News Archives - Page 3 of 308 - Pat Carroll PCCO - Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisors

‘Lenders have responsibility to borrowers’ – BPFI

The chief executive of Banking Payments Federation Ireland has said it is not unreasonable for banks to look closely at applicants coming forward for mortgages and loans. 

Brian Hayes’ comments follow news of AIB’s stricter lending guidelines as a result of the impact of Covid-19. 

Mr Hayes said that lenders have a responsibility to borrowers. 

He said there is not a blanket ban across the industry and the different lenders make individual decisions.  

Brian Hayes said, in the interests of borrowers, banks have to look beyond the short term immediate situation of Covid-19 and ask if the applicant will be able to repay a long term loan.

4,000 mortgages have been drawn down in the last two months, he noted. 

Mr Hayes also said that banks have made it clear that there must be a regard for a change in circumstances between mortgage approval and drawdown. 

It is also the clear view of the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland that it is in the interest of the borrower that there must be a full assessment before the mortgage is drawn down.

Mr Hayes said his advice to mortgage applicants is to shop around. 

The Central Bank said yesterday that the decision to grant or refuse an individual application for mortgage credit is a commercial decision to be made by the regulated entity. 

“A loan offer may contain a condition that the lender can withdraw or vary the offer if in the lender’s opinion there is any material change in circumstances prior to drawdown. In such cases, the decision to withdraw or vary the offer is a commercial decision for the lender,” the Central Bank said.

Earlier this month, Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf said that banks had a role to play in supporting customers during the Covid-19 crisis but that they must do so “in a sustainable way”. 

He also said he expected that banks would be making losses in the coming months and relying on built-up reserves.  

He described the financial system as “resilient” but added that that resilience was “not infinite”.

AIB said yesterday that at a time of unprecedented economic instability triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, “it considers it prudent to review its mortgage lending policies”.

“It is imperative that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, that customers are not exposed to unnecessary risk and that their loans are sustainable,” the bank added.

Bank of Ireland said today that it continues to process mortgage applications for customers who are on the Covid-19 benefit schemes, provided affordability is not an issue. 

Where income has changed, the bank said it is liaising with customers to understand their updated circumstances and assess if these are expected to change again in the future.  

This process has always been followed where income changes for an applicant, as it would not be responsible to provide somebody with a mortgage at a level that they will struggle to afford, Bank of Ireland added.

Sinn Fein’s Housing spokesman Eoin O’Broin has called for several banks to end a blanket ban they have imposed on mortage applicants who are availing of the Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

Eoin O’Broin said that banks should take a more nuanced approach to this and to do individual assessments and deal with each case on its merits.

He said no one is asking the banks to break legislation regulations or to lend recklessly.

He said he has been contacted by constituents who are still in full time employment, with many receiving the same wage as before as alongside the Wage Subsidy Scheme, their wages are being topped up by their employer. This indicated that their employment is secure, he said.

Mr O’Broin said in some cases where people have had mortgage pre-approval, that pre-approval has been withdrawn. 

He said in two or three cases, people signed contracts and either the contract has been put on pause, or people have been told they can not proceed with the purchase until they had two Post Covid wage slips. 

He said in these cases, people have lost their homes.

People “are already deeply frustrated at the failure of banks to play their part,” he added. 

He also accused the banks of looking after themselves and not looking after the needs of their customers.

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Covid-19 committee hears SMEs call for more Govt funding to survive

The Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response has heard calls for more help for small and medium businesses affected by the pandemic.

The Chair of SME Recovery Ireland, John Moran, told politicians that small and medium businesses across Ireland are dying and need more funding to help them to survive.

In his opening statement, Mr Moran called for a €15bn bailout, including an immediate injection of liquidity worth €6bn to help small and medium businesses impacted by Covid-19.

Mr Moran said the Government’s response has been “too slow, too small and too expensive” and that existing schemes must be restructured as grant aid and not debt.

He said the Government’s July stimulus package must make lower cost liquidity available immediately for firms and include a major fiscal grant scheme.

Mr Moran told the committee that small and medium businesses need cash and not mountains of debt.

He said the economic epicentre of this pandemic has been SMEs, with 85% of businesses having closed to some degree, of which 34% shut completely during lockdown.

Mr Moran said the State is not getting ahead of the problem and does not appear to have a handle on the huge cost of the pandemic to the SME sector.

Jean McCabe, managing director of fashion retailer Willow Boutique, told the committee that many businesses are opening up with significant debt.

She said that the trading environment going forward would be very difficult and taking on more debt is not possible.

She said business owners in fashion are at their “wits end” about whether to continue trading or not because the challenges facing them are so great.

Ms McCabe said businesses need cash and liquidity now.

Representatives of the hotel, pub and restaurant sectors told the committee that employment supports should be continued, and be extended to seasonal workers, and that ongoing assistance with commercial rates is needed.

Chief Executive of the Vintners Association of Ireland Padraig Cribben said this period has been difficult for pubs and turnover in the industry dropped to zero and said there is no indication as to when “normal trading” conditions will return.

The Irish Hotels Federation said it is vital that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is continued and extended to include seasonal employees, with Chief Executive Tim Fenn saying additional Government measures on liquidity and competitiveness are also required to protect tourism livelihoods.

