New trends in underwriting and credit

It is 2009 and one of the things we need to look at (at least from the mortgage market perspective) is the availability of credit. Many associations such as ISME and politicians such as Joan Burton have voiced strong opinion on the need for credit to be extended to small businesses. The same credit contraction is happening in lending for property.

While our firm, and almost everybody involved in the mortgage market accept that we are not at market clearing levels, the unavailability of credit for those who do wish to buy and are capable repaying their loans is going to cause an unnecessary distortion which will drive prices down further than is rational. Without getting too deeply into the reason for the credit contraction/deleveraging process which we have covered many times here before, the point of interest is the new brand of underwriting we are likely to see.

In the past people within the financial industry were looked upon favourably, not only due to the fact that they normally represented a …

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What stimulus is there after a 0% rate?

There are generally two strands to monetary stimulus, firstly there are interest rates, and then there is the actual money supply. We’ll talk about both of them here and what will mean for consumers.

Interest rate drops drive money into an economy in a few different ways, obvious to most is that the cost of borrowing comes down, so if a company has to borrow to hire people they can do so, people need less to service debts which increases their disposable income and that puts more money into circulation. The other thing that happens is that bank deposits look less attractive, interest rates dropping actually cause rate compression, something we discussed here before, and that means money (especially at a 0% interest rate) will not sit on deposit and will instead move to corporate bonds which will thus be a way of extending credit to companies and they can finance projects.

In the past many would ‘fly to quality’ …

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How falling interest rates hurt banks during a liquidity crisis

The falling interest rates are heralded by consumers of Irish mortgage companies as a godsend – well, for the clients of the Irish banks who actually pass on the full rate cuts that is! However, at the same time it creates a rate compression which damages the bank and this is what we will consider in this article.

Banks have two sides to the operation roughly speaking, on one side there is the lending function which we are all aware of, mortgages, car loans, personal loans etc. on the other side is the deposit taking function which provides part of the money they lend out. There is of course the interbank market which supplements (and often surpasses) deposit funds for lending, but to keep things simple we will focus on a world where deposits roughly equal lending.

When

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ECB announce €200 Billion injection

The ECB have just announced a €200 billion plan designed to stimulate eurozone economies, it is unlikely though that Ireland will take part in any of the plan. It was unveiled earlier today by Jose Manuel Barroso, €170 billion will come from member states and the remainder will come from the European Budget and the European Investment Bank.

Ireland has no room for further fiscal stimulus at present according to the Department of Finance, the foremost issue with Ireland is (according to Europe and our own government) is to get our spiralling deficit under control. One aspect of the stimulus is that €5 Billion will be going towards building greener cars (maybe this is the big break the AirCar has needed!).

The EU are taking these measures to avoid further downturn and to do so with coordinated policy responses. In the USA they announced an $800 billion Dollar stimulus plan. Both LIBOR and Euribor rates fell which will …

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How To: Get a better rate from your bank

Banks are not lending as freely as they used to and for many borrowers obtaining credit is harder than ever, the people who already have mortgages are also feeling the pinch as lenders raise the margins on variable rates – which they have every right to do!

Tracker mortgages are now gone from the market and we are left instead with a confounding maze of LTV based Standard Variable Rates. This means you get a rate with no guarantee, set by the bank, and its based on the loan to value of your property. This may leave many feeling that they have no option and if you have a defeatist attitude one could argue that it has been imposed rather than earned!

However, last week a member of our team decided they would do something about the rate they were getting and they called the bank and tried to negotiate a better rate, they were rebuffed several times and eventually they got past the business prevention unit and were …

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DON’T GIVE UP YOUR TRACKER MORTGAGE!

The news has has several stories recently about banks contacting clients and asking them if they would like to come off their tracker mortgage and instead go on a fixed rate or even a variable rate. The assertion is that if you have a fixed rate during a downturn that you are ‘protected’ from changes in the ECB rate changes.

That is true, but you are also protecting yourself from upside advantage. In a nutshell, during a downturn there are some monetarist moves that Central Banks will make, such as dropping rates to increase the movement of money in an economy, if you are on a fixed rate you don’t get the rate reduction and the outlook for at least the near future is that rates are going to come down. On those grounds alone you would have to question the rationale of a …

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DON'T GIVE UP YOUR TRACKER MORTGAGE!

The news has has several stories recently about banks contacting clients and asking them if they would like to come off their tracker mortgage and instead go on a fixed rate or even a variable rate. The assertion is that if you have a fixed rate during a downturn that you are ‘protected’ from changes in the ECB rate changes.

That is true, but you are also protecting yourself from upside advantage. In a nutshell, during a downturn there are some monetarist moves that Central Banks will make, such as dropping rates to increase the movement of money in an economy, if you are on a fixed rate you don’t get the rate reduction and the outlook for at least the near future is that rates are going to come down. On those grounds alone you would have to question the rationale of a …

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New mortgage trends – Will Irish lending turn American?

Today we received an email from Haven Mortgages about their updated interest rates, we were pleasantly surprised because for the first time in a long time there were some very attractive long fixed rates. Recently banks have had no choice other than to lash on margin in order to pay for the funds they were securing. The new 10 year fixed rate from Haven is 5.66% it is also the cheapest rate they offer.

What does this mean for a borrower? Well, on one hand we have Trichet saying that he doesn’t see inflation coming under control until 2010 and as the ECB’s only job is to control inflation it would therefore stand to reason that we won’t see a rate cut any time soon. Economists and commentators (myself included) have made some bad forecasts and for that reason I would be prone to feel that the rate outlook is uncertain, at best the current climate is guesswork. This means that a borrower would do well to buy some stability, a way of doing this …

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Banks taking a ‘Stake’ in property deals.

There were several articles about this in the press recently, mentioning banks taking an ‘interest’ or ‘equity stake’ in certain developments. Something that the articles failed to talk about was the underlying cause? When property was booming banks were not taking an equity stake, they would finance the deals but they didn’t tend to get in on the action, so why is it that during the downturn they would start to do this?

There are two ways of looking at this, one is the way that a lender would have you believe, the others is to aim for fair comment on what is an objective view.

First of all though, it is important to look at how debt affects liquidity, if a bank is seen to have any problems people start to withdraw money, that’s not speculation, that’s fact, it happened to Northern Rock, IndyMac and several other banks since. So there is no part of the market that is fully convinced when banks say that ‘we are …

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