Archive for the ‘morgages’ Category

Mortgage Relief? For Gordon…

December 3, 2008

 

For a moment I think we all believed the Government had actually wanted to help mortgagees. We should all have known better.
And talking of Better, it seems outside the financial casino no one gets real help.

Anyway, I know mortgages are not my speciality, but the fading, like the fairy dust it was, of the substantive part of the promise was remarkable.

First it seemed homeowners were going to be really, really helped with a six month – something or other with the banks holding fire on giving defaulters a hard time. Though I was never clear if it was a moratorium, a halt to rude phone calls, or just a six month delay before the repossession papers get served – any way eight banks said they’d do it.

That’s our curate’s egg of owned, part owned, and almost owned banks. Nationalised, as any self respecting linguist might say!

Then it seemed that homeowners at risk of having problems on their payments were going to be really helped by some long arrangement to give them breathings space. And that turns out ot be a mouse’s squeak of a ‘part’-deferral of interest payments for up to two years.

Which might be fine for those with interest only payment policies, but may be a tiny sum for many others.

And then it seems only one in ten would be helped at all by the final proposals…

Smoke and mirrors anyone?

Still it has all successfully hidden the laws for totally random stop and prove identity to be given to the police. And that one about lie detector tests for benefit claimants.

Er… will that be some miracle test that is reliable that we have never heard about, and will the identity proof turn out to be only these dodgy identity cards that Gordon loves so much?

Ah well, you don’t want to know about that anyway. But make sure you read the small print if you feel you would like some of this help with your mortgage.

Unless you want billions, in which case Gordon will mortgage you and I and several generations of our dependents, I suspect this tuppenny-halfp’ny aid on mortgages will come with chains…

Good luck.

Joseph Harris

Debt Control Man

 
 

 

Advertisements

Twenty Thoughts for Debtors

November 23, 2008

In an entertaining but astute article in , The Financial Times Weekend Magazine, David Gaffney offers a trawl through some dos and don’ts and a couple of misconceptions.

He has written a novel Never Never based on this, and as you would therefore expect, he has a keen ‘eye’.

First he cautions against the ‘all the eggs in one basket’ approach to controlling spiralling debt. And warns not to borrow one’s way out of trouble. Perhaps he should have a word with Dear Gordon?

When you owe a lot, some arrangements can involve very tiny paybacks, and ‘geological’ payback periods. Gaffney says the first time he explained this to a client it was not well received! His bedside manner has improved.

Bailiffs seem a tricky area, but the main rule is not to let them in! Though of course the court-appointed bailiff is a different matter. Once in they are entitled to take inventory and return for collection of those goods.

He points out that creditors are keen to move as much of your money to them as they can possibly argue you should, while your task must be to hold on to all the money you need to live decently. And that – as a debt counsellor – he had no principles about his attitude to them. they will survive, and so must you, the debtor!

While he has some understanding of borrowing from one card to pay off others he says it is hard work and maybe it is a lot easier to stop. Strangely he found most multiple debtors were jolly, not my understanding at all. While bankruptcy costs.

He has several warnings about ways to avoid debt, such as being careful who you buy Christmas hampers from and ways of saving money on electricity.

Let me say he is a very witty writer and his explanation of the way judge’s are sympathetic to debtors is a good example, including that it might not be a good idea to wear clothes which are part of the original debts before the court.

He points out that credit companies want you to owe them money, which is their business after all. It is the paying back bit that can get complicated. And hire purchase goods cannot be taken back! Let me add that it is not a good idea to do this deliberately.

Among his clients have obviously been some ‘professional debtors’ since he suggests never being available to creditors or their agents since if they are unable to contact you for six years the debt lapses. Though the rule is not absolute, and would apply only to non-priority debts. (there are very few priority debts which include revenue taxes, council tax, rent, mortgage and utility services payments, and not much else)

But if you own your house his no 16 is ‘You can lose your house if you don’t pay’. Be warned! As I always emphasise being honest is the best approach.

One thing is very important. One that I have seen rarely mentioned. ‘Beware,’ he says clearly, ‘those creditors who sent measured and polite threats.’ Because they probably mean it.

It is possible to end up with someone else’s debts, so don’t accept delivery of something you don’t know about. It may carry a big burden of someone else’s unpaid debts.

He ends on a note of grim faced humour…

’20 Life is beyond some people’s means

‘A debtor is someone who hasn’t got enough money for the lifestyle he or she chooses. Most frequently this is a lifestyle most people call normal life – like having a phone, a telly, some clothes, heating the house and running the water. What should we do, kill them all?’

Joseph Harris
Debt Control Man

Debt, PMs, Chancellors and Interest

September 3, 2008

If you hang a round in your job too long your mistakes come back to haunt you. That must be what Gordon Brown has been learning!
Unravelling them—specially when the luck turns against you—can be not just daunting, but reveal weaknesses in the thinking. Just so, in my opinion, with our Dear Leader.
That weakness was initially revealed in 1997 when, as Chancellor, he virtually destroyed the regulatory system for the finance sector and the banks. It is a matter of personal satisfaction that I recognised his mistake then. Now we are all paying the price for the excesses that has permitted.
As Prime Minister the millstone of that financial policy is even more firmly round his neck. And, just as the publicity machine was building up to his big announcement on mortgages two more blows struck!
First his new Chancellor and long time helper, Alistair Darling, revealed an attractive attachment to honesty, explaining that the crisis before the world is certainly the most severe for 60 years—i.e. Since we all started picking ourselves up after WWII. The PM has been strenuously denying this truth. The Chancellor’s view was widely misinterpreted as applying to only this country.
And no sooner were the words of the PMs package of ‘help’ out of his mouth than the OECD, a very powerful voice in world economics, declared this country worst placed to handle the downturn—to be rather mealy-mouthed about the crisis ahead.
For reasons which escape me—except that GB’s luck has turned—the further OECD point, that the Eurozone was almost equally affected, escaped mention and seemed not to impact the foreign exchanges where the proud pound was further humbled.
The package itself shows further the inability of the PM to grasp the needs of starting to bale out, just as he didn’t take care to see there was balance in the markets 11 years ago. His moves are a costly way to bring help to a few people, and are largely not very effective in altering the slide in house activity, prices or rising debt problems.
Had there been serious thought about the most effective moves to ease and stabilise Britain’s financial woes, and I mean mostly those of the ordinary people upon whom the modern economy depends, his attention would have been on interest rates.
I have written at length in this blog, and have set up a page on my critique of interest rates and what we should all be doing about it. What he should have done about it is to give the increasingly more aware regulators [the FSA, the OFT] the power to control interest rates and demand a reduction in the rates charged by banks and credit card companies through those powers.
That would actually have cost the country rather less for a far more effective contribution to the difficult process of stabilisation and the rebuilding that will have to follow.
Being Gordon, however, he will be looking round for another grand gesture, another risk-taking bank to save, and be committing another £100bn to the bottomless pit that is The City.

Joseph Harris
Debt Control Man