Best Mortgages Before The End Of 2014

29/12/2014 – Expansión

The last few days leading up to the end of 2014 have been filled with the habitual summaries, assessments and balance sheets.

As far as the mortgage market is concerned, over the past 12 months there has been a reduction in differentials that banks add to the Euribor, a reference rate that is added to most adjustable-rate mortgages signed in Spain, which has registered record lows.

These factors have resulted in a higher number of mortgages signed from June to October this year, the last month for which the National Statistics Institute (INE) has released data. The number has exceeded those of the same month back in 2013.

In October, 17,687 mortgages were signed, 18.0% more than a year ago. In September, 19,323 or 29.8% more than in the same month of 2013; in August – 15,040 (23.8% increase); in July – 18,107 (up 28.8%), and in June – 17,137 (19.0% more).

But let’s look over this bit by bit. The average overall differential of banks at the beginning of the year was at 2.788%, according to Bankimia indices calculator, whereas just a few days short of the end of the month, it has dropped to 2.136%. The reason behind this decline is the appearance of new mortgages in 2014 and interest rate reduction in some of the already existing ones.

And according to forecasts, the path of the mortgage for next year will be similar, with steady reductions in differentials.

At the end of November, the Euribor was at 0.335%, as confirmed by the Bank of Spain. This is the lowest level in history and the result of monetary measures taken during the past year by the European Central Bank, with reductions in interest rates, reaching all the way down to 0.05%.

As December comes to a close, the ten most outstanding bank mortgages, according to Bankimia mortgage comparison website, are the following:

1. CajaSur Mortgage, from CajaSur: It starts with a fixed interest rate of 2.50% during the first two years and then Euribor +1.25% for the remaining repayment period. To achieve these conditions, the holder must have their payroll deposited directly to the bank and purchase three insurance plans (payment protection, home and life), plus a card and a pension plan. CajaSur finances up to 80% of the appraised value of a first home.

2. Ahora Mortgage, from Liberbank: No sign-up fee, starts with an interest rate of 1.95% for the first 12 months and then the Euribor is applied at +1.50% for the rest of the repayment period. The bank requires the holder to have their payroll deposited directly or have certified income of above 2,000 euros a month, as well as purchase a comprehensive home insurance plan and each loan holder must sign up for a card issued by the bank. This product is marketed throughout the country except for branch offices in Asturias, Extremadura, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Avila and Lugo.

3. HipoteCasa db Mortgage, from Deutsche Bank: It has a fixed interest that starts at 2.25% for the first 12 months. For the rest of the repayment period, the interest rate is variable and based on Euribor +1.59%. All this is contingent upon whether the appraised value of the property, a first home, to purchase is equal to or greater than 100,000 euros.

In addition, the holder must set up direct payroll deposit and three basic bills to the bank, plus household income must be over 30,000 per year. It is also required to hire both a credit and debit card, plus three insurances: payment protection, home and life.

4. Hogar Mortgage, from Caja de Ingenieros: It finances up to 80% of the lesser value between the purchase or appraisal of the home being bought, which must be that of primary residence. Throughout the first year a fixed interest rate of 2.35% is applied, while for the rest of the period, the Euribor at +1.59%. To obtain these conditions, the holder must set up direct payroll deposit and three debit of three utility bills, have a minimum account balance of $3,000 and purchase three insurance policies (payment protection, home and life) along with a credit card.

5. Postal Mortgage, from BanCorreos: During the first 12 months a fixed interest rate of 2.5 % is applied, while for the rest of the repayment period, a differential of 1.59% is added to the Euribor. It finances up to 80% of the appraised value of the house with a minimum of 80,000 euros. The holder must be linked with the banks through direct payroll deposit and hiring of a home and life insurance, as well as a credit card and a pension plan.

6. Freedom + Mortgage, from Banco Mediolanum: A variable interest rate based on the Euribor +1.65% is applied throughout the repayment period. For the best terms and conditions, the bank requires mortgage-holders to set up direct payroll deposit, have income above 35,000 euros a year, or purchase a life insurance. It finances up to 80% of the appraised value of the home.

7. Unoe Mortgage, from Unoe: No sign-up fee. It has an interest rate based on the Euribor +1.65% if the payroll is directly deposited to the bank and if a home insurance as well as a single-premium financed life insurance policy is purchased along with it. It provides up to 80% of the appraised value of the property with a minimum of 30,000 euros.

8. Net Fidelis Mortgage, from Caja España-Duero: It can only be hired over the internet. The first 12 months bear interest at 2.25%, while to the rest of the repayment period applies Euribor +1.65%. To obtain this mortgage, the owner has to set up direct payroll deposit, hire insurance (life, payment protection and home), two cards and a pension plan through the bank. It finances the lesser value of 80% of the price of sale and appraisal.

