First Active set to close.

It was announced yesterday that First Active is going to close operations in Ireland. This will start with 750 job losses coming into effect via voluntary redundancies, 550 of which will be in the Republic. Unions in Ulsterbank/First Active have said that bank workers are ‘scapegoats’, we spoke about the coming job losses in April of 2008 here.

RBS have made record losses, this lead to their bailout by the UK government. On the ground here it means that at 45 locations First Active will merge with Ulsterbank branches. The removal of First Active from the market will mean there is less competition in Irish lending, this will set the basis for increased margins on lending – at a time when the ECB is dropping rates. Having said that, First Active and Ulsterbank prices are amongst the most expensive in the market with variable rates of over 6% when market leading rates are under 4%.

In …

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How to rescue the financial system

I found this clip today, it is talking about some of the issues I mentioned in the post ‘Survival of the Weakest’ and it talks about the need to save healthy banks in favour of saving weaker banks. The common sense approach would be that you don’t privatise profits and socialise all losses and that you focus on saving firms (albeit banks) that are entities worth saving to begin with.

“A sound banker, alas, is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him” – John Maynard Keynes.

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How To: Get a better rate from your bank

Banks are not lending as freely as they used to and for many borrowers obtaining credit is harder than ever, the people who already have mortgages are also feeling the pinch as lenders raise the margins on variable rates – which they have every right to do!

Tracker mortgages are now gone from the market and we are left instead with a confounding maze of LTV based Standard Variable Rates. This means you get a rate with no guarantee, set by the bank, and its based on the loan to value of your property. This may leave many feeling that they have no option and if you have a defeatist attitude one could argue that it has been imposed rather than earned!

However, last week a member of our team decided they would do something about the rate they were getting and they called the bank and tried to negotiate a better rate, they were rebuffed several times and eventually they got past the business prevention unit and were …

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