Bank cost of funds versus mortgage prices

Eurodollar or LIBOR cost of funds is a common phrase in banking, what does it mean or do though?

Banks borrow short term and lend out long term, they call it ‘maturity transformation’ and in doing so they aim to make a mark up on the money, it’s the same concept that a shop uses in selling cartons of milk, fundamentally the idea is the same.

The LIBOR rate is ‘London interbank offer rate’ and represents the cost of funds for a high quality non-governmental institutional borrower.

To get an idea of the cost of funds (and this is currently speculative because Irish banks don’t get offered funds at Euribor [euro equivalent of Libor]) all you have to do is a simple calculation.

We know that banks tend to use three month money and that means that any calculation will always have the interest rate reduced by multiplying it by 90/360 (3 months = 90 days, and 360 = 1 year [I know that in real life 1 year is 365 days but that small change of 5 days gives …

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KBC move to 90% LTV

This is a very healthy sign for the mortgage market, and in our opinion it could mean that 2010 might mark the low point for credit that we have been watching out for.

In 2009 KBC under-lent, they had €1bn and didn’t lend out anywhere near that, they are also here to stay, and prior to the crisis they had about 1/8th of the market share. The fact that they are rolling out a higher loan to value is a very confident sign that

Banks have a few internal policy tools to control lending 1.    Curtailing the amount of lending – we see that already, mortgage lending is about 85% down from the peak of 40bn p.a. , peak wasn’t exactly a gauge of normal, but half of that would be normal, and even on that basis it’s down 75% – that story still has to play out 2.    Rate increases: this has the same effect as central bank rate increases, it reduces lending and everybody has increased their margins by at least 1% in the last year, you and …

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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:

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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 …

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Are 100% mortgages the problem? Is LTV a symptom or a cause?

An article in the Independent yesterday pointed toward 100% mortgages being a significant attributer to the bubble, I would wager it was a symptom rather than a cause, the IBA meanwhile has called for all mortgages to be made on a non-recourse basis.

The good thing is that people and organisations are trying to find a way to avoid a repeat of the property bubble, and they are not one off events as the UK can testify.  There are however, significant factors contributing to what happened.

1: lenders didn’t price risk, they didn’t even ‘price at all’: Banks have utterly failed to do the job they were designed to do, namely that of profitable intermediation, we had huge amounts of competition on lending, that drove down criteria requirements and also compressed margins, then along came trackers, these had low margin price promises – Bank of Scotland brought them into Ireland and have since left. I spoke with a Bank exec. yesterday and he …

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Everybody pays, even the innocent

There were many innocent parties to the credit fuelled property bubble, they are generally those who didn’t borrow, or who carried no debt, choosing instead to live frugally, and if they used debt they used it wisely. Many of these people are at the polar ends of the age spectrum, very young (who don’t even have access to credit) or much older (who have paid off their mortgages), something we will all need to get used to though is the fact that everybody is going to pay for the mess left behind, this goes farther than NAMA.

The process I am describing is already under way, the very payments system (our financial infrastructure), is going to be used to generate economic rent from the people of Ireland in order to bring in more profit to banks so that they can repair their balance sheets. This price will be paid by the taxpayer outside of the bailout money already being supplied on our behalf. This will be even paid by people who manage to …

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Taxing Banks & Taxing Risk

In the first clip, James Galbraith (son of the famous JK), economics professor at University of Texas, discusses whether a new tax on big banks is justified. Ken Bentsen, of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, and Mark Calabria, of the Cato Institute, share their insight as well.

In the second clip Mark Walsh, of ‘Left Jab,’ and Dan Mitchell, of the Cato Institute, discuss taxing banks based on their risk to the system.

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Mortgage Market Trend Outlook 2010

We have put together a report outlining the trends we expect to see in the Irish mortgage market in 2010. Many of the opinions have been substantiated from within industry and are evident in market information, however, we cannot say with certainty that anything mentioned is guaranteed to pass, only that we believe these trends are the ‘most likely’ and stating the reasoning behind them. You can obtain the report by clicking on the image below.

If you have any questions please feel free to call or email our firm regarding same.

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USA: Failed mortgage modification programme

Kudlow talks to Christian Weller, Center for American Progress and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute on the topic of debt relief and mortgages in the USA, the argument for straight out write-downs on mortgages is compelling, and yet so too is the argument for allowing the market to work. Sometimes believing in the free market is seen as a ‘dirty thing’, but the side effect of trying to manage an economy from every aspect is also a bad thing (look no further than the former Eastern Bloc). Somewhere in the middle is a fair and sustainable path, but ideology bias is usually in the way before the conversation passes go, for that reason you will favour one speaker over the other quite often from the outset. However, ideology doesn’t actually get results, it is merely the platform from which a concept is launched and the better path would be to have an operational model to prove the point – although that isn’t always practical.

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