News of the World: Money expert on Debt

IRELAND is in payback mode at the moment. As a country we’re experiencing “deleveraging”, which means that many people are using most of their money to pay back excessive borrowing. However, that practice only puts cash into the banking system and not the real economy.

This is because banks aren’t lending — they’re too busy using the cash to put out fires within their own institutions. There are 786,000 Irish households with a mortgage, and six per cent of them are in trouble. The vast majority of that six per cent haven’t paid the bank a single cent in more than six months.

SOLUTION

Our Government-led solution is to encourage that to continue. They’ve made it almost impossible for banks to repossess homes — Labour’s solution of a two-year moratorium on repossessions reeks of “delay and pray”. A further 24,000 mortgages have been restructured and are still not performing, while 35,000 are only staying afloat due to a change in their conditions — mainly by not paying back the loan, only servicing the …

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Mortgage Rescue Schemes, failed policy.

Internationally mortgage rescue schemes have been an abject failure from the perspective of using the success of their mission statement and intended scope as a gauge.

In researching this blog I spoke to representatives from The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries in the UK, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, and Loan Value Group, they all had similar sentiments on rescue schemes to date.

The ‘Homeowner Mortgage Scheme in the UK planned to help 42,000 borrowers when it was set up in early 2009, to date it has helped 34. That is less than 1:1000 of the intended group.

Mortgage Rescue Help was another plan in the UK, that was meant to assist about 6000 in the short term, the actual figure as of Q3 2010 was 629 or about 1:10 of the intended target group.

In the USA the ‘Home Affordable Mortgage Programme’  (HAMP) was aimed …

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Debt forgiveness & Writedowns, one in the same?

Below is a comment made by the Regulator at UCC while talking to a group of compliance officers.

“Reform of the bankruptcy regime could allow borrowers to earn a fresh start by discharging their debt over a reasonable period of time, Mr Elderfield said. However, he cautioned against debt forgiveness for the thousands of mortgage holders currently behind with payments on their loans.

Addressing compliance officers in Cork, he said it was understandable that some people wanted to go beyond rescheduling debt to consider some form of debt forgiveness.

“However, the cost of any support will need to be borne by the taxpayers or by the banks and therefore, in many cases, effectively the taxpayer as well, and this raises questions of fairness for taxpayers who are not in debt and, at a time of immense budgetary pressure, affordability for government finances.

“There is also the risk that any scheme would create perverse incentives and in fact make …

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Mortgage Mediation, a solution for mortgage holders in Florida (could it work in Ireland?)

Currently about 25% of the mortgages in Florida are delinquent, there is a huge amount of foreclosed property on the market, short sellers can’t offload fast enough, property prices are falling, and it is also a judicial foreclosure market meaning people have similar issues to the problems we have here when a home in negative equity is repossessed, they owe the difference.

A possible solution being tried there is that of mortgage mediation. This is vastly different than the scheme in place in Ireland, and perhaps active mediation with a set point of contact and a set representative would be a good idea, chances are we’ll never know because it is not likely to be rolled out in Ireland.

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Nassim Taleb on Debt

Nassim Taleb says in this interview that the debt problems of 2010 are worse than those of 2008, he has re-released his now famous book ‘Black Swan’, and his core belief presently is that recession is not the issue, debt is the issue. Fragility is exacerbated by high levels of debt – we can see that from an Irish context on Sovereign Debt/Bank Debt (whether the problem is real or perceived).

One of the most poignant things Taleb talks about is the failure of stimulus, and he rightly points out that Greece is not being asked to ‘stimulate’ their way out of their debt issues, they are being asked to look for austerity solutions, perhaps Keynesian beliefs might be shunted once again into history?

The point holds true in our opinion, high levels of debt are a wealth destroyer and inhibitor to prosperity, the drag on economies, in particular our own, will be evident for many years to come.

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Negative Equity Financing

I was on the panel on Frontline recently and during it I mentioned a thing called ‘Negative Equity Financing’, we were asked by a few journalists and some clients about it, so hopefully this post will help to clear up what it is, and how it may work.

For a start, I’m anti-bailouts, in general and in particular, so debt forgiveness is not really something you’ll  see supported here, but we are big believers in facilitation, and any means that can help to oil the cogs is likely better than one that tries to create a new machine – albeit in time that is what we need; changes to our property and debt laws. However, in the here and now facilitation is quicker and easier to implement and has a better chance of reaching those it is intended for.

Negative Equity Financing is the idea we have put forward, but it isn’t just a case of doing a short sale because that doesn’t work in Ireland.

A short …

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RTE Primetime features Irish Mortgage Brokers

Mark Little speaks to Aoife Walsh from Respond! and Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers about the looming mortgage issues in the Irish property market, the commentary was on the recent IBF protocol (Irish Bankers Federation) whereby people working with their lender can get a further 6 month extension on dealing with their mortgage if they are in difficulty. While we broadly welcome the move we also believe that there are other motivations for it as well as some genuine questionable solutions.

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Dealing with arrears – a collectors tale

Today’s post is by a guest writer who we cannot name, but we can tell you that this person works in the collections department of a major Irish lender, this person (or somebody like this person) is the one who will call you if you are in arrears on your mortgage. In this post we will reveal some of the inner workings of a collections official and the various things that they do as well as letting you know some of the unpublished things that you should do to protect yourself. Our guest writer has many years of experience in collections, during both the boom times and the downturn.

So now, over to our guest writer…..

There are a lot of buzzwords in the press at the moment and a few of them are regarding what to ask your lender for if you are in arrears. At this stage we have all been told that if you fall into arrears you should ask for payment breaks and interest only periods etc. However, simply asking does not guarantee that you will …

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