Bank of Ireland’s Marketing Gimmick

Recently, the Bank of Ireland has been accused of a marketing gimmick. The Bank of Ireland has launched a new mortgage product that does not offer cash back. The bank has maintained a high market share. Bank of Ireland has been offering up to 3% in cash back of the value of the mortgage taken out. However, the Bank does not have the lowest rates in the market.

Cash back can be defined as money back from a mortgage. For example, if an individual borrows €200,000 he or she may get back €6,000. The first 2% of cash back is paid at the time the mortgage is taken out. The other 1% is paid at the end of year five.

However, the bank has now introduced a High Value Mortgage Interest Rate with no cash back. The new mortgage product is the first fixed rate product without cash back that the Bank of Ireland has one since the introduction of cash back in 2014.

The High Value Mortgage Interest Rate only applies to people borrowing more than €400,000. The product is also …

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First time buyer steps explained

Being able to take out a mortgage has become a major hassle for all types of home buyers, but especially first time buyers. Recently, a 2018 study by the Central Bank reported that the best position to be in so that your request for a loan can be approved by one of the 7 largest lending banks is in a couple with a substantial down payment already available.

This is most likely the case because a couple can bring in two salaries, making a steady stream of income more reliable even if one person were to lose their job. Additionally, having a large down payment reduces risk for the lender. If you were to foreclose on a property, meaning you couldn’t afford to pay your mortgage anymore, there would be significantly less consequences on the lender side.

Although this is an ideal situation for approval, it is not the only solution. Plenty of first time buyers are individuals without extremely high credit scores and salaries, but there are a few key parts that must be fulfilled in order …

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Mortgage market update: lenders have large margins

Dan White authored a piece published in the Irish Independent on June 18 titled: Are greedy mortgage lenders about to see enormous margins squeezed? The article analyses the current mortgage market and concludes that limited competition between lenders is a source of high interest rates in the market and the consequently high margins and profits achieved by lenders. White takes note of current changes in bank’s interest rates and of a paper published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to predict the future of interest rates and margins in the mortgage market.

 

The author cites a paper published by The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission stating that the Irish mortgage market is “characterised by a high concentration of a small number of lenders, limited competition between these lenders and low levels of entry by new players”. This is in part due to the fact that many foreign lenders left the Irish market after the crash. Because of the limited competition, Irish banks had free range to dramatically increase their net …

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Bank of Ireland cuts mortgage rates

Bank of Ireland recently announced new and reduced mortgage rates, which will be available starting Friday the 16th. The highlight is cuts of fixed mortgages rates up to 0.35% for both existing customers and for first-time buyers. The bank decision ups its competition in Ireland’s reviving property market and marks Bank of Ireland as the fourth lender that has cut its rates within the last two months. KBC Bank cut its fixed rate in April, and currently has one of the lowest rates on the market. Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank are the other two lenders who have also taken similar measures.

 

Bank of Ireland’s fixed rate mortgages are based on a property’s loan to value ratio. It has cut its rates for first time buyers with an Loan to Value ratio of 81-90% by 0.25%. Customers with greater down payments and lower Loan to Values ratios also see their mortgage rates cut between 0.1%-0.25%. The greatest reductions however have been for Bank of Ireland’s existing customers, who see their mortgage rates fall by 0.35% if they have a …

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ICS Building Society RIP 1864 – 2014

After 150 years the Irish Civil Service building society (known as ICS and a subsidiary of Bank of Ireland) is set to close. The letter delivered to the intermediary channel is on the left.

ICS started before the formation of the State and was subsumed into Bank of Ireland in the mid 1980’s.

The relationship with mortgage brokers was long standing, although in recent years there were a few developments which caused it to lose market share.

ICS first took brokers away from Bank of Ireland in c. 2009, previous to this brokers could deal with either a local branch (we dealt with now closed Westmoreland St. branch) or via ICS.

Then they reduced procurement fees, lastly they engaged in ‘dual pricing’ where it was cheaper to go to BOI than to ICS. All of these things were perhaps justified in the view of ICS but it didn’t mean people would then borrow from them and these things combined lead to less broker support …

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RTE Drivetime: What it’s like to be inside a debtors meeting

We were asked to talk to Drive Time on RTE radio about a borrower meeting we were at with a bank. This meeting was typical of the ones we regularly attend and also typical in both tone and outcome.

While we accept the bank have a collection agenda underpinned by the mortgage contract, their methods for obtaining a result are unnecessarily painful and that doesn’t make economic sense for any party involved.

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ICS to be sold and currently ceasing mortgage offerings.

We have just found out that the EC have approved Bank of Ireland in keeping New Ireland assurance but that ICS must be sold and they are to stop accepting [glossary id=’6898′ slug=’mortgage’ /] applications with immediate effect.

We don’t actually know what this means at present, we have not been informed of how they will deal with pipeline applications, applications that are on the system and approved but not offered, or that are awaiting approval.

We have been told that it will be ‘business as usual’ but it may not be,we heard this line before from INBS and others, and if not this is going to cause quite a nightmare for many people and some them will be our clients.

This is out of our control, and not something we had a contingency plan for, but unlike the norm in Irish finance we are not going to wash our hands of it and say ‘not our fault’, this isn’t about blame, this is about Irish Mortgage Brokers doing a great job for every client we represent, and that isn’t …

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Is getting a debt writedown a gift? Would you have to pay tax on it?

The US model of ‘short sales’ has a hidden sting in it that often gets lost in the noise, namely that the reduction of your debt is often considered a gain and it needs to be reported on your IRS Form 1099 (as opposed to a W2 or 1040) which covers income outside of wages/salaries/gratuities.

Which means that if you sold your property (we’re assuming it is in negative equity) for a €50,000 loss and the bank write that off, that in effect you have a non deductible loss which you didn’t pay and therefore you pay the tax on it (their equivalent of capital gains).

Like the US, Irish investors can offset capital losses against capital gains, in the case of your own home this doesn’t apply. In the American example a write-down creates a tax liability, although not in every state (my home-state of California being an example). This was becoming such a problem that the IRS brought out two special tax codes called ‘The mortgage forgiveness debt relief act …

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Zombie Banks acting like Zombies

I wrote a piece in today’s Irish Sun about our banks and that the state owned operations are showing a decided lack of inventiveness when it comes to helping existing borrowers.

This may be down to disincentives, issues with management or the Department of Finance, but suffice to say, it doesn’t make sense that non-state owned banks and foreign banks are innovating in potentially beneficial ways for their customers and the banks we paid to save are not.

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An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure – banks need to change how they deal with arrears

Currently banks are not interested in dealing with customers who ‘might go into arrears’, they tend to brush them off – instead focusing on the people who are already in actual trouble. This doesn’t seem rational to me from a business perspective – and this approach would fail any standard test of common sense – if you knew a storm was coming would you carry an umbrella? If you knew and were warned in advance that it was going to be a blazing hot day would you get some sun-cream? Oddly the Irish mortgage lenders defy logic when it comes to knowing that certain clients are going to fall into arrears, and this is going to ruin thousands of credit histories that could otherwise be maintained. Credit aversion might be the name of the day now, but these same consumers may feel differently in five years time.

Any credit crisis we have encountered on individual levels has always had …

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