Wednesday, February 26, 2014

26/2/2014: IBRC Sale Requires Upfront Clarity on CCMA


Much discussion is ongoing concerning the fate of the IBRC Mortgages which are to be sold in the coming weeks/days. The problem centres on the issue of applicability of the Code of Conduct relating to mortgages arrears. By some reports, the book held by IBRC is 50-70% in arrears.

The Government has reached an agreement with the Special Liquidator on the issue. This is covered here: http://www.finance.gov.ie/news-centre/press-releases/agreement-reached-between-special-liquidator-and-phase-two-bidders-ibrc

The idea behind the agreement is a fine one and the Government objective (ensuring that CCMA applies to IBRC mortgagees) is correct one. The problem is that this agreement is voluntary and not enforceable. Thus, it simply muddies the waters.

Here is my view on this expressed earlier on twitter:

In fact the only way to deal with the #IBRC mortgages sale is by setting clear, legally-binding compliance with the code of conduct requirement. This will give certainty on regulatory constraints to bidders/buyers, reduce their concerns about potential ex-post political interference, as well as provide clear-cut enforcement avenue for regulators & supervisors at the CB. A voluntary compliance system, as advocated currently, will only create confusion on the regulatory side but will still be priced as higher risk (bid discount) by bidders. So proposed voluntary arrangement is a lose-lose for everyone, while compulsory regulatory arrangement is a win-win.

Related background:

  • Liquidators for IBRC are proceeding with sales of loans books: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/uk-ireland-anglo-idUKBREA1P0SJ20140226
  • IBRC holds 12,702 mortgages accounts of which 10,622 are PDH and 2,080 are BTL accounts
  • Credible estimate I have seen is that 50% of IBRC mortgages book are in arrears, compared to about 18% for all banks.
  • Total Mortgages book to be sold is around EUR1.8 billion

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