Survival of the weakest, only in Ireland.

If the State can’t organise a bailout effectively then what hope have they of running a bank? A simple and yet profound question: if the bankers who run banks for a living (many having survived the 70’s and 80’s) can’t find the answers then what hope have the state who have no track record in doing so?

This is not a simple situation, banks that survived the Great Depression have crashed and burned, given this, is it vital to save every bank? Is a bank going to make it even with a slush fund? Thus far I remain unconvinced.

Anglo Irish Bank was set to get a bailout to the tune of 1.5 billion Euro. This couldn’t be arranged in time to save the bank and they have been nationalised, the speed of their fall from grace tells us at least some basic facts:

Anglo were not the strongest bank in the bunch, I won’t get into balance sheets, loans, impairments or anything else, the mere fact that they fell first …

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The end of ownership

I had an interesting conversation with an Estate Agent recently who has been in the industry for over thirty years and he said that he felt he was seeing the ‘end of ownership’ in the young people today. That really got me thinking.

‘What do you mean by that?’ I naturally enquired, and basically he said that he was seeing a trend in young people not feeling any incentive to buy a house, not only in the short term but ever, ‘why would they buy, kit a place out and go to all the expense when they can just rent a place ready to go and any problem is the landlords?’ was his response. And one must admit that there is a large dose of common sense in that. Renting is no more dead money than mortgage interest is dead money, however, what it could mean for the future is that we become a nation of landed and un-landed citizens, which is ironic given that land ownership has played such a strong part in …

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New trends in underwriting and credit

It is 2009 and one of the things we need to look at (at least from the mortgage market perspective) is the availability of credit. Many associations such as ISME and politicians such as Joan Burton have voiced strong opinion on the need for credit to be extended to small businesses. The same credit contraction is happening in lending for property.

While our firm, and almost everybody involved in the mortgage market accept that we are not at market clearing levels, the unavailability of credit for those who do wish to buy and are capable repaying their loans is going to cause an unnecessary distortion which will drive prices down further than is rational. Without getting too deeply into the reason for the credit contraction/deleveraging process which we have covered many times here before, the point of interest is the new brand of underwriting we are likely to see.

In the past people within the financial industry were looked upon favourably, not only due to the fact that they normally represented a …

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The bailout has arrived, Irish banks in line for Government funds.

The banking bailout has come along, as many of us always thought it would, in the form of a (potential) €10 billion Euro package. An announcement was made yesterday and shares in financial institutions surged on the back of the news. The actual details of the deal are scant at present.

The Minister of Finance remarked on RTE radio that the main thing he hoped to see as a result of this was for lending to return to the market, we can only assume this refers to enterprise lending and not to mortgages as the mortgage market has not frozen to the same degree the business loan/credit area has.

The National Pension Fund Reserve is the area the funds will come from, an obvious issue here is that the fund made losses of c. 33% in the last year and cashing out now will mean those losses are crystallised without hope of return should the markets come back any time soon. …

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Deflation or Inflation? What to expect in 2010

We have felt for quite some time that the risk of deflation will be met by monetary and fiscal stimulation to the point where it will give rise to several strong years of inflation. This extract is by James Grant of ‘Grants Interest Rate Observer‘. The question of ‘when’ the scales will tip in favour of inflation away from deflation is likely to be at some point in 2010.

This is why we are letting our clients know that we are watching the long term bond yields and when we see a divergence either in short to long or medium term to long we will be encouraging people to consider a longer term fixed rate. When the five year and one year cross that might be a good time, meanwhile, because more rate cuts are expected in 09′ it would not be the time yet for this kind of move.

We don’t have a crystal ball but we are keeping our eye on the bond market so that we can try to gauge …

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What affects your investment planning

Did you ever wonder why some people seem to be doing better in the investment arena than you? Or why certain people seem to always lose or consistently win? The truth is that there are very few ‘superstar’ fund managers, like in any industry there are those that are the best and they totally outshine the millions of others who do the same job but never to the same degree.

If we were to look at some of the factors that may have an effect on your investments you can quickly identify that there are those which you cannot control, and therefore can only hedge against, and those that are within your control for which you are responsible and must consider, these will now be considered:

1. Being too conservative: If you stayed only in the safest areas of the market you would actually lose money over time as the effect of inflation grinds down your investments. This would be because the deposit interest rates would likely not give positive returns when you …

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Rate Expectations

In the Book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens we saw Pip help out an escaped convict, one who had done some wrong, the convict later becomes an anonymous benefactor of Pip’s helping him lead the life of a gentleman and Pip becomes totally removed from the old life of poverty he lead, only to one day find out who his invisible helper was, it shakes him to the core.

There is something in this story that hit me today hearing about the Fed rate cut to a base of 1% and current public sentiment towards the market. The market is like the convict who had done something wrong in the past and who later is the benefactor. It is easy to look at the mistakes made by the finance industry, and alarmingly easy to funnel all wrongs towards it, …

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The stage is set for Euribor Trackers now that ECB ones are gone.

The market recently witnessed the death knell of the last tracker available, it was Leeds Building Societies high margin ECB + 2.2% offering. Previous to this we heard announcements from Bank of Scotland, AIB, BOI, ICS, Haven, Ulsterbank, First Active, IIB, PermanentTSB and every other lender that trackers were being withdrawn.

So now we have moved from a market where trackers were a key point of competition and value to one where they don’t even exist. This has had a key effect of removing transparency from rates, for instance, how is a Variable Rate determined? The future landscape of mortgages is likely to be some mish-mash of “fixed-variable-another fixed-fixed again-back to variable” it will be a non-transparent massacre of rates where the concept of ‘customer inertia’ will become only stronger.

If people find themselves in a market where they don’t understand long term value then there can be no responsible long term value decisions made. To put that in perspective: If you are getting a …

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Everything old is new again, buying on layaway

I remember getting a new coat when I was about eleven, we went to a shop in Swords village, next to a place that was called ‘Savages’ (in fact I think the clothes shop was owned by them too) and I tried on a coat and my mother paid part of the money for it on ‘layaway‘ and then we went back the following fortnight and paid for the rest and picked it up, in the mean time they made an adjustment to it too.

Will we see a return to some of the ideas from the past as the credit market contracts? Perhaps we will, layaway does have several advantages for both sides of the transaction.

Seller side advantage: The seller sells a product and gets cashflow into their business, if the buyer pulls out later there is normally a charge and the item can be re-sold. So if the person doesn’t go ahead then the …

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Proving your Income to a Lender

One of the most critical aspects of gaining mortgage approval is showing concrete evidence of your income. The reason for this is to show a lender your ability to meet your mortgage repayments every month and to assess how much (using their credit criteria) they will commit to lending you.

For PAYE workers you must evidence your income in several ways:

1.Three recent payslips 2. a P60 3. Salary certificate completed by your employers 4. Bank statements for the previous 6 months

What does a bank determine from this?

Your payslips show how much you are earning every month, the net amount should then correspond with the lodgements into your bank account every month (unless you are paid fully/partially in cash). It will often show pension contributions, expenses/mileage and other vital information (in some cases credit union loans come out of wages for companies that have a Credit Union attached to them).

A P60 will show your previous years earnings and if …

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