If we must have a banking enquiry then make it cheap and fast.

I should state from the outset that I am against a banking enquiry if it is the ‘9/11 style public enquiry‘ it was originally billed by Patrick Honohan as (pic related). I also believe the primary failure in Ireland was one firstly of regulation and governance over and above what went on within the banking system, it is after all, the responsibility of regulators to exert their control over the systemic aspects of banking rather than vice versa, however, it seems to be the popular choice to have an enquiry and thus I have outlined how a relatively cheap investigation might be set up.

The people of Ireland are calling for blood and it is no surprise that various powers now want to deliver on it, they join other leaders from antiquity such as Titus, Nero and Caesar in wanting to please the masses with blood-letting, sadly, we have a history of making any investigation extremely …

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Mortgage Question: I have no savings, can I borrow a deposit?

The majority of lenders now insist that your deposit comes from a non borrowed source, and will decline your application if you plan to borrow it. The lenders who will consider your application will assess your application with the new deposit loan as a financial commitment which decreases the amount you can borrow on the mortgage, and because it is a short term loan it will eat into borrowing capacity much more than you may expect.

[eg: €100,000 loan over 30yrs costs c. €420 before tax relief, but one tenth of that, €10,000 at personal loan rates over 3yrs will cost c.€313 per month which would reduce the amount you can borrow by approximately €80,000!]

Short answer: You should aim to have your own equity in the deal via savings, if you borrow a deposit then you are running an additional risk and our firm are of the belief that this is generally not in the best interest of the borrower.

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Mortgage Questions: I am not in permanent employment. Can I get a mortgage?

Answer: If you are not in Permanent employment no mainstream mortgage lender will consider a mortgage application from you, while that may sound harsh, it reflects the reality in lending that the main thing a lender needs is security that the borrower has the capacity to pay back the loan in the future. Sub-prime Lender Start Mortgages may consider an application, but if you opt for a specialist lender you will pay  for it via the margin on their lending, they take on risky applications but they charge accordingly. The maximum loan they will lend is 75% of the purchase price. This type of application is assessed on a case by case basis & will depend on the length of your contract served etc. the length of contract remaining and your previous employment history.

However, to give a short concise answer – generally banks won’t lend to you if you are not in permanent employment, this is a question you will be asked by your mortgage adviser and it also appears on your salary cert.

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US Real Estate roundtable.

CNBC hosted a discussion about whether home prices will go up in 2010, with Kenneth Rosen, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business; Matthew Garrison, The Matt Garrison Group and CNBC’s Diana Olick. The American situation is vastly different from that in Ireland but it makes for interesting comparison.

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US Recession over.

Recession in the US has come to an end as  US GDP increased in the third quarter. The US saw an expansion of 3.5 per cent between July and September according to figures from the US Department of Commerce.

The US growth follows recent news that Japan, China, Germany, and France have all climbed out of their recessions. The UK may now be the only top economy to remain officially in the slump. Just a reminder of what a ‘recession is’, its two or more quarters of negative or stagnant GDP.

The Obama administration stated that the news is a “welcome milestone,” but stopped short of celebrating a complete recovery. The ‘end of a recession’ is exactly that, a milestone, it doesn’t undo the damage but it is the first step on the road to recovery the issue now will be one of continuing on that path.

The American stimulus packages rolled out this year are probably a major catalyst to the quarter’s growth – increasing consumer spending which the US economy is so reliant …

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NAMA uncovered

Yesterday the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) legislation was brought out in the Dail (that’s the Irish Government buildings for our international readers) . We have put some of the developments into simple graphs to give an idea of the way NAMA will work and what the prices are as well as what they mean (for the pedants out there- they were drawn by hand to demonstrate the point).

So the total value of the loans is €68 billion, adding on €9 billion in rolled up interest – development accounts often had this factored into the end sale price, generally showing c. 15% profits (as a minimum) with the roll up included.

The €77 billion in loans will receive a 30% haircut (across the board) meaning the price paid will be €54 billion. It is important to note that different institutions will see larger haircuts than others, so it might be that BOI gets 20%, AIB 25% and Anglo 37% / INBS 42%, the 30% represents …

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Bill Gross, talking about US jobless figures

Bill Gross talks about the US jobless figures for June, while there is the need to realise that bad news makes bond prices rise, Mr. Gross of PIMCO (the worlds largest bond fund) make some excellent points.

Anaemic wage growth, a savings rate jumping from 0% towards 8%, the people with jobs are not getting raises, he picture he paints is grim, he says there will be suppressed demand and spending for a generation. The contents of his takes on the market can be found on the Pimco website here.

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Track that Yield Curve! ECB effects.

Today the FT has reported that the ECB will offer unlimited 12 mth repo facilities to banks, this is a big step for the generally hawkish bank. Note: Unlimited.

We have said on this blog/radio/national papers that the 1% mark is not likely to be passed due to the compression it causes on banking profits (the ZIRP policy was one of the inherent issues with Japan’s lost decade). So the opportunity to get in at what is being touted as the historic low, not to be repeated, will have an effect and the belief – at least in this house – is that it will be on the right hand side of the yield curve.

Undoubtedly banks will now gather every available piece of collateral and cash it in. Remember you heard it hear first: this will cause a problem in about 12 months time when the piper has to be paid and everybody is cashing out/back in …

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The Regulator is good for business… In particular State owned business

In browsing the site itsyourmoney.ie today I noticed something interesting. First of all there is a section for ‘savings & deposit accounts’ then a separate one for ‘state savings schemes’ (note SSIA’s are long gone), but the ‘savings schemes‘ are all really just deposits! Check out their rates too! lol.

If you go to ‘compare costs and benefits’ on deposit accounts you get a list, but in with the banks who shows up? An Post, so they are either a ‘state plan’ or they are not? Indeed it seems both apply, they have their own section, and they are also in with the rest of the financial institutions.

If you go to compare products and click on a high street bank name, it takes you to a page where it shows the product details of whatever that bank has on offer, however, if you click on the name …

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Infrastructure: Costing too much and rewarding so few

I am not about to say the Luas isn’t great, having used the service several times I find it to be more efficient than the Dart or bus and in the areas that it serves it beats other forms of transport hands down for speed in getting there, that is really the golden aim of public transport, make it cheap, fast, reliable and it will work.

The issue I have however, and that we will cover today is that the Luas went well over budget and in terms of a capital project we have rewarded the people along the Luas line with unearned capital gains which will never be taxed and that gain came implicitly at the expense of the taxpayer.

I was thinking of canvassing the houses along the Luas line to ask them if they felt that ‘bank bailouts’ were a rip off and if the tax payer should be rewarded for such actions given that the state were paying for it, then to ask them if they …

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