I know that? Because I used to think that … until just under 10 years ago.

In a previous post, I related how my wife and I had a wake-up call late in life and we suddenly went into overdrive-catch-up mode determined to cobble together as much of a retirement fund as we could in short order. Like many people, I didn’t know where to begin when it came to investing. That’s when I discovered the first of the hidden advantages of a savings account.

4. You don’t need to know anything

On my other blogs, I often hear from readers who explain why they put off investing or (worse) have no plan to invest at all. Close to the top of their list of reasons is ignorance: They don’t know what to do or how to invest. I didn’t either, so I started by simply piling all our spare money into a savings account.

This is the age of the Internet and, if you want to learn, there are many places where you can learn how to invest, for free or for money. However, you don’t need to know anything to get started with a savings account. You can always reinvest what you have deposited there somewhere else, but it is almost impossible to get back what never got put in there in the first place.

5. You don’t need to take any risks

As pointed out above, a savings account is probably the safest starting point for any long-term investment strategy. It is the easiest thing in the world to move money out of a savings account into another investment vehicle when the opportunity presents itself. As an example, if the house next door becomes available and you want to buy it as a rental property, where do you put your funds as you scrape up the down payment? Your savings account would be a good start … if you were faithful and consistent to keep building it.

6. You buy time to learn

Ignorance is one of the biggest obstacles holding people back from being determined and consistent investors. Ignorance usually leads to this kind of statement: “If I don’t know what to do, I’m very afraid of losing my money.”

Well, if you start with a savings account, you buy yourself enough time to learn all you can about investing, until you are comfortable that you know what type of investing interests you, and then you can ease into that at your own pace — with the capital you have been saving all along!

7. Positive reinforcement

Nothing succeeds like success, they say. Instead of procrastinating out of fear and ignorance, when you start with your humble savings account, you see progress after a few months. Sure, it’s not a million dollars, but it is more than you started with.

Once we saw our savings account grow, it inspired us to see if we could do even better. It’s hard to put a value on this positive reinforcement, but for us it was invaluable. The biggest mistake people make is not following through with their investment plan. The instant feedback you get on your growing savings account can be a motivator to keep going, if that sort of things has meaning to you (as it did for us).

8. Reality is on your side

Reality? What reality? This reality: No matter what you invest in, for the first five to 10 years, the lion’s share of your nest egg consists of your own contributions.

As the chart to the left shows, it isn’t until your cumulative contributions begin to add up to “real money” that the returns or interest also begin to add up and create a material boost to that nest egg.

When you make the decision to get serious about investing, you can take some comfort in the fact that you don’t lose a lot by taking a year or two to learn all you can about investing while you simply stash cash in an old-fashioned savings account.

(In fact, you could think of that teeny, little bit of interest you lose as your school fees, which are cheap at the price, all things considered.)

But that doesn’t mean you should wait to open a savings account if you don’t already have one …

… because the biggest key to investing success, as many have pointed out, is simply to get started. And there is no easier and safer way to get started than to open a humble savings account. You don’t need to restrict your investing to savings accounts like my father-in-law; but as a starting point to a successful investing career, savings accounts are hard to beat.

Did you use a savings account to help you get started investing? What do you see as the advantages of savings accounts?

GRS is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate. Find the highest savings interest rates and CD rates from Synchrony Bank, Ally Bank, GE Capital Bank, and more.

Hire tax relief professionals to abate IRS penalties

Many of us who has to deal with taxes or tax relief funds find dealing with IRS to be frustrating, time consuming and intimidating, leading to hiring of professionals like the tax attorneys or the tax resolution firms who would negotiate with IRS on their behalf.

Professional firms like the Omni Financial have the experience of providing the necessary tax reliefs to both individuals and businesses, resolving their tax problems at the state and federal level. These tax resolution professionals are usually experts who would cater to your need of IRS problem.

