Just who is getting the mortgages?

Caroline Madden wrote an article in today’s Irish Times ‘Just who is getting the mortgages?‘. It is a question that begs answers, at first it seemed to me like asking ‘Who is John Galt?’ (Rand readers will understand). The stories we hear constantly is that banks are hoarding credit, they will not extend credit to particular groups and when they do the underwriting is so strict that even credit-worthy applications are being turned down.

This article features our feelings on the matter, we believe that some of the banking statistics being thrown around make fore ‘good copy’ (good PR) and very little else, as we are not seeing applications turn from approvals in principle into closed loans, and in many cases, approvals are coming in far below what the applicant is actually looking for.

One element of this is natural, after a credit fuelled boom you …

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Everybody pays, even the innocent

There were many innocent parties to the credit fuelled property bubble, they are generally those who didn’t borrow, or who carried no debt, choosing instead to live frugally, and if they used debt they used it wisely. Many of these people are at the polar ends of the age spectrum, very young (who don’t even have access to credit) or much older (who have paid off their mortgages), something we will all need to get used to though is the fact that everybody is going to pay for the mess left behind, this goes farther than NAMA.

The process I am describing is already under way, the very payments system (our financial infrastructure), is going to be used to generate economic rent from the people of Ireland in order to bring in more profit to banks so that they can repair their balance sheets. This price will be paid by the taxpayer outside of the bailout money already being supplied on our behalf. This will be even paid by people who manage to …

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Best Mortgage Rates February 2010

There is increased coverage of mortgages in the press of late in particular in the area of fixing or staying on a variable, below are the best rates available on the market by class of product.

Best Variable Rate with an LTV Restriction:   2.25% Best Variable Rate with no LTV Restriction:   2.55% Best 1yr Fixed Rate:   2.35% Best 2yr Fixed Rate:   2.65% Best 3yr Fixed Rate:   3.15% Best 5yr Fixed Rate:   3.7% Best 10yr Fixed Rate:  4.5%

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Taxing Banks & Taxing Risk

In the first clip, James Galbraith (son of the famous JK), economics professor at University of Texas, discusses whether a new tax on big banks is justified. Ken Bentsen, of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, and Mark Calabria, of the Cato Institute, share their insight as well.

In the second clip Mark Walsh, of ‘Left Jab,’ and Dan Mitchell, of the Cato Institute, discuss taxing banks based on their risk to the system.

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USA: Failed mortgage modification programme

Kudlow talks to Christian Weller, Center for American Progress and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute on the topic of debt relief and mortgages in the USA, the argument for straight out write-downs on mortgages is compelling, and yet so too is the argument for allowing the market to work. Sometimes believing in the free market is seen as a ‘dirty thing’, but the side effect of trying to manage an economy from every aspect is also a bad thing (look no further than the former Eastern Bloc). Somewhere in the middle is a fair and sustainable path, but ideology bias is usually in the way before the conversation passes go, for that reason you will favour one speaker over the other quite often from the outset. However, ideology doesn’t actually get results, it is merely the platform from which a concept is launched and the better path would be to have an operational model to prove the point – although that isn’t always practical.

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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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Banks are not competitive?

Roger Bootle notes that markets do quite well at the end of a recession and at the start of a recovery by drawing the benefits of the future down into the present. Roger has a lot to say on the topic of banks, in particular that of banker bonuses – he states (and we agree) that when banks become ‘too big to fail’ they essentially are oligopolies and hence they are able to pay so well. From an Irish perspective the domination of AIB and BOI put some stock in this theory.

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