Bank cost of funds versus mortgage prices

Eurodollar or LIBOR cost of funds is a common phrase in banking, what does it mean or do though?

Banks borrow short term and lend out long term, they call it ‘maturity transformation’ and in doing so they aim to make a mark up on the money, it’s the same concept that a shop uses in selling cartons of milk, fundamentally the idea is the same.

The LIBOR rate is ‘London interbank offer rate’ and represents the cost of funds for a high quality non-governmental institutional borrower.

To get an idea of the cost of funds (and this is currently speculative because Irish banks don’t get offered funds at Euribor [euro equivalent of Libor]) all you have to do is a simple calculation.

We know that banks tend to use three month money and that means that any calculation will always have the interest rate reduced by multiplying it by 90/360 (3 months = 90 days, and 360 = 1 year [I know that in real life 1 year is 365 days but that small change of 5 days gives …

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EBS rate hikes, the benefit of mutuality?

EBS have announced a rate hike of 0.6% which is a follow on from their last 0.6% hike that was levied against variable rate mortgage holders on the 1st of May, this brings their margin increases to a total of 1.2% for the year to date.

Today’s Indo lead with this story (by Charlie Weston) and rightly pointed out that by the time this is over, a person with a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years could expect to pay just over €3,000 a year (after tax) in increased mortgage payments. For a person on the average industrial wage this is like a full months wages before tax being sucked away by the financial system. Tax hikes and wage cuts aside, this will ultimately reduce the money that is being spent in the economy and it will disappear into the financial system where banks will use it to de-lever further.

The contention for many people is that they are being punished, not for what they have done …

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The good things about Negative Equity Mortgages (for the banks)

There was a post on Geckko’s World about Negative Equity Loans – and he rightly pointed out that there had been an instant and widespread denouncement of them, then going on to point out that if a person was to try to reduce their debt that it could in fact be a very good concept. My opinion is that the focus will not be as a facility to reduce a persons debt but rather to increase, however, Geckko makes some very interesting and valid points which show that the first reaction was perhaps not totally balanced, as well as giving some smart operational guidelines (it’s worth leaving here for a while to check out the post).

However, there are some distinct advantages for the lender in this process as well which I have not seen any commentary on (if you have please post links in the comment section!).

1: Reduced borrower risk: Surely a higher LTV makes it riskier right? …

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Sunday Times: Beat the Zombie Banks

The Sunday Times had an interesting article by Niall Brady which was pointing out the arbitrage that the consumer could have between retail institutions, by that we mean you could borrow at one rate which is cheaper than the rate you could earn interest at.

This kind of thing would never happen in a traded market because it would be closed down by practising traders, however, in the retail finance channel it can exist due to consumer inertia and the low level of profit that can be exercised in this manner.

It is however an interesting take on the market and the kind of unusual angle we love to see coming to press, (we should also point out that our firm got a mention in the process!).

The situation that currently exists is one whereby a person can borrow (for instance from AIB on a 2yr fixed rate mortgage) at a price which is below the return on another asset, the thing that wasn’t …

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Who has the best mortgage rates?

The ‘best rate’ is a misnomer because interpretation of what is the ‘best’ is a subjective question, for a very conservative person a 10 year fixed rate is ‘the best’ and from that point the ‘best’ will likely be whatever is the cheapest ten year fixed rate, having said that, after careful consideration the best 10 year fixed rate mortgage might be one that allows you to pay off a lump sum during the fixed period without any penalty thereby ensuring that you can eat into your capital quicker, is a feature like that worth extra money each month if it isn’t the cheapest? To some people it may be, to others it isn’t.

If you are considering a property purchase and are not a cash buyer then you will need financing, and this comes at a ‘price’, the interpretation of that price is generally the rate, so which rate is better (we’ll assume you want a 1 year fixed rate), 2.5% or 2.6%? Naturally you’d be inclined to say it is …

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How much of a deposit do I need?

When making a mortgage application this is a question that many first time buyers want to know, how much money do I must I have for a deposit? Well, that kind of depends on which bank provides the mortgage finance!

Lending criteria is different for every bank/building society/lender, this goes for rates, the general underwriting criteria as well as the ‘loan to value‘, the deposit you need is 100% minus the Maximum LTV and that will give you the deposit amount you require. For instance, ICS have a maximum LTV of 92% so the deposit you need – if you are obtaining finance through them – is 100% – 92% = 8%.

What is interesting in that example is that when you go ‘sale agreed’ on a property the estate agent will ask for a security deposit and the balance of 10% at the signing of contracts, this is an example …

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Why is the bank asking for my marraige licence?

The approach of underwriting in banks is an ever changing beast, sometimes they seem to focus only on payslips and p60’s, at other times its Salary certs and bank accounts for the last six months, recently we have seen a rise in the number of people who are being asked for marriage certificates or ‘marriage licences’.

Initially it seemed a bit odd and then (this is one of the times where you grin realising the world has changed and failed to inform you) we saw that it was always coming up in married couples where the woman hadn’t changed her last name to that of the husbands.

In our office its a 100% change from the old way, none of the women have their husbands names, and of the  married men, none of their spouses took their names (myself included). It seems there is a serious social shift in place with the current generation of people getting married, it would seem that fewer and fewer women are taking the …

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Buying stocks to protect yourself?

Marc Faber makes some salient points to Yahoo! tech-ticker on where he feels the markets and world economy are going and he strongly disagrees with Ken Fisher about the USA having ‘too little debt’. He is strongly anti-cash and feels that commodities and stocks (despite what many believe is simply a bear market rally) are the place to be for the next 2-3 years. An interesting point made on tech-ticker was that the world economy doesn’t need as many people any more, it makes for compelling reading.

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Moving paper or ‘selling your mortgage’.

In the USA and Canada they sometimes refer to a process of ‘moving paper’ which is where a person sells their mortgage – the actual debt and all the conditions that go with it. That might sound kind of pointless but it would certainly be a valuable option in Ireland and could perhaps offer (if it existed: it doesn’t) a selling advantage of debt holders over non-debt holders in selling a property.

Take an example of a person selling a house for €200,000 if they were able to offer their current mortgage of ECB+1% to the prospective buyer then it might be an attractive proposition! In particular, the bank might benefit because even if the person was in negative equity it might be worthwhile to buy such a debt product at a premium.

People don’t think about buying or selling mortgages (institutions do it all the time), and yet we readily consider buying and selling debt (which is what the bond market is). Why can’t we do the same for the individual …

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