9. Triodos Mortgage, from Triodos Bank: In this mortgage plan, the interest depends also on the energy rating of the house: the more sustainable, the more economical. Interest rate is based on the Euribor +1.65% if the holder also hires home and life insurance, sets up direct payroll deposit and direct debit of three utility bills, and signs up for both a credit and debit card.

10. Naranja Mortgage, from ING Direct: No commissions, the interest is the Euribor at +1.69% if the holder sets up direct payroll deposit or deposits at least 600 euros a month or maintains a minimum account balance of 2,000 euros, among others.

All these mortgages have a repayment period of up to 30 years. In the case of those offered by Unoe and ING Direct, the period goes up to 35 and 40 years, respectively.

The selection of loans was carried out among those offered by banks and did not take into account those aimed at specific target demographics, such as youths or civil servants, among others.

Original article: Expansión

Translation: Aura REE

Liberbank returns €124 Million To Frob

24/12/2014 – El Mundo

Liberbank has retired in advance the issued contingent convertible bonds (CoCo’s) of €124 million purchased by the FROB within a plan to recapitalize the company, through which it has returned the aid. With this, the company has a blue-chip capital ratio of 13.5%, far exceeding the minimum requirement of 8%.

Original article: El Mundo

Translation: Aura REE

No Truce at the Mortgage War: 12 Banks Offer Differentials Below 2%

29/08/2014 – Cinco Dias

In September 2008, all banks consistently started to refuse the loans as they saw one of the greatest recession on the planet was looming. However now, six years later, liquidity circles in the eurozone are going stable so financial entities can return to lending. Commercial leverages of their offices hand out mortgages, including those with homes as collaterals.

Large majority of the entities offer interest rate differentials below 2% plus Euribor for 12 months, whereas less than a year ago they could not afford for less than 3%. Bankinter was the first to break the pattern with a 1.95% + Euribor mortgage last year.

The challenge was soon accepted by the rest of the banks and reached its fever peak in the last months. ING Direct, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Sabadell, Liberbank and Unoe are among those that trimmed their differentials below 2%.

Since July, BBVA is the number one with its up to (or down to) 1.7% + Euribor loan (2.25% in the first year). Obviously, the final price will depend of the economical record of the client and the loyalty products they buy together with the mortgage.

Aside from the competitive Cajasurs credit found exclusively in Andalusia and Extremadura, BBVA is second to no one. However, the spread of Santander (1.89%) treads on its heels.

According to data gathered by the Ministry of Public Works, the surplus cash in hands of banks currently exceeds €100 billion in the euro zone and the fact that the property prices have fallen by over 30% since the 2008 peak are key for recovery of the real estate market. The number of new mortgage approvals has already risen by 19%, as per information published by the National Insititute of Statistics (or INE by its acronym in Spanish).

The fierce deleveraging process run by financial entities and the necessity to return to their traditional business also impulsed the improvement in lending. Official statistics start to confirm the new credit flow. According to Spains central bank, in June mortgages with a house as collateral represented more than €767 billion, though still much less than in 2008. Furthermore, the INEs information tells that in the same month, the average interest rate in mortgages was equal to 3.88%, compared with the 4.37% rate from May 2013.

At the new war on mortgages – although far away from the differentials of 0.3% seen in 2006 and 2007 – internet banking smooths its offers out as well. Even if the rates are similar to those proposed by classical entities (i.e. slighly lower than 2%), less loyalty products are required. Most sophisticated in this field turns out to be Evo Banco that cuts in the differential if the Euribor reference goes up. In the first year of the credits life, a customer pays a fixed rate and after the term the differential declines in line with Euribor. Thus, given that it was set at between 2% and 4%, the rate will shrink by 0.2%, in case of a 4% to 6% one by 0.4% and so on, and so forth.


Original article: Cinco Días (by P. M. Simón & V. Gómez)

Translation: AURA REE

George Soros Invests €330 Mn in Spanish Listed Firms Within 6 Months

24/06/2014 – Expansion

The billionaire has neither decided to gamble on the Wall Street, nor on the largest banks in the world. Instead, George Soros is going to focus on investment in the Spanish market. At the moment, he is working on acquisition of 0.5% at Liberbank, a stake worth €5 million.

In only six past months, the magnate spent €332 million on shares in listed companies in Spain. He started in December 2013 with the purchase of 3% at FCC for €55 million. In April, Soros bought around 17% at Hispania for €92 million. Shortly after, he took a 0.02% share at Iberdrola for €6 million. And in May, the investor acquired 1% at Bankia for €174 million from FROB.

