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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Beware the Contract/Valuation trap

Our firm has seen a rise in what we describe as the Contract/Valuation trap, so we will tell you what it is and how to avoid it as well as steps you can take should you find yourself in this position. The contract-valuation trap is one that occurs when the price of a property being purchased drops significantly between the time the contract is signed and the property is closed. All lending is generally based on LTV (loan to value – see our jargon page for a description of that), however, a valuation which sets the market price in the banks eyes is what the loan is based on, it is not based on what a person was willing to pay for it and this helps to give an independent opinion of the worth of a property.

Another issue is that in a falling market sellers become more ‘motivated’ and by that we mean that they will more readily accept a lower than asking price offer, …

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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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Irish Mortgage Lenders, who provides mortgages in Ireland

This post is a brief account of the residential mortgage providers in the Irish mortgage market, a brief look at who they are and what kind of lending they are involved in. Many people have no idea who is who, or who owns who so this should help to clarify some of that. Of course, as a broker we can help guide you through the myriad of lenders and options, but even our expertise is not an adequate replacement

The list of lenders in residential mortgages are (in no particular order)

1. IIB Homeloans 2. Haven 3. PTsb 4. First Active 5. EBS 6. Irish Nationwide 7. ACC Bank 8. Bank of Ireland 9. Springboard 10. Start Mortgages 11. Nua Homeloans 12. GE Money 13. Leeds Building Society 14. Bank of Scotland 15. ICS 16. NIB 17. Ulsterbank 18. AIB

Who they are and what kind of lending do they do?

1. IIB Homeloans: This is ‘Irish Intercontinental Bank’ and they were once owned by Irish Life, they then got bought out by

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