New PTsb products

PTsb have just issued a new rates matrix and the prices are good, they have a standard SVR for all loan to value amounts (ie: 90%) of 3.99% and 3.69% for LTV’s below 70%, these then revert to 4.34% after the first year which is not the market leader but it is right up there in the same ball park.

This (to our thinking) confirms PTsb’s re-commitment to the market, they have said they will up lending to c. €450m from the €60-70 (that’s the mortgage portion, the officially reported 90m includes all credit) they advanced in 2012.

They have also re-deployed staff in their broker centre which was a one person business unit last year! The staffing numbers there will be 5-6 people for 2013 which means there will be ample access for the intermediary channel, obviously direct and branch will also be active, all said it seems likely they may reach their target of €450m new lending.

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Banks are lending (while standards tighten)

I often complain that banks are ‘not lending’, they say this isn’t true. The Central Bank then says that lending criteria is tightening (report here). This at first seems to support the first statement, but could it be that they are lending and reining in on underwriting criteria at the same time?

It could be, AIB stated that they wanted to lend €800m this year (that was said at the end of 2011 at an in house conference), they are on track to lend €1,050m which is about 25% higher than previously expected. Bank of Ireland/ICS are saying the same thing, at the same time, the main lenders have jacked up rates and made more conservative estimations of who does or doesn’t get loans.

With the fall out in lending from 06/07′ to now, it means that there are plenty of borrowers of a high quality who are seeking finance, when you raise interest rates the stress-testing gets harder to pass, so that cuts out a lot of borrowers, as …

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Loan refusal statistics: what do they mean?

There are two sets of statistics floating around; on one hand you have the banks who claim that they are lending and also that the demand for credit simply isn’t there – a belief further expounded by John Trethowan. Then on the other hand you have the likes of PIBA who counter claim that 80% of applications are being refused.

So it is important to break down the vital components. First of all, the debate often centres around Small Medium Enterprise (SME) lending; even if demand for that type of credit isn’t there it doesn’t automatically translate into a reduced demand for mortgages. The point being that we can’t compare SME loans/business loan demand to that for mortgage credit.

Secondly is ‘what constitutes a refusal’, and this is where common sense diverges. Even the bank accept that if you seek €200,000 and are only offered €100,000 that it is a loan not fit for purpose, this even goes …

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Want bad advice? Pop into your local bank branch.

We felt that this story was worth reproducing in full, it is from today’s Independent, via their award winning Personal Finance editor Charlie Weston. This clearly lays it out in our opinion: getting advice in your local bank branch is perhaps the worst option available, and that puts the value of an independent broker in the light we always aim for, one of being on the customer side, the recent Sunday Times article (three posts before this) demonstrated that in a cost comparison analysis that even the Regulator themselves couldn’t get the prices brokers are able to obtain for their customers! Tuesday December 08 2009

IF you want bad advice, then pop into your local bank branch.

That is the clear message from the latest set of case studies released by Financial Services Ombudsman Joe Meade.

Mr Meade has performed an enormous service for consumers by exposing yet again the shady practices of banks, in particular, when people seek advice.

His report is shot through with examples of consumers, particularly older ones, …

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Moratoriums and Moral Hazard. How to help responsibly with a ‘Mortgage Rescue Scheme’.

According to FLAC there are 30,000 people in mortgage arrears at present, soon there will be too many people in serious mortgage arrears to avoid the issue any longer, while repossessions in Ireland are relatively rare compared to the UK (3 per 100,000 mortgages v.s. 200 per 100,000 in the UK) it is because many don’t make official statistics via the high court, and voluntary possession is unaccounted for (where the person doesn’t fight the lender and just agrees to a repossession), the ongoing forbearance of banks upon borrowers serves both parties, the banks don’t want to become home owners and equally the borrower doesn’t want to be out on the street.

However, with high unemployment, wage cuts across both private and public sectors and such indebted households (2009 has seen historic highs of 176%) something is going to have to give, and while there …

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The US obsession with home ownership

This is an interesting clip from the Cato Institute and it covers the various vectors of the financial crisis. In this video the speaker talks about the ‘7 steps to failure’ – the basis of the talk is well covered ground at this stage but the addition of the Cato presentation is meaningful and offers some angles that are not commonly considered.

Johan Norberg is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a writer who focuses on globalization, entrepreneurship, and individual liberty.

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The Financial Regulator Report

In Ireland each staff member of the regulator costs 23% more than the international average, their cost to the taxpayer is 88% greater and yet they have responsibility – as a ratio toward population- which is only half that of other countries (to be exact its 96% less).

If that isn’t enough, our regulators deal with 15% fewer firms in terms of the number of actual regulated firms per employee, yet it is 26% more expensive to regulate a company in Ireland than elsewhere, and in terms of regulator staff to financial services staff they are dealing with 17% less than in other countries.

We are overpaying for under-service, in fact, in only one other country does the tax payer foot more of the cost of the bill than in Ireland, and for that we get the statistics above based on the figures below. Angry? You should be.

(the breakdown)

Cost per employee: In Ireland it is c. 23% more expensive for every staff member of our regulator than the international average

Cost …

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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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NAMA pricing, and why we’ll over-pay

The ‘haircuts’ we are hearing about in the papers of late are not ‘bobs’,’mullets’ or ‘short back n’ sides’, it is all about the pricing of NAMA assets, and when the pricing does become public don’t be disappointed to hear that it isn’t as big as many have felt it must be, the taxpayer is going to (ultimately) over-pay for the assets that NAMA takes on, try not to feel ripped off, in fact, overpaying is perhaps the only way we can get NAMA to work and the alternative is worse. I don’t envisage a haircut of any more than 18-20% at most if we are to ensure that banks and Government are truly working towards one aim when it comes to NAMA.

It is vital to remember – any NAMA losses will be levied upon the banks with interest, so even if there are losses (and there has to be, because there is no way anybody could get things 100% right) the tax payer is -in the long term- sheltered. While …

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Euribor yield curve changes April 2009

Below are two charts of the Euribor yield curve (many thanks to Bank of Scotland Treasury for their excellent daily reports!).

Here we can see that there is not much of an inflationary expectation at year two or three, it is virtually a dip at the 3year mark, then there is some uncertainty, in year four it goes up by about 75 basis points, then we are back into a general steady upward trend.

Only a few days later and the three year price has shot up by 50 basis points, we would read this as being an indication that the markets are forward pricing in some expectation of inflation at the two or three year mark, if the rise filters through to the left hand side then it will be showing a stronger and stronger likelihood of this happening. Appropriately banks have just raised their fixed rates meaning that the window in which people on variables can cash in low are …

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