A bank who wants clients should issue a tracker offering.

Trackers are dead and gone, there is one on the market but it’s at a margin so high that it is effectively worse than a bad variable rate. Evidence from the UK indicates that Co-Operative Bank’s tracker offering which is 2.39% tracker mortgage.

Will Irish banks follow suit? Probably not in the short term, when the market turns there will be some bank who have accumulated more than capital required and they will then turn this into lending, having said that, it will likely be a self underwriting product, one where the LTV is <= 50%, minimum of €200k borrowed but no more than €450/500k, and a qualifying income of €90k combined needed (stripped of overtime/bonus etc.).

If trackers come back I would be totally satisfied that they will operate as a client cherry picking operation more than anything, having said that, with time a competitor might follow suit!

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Current account interest rates are set to drop

Banks have a pool of money called ‘zero rated funds’, this is the money that they hold for which they are paying no interest. Lots of current accounts fall under this category, and banks can figure out with time, the block that is there on a regular basis when you remove the marginal volatility in the funds held at any time.

Imagine you own a money shop and you buy in money and sell it too, in the till you know that no matter what  happens you always seem to have at least €60 in the till, that would be the equivalent of your zero rated funds (hope that makes sense!).

When banks lend they take these zero rated funds and mix them with money bought on the market to come up with ‘blended rates’. So while some money is costing 0% other money might cost 1.269% (that’s today’s 3 month Euribor ), you then get an average of these and depending on what the ‘blend’ or ‘mix’ is your …

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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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Approval in Principle, the flaws.

Our firm [and I am sure many brokerage firms] are witnessing a conundrum in the market which is causing both clients and the broker a huge amount of heartache. It is that of the ‘AIP’ or ‘Approval In Principle’ not being honoured by banks over short periods of time. One lender in particular [we can’t name names] is doing that on so many cases that we no longer consider their approvals as holding any relevance.

What is an approval in principle (A.I.P. is the broker-speak we use to describe them)? It generally means that you have given a bank enough information to make a strong [and yet preliminary] decision on a case, sometimes it is subject to further documentation, or they want to get a valuation report before making a full offer, in any case an AIP is NOT a loan offer but it is as strong an indication as one can get without dealing with solicitors, in the past an AIP was honoured almost exclusively and they were seen as fundamental to …

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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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1 in 10 rental properties have dropped prices in the last week.

The website Irish Property Watch has released its latest figures show that from the the 9th to the 16th of November 2008 there were 1,896 rent reductions out of an available stock of 19,349. The average reduction was €93 per month.

The ever popular website thepropertypin.com posted a thread about this and one interesting observation was that perhaps the ECB rate reduction has accelerated the drop in asking prices on the rental market. Why? Because owners of a pincer movement created by falling rates and vacancies. There are many empty properties on the market and that means supply versus demand has a distinct advantage on the demand side, there are too many properties on the market both for sale and for rent. That would lead to a downward trend in asking prices.

The rate drop has an impact on the supply side, now that repayments are dropping landlords will likely …

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The different types of interest rates available for mortgages

By regulation lenders must publish APR‘s as well as the interest rates on mortgages. APR’s take into account all of the costs associated with a mortgage including the set up charges, (the interest rate itself naturally in there too!) and ongoing fees etc.. As long as you are comparing loans over the same term the APR is an accurate gauge of considering one versus the other.

Within the industry we tend to focus on the ‘Cost per thousand’ which is the actual cost of a loan for every thousand borrowed. So we’ll take the following situation

Loan amount: €300,000 Interest rate: 4.8% APR: 5.0% Cost per 000′ 25yrs: €5.73

(normally cost per thousand or ‘cost per 000’ sheets are only held by people within the industry as its a sizeable matrix but if you want to ask a very knowledgeable sounding question inquire about the cost per thousand as it shows the actual end cost of one loan versus another)

Anyway, what would …

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Average loan life set to rise as we witness the death of the ‘Switcher’ mortgage.

For almost the last decade we saw a market develop where customers were king, and where banks competed for their business, this was an era where ‘refinancing’, ‘switching’, and ‘re-mortgaging’ became a common occurrence, in the 1990’s the re-mortgage market was very small in comparison to where it went from 2000 onwards. The reason for the upsurge was that loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to the Irish banks, they were giving new borrowers better rates and charging existing borrowers more, the choice of fixed rates for an existing borrower were always more expensive than for the person who had jumped ship elsewhere and come to a bank as a fresh client.

Today we are seeing something that has long been unfamiliar, banks are intentionally being uncompetitive, pushing rates to the point where they are not doing any marginal lending and where their average loan is reaching higher and higher above the ECB currently several banks have broken the 6% mark meaning that rates are now at the highest they have been in almost a decade.

This means that lenders …

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Average loan life set to rise as we witness the death of the 'Switcher' mortgage.

For almost the last decade we saw a market develop where customers were king, and where banks competed for their business, this was an era where ‘refinancing’, ‘switching’, and ‘re-mortgaging’ became a common occurrence, in the 1990’s the re-mortgage market was very small in comparison to where it went from 2000 onwards. The reason for the upsurge was that loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to the Irish banks, they were giving new borrowers better rates and charging existing borrowers more, the choice of fixed rates for an existing borrower were always more expensive than for the person who had jumped ship elsewhere and come to a bank as a fresh client.

Today we are seeing something that has long been unfamiliar, banks are intentionally being uncompetitive, pushing rates to the point where they are not doing any marginal lending and where their average loan is reaching higher and higher above the ECB currently several banks have broken the 6% mark meaning that rates are now at the highest they have been in almost a decade.

This means that lenders …

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Talk the Talk (part 2)

As part of the ethics in writing this article I made a decided point of not actually reading my initial article so there is no way of knowing if in general I was right or wrong. Anyways, I am pleased to present the second installment and can only say at this point that I hope my integrity is intact come the end of it all. The numbers and the paragraphs below them are the originals from the article at the end of 2005, the Result & Humiliation score are todays take on what actually happened since they were written.

6. Product or client specific lenders

We have already spoken about ‘sub-prime’ lenders, this is product or client specific lending based on a pre-set target market, but who’s to say it shouldn’t work both ways? What about a lender who deals only with people who earn over €100,000 or who have a net worth of €1,000,000? Previously this may have been the stock and trade of the ‘private banking’ wing of certain banks but there is scope for this type of …

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