RTE Six One News: Insolvency Service piece by Conor Hunt, 3rd April 2014

We gave a few thoughts on the recent ISI figures.

That the case numbers are low is to be expected, firstly, informal negotiations have had a six year head start, you can’t expect the ISI to be caught up already, secondly, in the UK it took about a decade for the system in general to find its feet.

Lastly, many people don’t want to use personal insolvency as it is rigid and informal deals are not to the same extent, banks offer better terms outside of insolvency, and perhaps the greatest success is that banks are doing these deals only since the ISI launched.

Prior to that they wouldn’t so the fear of people using these solutions has spurred the lenders into action.

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Devil in the detail in debt write downs

(this article appeared in the Sunday Business Post on the 23rd of March)

The banks are starting to write down debt. Should we be surprised? Recent news of large write downs on home loans by AIB has left out some of the necessary detail to add context to the story. The lender has equally shied away from confirmation of what happened, making it all a bit opaque.

Why would a bank choose to offer a capital reduction by writing off part of a mortgage? An alternative is to split the loan into a part which the customer can afford to pay and another part which is ”warehoused. If zero interest is charged on the warehoused part, then the affordability for the customer can be the same as if this part is written down, even if the psychological impact is different.

It is likely that there are peculiarities in the cases where debt has been written down, which means this will only happen in the minority of cases. For example, if a loan was on a one off house with a …

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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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Debt chronicles: There can be no solution for some people

A while ago we decided to document some of the things we encounter as debt managers in order to give a taste of the experience from within the process. This is more than anecdotal but nowhere near outright empirical proof of how things are going for everybody else in the process.

The most recent meeting involved a site in rural Ireland. The borrower was a former developer who now lives abroad. Like many property deals he wasn’t the only one on it but he happens to be engaging and when that happens the idea of ‘severable liability’ is about all the bank can hope for.

The developer made an offer of a 30% recovery, this was rejected at the start of the year. Given that the site is worth about 20% of what it went for (at best) this would have been a decent outcome, frankly I’m surprised the developer even made one so high given that in this instance they have the bank over a proverbial barrel.

The loan is in deep arrears, but what’s worse is that the …

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Why paying off your credit card rather than your mortgage is stupid

It’s a common debate in debt that people prioritise in certain ways based on certain behaviours. A common one being that it is rational to pay off a credit card because that is what buys the shopping or puts fuel in the car.

The belief being that a credit card provides liquidity when needed, but in paying off this debtor first it brushes over two key facts.

1: If you told the credit card holder to go and jump for their money you’d be instantly better off by whatever you owed them, we regularly see settlements done for 10c on the Euro. This saving (assuming it equates to the missed mortgage payment – which is a leap of faith at best) could be used to fund the following month or two for fuel/groceries, and that isn’t to say you couldn’t repeat this process with a mortgage too as a source of financing if you had to, but doing it first is a mistake.

The first rule in personal finance is about prioritisation and while we regularly tell people to burn …

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Standard Financial Statement or SFS – for people in mortgage arrears

If you go into arrears on your mortgage or you talk to your lender because you believe you are a ‘pre-arrears’ candidate then you will be asked to fill in a ‘Standard Financial Statement‘ or SFS which is part of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) which started last year.

Engaging with the lender is a key tenet of this and filling in the SFS and liaising with the lender on aspects of it. The information in this is what will be used to negotiate the repayment that you will pay in cases where lifestyle adjustment does not allow you to make the full payment.

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Hand back the keys and walk away.

What we are not saying is that people should try this, this post is merely pointing out that this kind of thing could happen and that a failure of enacting sensible policy soon enough could encourage people to look for solutions such as what we describe here as a means to solving their personal debt issues.

We don’t endorse handing back the keys, we are not suggesting that people do it or consider it, but merely looking at the pro’s and cons of doing so and demonstrating a method whereby a person could potentially try to fool the system while doing so.

The Cons are basically that you lose your home, and assuming that in this case the person is in €100,000 of negative equity then they are also hit with a judgement for the shortfall plus expenses, for the following twelve years that debt can come back to haunt you. Your actual credit may be restored in year seven but that doesn’t mean you are off the hook.

Consider the position of Joe Bloggs, he is deeply in debt, …

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‘Fix or forever hold your tongue!’, A floor on Rates (with a rise likely!)

Rates likely to rise as per AIB’s statement, and PTsbs actions, what we are trying to tell everybody, in clear English is this: ‘If you don’t have a price guarantee on your mortgage via a tracker or fixed rate agreement then you will be paying greater margin over ECB in the near future than you are now’. If you don’t act upon that information then it is your own decision but you can’t say you weren’t forewarned.

Forewarning doesn’t stop disaster, the historical evidence on that is overwhelming, in particular in the military arena, today however, we will look at some of the potential changes we might see in the market.

Floor Rate: This would be a variable agreement whereby the rate will never dip below a certain level. For instance, a bank might say that in a low rate environment it will (in the future) never allow its variable rate to drop below 4%, …

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Debt Reduction Blog 6th August 2008

We have decided to start a weekly debt reduction blog, many people are very conscious of their funds and concerned over what way to utilise any money they have. So starting from today we will have some simple advice on debt reduction. Much of it is common sense but some will (hopefully!) be new information.

First, and most importantly you need to map out your finances, and that’s not as simple as saying ‘I have a current account, a savings account and a few quid with the Credit Union’, by this I mean really getting into your finances and what you are spending money on, account statements, credit card statements and also some idea of any miscellaneous expenses you might have.

Once that’s done you can sit down with a person who is a professional (this can be your broker or accountant), in some cases even a friend who knows more than you do is better than trying to go it alone if you are not financially literate (about which we’ll get back to later). Then you have to examine …

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Changing bank trends

Today we will highlight some changes that we may see come into the Irish mortgage market in the near future, as well as some suggestions from the think tank here in Irish Mortgage Brokers. The current economic climate is one where it is easy to look back and spot errors that were made, but rather than focus on the blame game we hope to consider ideas that will prevent a property asset bubble from occuring again as well as some ideas that could help promote sustainable lending, these ideas won’t beat the recession this time around but it may be good medicine for the future housing market.

1. Long term fixed rates: In the USA the prime mortgage sector is not going into the same kind of default as the rest of the sub-prime and Alt-A loans are, in the cases that they do it is down to redundancy and the other things that generally cause bad debt irrespective of the wider economy. One reason that this is happening is because loans there are taken out on a long term …

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