Primetime: excessive interest rates

Last night’s Primetime had a well thought out piece on variable interest rates.

The general thesis was that variable rates are ‘too high’ and that banks should not be allowed to charge them, the figure of 1% of a ‘cost of funds’ was mentioned several times and various suggestions were made as to making the banks stop the practice of setting their own prices.

To begin with, the ‘cost of funds’ at 1% may be what a bank buys their raw materials at, but then you have to make more on top of it to allow for operational costs, to provide for losses, regulatory burdens, margin and the like. It is worth noting that in AIB’s interim statement which was only made yesterday that they noted that “Net Interest Margin (NIM), excluding ELG, expanded to c.1.64% year to date (YTD) September 2014”.

This means the idea of 4.5% minus the 1% ‘cost’ equating to a 3.5% ‘profit’ doesn’t stack up. If it did the net interest margin …

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