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 …

Read More

Regulation failure: Independent brokers unable to be ‘independent’

We were thinking of changing the way that brokers operate, by saying to our clients ‘our service comes at a price, we’ll advise you on any lender in the market and be totally independent, if we place your loan with one that pays commission you can set that against your fee, and if not then pay the fee’, doing so in the belief that totally transparent and independent advice is a good thing, and something that everybody wants, the broker, the consumer and the Regulator.

Sadly this is not the case, instead the Regulator (soon due another name change to ‘Central Bank Financial Services Authority of Ireland’) is relying on the letter of the law in the Consumer Credit Act of 1995 to ensure that brokers can’t give best advice. This is an example of total regulatory failure.

The actual portion of the code is S. 116.1.b which states ‘A person shall not engage in the business of being a mortgage intermediary unless— ( a ) he is the holder of an authorisation (“a …

Read More

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 …

Read More

The day I mis-sold an insurance policy

About five years ago I had a couple in with me who were buying a home, I was helping them to determine their insurance needs and I realised that they had literally no protection if either of them ever fell seriously ill – not via their job/employer schemes or individually. So I suggested that they consider some serious illness cover, it would have cost them about €20 a month but they were insistent that they only wanted what was ‘cheapest and nothing more’.

As an adviser, it isn’t my job to always accept what people say they want because often, with adequate probing and understanding they actually want something entirely different, a skewed but simple way of understanding what I mean is that when saving or investing the majority of people want ‘high growth and high security’ – when in fact, these two features are normally night and day, if there ever was an asset that could deliver high growth with deposit account style security then everybody would pile in and the market would adjust accordingly, therefore you need to …

Read More

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.

Read More

Mortgage questions: broker fees

Q: I am a first time buyer and am hoping to purchase a property this year with my partner who is also a first time buyer. I was just enquiring what are your fees for your service and what does the process involve?

A: Generally we don’t charge fees. We are paid commission by the Mortgage Lender and Insurance Company you choose to proceed with. We will advise you what each Lender and Insurer has to offer and try to secure the deal that suits your needs.

When you have chosen a suitable property we will take you through the process from putting down your booking deposit through to getting the keys to your new home.

Read More

Where are interest rates headed?

While we often see opinions about interest rates given by various commentators, I think the most telling indication is often that of the market, the point at which rates are settling at in prices is available at any time by looking at the Euribor Yield Curve, below is the chart for today.

The idea that rates will probably stay c. 1% until well into 2010 is only partially priced in, you can see the yield curve crossing the 1% mark at 6 months (which would be May 2010) – this however, is the Euribor and does have margin factored in, currently the margin over ECB is c. 25 basis points so the 1% base would cross when the graph above is at c. 1.25%. and that is the part that brings us to the latter half of 2010. The yield curve is live and dynamic so it could change at any time, either flattening or inverting. The reasoning behind where interest rates are going is a science in itself, and one that …

Read More