Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 28 October, 2020
From Dublin Bus hike prepaid ticket prices – with two days’ notice Dublin Bus

Dublin Bus hike prepaid ticket prices – with two days’ notice

The bus operator raises prepaid most fares by 5%, effective tomorrow.

From What’s a Double Dip recession? Your 60-second guide

What’s a Double Dip recession? Your 60-second guide

The services sector is slowing down. Is a second recession on the way? And what does that mean?

From Exchequer deficit hits €12.1bn in August Economy

Exchequer deficit hits €12.1bn in August

Government insists returns are “stabilising”.

From Anglo posts €8.2bn first half losses – the biggest in Irish history Anglo Irish Bank

Anglo posts €8.2bn first half losses – the biggest in Irish history

Bank chairman Alan Dukes says a good-bad split is the cheapest option – in direct conflict with the Department of Finance.

From Japan to introduce $11bn stimulus package Japan

Japan to introduce $11bn stimulus package

Japan has proposed a new stimulus package in an attempt to revive the country’s faltering economy.

A SURVEY OF IRISH credit unions shows that the vast majority – 90% –  of branches believe an image change is in order if they are to attract new customers.

The same percentage also said they also wanted a change of leadership in the sector.

The results of the independent survey were announced today at a credit union conference in Dublin, which was attended by members from all over Ireland.

Members also supported greater branch-to-branch cooperation, and even mergers. In May, the registrar of credit unions told an Oireachtas Committee that some credit uinions may not be able to continue as individual entities if they are facing serious funding issues.

90% of members also said they were optimistic about the future of the sector.

Last month, the Irish League of Credit Unions said it welcomed the appointment of independent consultants to review the sector’s financial standing, and told their members that their savings were safe.

THE CENTRAL Bank and Financial Regulator have published a report proposing methods to help people who are experiencing financial problems during the recession.

Read the report.

The paper outlines possible new regulations for dealing with those who are in mortgage arrears.

Under the proposed rules:

  • Banks and building societies would (still) have to wait 12 months before applying for a home repossession, if the person in arrears is cooperating
  • If homeowners sign up to a new repayment arrangement, the 12-month period would start only when they fall into arrears under the new scheme
  • Information must be provided to borrowers in clear English when they go into arrears
  • Lenders would have to wait for the outcome of any complaint or appeals process before applying for repossession of a home
  • Lenders would be required to explore “all viable options” and alternative repayment measures with homeowner
  • Lenders would be stopped from forcing people to switch from a tracker mortgage to another type of mortgage
  • Lenders would be required to set up an appeals process for homeowners
  • Lenders would be required to have in place a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) as a framework for handling arrears and pre-arrears cases

The Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Expert Group, who put together the proposals, are seeking feedback from any interested parties. It asks that all suggestions be made by 3 September.

Find more information on the Financial Regulator‘s website, or email suggestions (which you would not mind being published publicly) to:

GREECE WILL BE ALLOWED to borrow more money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund after the two bodies praised the country for its “impressive” progress in reforming the budget.

In a joint statement after a visit to Athens, the EU and IMF commended the “great progress” of the Greek government, led by finance minister George Papaconstantinou, in implementing austerity measures to cut its budget gap.

Our overall assessment is that the programme has made a strong start. The end-June quantitative performance criteria have all been met, led by a vigorous implementation of the fiscal programme, and important reforms are ahead of schedule.

The review found that the government was implementing the measures “as agreed” under its efforts to cut the budget deficit from 8.6% of its GDP in 2009 to just 2.4% this year, and to return to a 6.0% surplus in 2015.

As a result, Greece is tipped to be offered further bailout loans from the two bodies, with the next €9bn instalment of a three-year package worth €110bn being readied.

“I’m confident we are definitely going forward with the next payment,” said Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s visiting team.

The news will be a welcome boost to the country which currently cannot access international capital markets, aside from short-term treasury bills which typically require a country to constantly refinance its debt.

Greece’s stock market has risen by 23% in the last month, as investors become more confident in the government’s ability to stick to the terms of the EU-sponsored reform programme.

Spain, meanwhile, sold €3.5bn of three-year bonds this morning at an interest rate of 2.2%, down from the 3.3% paid just two months ago.

THE UK has expanded its restrictions on bankers pay and bonuses.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) have expended the number of companies who are subject to restrictions from 27 larger banks to over 2,500 financial institutions.

The move will take place from January 1, 2011 and will mean the UK is the first company to comply with the EU’s legislation on bank bonuses. It will see 40-60% of bonuses over £500,000 deferred for three years. The new code also states that at least 50 per cent of the total package must be paid in shares or share-linked instruments according to the Financial Times.

Regulators worldwide have been scrutinizing executive pay after it was blamed for the excessive risk-taking that led to the recent banking crisis.

European Union governments agreed on June 30 that directors of banks who received public money will be forced to justify their bonuses and lenders will have to report the number of people earning more than €1m to regulators according to Bloomberg.

Efforts in the US to curb excessive pay in Banking haven’t gone quite as far as moves in the EU.

Meanwhile, Metro Bank launched in the UK yesterday, the first new bank to launch in the UK in more than 100 years.

COLM McCARTHY WILL head a body to examine the efficiency of State assets, the Minister for Finance announced today. The group will recommend how to better use resources or say if they should be sold off.

Mr McCarthy, a lecturer at UCD’s school of economics, previously headed the ‘Bord Snip Nua’, which compiled a list of recommended cuts to public spending.

Among its suggestions, that group recommended cutting 17,300 jobs from the public service, and a 5% cut in social welfare.

A preliminary list of the assets to be reviewed includes the Dublin Airport Authoritiy, Irish Rail, RTÉ, an Post, and a number of Irish ports. They can also review the regulation of those assets.

The group also includes Donal McNally from the Department of Finance, and Alan Matthew, Professor of European Agricultural Policy at Trinity.

It will present a report on its progress to Minister Lenihan before the end of the year, and has already begun its work.