Drop rates so banks can lend more…

In the ongoing variable rates pricing fracas there are many points being overlooked. The first is why our mortgage rates are higher than other European countries, but we should just ignore that – at least to stay popular.

We’ll say that the government/Central Bank pressure works and banks drop their rates, what next?

We might get around to the greater number of people under price pressure for housing (the renters), but that’s unlikely, instead we’ll inadvertently drive up house prices a little more by making credit more easily available.

Because the lower the variable rate the lower the stress test. Lower rates equals more credit, it’s a fact of life in lending.

You heard it here first. The lower variable rates go the more it frees up a persons lending capability. We have covered the way the Central Bank lending rules won’t work to the point of being annoying (and we weren’t alone, the ESRI and …

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Can Noonan or Honohan actually do anything on variable rates? (no)

The calls to lower rates by opposition politicians such as Michael McGrath on Primetime this week is making daily headlines. Charlie Weston doing a cracking job as always bringing personal finance to the front of the paper has ensured it lead for the last two days.

This has gone from the line that ‘it’s not our place to set prices to the news broken by Martina Fitzgerald that ‘Noonan and Honohan are going to pow-wow about it’.

Don’t expect much. The official responses from both the Department of Finance and the Central Bank are below. Note in particular that Honohan makes the case for non-intervention very clear.

The email sent to both was the same:

Question: Is there any explicit power the Central Bank/Department of Finance has to compel banks to change or lower their standard variable rates? If there is can you indicate which part of any Act that the power to do …

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The ESRI and the Central Bank butt heads.

This headline appeared in the Indo today. We agree with the idea of a safer market, but also agree with the ESRI on this, that it was badly timed, inappropriate and will actually cause more problems than it fixes due to being badly timed.

We would agree, our submission on the subject was one of the few that articulated the problems, why the moves wouldn’t prevent boom-bust and gave empirical evidence supporting same. Meanwhile many others were falling over themselves to commend Patrick Honohan and the Central Bank for being such good regulators.

They may have insulated the banks, but it’s at the expense of a market that will not provide for all of the people that need housing, in doing this it also helps to encourage speculation as one by-product is higher yields which re-attract investors into a market.

The ESRI have articulated this better than we did, and we support their findings. Oddly, the person behind the statements was the best economist the Central …

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Newstalk: Lunchtime speaks to Irish Mortgage Brokers about ‘mortgage caps’

Jonathan Healy of Newstalk spoke to Karl Deeter about capping mortgage loan to values and loan to income amounts. This is a logically compelling idea but it won’t fix the supply shortage or necessarily prevent the problems we are told it will fix. It will also mean that about 2 in 3 first time buyers face an adverse effect that people who already bought didn’t have to deal with, namely that of trying to save up a 20% deposit.

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RTE Primetime spoke to Irish Mortgage Brokers about lending caps

Robert Shortt from RTE’s Primetime show spoke to us about the Central Bank idea of putting caps on lending in terms of the loan to value and the loan to income ratios. There is a sense in this, but we don’t believe such a crude instrument is nuanced enough to negate the downsides that such a policy brings with it. There are better ways to do this and they should be explored.

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Central Bank findings on interest only mortgages

The Central Bank released some findings on interest only mortgages (below), we’ll follow up with some commentary and interpretation soon.

(starts)

The research analyses the loan characteristics, including loan performance, of mortgages originated on interest-only terms in Ireland.

The main findings of the research are:

While interest-only arrangements have been widely used as a means of temporary forbearance to deal with the current mortgage arrears crisis, mortgages were also originated on interest-only terms during the height of the boom. Between 2005 and 2008, interest-only mortgages were mainly issued to buy-to-let investors on tracker mortgages and at high loan-to-value ratios. Interest-only mortgages were more likely to be issued to buy-to-let borrowers in Dublin and for the purchase of apartments than standard mortgages. The arrears rates on these mortgages are higher than standard mortgages. A significant number of interest-only mortgages are due to revert to principal-and-interest repayments in the next 2 years. The resulting higher repayments for these borrowers could lead to an increase in mortgage arrears. 44 per cent of the buy-to-let interest only borrowers will …

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We have ceased to offer debt management services under the Central Bank regulations

Irish Mortgage Brokers have informed the Central Bank that we will not continue the debt management services industry under their regulation. This blog serves to notify people who may want to enquire with us that we are no longer authorised by the Central Bank (we can still offer insolvency solutions). No clients have been adversely affected and we are liaising with the Central Bank to ensure the termination goes smoothly.

Particular issues relate, in our view, to how the Central Bank has approached the regulation, the delays, repeated requests for identical information and specifically seeking management accounts when audited accounts were provided.

We also faced huge delays from the Central Bank in processing and responding to queries which they resolved by asking for more information rather than accepting blame (point above being one such example).

The efforts thus far seem to amount to seeking unrealistic demands from industry then only pulling back when they are shown to be operationally impossible. In the first ‘consultation’ the Central Bank suggested that a mediator hold indemnity for the entire quantum of debt they …

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Central Bank: solving the mortgage crisis by making it worse

Yesterday was the proposed deadline for debt mediation firms to make their submissions to the Central Bank. The guidelines had only come out about three weeks previous to this and given how much was involved they realised that they had made a deadline in trying to rush it through and gave industry an extension, we didn’t need the extension, what we need is the type of common sense which is vitally lacking in the new requirements the Central Bank are pushing through.

There are a lot of things that people don’t hear about in the compliance area that will result in future news stories, this current round of regulation is going to be in that category. The Central Bank has ensured that there will be less choice, that it will be more expensive – which locks borrowers in trouble out of the process and with a general outcome that banks will hold more sway in the future on deals that do or don’t get done than they did in the past. This is a big banking win as far as …

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