The banks continue to be trouble,trouble,trouble

The weekend just past has been full of banking news which has not been good. That is quite an anti achievement when we note that a decade or so ago when the banking crisis hit we were assured by politicians and central bankers that it would never be allowed to happen again and they would fix the problems. Whereas the reality has been represented by this from the Guardian this morning.

Under the new Lloyds Bank “Lend A Hand” deal, a first-time buyer will be able to borrow up to £500,000 for a new home, without putting down a penny of deposit.

Why is this necessary? It is because the establishment have played the same old song of higher house prices and telling people they are better off via wealth effects. Meanwhile the claims of no inflation are contradicted by the increasing inability of first-time buyers to afford housing even with ultra-low mortgage rates to help.

In this instance the mortgage is 100% of the loan for the people taking it out but payments are backed for 3 years by a family member or members.

The Lloyds deal requires that a member of the family – such as parent, grandparent or close relative – helps out. The bank will only grant the 100% mortgage if the family member puts a sum equal to 10% of the value of the property into a Lloyds savings account.

I have looked it up and their liability is limited to the first 3 years.

At the end of the 3 years, you will be able to take out your savings plus interest. That’s as long as the buyer hasn’t missed any payments or their home hasn’t been repossessed.

Frankly if payments are in danger of being missed it may suit the family member to fund them. But unless things go dreadfully wrong after 3 years we have what it a mortgage with only a little equity as not much is repaid in the first 3 years.

But as ever we see something of a round-tripping cycle between the central bank which pushes cheap liquidity to the banks who then pump up the housing market.

Vim Maru, group director of Lloyds Banking Group, which also controls Halifax, said: “We are committed to lending £30bn to first-time buyers by 2020 as part of our pledge to help people and communities across Britain prosper – and ‘Lend a Hand’ is one of the ways we will do this.

Mark Carney’s morning espresso will be tasting especially good today.

China

Let me hand you over to the People’s Bank of China which has issued a Q&A about its new (easing) policy and it starts with something very familiar.

Banks need to have adequate capital to guarantee sustainable financial support for the real economy.

When central banks state that what they in fact mean is the housing sector. For example the Bank of England claimed its Funding for Lending Scheme was for smaller businesses when in fact lending to them fell but mortgage lending picked up as mortgage rates plunged. So let us dig deeper.

The Central Bank Bills Swap (CBS) allows financial institutions holding banks’ perpetual bonds to have more collateral of high quality, improves market liquidity of such bonds, and increases market desire to buy them, thereby encouraging banks to replenish capital via perpetual bond issuance and creating favourable conditions for stepping up financial support for the real economy.

As we do so we see that what are finite organisations (banks) have debt forever which is troubling for starters. We also note that this is a type of debt for equity operation as we mull that there are some quite good reasons for not being keen on bank equity. So debt in this form ( perpetual) qualifies as capital and I believe Tier 1 capital in this case. The next move is that the perpetual bonds can be swapped for central bank bills meaning that the central bank now has the risk and the investor has none in return for a haircut depending on how much collateral is required. Thus we get.

increases market desire to buy them

because if you have worries you just accept the haircut and pass the rest of the risk to the PBOC.  As to improving market liquidity then the Bank of China was quick to back up that point.

Bank of China issued 40 billion yuan perpetual on Friday at a coupon rate of 4.5%, the first bank issuer of perpetualbond in . ( Yuan Talks)

The catch is that these sort of moves create liquidity for a time but later can drain it. That is because if things go wrong you end up with two very different markets which is the real one and the central bank supported one.

So the banks will get more capital and they will use it to raise lending and if history is any guide the “real economy” will be the housing market. This will then be presented as a surprise and we will learn what the Chinese word for counterfactual is.

Deutsche Bank

It is always there isn’t it? Let us start with what looked like some better news which was a 4% rally in the share price to 8.13 Euros on Friday. This looks like an early wire on this from @DeltaOne yesterday.

DEUTSCHE BANK GETS ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT FROM QATAR…….DISCUSSIONS ON QATAR INVESTMENT ARE ADVANCED BUT NO FINAL AGREEMENT TIMING AND SIZE OF INVESTMENT UNCLEAR

As they are already shareholders then this would be a case of doubling up or rather if we look at the price history doubling down. Of course this is not the only plan doing the rounds about DB.

Shareholders in Deutsche Bank have voiced deep concerns about the German lender’s mooted tie-up with domestic rival Commerzbank, saying the move would “paralyse” the country’s largest lender and destroy value for investors. ( Financial News)

Mind you it has been doing a pretty good job of destroying shareholder value all on its own.

Greece

Here we have seen massive sums used to pump up the banks at the cost of the national debt of Greece itself. But according to the IMF at the end of last week more is needed.

Restoring growth-enhancing bank lending will require swift, comprehensive, and well-coordinated actions to help repair balance sheets. Coordinated steps by key stakeholders are needed to support banks’ efforts to achieve a faster reduction of non-performing loans (NPL).

So all the bailouts have been to the tune of “Tantalize Me” by Jimmy the Hoover from back in the day.

Comment

The sad part of all of this is that we are observing yet another lost decade. As so often the hype and indeed hyperbole has not been matched by action. Central banks like to trumpet the improvement in bank capital ratios but if you look at bank share prices then there has been a shortage of investors willing to put their money where the central banks open mouth operations are.

In the case of Deutsche Bank as well as the Chinese and Greek banking systems we see that we are entering yet another phase of the crisis. With the problems recently at Metro Bank in the UK that had its risk model wrong in another “mistake” then the central banks will be on the case this time or maybe not.

