Spanish Bank Transforms Irish Mortgage Market

Spanish mortgage provider Avant Money has just introduced a new range of products that have the potential to transform the Irish mortgage market. Avant Money has become the first mortgage provider in Ireland to offer a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. In this type of mortgage, the repayments will be the same every month for the entire 30 year lifetime of the loan. Avant Money’s new fixed rate mortgages have lifetimes between 15 and 30 years, and offer rates as low as 2.25 %. These new long term offerings were introduced shortly after Finance Ireland shook up the market with its innovative 20 year mortgage. These latest moves by brokers represent a huge step for the Irish market, as product offerings here are beginning to more closely resemble that of Spain and France.

Because wholesale interest rates are currently at historic lows, homeowners in Ireland are more increasingly taking out longer term fixed rate loans. Avant Money’s new portfolio of products includes 15 year, 20 year, 25 year, and 30 year fixed rate mortgages, and the rates vary based on …

Read More

The sums behind ‘taxing’ the banks into a rate cut

Yesterday we were on the Sean O’Rourke show discussing variable rates on RTE Radio. We mentioned how doubling the ‘tax’ on banks won’t actually change anything. The mechanisms were briefly covered and we got a few emails asking for clarification so here it is.

The ‘levy’ was part of the Finance Act 2014 which imposed a new annual levy on financial institutions aiming to raise €150 million per annum for 3 years.

This sum is payable on October the 20th in each year (2014-2016) and it applies to a financial institution that is the holder of an Irish (or equivalent EU) banking licence or is an Irish (or equiv EU) building society that was obliged to pay DIRT – unless the amount required to pay in 2011 was not more than 100k.

The main outcry is centred on variable rates for primary home dwellers in particular. So how much of that debt is out there?

We know there are about 300,000 ‘loans’ but the quantum of debt is €39.638m which is about €3bn …

Read More

Primetime: excessive interest rates

Last night’s Primetime had a well thought out piece on variable interest rates.

The general thesis was that variable rates are ‘too high’ and that banks should not be allowed to charge them, the figure of 1% of a ‘cost of funds’ was mentioned several times and various suggestions were made as to making the banks stop the practice of setting their own prices.

To begin with, the ‘cost of funds’ at 1% may be what a bank buys their raw materials at, but then you have to make more on top of it to allow for operational costs, to provide for losses, regulatory burdens, margin and the like. It is worth noting that in AIB’s interim statement which was only made yesterday that they noted that “Net Interest Margin (NIM), excluding ELG, expanded to c.1.64% year to date (YTD) September 2014”.

This means the idea of 4.5% minus the 1% ‘cost’ equating to a 3.5% ‘profit’ doesn’t stack up. If it did the net interest margin …

Read More

Newstalk Breakfast: Ivan Yates & Karl Deeter on PTsb rate increase

Today Ivan Yates spoke to Karl Deeter about the PTsb rate increase. There were several points to consider surrounding this and Ivan touched on perhaps the most important which is about credit provision in general.

Read More

The trend in lending and deposits

We have been banging on for quite some time about the trend in mortgage and deposit rates, namely that mortgage rates will continue to rise and that deposit rates will start to drop (already happening) and this will continue downwards – in particular you’ll have to watch for zero rated fund movements.

Zero rated funds are the money that banks keep for you (a liability for them) in the likes of demand and current accounts. You used to get zero interest but in return you got free banking. Now more lenders are demanding that you keep a certain balance in the account or you get charged a fee, such as Bank of Ireland’s recent decision to require a €3,000 balance to qualify for free banking.

This creates a near ‘negative interest rate’ for people who don’t keep that sum in their current account because fees mean the bank will cover all operational cost associated with your account for regular banking activity while making money elsewhere with those funds or …

Read More

PTsb increase rates for the third time in a year

15:48 At 16:00 the press release about PTsb increasing rates will be released.

Had the company waited another week the headline ‘third time in a year’ would not have applied. It was this day last year that PTsb first increased rates on their variable clients by 0.5% or 50 basis points, it was a ground-breaking decision at the time, they were the first institution to do this and it opened the floodgates for every other bank to follow suit. PTsb were not in NAMA and they made their case, but it was rapidly criticised (in particular by Gerry Ryan who very decently gave the affected consumers a platform on his show).

The average mortgage balance in Ireland is €230,000 this time last year when the applicable rate was 2.69% the repayments would have been €1,053 per month on a 25 year mortgage. In the three rate hikes (totalling 1.5%, bringing the standard variable to 4.19%) the repayments will rise to €1,238 which will mean a total of €185 per month or €2,220 per year of …

Read More

EBS rate hikes, the benefit of mutuality?

EBS have announced a rate hike of 0.6% which is a follow on from their last 0.6% hike that was levied against variable rate mortgage holders on the 1st of May, this brings their margin increases to a total of 1.2% for the year to date.

Today’s Indo lead with this story (by Charlie Weston) and rightly pointed out that by the time this is over, a person with a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years could expect to pay just over €3,000 a year (after tax) in increased mortgage payments. For a person on the average industrial wage this is like a full months wages before tax being sucked away by the financial system. Tax hikes and wage cuts aside, this will ultimately reduce the money that is being spent in the economy and it will disappear into the financial system where banks will use it to de-lever further.

The contention for many people is that they are being punished, not for what they have done …

Read More