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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Lose your collusion… Irish Banks show just how little they care.

As George Bush once said ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…shame…well you’re not gonna fool me twice’. Banks however have done this and so much more in the last few weeks that how it’s not front page news has me flabbergasted! Are the Irish public meant to really believe the picture we are seeing unfold? Apparently so…..

Let’s look at the picture so far and put it in a time-line, then we can look at that time-line and try to discern if it was sheer co-incidence or opportunism that has lead to the moves in the market.

Tuesday 4th December: Ulsterbank cut brokers income by 50%, no explanation, and done by email. It would be laughable if it were not so serious.

Tuesday 11th December: PermanentTSB announce brokers income will be cut, to be fair they gave a lot of warning, because of the size of PTsb this action kicked off an industrial dispute, nobody cared about ulsterbank but PTsb was a market giant.

Then came the waiting game, to see what the result of the industrial …

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