This means we have not been processing most model change requests from internal model banks. ( Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

 

The fall and rise of the 100% mortgage in the UK

One of the features of the credit crunch era has been the way that the various establishments make all sorts of promises along the lines of “never again” and then after a delay return to past behaviour. A type of reversion to mean if you like. If we look back to the pre credit crunch era then the peak of if you prefer nadir for one type of behaviour was the 125% mortgages under the Together banner issued by Northern Rock and yes you could borrow 25% more than the value of the property the mortgage was secured on. What could go wrong? Sadly many borrowers found out.

Actually this was not the only problem with Together mortgages as this from the bad bank NRAM which holds them now shows.

For example, a Together customer with a mortgage of £100,000, a loan of £15,000 (both still with NRAM) and a current interest rate of 4.79% with 15 years term remaining would be paying £60 per month on just their £15,000 loan.

Yes they involved an unsecured loan which has mostly got forgotten over time but this added to the debt burden by being over the mortgage term rather than say the 5 years or so of a loan. The advertisers call this helping with monthly payments, but look what it does to the total debt. This is illustrated by taking a loan at a higher interest-rate but crucially for a shorter period.

Switching the £15,000 loan to a 5 year deal elsewhere with an interest rate of 5.99% would mean a new repayment of £290 per month, which does sound like a big increase.

But the loan would be paid off a whole 10 years sooner, saving a whole £16,394 in interest payments.

The return of a 100% mortgage

You might think that such a thing was not possible as back in the day there was a queue of politicians telling us that such things were a sign of irresponsibility in the system. From the Guardian in 2009 from the Liberal Democrats Treasury Spokesman.

In the current housing market, with prices falling steadily, the 100% mortgage is an insane risk for any lender……most people would surely accept that we need to restore greater responsibility to money lending.

From the BBC on the 22nd of February 2009 and the emphasis is theirs.

Banking minister Lord Myners has said banks were “foolish” to offer 100% mortgages, after Gordon Brown called for “prudent and careful” lending.

Lord Myners said costly lessons had been learned worldwide “about reckless, feckless, witless lending”.

Here was the conservative party spokesman.

Shadow treasury chief secretary Philip Hammond accused the prime minister of “trying to shut the stable door on irresponsible lending long after the horse has bolted”.

Some of you are probably already singing along with Carly Simon.

But if you’re willin’ to play the game
It’s comin’ around again

Barclays Family Springboard

Let us examine the details and here is the opening pitch.

Apply for a Family Springboard mortgage of up to £500,000 on a property in the UK, without a borrower deposit.

The details remain in a world where a 5% deposit was required but the Press Association is more up to date.

Customers with an income of more than £50,000 will be able to borrow up to 5.5 times their income, up from a maximum multiple of 4.4.

I suppose that would have to raise this amount for the thing to work and the interest-rate is show below.

A buyer without a deposit could get a three-year fixed rate of 2.99% under the family springboard mortgage

Seems very cheap for a 100% mortgage does it not? But of course most interest-rate rates seem like that these days.

Bank of Mum and Dad

These are required here but only for three years and the deal is sweetened for them as shown below.

They open a Helpful Start Account with 10% of your purchase price at the same time you apply….They get their savings back after 3 years with interest, as long as you keep up the repayments.

If we start with their position they will get an interest rate of 1.5% over Bank Rate so 2% currently which is pretty good considering. Crucially they are only backing the payments for the first three years and then get their money back plus interest. Their intervention leaves us with a curious somewhat bi-polar situation where the borrower gets a 100% mortgage but the bank would argue that it only has the risk of one of more like 92% if we allow for the fact that it will have reduced during these three years. Of course we are then left with the issue of whether 92% is too high at this level of house prices.

We know that the Bank of Mum and Dad or BOMAD is rather busy these days.

Analysis by Cebr for Legal & General shows that, as of 2016, a quarter (25%) of all homeowners received help when they bought the home they live in.

Indeed the numbers below are rather eye-catching.

Based on the figures and home purchase prices, we estimate that, in total, family and friends will spend £5bn in 2016 to help support the purchase of £77bn worth of property. This puts the Bank of Mum and Dad in the top ten mortgage lenders in the UK.

There are quite a few issues here and the most obvious is this one.

The Bank of Mum and Dad is not adequate in that it fails to address the needs of those without parental wealth,

To Infinity and Beyond

Well for many of us anyway as we note this development from last month. From Hodge Lifetime.

The 55+ Mortgage is an interest-only mortgage available to borrowers aged 55 or above…….The maximum term we allow is up to when the youngest borrower reaches age 95.

Youngest borrower reaches 95? That pretty much covers everyone does this not? It also sets us further down the road which Japan travelled as it headed towards what are called intergenerational mortgages. A little care is needed as the old limits at 65 are out of date with flexible retirement terms and increasing life spans but it is hard to have any support for a mortgage which is interest-only and goes to 95. What court would enforce terms on a 95 year old……

The Bank of England

The Financial Policy Committee wants us to think this.

the FPC remains vigilant to risks in this area.

Meanwhile it peruses the Bank of England tea trolley to see what cakes are on it and dreams of the menu for luncheon.

Comment

There is much to consider here and it is typical of the times that we have a mortgage which is in one sense a 100% one as in from the borrower’s point of view whereas from the bank’s point of view it is more like a 92% one. Also on the 10% BOMAD “Helpful Start” it makes a turn by paying 2% to them but charging 2.99% on the mortgage. I also note that the mortgage borrower will be paying interest on the amortised value of the full loan rather than 90% so over time that will be expensive.

Everybody is happy? Well if house prices have gone up yes and not to bad if they have stayed the same but difficult if they have fallen. On that front I have some worrying news for you provided by Legal and General.

Of 88 economists questioned by the Financial Times to assess the impact of government policies, none expected a general fall in prices.

Oh and of course all this is happening at a much higher level of house prices compared to earnings than before.