If you are wondering as to why hire them, the following are some of the reasons:

  • Increased costs: The greatest advantage that you can receive once you hire a professional like the Omni Financial Vero Beach is peace of mind related to the fact that the person does not have to bear any unnecessary risk both on the personal and financial front. Even if as an individual or a business, you fail to clear tax returns for years, the companies are trained to settle your IRS debt through increasing chances of resolving the back taxes. They also come up with a tax relief settlement wherein the individual or the business has to pay back only a fraction of what was originally owned.
  • Understanding various tax settlement options: Most of these professionals help in understanding the process for resolving tax debt so that a realistic expectation regarding the problem can be set. The IRS has very strict guidelines governing the eligibility for tax settlement which only the tax professionals are well aware of. This means that they are more than capable for resolving specific IRS problems also.
  • Every tax relief case is different: Professionals such as these understand that all tax relief requirements are specific and therefore they do not apply any one-size fits all approach. Firms such as these have extensive knowledge regarding that only they can provide. They also have exceptional record of accomplishment for tax relief success that would ensure that as an individual the case is safe.
  • Preventing future IRS issues: Once an individual or business hires a professional like Omni Financial they will not only help in resolving past IRS issues but also help in maintaining records of future transactions which would ensure that there are no future problems.
  • It is true that when a business needs a tax attorney, it is still a difficult decision especially when an individual is aware of their fees. However, what the business or individual should be aware is the fact that not hiring people from Omni Financial would actually prove to be inexpensive. When these IRS attorneys are hired, it would actually result in an affordable IRS payment plans and lesser tax penalties. When as an individual you owe money, the issue at stake is often more than just your balance sheet. Instead of being financially and personally crippled, it is best to hire professionals.

    Hiring Omni Financial can significantly improve your chances in securing offers regarding tax settlements. More than this, it can also help in achieving tax reliefs and abate future penalties.

PTI Marketing Technologies® Rebrands to MarcomCentral®; Continues to Provide Advanced Marketing Asset Management Solutions

PTI Marketing Technologies, a leading provider of cloud based Marketing Asset Management and Variable Data Publishing solutions, today announced its rebrand to MarcomCentral. MarcomCentral, the flagship product from the company, will be renamed to MarcomCentral Enterprise Edition and MarcomCentral Web-to-Print and the popular FusionPro® VDP product name will remain the same.

“Changing our name to MarcomCentral just makes sense since this is how we’re known globally,” said Coleman Kane, President & CEO, MarcomCentral. “With our acquisition by Ricoh last year, we’re operating in more channels and as we grow, the MarcomCentral brand name best reflects our evolving service offering.”

The rebrand includes a new logo, website, digital and print assets, as well as enhanced social channels. The new look and feel is designed with the user in mind- to simplify the core features and benefits for an improved interaction with the brand across multiple channels. “We’re taking this opportunity to align our brand vision with the growth we’re experiencing in the Enterprise space,” stated Forrest Leighton, VP of Marketing, MarcomCentral. “It’s an exciting time for us; I’m thrilled we’re able to provide a fresh look and experience for our current and future customers.”

MarcomCentral will continue to invest heavily in engineering providing new features to the core product lines.  Customers can expect regular product enhancements and new integrations for the award-winning marketing personalization software. Recent additions include integrations with Birst Analytics, Marketo and Salesforce and features like video bookends and HTML editing.

“Our MarcomCentral and FusionPro products continue to be leading software solutions in Marketing Asset Management and print personalization fields,” stated Kane. With Ricoh’s support and the rebrand announcement, we look to provide our customers with the best cloud-based software and service for their marketing requirements.”

For more information about MarcomCentral’s solutions and products, visit marcom.com.

Asia Pacific Mobile Money Industry Prospects till 2019 – China and India to Bolster Growth

Asia Pacific Mobile Money Industry Prospects till 2019 – China and India to Bolster Growth

he Report Titled “Asia-Pacific Mobile Money Industry Prospects till 2019 – China and India to Bolster Growth” provides an in-depth analysis of the Mobile Money Industry and covers specific insights on the market size in terms of global mobile money market value, region and product wise segmentation, value chain analysis, business models, recent trends and developments and future outlook of the mobile money Industry at the global and regional level. The report also entails a detailed description of the prominent and emerging geographic markets of the region including China and India.

Mobile money is an emerging concept in the global market which represents a profitable opportunity with a massive social impact by allowing customers to access services which can help them to effectively manage their day to day routines. The concept of mobile money or mobile payment revolves around utilizing the mobile phones to transfer money and make payments. The mobile money industry across the world has been continuously growing and expanding across various regions. The global mobile money market was estimated to be USD ~ billion, in terms of value of transactions. The massive increase in the payments, remittance and banking value is anticipated to be driven by Asia-Pacific region, with countries including China and India.

