Handling Mortgage Arrears – Terminology

Moratorium: The lender agrees to freeze the repayments on the mortgage account for a specified period, normally 3-6 months. The borrower, with the consent of the Lender, makes no mortgage repayments during this period. This is most suited to a borrower who believes that their current financial issues are short term and their situation will improve in the coming months. What happens is that the borrower makes no payments to the lender on their loan however the interest that falls due is capitalised added to the loan, so the overall debt increases.

Extension of Term: The lender agrees to increase the term from 20 years to 30 years, this reduction in the monthly capital portion of the mortgage means the borrower will pay a reduced monthly premium. however the loan will take longer to repay, resulting in a massive increase in the total cost of credit.

Interest only Facility: The lender agrees to accept interest only payments for a limited period of time. This suits a borrower who is struggling to meet their current monthly repayments but are able to …

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Slowdown in pace of increase in arrears is welcome, says IBF

The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) and its members note from today’s Central Bank statistics on mortgage arrears that, as expected, the overall level of private residential mortgage arrears has increased – but significantly the pace of that increase is further slowing.

The increase to 11.3% in the total number of private residential mortgages in arrears comes as no surprise, reflecting as it does the difficult economic circumstances in which an increasing number of customers find themselves.  However, the slowing pace of increase in arrears is welcome, with the Central Bank noting that:

·there is an underlying decline in the number of accounts up to 90 days in arrears ·the pace of increase in arrears over 90 days has slowed; ·the number of accounts 91-180 days in arrears fell for the first time (-0.1%) ·the pace of increase in arrears over 180 days fell significantly.

It is also notable that the small decrease to 81,683 in the total number of restructured accounts is largely related to “a reclassification effect, resulting from the application of a more harmonised definition of restructures across …

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Talking through my hat

In Saturday’s Independent Laura Noonan covered mortgage arrears (it wasn’t Charlie Weston – one commenter mentioned him and we had to delete it for obvious reasons). I’ll refer back to the table below a few times in the blog

OFFICIAL figures on the “mortgage crisis” overstate the number of households in real trouble – and lack key insights into how deep the problem really is.

An investigation by the Irish Independent has revealed the Central Bank’s figures include several types of borrowers who are no longer in trouble.

A large number of senior bankers right across the industry who spoke to the Irish Independent now insist the situation is improving.

The latest statistics, however, indicate that 77,630 households are at least three months behind on payments.

But these figures include: – Those who missed payments long ago and have since resumed paying normally.

Why don’t the banks make this information public then? And when the say ‘repaying normally’ …

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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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Are investment property owners ‘hard pressed’?

PTsb are going to take away investors tracker mortgages unless they go to capital and interest payments, that story was broken by Charlie Weston in the Independent today. That is a business decision by them, but for the business affected (landlords) it creates a new problem.

How can they do this? Isn’t it part of the new rules that banks can’t take your tracker from you? Yes and no, if you bought a property as an investment you are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (you are not acting as a consumer) or the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears. So any renegotiation can result in the loss of a tracker, staying on interest only (if you are with Ptsb – and others will follow suit) will require moving to a variable rate.

We’ll look at a standard example: Take Joe, he is married and earns €45,000 p.a. and his wife Kate makes €30,000 they bought an investment property with their SSIA’s (€30k deposit on a property for €300,000 in 2006). …

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Why a borrower bailout is not likely

The EBS is on the block and there have been countless headlines regarding the idea that debts might get written down by Wilbur Ross if the Cardinal Capital group (who he is backing) are the successful bidder. I have said that I doubt this will happen and will set out why in this post.

EBS carried out a PCAR (prudential capital assessment requirement) test in March 2010, it showed that they required €875 million in funding to come up to scratch. Thus far they received €100m in cash from the state and a further €250m in a promissory note leaving a gap of €525m to fill. The bids being touted are in the region of €550m meaning that whoever buys in is effectively bridging the gap and paying a small premium as well.

Take a look at a balance sheet and you’ll see that no matter what happens, that in the end assets=liabilities. That is an accounting identity, in our example we have a hypothetical bank which has assets and liabilities worth (for example sake) €100 million Euro.

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‘Plan B’ for arrears

There is a strange situation occurring in the Irish property market, arrears are rising rapidly, stock of repossessed homes is on the increase, and yet the number of repossessions is dropping; there is a contradiction in here somewhere.

Per quarter the number of properties being repossessed is dropping, banks are taking back fewer and fewer houses, this would normally be a sign of prosperity, people with jobs and a stable property market would mean that there would be some equity in the property as people pay down debt and are able to afford their payments, but that isn’t the case, quite the opposite, Irish households are heavily indebted and arrears are rapidly rising.

The largest number of properties being taken back is actually that of voluntary surrender (and abandonment), so there is no ‘repossession’ monster lurking in the Irish market because we have decided that we don’t want it to exist, this will come at a cost as we incrementally strip banks of their ability to enforce mortgage contracts.

The stock of property …

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Mortgage Arrears for the first half of 2010

We expected a 10% increase in mortgage arrears for the first half of this year, moving the total from 32,321 households to 35,531, however it increased 10.73% and the final figure was  36,438 [statistics for the last four quarters are below].

There is an ongoing inability for banks to deal effectively with people in arrears, both in terms of having the operational capacity or liquidity to offer debt relief in some form, and on the other side we have the Financial Regulator who is incrementally stripping away their power to enforce the mortgage via repossessions.

The arrears of the second half 2010 will go up again, there is no sign of either a slowing growth in arrears, or of a slow down in the rate of growth.

The only growth area in our economy at present seems to be in the deterioration of debt quality . . . but for the second half of the year it will not only be an ‘unemployment’ lead increase, rather it will be with the additional impact of lenders creating the problem via mortgage …

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