Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lending reluctance

A brief extract from the Wall Street Journal

"Policymakers at the European Central Bank are expressing concerns that some nations' rescue efforts for the banking sector are not helping to revive lending. ECB and other eurozone officials are worried that lending reluctance could hinder the region's economic recovery or even worsen the downturn. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said banks need to be "up to their responsibilities, namely to ship to the real economy the extraordinary efforts that we are making."

At the moment we have a great disparity between the eurozone countries, in terms of what we can get for our non-resident clients

Spanish mortgages are now 70% if you are lucky, 60% if you want interest only
In France, 85% is still available
In Italy, it was difficult and now impossible
In Portugal, 70% with interest only is still available

Not in the eurozone but things are very difficult in Cyprus and damn near impossible in Dubai, where the main problem seems to be that the mortgage market never really got off the ground before the crash, after years of inflated flipping, and the perceived wisdom is that values are falling further.

If the differences are the same for their own residents, then things are likely to improve at different speeds depending on where you are. We know that getting a Spanish mortgage is very difficult at the moment even if you are a Spanish national. Considering that Spain is considered to be suffering more than most, it seems that the recovery may be slower.

What we need is for the first Spanish bank to put their head up out of the tranches and say "yes please we would like some non-resident clients and we can do this....."

Preferably Spanish mortgages for 70% of valuation (not unreasonable) with a choice of interest-only periods, and long terms available.

What the Spanish banks have always failed to realise is that if people have a house in the UK, the they don't need a repayment mortgage in Spain because they can just pay the interest for ever! This is clearly the most profitable business for the banks to be in, as the capital is not repaid, and defaults will be low as the payments will be the lowest possible

If I had a few billion and a banking licence I could clear up in Spain - decent clients and properties, at reasonable LTV's and on interest-only. A margin of 0.5% and I would make a fortune

All it needs is a bank to say yes, then the others would have to follow

No idea when this is going to happen though

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