Asia Pacific accounted for the highest number of mobile payment users worldwide, followed by Europe and North America. Consequently, the region also noted the highest share in the transactions being operated through mobile devices, which was registered at 71.2%. Moreover, Asia-Pacific has continued to lead the market for mobile payment adoption in the world owing to the supportive policies of the governments in various nations and rapidly growing mobile phones subscriptions which has extended the services to even lower strata of the society.

The mobile payments market in Asia Pacific region is relatively varied and highly fragmented. The mobile money industry in China has showcased a magnificent growth over the span of last few years. India has an evolving landscape in terms of mobile money. The market is characterized with a huge fragmentation observed in the number and nature of services provided. Japan was the pioneer country which has had a long history of mobile payments. Japan and South Korea were amongst the leading nations for the adoption of mobile payments in the world and in Asia, owing to presence of most developed mobile cultures.

The share of mobile banking and card payments has however declined in the past years, owing to the increasing influx of players introducing mobile wallet services. Over the past years, many mobile wallets have been launched by various players such as telecom companies namely: Airtel Money (India), Smart Money and GCash (Philippines) and third party providers; for example, Alipay. Lakala, Tenpay (China).The transactions value for mobile payments and m-wallet industry in Asia pacific is expected to reach USD ~ billion by the end of 2019. The industry size is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 174.8% over the period of 2009-2019. The maximum growth is to be reflected by China and India.

Key Topics Covered in the Report:

– The market size of the Global Mobile Money Market by Transaction Value- Global Market Segmentation by Geographies covering Asia Pacific, Africa, North America, – The market size of the Asia Pacific Mobile Money Payment Market by transaction value- Market Segmentation of Asia Pacific mobile money market by source of funding, remote and proximity payments and purpose of payments- Market Size of China Mobile Money Industry by Volume, Value and number of Customers of Mobile Banking and Third Party Providers- Market Segmentation of China Mobile Money Industry by different channels of payments and consumer and enterprise payments- Competitive Landscape and Market Shares of major companies- Market Size of India Mobile Money Industry by Volume and Value of M-wallet, Mobile Banking and mPOS markets- Market Segmentation of India M-wallet Industry by open, closed and semi-closed wallets and consumer and enterprise payments- Company Profiles and Market Share of Major Players in India Mobile Money Industry- Overview of Mobile Money Industries in Japan, South Korea and The Philippines– Trends and Developments, Business models and Value Chain Analysis- Future Outlook and Projections of Asia-Pacific and Global Mobile Money Industry

Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p03147365-summary/view-report.html

 

SafeDinar.com Launches Currency Exchange Rate Notification Service

SafeDinar.com has released an upgrade to their exchange rate notification service.  Anyone can sign up for customized notifications for any or all of the currencies that can be exchanged at SafeDinar.com.

SafeDinar.com was able to expand the currency selection for customers looking to buy and sell foreign currency.  In an effort to enhance their exchange rate notification service, which was originally designed for the Iraqi Dinar, the company has designed a brand new email notification service.  Simply put, anyone can go to SafeDinar.com, choose the currency and rate they wish to receive a notification about and then set their own custom parameters. There is no limit to the number of rate notifications that a person can sign up for.  If there is a change to a selected rate, an email notification is automatically sent. SafeDinar.com does not require that a person to be a customer to receive the notifications – anyone is welcome to sign up!

The new notification service was introduced as a part of the Currency Dashboard addition made to SafeDinar.com. The Currency Dashboards offer information about each country, the currency, exchange rates, important travel tips, and much more.

SafeDinar.com is operated by Dartmouth Capital, LLC, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.  Dartmouth Capital, LLC is registered with the United States Treasury as a money services business.  For eleven years, the company has provided currency exchange services through their website www.safedinar.com. The company is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and has earned an “A+” rating. Dartmouth Capital, LLC does not offer investment advice.

If you would like more information about this topic, you can contact a representative of www.safedinar.com at 1.877.723.3391, or e-mail info@safedinar.com.

SOURCE SafeDinar.com

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