Bank margins after NAMA

The current debate is raging over NAMA and the pricing of loans, much of it centres on the value of the properties in question and about the way in which a ‘loan’ is valued (as opposed to the underlying asset). This makes for good headlines, but it doesn’t help the average person who is not shaping policy and who’s sole role in this mess will be to carry the can and pay their part in the tax pool which will ultimately fund the bailout.

However, you may be affected in other ways, and these are things which you have the choice of opting out of, namely that of the margin you are paying if you currently have any debt/credit outstanding.

Once NAMA comes in it will be extremely likely that banks increase their margins, it is important to consider the ‘why’ as much as the ‘when’ though so we’ll take a look at those.

Why?

PTsb lead the way on this, because they are not getting NAMA protection they have no need to worry …

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Retire young! Retire poor….

The age of retirement is going to rise, within the next five years it has to. There are several reasons, the most immediate being that the state doesn’t have the money to fund retirement at present, other factors are that people are living longer and the combined increase in health care costs to the elderly with the weight of funding pensions means one or the other has to give in eventually.

In October of 2005 Seamus Brennan gave a talk at the Merrion Hotel on the subject of the ‘Issues facing an ageing population’. The statistics are particularly relevant as they have not changed much since then.

(Excerpt) ‘The facts speak for themselves, in 2002 almost half a million people were aged 65 or over. The latest population projections suggest this may increase to 1.1 million people aged 65 and over by 2036. Right now we have almost 5 people working for every pensioner, when the demographic challenges are at their height this will decline to two workers for every pensioner. This fact has …

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Banks: give you an umberella when its sunny and take it back when it rains

Samuel Clemens (aka Tom Sawyer) brought us the quote which is the title of this post, ‘banks give you an umbrella when its sunny out and take it back when it rains’, his simply worded expression held as true in Missouri of the late 1800’s as it does today.

Recently we had a client who is on an interest only mortgage, their circumstances have changed right when their interest only period was about to run out, naturally we suggested that they ask for a continuance of an interest only period, while this won’t work down the capital amount owed it will keep their cash flow alive and if you have to chose between owing more and being unable to pay then the former is preferable. Sitting in a pot might not sound great but it beats the raw fire.

The bank were happy to comply and they sent out a letter, it was at this …

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GO TO JAIL! Do not pass go, do not collect €200 million

The talk of ‘Economic Treason’ and calling for the heads of every banker are sadly starting to gain more and more traction, all of this is happening without concrete evidence thus far of exactly ‘who’ we are chasing and ‘for what’ specifically, largely the financial leaders greed is central to accusations of wrongdoing, and while greed may not be morally acceptable to right thinking individuals it is not actually a crime.

The FT recently had an article showing that executive pay misguided but that it didn’t make them criminal by nature, stupidity is an ‘equal opportuntities’ trait. It is important that every person in finance is not villified for what was something that all of society played a part in.

One question nobody is asking is ‘what part did I play in this?’, as a brokerage we are culpable, as a consumer I am personally culpable and as a citizen I will be paying for mistakes made on both …

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Forensic Underwriting, when is it ‘too much’?

Lenders will underwrite loans. That is part of the process, it is a natural and normal occurrence in finance, to underwrite, to ensure that you are researching the proposed deal to the extent that you can be sure that you are not taking a pointless risk, but when is it ‘too much’?

Traditionally an employee would be asked to give several forms of documentation as evidence of their position so that they could be considered for a loan. Normally this would have been a straight forward process, and one that generally works.

However, as of late we are seeing ‘forensic underwriting’ becoming more prevalent. The degree to which a lender wants to delve into a persons situation is rising beyond the traditional norms and in some cases we believe it is going well beyond the call of duty.

Let’s be frank, we need banks, who else will lend money to a stranger to buy an asset? Without banks it would only occur between people who have a lot of money personally …

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Forensic Underwriting, when is it 'too much'?

Lenders will underwrite loans. That is part of the process, it is a natural and normal occurrence in finance, to underwrite, to ensure that you are researching the proposed deal to the extent that you can be sure that you are not taking a pointless risk, but when is it ‘too much’?

Traditionally an employee would be asked to give several forms of documentation as evidence of their position so that they could be considered for a loan. Normally this would have been a straight forward process, and one that generally works.

However, as of late we are seeing ‘forensic underwriting’ becoming more prevalent. The degree to which a lender wants to delve into a persons situation is rising beyond the traditional norms and in some cases we believe it is going well beyond the call of duty.

Let’s be frank, we need banks, who else will lend money to a stranger to buy an asset? Without banks it would only occur between people who have a lot of money personally …

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Deflation, the low paid, and expansion of the tax base

Here are some statistics (taken from the SBP) showing that contrary to assertions that the ‘rich don’t pay enough tax’ that in fact they pay more than anybody else. Half of all tax income is paid by the top 6.5% of workers. So about 1/15th contribute 50%. One third of all tax collected comes from the top 2.5% of workers, thus 1/40th are paying 33%. It means that things such as the new 2% levy are merely punishing those who already contribute the most! I wrote about this before when talking about the Laffer Curve and how Ireland may be driving high earners out of its jurisdiction.

Sources have said that the Irish tax base is too dependent on a small number of people, so what would happen if we were to drive them out? The implications are severe.

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Generic overview of the market 2009: by sector

I was asked by a colleague in the UK to provide an overview of the Irish mortgage market, he has often advised the Bank of England in the past on the UK buy to let market, however this time it is in relation to a talk he was due to give to an international financial services group on the Irish economy. Below are the contents of my correspondence which is a no holds barred view of the mortgage market in 2009.

Remortgage: This area is finally starting to see some life again, the rate drops are filtering through and many of the people on fixed rates taken out in 2005/2006/2007  are shopping around, as always new business attracts better rates than existing customers so there is once again an argument for switching.

However, the many people who took out trackers are basically out of the market in the long term as every single lender has removed tracker mortgages from the market, in fact, if you know of a lender willing …

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