Next, he will probably target the financial sector again as he already takes part in the bidding for the loan portfolio of Catalunya Banc, offering between 3 and 3.5 billion Euros for it.

But, why Spain? In February, Soros assured that his investment team expects to “make a lot of money in Europe, for example by pumping equity in the banks needing the equity urgently”.


Original article: Expansión (by Estela S. Mazo)

Translation: AURA REE

At Shedding Debt Portfolios Liberbank Triples Net Profit

14/05/2014 – Expansion

As EFE reports, Liberbank´s net profit showed €113 million in the first quarter of the year. The performance is three times better than €33 million earned in clean gains a year before. The improvement shall be principally assigned to the sales of its debt portfolios.

Net interest revenue reached €103 million, by 3% more than the same period in 2013. However, in year-on-year terms the rate declined 3.7%. In turn, the gross margin of the bank post €401 million, striking 100.4% more than in 2013, while its gross operating margin stood at €297 million, by €65 million higher.

During the first quarter Liberbank was busy with cleansing its books intending €114 million for recovery and dotations. When it comes to delinquency rate, it slowed down and stopped at 10.7%.

Moreover, the bank is planning a capital enlargement of €500 million. For achieving that, it named a banking syndicate consisting of Deutsche Bank as the global coordinator, Citigroup, BBVA, Santander and Société Générale as underwriters and Ahorro Corporación Financiera, Espírito Santo Investment Bank, JB Capital Markets, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Nmás1 as co-managers.



Original article: Expansión

Translation: AURA REE

Liberbank, BMN & Cajamar Sell Their Property Management Firms

21/03/2014 – Expansion, El Confidencial

Large banks already shed their real estate branches and now the time for small and medium-size entities has come. Liberbank, BMN and Cajamar seek success comparable to the sales of Altamira by Santander and Aliseda by Banco Popular in 2013.

The ongoing operations are being advised by PwC on the side of BMN and by KPMG on Cajamar´s side. (…). Starting prices may vary from €40 million to €90 million. (…).

BMN manages assets valued at around €7.000 million, out of which €5.800 million (about 80% of the total) has been transferred to Sareb. The most probable final price will be set at €50 million. The entity received offers from Cerberus, Portigon and Almar Consulting, however the final bidding will be settled between Apollo and Centerbridge (that bought Aktua from Banesto).

Cajamar is believed to receive higher amount for its asset managing company as it owns great part of the €10.000 million-worth assets. The bank´s Cimenta2 is put up for sale within the ´Iceland Project´that involves administration of its defaulting loans. (…). The assets for sale are found mostly in the coastal area where rule such mergers as: Caja MurciaCaja GranadaSa Nostra and Caixa Penedés.

When it comes to Liberbank, it has been trying to sell its platform since last year. The bank is a merger of CajasurCaja de ExtremaduraCaja Cantabria and CCM. It transferred to Sareb €2.900 million in assets and still is obliged to return €124 million bail-out granted by the FROB.

Potential purchasers of the three platforms may be divided between two groups:

1. Those who already acquired a property platform in Spain but still seek more market share: Apollo (owner of Altamira), Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson (Aliseda), TPG (Servihabitat), Centerbridge (Aktua) and Cerberus (Bankia Habitat).

2. Those who have not managed to buy any platform in 2013: Lone Star, Fortress, WL Ross and Starwood, among others.



Original article: Expansión (Jorge Zuloaga), El Confidencial (Carlos Hernanz)

Translation: AURA REE

The bad bank approves today the extension to absorb assets from group 2.

In the second phase of the creation of the bad bank Iberdrola will join banks and insurance companies in the capital of the company. The company presided over by Ignacio Sánchez Galán will be the first non financial company to join this project. The institution presided over by Belen Romana plans to have own resources equivalent to 8% of the total volume of assets in the company.

After the nearly 400.000 million Euros transferred in the first phase, from the nationalized banks, the bad bank will add around 15.000 million Euros more, and therefore the own resources will be between 4500 and 5500 million Euros after the extension. The capital structure of the bad bank will be split into 75% of subordinate debt and 25% in cash.

There will be 15 banks among the shareholders of the bad bank. Santander (with 17,8%) and Caixabank (12,8%) are two of the main ones. There are also international institutions such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays, as well as four insurance companies. The Fund for the Banking Restructuring (Frob) also holds 43,1% of the bad bank´s capital.

BBVA was the great absentee from the financial sector in the first phase and the market is speculating whether the institution will take advantage of this extension to join the project of the Ministry of Economy.

(…) Sources within the sector explained to Europa Press that it was most probable that BBVA would not end up joining the bad bank. (…)

Source: Expansión