Tracker mortgages: make sure you don’t miss out!

Yesterday the Examiner broke a story about tracker mortgage holders potentially missing out because they are not reading their terms and conditions. This is an issue we have seen first hand in our company, but it wasn’t due to not reading the terms and conditions, it was down to a bank error.

Recently Bank of Ireland had to put 2,000 accounts back on trackers after they mistakenly took them off and onto variable rates. AIB made the same mistake 214 times and PTsb did it 53 times.

In our own brokerages case we saw something similar recently with PTsb, they insisted to a client that no tracker was available. Then, only after the client remortgaged did they admit their error and offer it back. We represented the client in this case and insisted that all costs were also covered in reinstating the mortgage. This means paying solicitor fees, losses on clawbacks, breakage fees for the fixed rate undertaken etc.

Where this happens has tended to be where …

Read More

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 …

Read More

The ‘Cost’ of Regulation

David McWilliams hit an interesting point in today’s piece in the Independent about having ‘too much regulation’, and how it may repel new banks from coming here.

in late 2009 I was picked as part of a team that approached PostBank with a view to turning it into an SME business bank – our proposal never even made it as far as board meetings because they were determined to close down rather than continue, we found the whole process perverse at best.

Instead the same investor group will be setting up in the UK, meaning SME’s in Ireland lose out on funding.

It isn’t that new banks don’t want to come here, it is that they are routinely put off from doing so via the Central Bank and the way in which we grant banking licences in this country.

The other regulatory issue is Basel III.

Asking a bank during a time like this to …

Read More

NAMA Mortgages, money from thin air?

When a bank creates a loan that becomes an asset, the property it is secured upon is the collateral (sorry my teaming millions, I know I repeat this eternally). So if NAMA decide to become a brand of lender this October as we saw from an article in today’s Independent; then how does it work? Where does the money come from?

Take a property that they are putting up for sale (1st picture: pic not related). We’ll say for the sake of this example that it is worth €200,000.

The NAMA position may be that they paid more or less for this particular property but it doesn’t really matter; what does matter is that for the sake of them selling it the property may as well be unencumbered, there is no lien above that held by the NAMA.

This means they can give a title deed to the buyer when they sell it – but don’t forget, when a person takes …

Read More

TV3 ‘The Morning Show with Sybil & Martin’ featuring Irish Mortgage Brokers 11th Jan 2011

We were delighted to be part of TV3’s ‘The Morning Show, with Sybil & Martin‘. We are fans of the show and enjoy the relaxed nature of the conversational commentary style they are so adept at. In this clip we spoke about the costs of finance and the potential removal of fixed rates, while Marian Finnegan (of SherryFitzgerald) covers housing, her background is in urban economics and she lectured at both NUIG and UL before moving to SherryFitzgerald. We hope you enjoy the clip.

Read More

The solution for Section 23 Owners

Section 23 properties have had their tax treatment changed, in effect the buyer honoured their side of the contract from the outset and after the initiation of this the Government reneged on their side of it. This is contrary to the idea of fairness, the concept of contractual obligations, and it undermines the faith any taxpayer can have in the state.

The state recently cut many people with income tax and reductions in entitlements, but these were never contractual and people certainly didn’t leverage up to obtain them. Landlords may not be a group worthy of sympathy, but at the same time recent changes to taxation on rent (Case V income) mean the amount of financing expense the business can offset has dropped by 25% (mortgage interest you can offset has gone from 100% to 75%), this is contrary to the rules of accounting when you look at any other business.

The only solution is a reversal of this policy, and perhaps the only way to ensure this is to apply the idea of mutual …

Read More

Why bid for EBS?

Along with many others, I was confused at the fascination with EBS as a takeover target. You see, EBS’s best year recorded a profit of less than €50 million. Which given the size of its operation and loan book is rather unimpressive. The company is also heavily staffed by union members meaning it would be difficult for present management to wade in and cut the numbers in a meaningful manner.

So what is the obsession with private equity and EBS? And what about PTsb?

For a start, PTsb are not currently my lead favourite as a bidder, there are two reasons, one is that the bank rescue plans are being looked at from a competition aspect in Europe, and if PTsb were to take over EBS it would reduce competitive forces, secondly, PTsb may not be in condition to do a takeover. They have their stress-test due out in September and for now we have no idea of how that will look, EBS would add a large chunk to their loan book but deposits in the society are only c. …

Read More

AIB Rate hike: where is it now and where is it going?

AIB have announced an increase in their Standard Variable Rates (SVR’s) as well as in their Loan to Value Standard Variables (LTV-SVR’s: which are tiered variables based upon your loan to value), effective from August 10th. Caroline Madden of the Irish Times and Charlie Weston from the Independent both carried the story today, this comes only days after Allied Irish Bank announced that they lost over €2,000,000,000 in the first half of 2010.

Their SVR now stands at 3.25% but where is it headed? For that it is important to look at several different factors, firstly, their cost to income ratio has gone from 48% in 2009 to 63% for 2010. That means that it is costing them €63 to turn over €100 in income, this is a 32% increase on last year in costs which is a bad indication.

There are a multitude of factors playing into this:

1. Guarantee/ELG costs:

Read More

If you didn’t like 100% mortgages you’ll loathe negative equity mortgages

I was interested in the front page of today’s Independent in which Charlie Weston broke a really big story about Irish banks being in advanced stages of designing ‘Negative Equity Mortgages’ (this is vastly different than the Negative Equity Loan/Short Sale Loan we have discussed previously). Essentially the bank will allow an individual to carry negative equity out of one property and move that onto another one within certain parameters.

This practice has already existed in the UK and is offered by Nationwide, Coventry and RBS, the schemes have not proved to be very popular, in part because of the stringent underwriting required. It is one thing for a client to fall into negative equity but another to actually facilitate them in compounding that fact and taking a further bet on their ability to repay. What do I mean by that?

First Loan: €200,000 Value: €150,000 Neg/Eq: €50,000

Then the €50,000 shortfall is passed into a second loan of (for example) €200,000 …

Read More