One Big Switch findings on mortgage holders

There was an interesting infographic out today from One Big Switch showing what people have done in order to make their mortgage repayments.

It ranged from working extra hours, to taking fewer holidays and socializing less. What is interesting about this, is that nobody tends to look at the wider economy effects of high mortgage rates, and the Central Bank while saying they want to examine them, cannot and will not do anything about it.

Higher rates act like an informal ‘tax’, and as some banks are foreign owned it means taking income out of the Irish economy and funnelling it elsewhere, this affects our balance of trade and was a reason we always questioned the Patrick Honohan diktat of not having an issue if all banks were foreign owned.

This informal tax reduces expenditure in the productive economy and goes towards rationalizing zombie balance sheets, so lower rates should be a priority for everybody, but the way to get there isn’t force, it’s competition and for that reason we are hopeful that the switching campaign will be a successful …

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Irish Mortgage Brokers mentioned in the Independent

In an article by Sinead Ryan in the Independent we were quoted on several matters:

With all the talk of celebrating the Rising in 2016, it won’t extend to a rising mortgage market, says broker Karl Deeter. “The changes to lending criteria and in particular the Central Bank changes meant that while 90pc LTV (loan to value) mortgages were available, as the year progressed more banks started to withdraw them. Due to the way the figures are going to be reported in 2016 it will be a case of, ‘Want a 90pc mortgage? Get it in January or July’. And that’s because the half-year periods are going to be the times in which they are mostly available.”

One positive change, says Deeter, was that interest rates came down during the year, in particular fixed rates as banks came under pressure to explain Ireland’s excessive rates compared to those enjoyed by our EU neighbours. Although all banks rocked up at the Banking Inquiry, and most were (or tried their best to sound) contrite, the truth is that pillar Bank …

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The big switch

The time is coming near where One Big Switch say they will be shaking up the mortgage market in Ireland by using the power of group persuasion to get a bank to make an offer that is lower than that which is currently available.

Is this likely to succeed? In particular given that even the Central Bank and Government have failed when it comes to demanding that banks lower their rates?

We would think ‘yes’, because this campaign speaks to banks in the language they understand most, that of customers and money. With loan growth becoming much slower and aggregate credit continuously shrinking for the last eight years, it means that banks don’t have a large amount of choices for new business.

Attrition will be part of the plan and it isn’t one shackled by the Central Bank lending rules because they don’t apply to switcher loans where there is not a top up element to the loan. This means you take a proven credit track record and equity in the property and you obtain what we refer to as …

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Central Bank report on Switching mortgages

That so many people can switch their mortgage and don’t was always something that puzzled us as professional advisors.

(dowload the report here)

They found many of the things we intuitively knew but put numbers on it, issues such as inertia, complexity of product, and other issues like naive procrastination.

The numbers are not small either, savings of over €10,000 are being passed by and Irish consumers seem to be willingly paying about €65,000,000 more than they should to the lenders simply by not being more pro-active with their own finances.

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Talking Money – Switch your mortgage to save

This week on ‘Talking Money’ Karl Deeter and Jill Kerby were discussing ‘switching’ with Cormac on RTE’s Drivetime. It was coincidental that many of the points we made were reinforced by the Central Bank findings this week on mortgage switching on points such as assertive customer behaviour being important and not allowing inertia to hold people back.

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Newstalk: Pat Kenny Show on variable rates

We were asked to speak with Pat Kenny today about variable rates and the government plan to intervene to make banks drop them. This was, after considering various pieces of evidence shown to be a deeply political rather than pragmatic move. We also demonstrated that there are documents which the Minister for Finance had drafted up with the banks specifically stating that he would not intervene on matters of pricing, the recent round of ‘meetings’ is in direct contravention of that.

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Drop rates so banks can lend more…

In the ongoing variable rates pricing fracas there are many points being overlooked. The first is why our mortgage rates are higher than other European countries, but we should just ignore that – at least to stay popular.

We’ll say that the government/Central Bank pressure works and banks drop their rates, what next?

We might get around to the greater number of people under price pressure for housing (the renters), but that’s unlikely, instead we’ll inadvertently drive up house prices a little more by making credit more easily available.

Because the lower the variable rate the lower the stress test. Lower rates equals more credit, it’s a fact of life in lending.

You heard it here first. The lower variable rates go the more it frees up a persons lending capability. We have covered the way the Central Bank lending rules won’t work to the point of being annoying (and we weren’t alone, the ESRI and …

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SVR’s: Comparing apples to oranges is bananas

The ongoing meme of standard variable rates being a ‘rip off’ has recently lead to a new bill being proposed by Senator Feargal Quinn. This is the most recent brainwave since the ‘tax banks to make them cut rates‘ idea.

Once again we see the politicisation of credit pricing which is avoiding many of the contingent facts on the topic which analytically is an error.

My old statistics lecturer used to say ‘comparing apples to oranges is banana’s’ and she was right, to compare two things they need more ‘likeness’ than the fact that both things happen to exist.

Here is a small list of things that occur in other jurisdictions that aren’t being mentioned.

1. Arrangement fees: Many jurisdictions (even around Europe) have arrangement fees factored into the loan, often this is 1% that the borrower pays the financial institution for setting the loan up. This reduces the need to amortize the cost of procurement …

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The sums behind ‘taxing’ the banks into a rate cut

Yesterday we were on the Sean O’Rourke show discussing variable rates on RTE Radio. We mentioned how doubling the ‘tax’ on banks won’t actually change anything. The mechanisms were briefly covered and we got a few emails asking for clarification so here it is.

The ‘levy’ was part of the Finance Act 2014 which imposed a new annual levy on financial institutions aiming to raise €150 million per annum for 3 years.

This sum is payable on October the 20th in each year (2014-2016) and it applies to a financial institution that is the holder of an Irish (or equivalent EU) banking licence or is an Irish (or equiv EU) building society that was obliged to pay DIRT – unless the amount required to pay in 2011 was not more than 100k.

The main outcry is centred on variable rates for primary home dwellers in particular. So how much of that debt is out there?

We know there are about 300,000 ‘loans’ but the quantum of debt is €39.638m which is about €3bn …

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KBC reactivate the switching market

There has been an absence of competition in the switching market for some time. AIB don’t even do them while others try to avoid switcher loans. PTsb have been in that space for some time but were largely unchallenged except by (to a lesser extent) Ulsterbank.

Which is why it’s nice to see KBC come out with a product for people who want to switch to them. Naturally the best prices are at low loan to values, these types of loans have obvious advantages to banks in terms of the condition of their loan book, but it’s good to see this as moderating credit conditions have to start somewhere.

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