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Lenders attacked over mortgage rate raises
#1
Today's bankers are completely out of control and don't give a damn what pubic or Parliament think, it seems. They believe they have an inherent right to scam as they please and expect to get away with it.

Perhaps they are right too.

After the biggest fraud in known history not one senior banker has been arrested or charged with fraud.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/p...732792.ece

From The Sunday Times
February 15, 2009
Lenders attacked over mortgage rate raises
Cost of funding fell, as Bank of England signalled official interest rates could drop to zero, but homeowners still losing out

Elizabeth Colman
Britain’s biggest lenders came under fire for raising mortgage rates on Friday, just days after promising MPs they would try to boost lending.

The moves were branded doubly outrageous because the cost of funding mortgages fell sharply last week, as the Bank of England signalled official interest rates could soon come down to zero as the economy flirts with deflation.

Halifax, which is more than 40% owned by the taxpayer since its takeover by Lloyds and has a 20% share of the mortgage market, increased rates on a third of new deals by 0.20 percentage points, even as wholesale rates fell below 2% for the first time in history. The move even applied to some loans for borrowers with a 40% deposit.

Meanwhile, Cheltenham & Gloucester (C&G), which is also owned by Lloyds, and Nationwide raised trackers by up to 0.25% — the fourth move in a row since Bank rate began falling in October.

Cathy Neal of Which?, the consumer group, said: “Halifax and Lloyds have been bailed out with billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money so should not be limiting choice for new borrowers by increasing rates when many other lenders are cutting theirs. Lloyds is now a dominant force in the mortgage market and should be using its position to increase competition and lending, not limit it.”

Brokers expressed concern that the rate rises signalled that Halifax was retreating from the mortgage market. The move from such a big lender could spark fears of wider rate rises.

However, Ray Boulger of broker John Charcol said the general trend was still down. In a mirror image of the Halifax move, Nationwide cut two, three and five-year fixes by 0.20 points last week — its cheapest two-year fix is now 3.99%. Abbey and Northern Rock have also cut fixes.

We answer your questions.

Does Halifax’s move mean fixes are headed back up?

Probably not. Its move is more to do with the need to scale back business since its merger with Lloyds TSB to create Lloyds Banking Group. C&G also raised some rates last week. Like Halifax, it increased five-year fixes by 0.20 points. It also raised ten-year deals by 0.30 points. However, it cut some fixes by 0.20 points.

My current deal is about to expire. What should I do?

Thousands of borrowers who have come to the end of their fixed-rate deals are waiting on lenders’ SVRs — and those that have fallen along with Bank rate are as low as 3%. While this is cheaper than most fixed-rate deals, borrowers are warned not to get too comfortable as low rates won’t last forever.

When should I fix?

Brokers are advising borrowers to keep an eye on fixed-rate deals as rates could soon hit a floor. Although it is generally still considered too soon to lock into a deal, it might be a good idea to book one in advance.

For example, Nationwide will allow you to reserve a rate for three months without charging a fee — then if you want to go ahead the valuation and offer will stand for six months. If you decide not to proceed you will lose the booking fee of £180.

What about trackers?

The best is Woolwich’s 2.29% above Bank rate on a lifetime tracker with no penalties.

What does this mean for the housing market?

Experts say moves by Lloyds to scale back lending could spell more doom for the housing market. Last week, the Council of Mortgage lenders said mortgage approvals for house purchases had fallen 49% to 516,000 — the lowest level since 1974.


£30 million a day from delaying cuts

Our biggest mortgage lenders are raking in more than £30m a day by withholding the benefit of recent rate cuts until the start of the following month — even though they benefit immediately from rate cuts on their own borrowings.

Most borrowers on tracker mortgages usually have to wait until the beginning of the following month before their direct debit changes.

Lenders argue this delay works in the borrower’s favour when rates rise.

However, brokers said last week that lenders were sitting on a windfall after record numbers of borrowers flocked to tracker mortgages.

Those taking out fixed-rate deals declined from 73% in 2007 to 58% last year, while tracker-mortgage borrowers grew to 29% of new loans in 2008 against 16% the previous year, the Council for Mortgage Lenders said. With 2.6m trackers now worth £300 billion, according to consultants CACI, the three-week delay in passing on cuts to tracker customers boosts lenders’ coffers by more than £85m after a half percentage point cut. So the full 4% cut since October has increased revenue from trackers by over £690m, or £32m a day.

Some customers are worse off than others. Those who took out a tracker mortgage with Halifax-owned BM Solutions could have to wait until May to see the benefit of the most recent rate cut in February, while Northern Rock customers must wait until April.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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