Loan refusal statistics: what do they mean?

There are two sets of statistics floating around; on one hand you have the banks who claim that they are lending and also that the demand for credit simply isn’t there – a belief further expounded by John Trethowan. Then on the other hand you have the likes of PIBA who counter claim that 80% of applications are being refused.

So it is important to break down the vital components. First of all, the debate often centres around Small Medium Enterprise (SME) lending; even if demand for that type of credit isn’t there it doesn’t automatically translate into a reduced demand for mortgages. The point being that we can’t compare SME loans/business loan demand to that for mortgage credit.

Secondly is ‘what constitutes a refusal’, and this is where common sense diverges. Even the bank accept that if you seek €200,000 and are only offered €100,000 that it is a loan not fit for purpose, this even goes for SME loans – imagine trying to borrow 80% of a machine purchase at 200k and then trying to come up with €60,000 you can’t raise? Mortgages are no different, if people don’t have the ability to bridge the difference between the purchase price less their deposit and the loan sanctioned then it is an effective refusal.

If one wanted to be cynical, they would advise the banks to say ‘yes’ to absolutely everybody and only offer them €100 maximum. This ruse would be quickly seen for what it was, and yet when you add in a few zero’s and

Having given the banks support to the point of no return it now seems acceptable for even the Credit Review Office to use the ‘reduced demand’ argument to tacitly approve the strong chance that BOI & AIB will miss their combined lending target of €6,000,000,000 to Irish companies over two years.

If you have no demand in one area then why not funnel those funds which ‘must be lent’ to wherever the willing borrowers are? That our vested interest comes into this is evident – but it is frustrating to see a market down 95% and the issue of loan supply being a strong driver in the lack of transactions.

The vast majority of people who want to purchase a property simply cannot get past the underwriting hounds who have gone from being puppies in the last decade to being dogs at the gates of hell over the last two years. And the blurring of lines between different types of credit and the gathering of statistics give two totally different stories, but much like any cake, you have to look at the ingredients going into it, and in our opinion at least, the way ‘approvals’ are counted and accounted for is wrong, meaning credit is nowhere near as available as we are told it is.

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