He called for a reduction in tourism VAT to 5% until December 2021 followed by a permanent restoration to 9% to assist recovery.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, said the restaurant and hospitality sector was hit hardest by this crisis and it will take the longest to recover.

He warned that without immediate access to the TWSS, seasonal businesses, the mainstay of Irish Tourism, will not reopen.

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Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate falls to 22.5% in June – CSO

The country’s unemployment rate, including those receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefit, fell to 22.5% at the end of June from 26.1% a month earlier, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

Today’s monthly unemployment figures reflect the first two stages of the economy’s gradual re-opening. 

The unemployment rate, which stood at just 4.8% before the Covid-19 crisis, hit a record 28.2% in April after 600,000 people claimed the emergency payment. 

That fell to 439,000 this week as most retailers and shopping centres resumed trading earlier this month. 

Restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and some pubs reopened for the first time since March yesterday to almost fully exit lockdown. 

“The Covid-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in June 2020,” the CSO said.

“While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.3% in June, a new Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate as high as 22.5% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment were classified as unemployed,” it added.

Breaking the results down by age group, the CSO said its new Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment stood at 45.4% for those aged 15 to 24 years and at 19.2% for those aged 25 to 74 years. 

Excluding the Covid-19 payments, which are higher than regular jobless benefits and due to be phased out in August, the unemployment rate actually fell to 5.3% from 5.6% in May, the CSO added.

Commenting on today’s figures Jack Kennedy, an economist at jobs site Indeed, said they indicated positive movement in the labour market. 

“Temporary measures such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Wage Subsidy Scheme have proven to be an effective stop gap. However, these were only ever intended as temporary measures, and with these supports slated to be phased out in the coming months the next phase of recovery will provide a real challenge,” Jack Kennedy said. 

He said the Government’s new jobs recovery initiative will have to pay specific attention to areas such as rural and youth unemployment, given the reliance of these groups on industries hardest hit, namely tourism and hospitality. 

“The latest figures continue to show the disproportionate impact of the crisis on young people, with the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds at 45.4%. For the foreseeable future the labour market will remain intrinsically linked to public health, which will require a new approach to job creation that takes this into consideration,” he added.

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Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate falls to 22.5% in June – CSO

The country’s unemployment rate, including those receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefit, fell to 22.5% at the end of June from 26.1% a month earlier, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

Today’s monthly unemployment figures reflect the first two stages of the economy’s gradual re-opening. 

The unemployment rate, which stood at just 4.8% before the Covid-19 crisis, hit a record 28.2% in April after 600,000 people claimed the emergency payment. 

That fell to 439,000 this week as most retailers and shopping centres resumed trading earlier this month. 

Restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and some pubs reopened for the first time since March yesterday to almost fully exit lockdown. 

“The Covid-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in June 2020,” the CSO said.

“While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.3% in June, a new Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate as high as 22.5% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment were classified as unemployed,” it added.

Breaking the results down by age group, the CSO said its new Covid-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment stood at 45.4% for those aged 15 to 24 years and at 19.2% for those aged 25 to 74 years. 

Excluding the Covid-19 payments, which are higher than regular jobless benefits and due to be phased out in August, the unemployment rate actually fell to 5.3% from 5.6% in May, the CSO added.

Commenting on today’s figures Jack Kennedy, an economist at jobs site Indeed, said they indicated positive movement in the labour market. 

“Temporary measures such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Wage Subsidy Scheme have proven to be an effective stop gap. However, these were only ever intended as temporary measures, and with these supports slated to be phased out in the coming months the next phase of recovery will provide a real challenge,” Jack Kennedy said. 

He said the Government’s new jobs recovery initiative will have to pay specific attention to areas such as rural and youth unemployment, given the reliance of these groups on industries hardest hit, namely tourism and hospitality. 

“The latest figures continue to show the disproportionate impact of the crisis on young people, with the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds at 45.4%. For the foreseeable future the labour market will remain intrinsically linked to public health, which will require a new approach to job creation that takes this into consideration,” he added.

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CCPC tells businesses to act independently on prices

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has warned businesses that despite economic challenges, they must act independently in their commercial decisions, especially when setting prices and charges. 

The warning comes on the back of engagement between the CCPC and a number of trade associations after they made public statements about new potential charges and price increases, which their members may apply.  

The Commission also reminded businesses that they have additional responsibilities under consumer protection law, when setting new or additional fees, or making changes to business practices.

It said the practice of trade associations suggesting future prices, or coordinating ways of passing on costs to consumers, could constitute an infringement of competition law.

Isolde Goggin, chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said the CCPC is acutely aware of the new challenges that businesses across the country are facing at this time due to Covid-19. 

But she said that businesses must be mindful that the rules set out by competition law remain unchanged. 

“Whilst the CCPC recognises the importance of businesses and representative bodies working collaboratively in such unprecedented circumstances, it’s important for them to know that competition law still applies, even during a global pandemic,” Ms Goggin said.

“We remind all representative bodies that they must not attempt to co-ordinate the pricing decisions of their members. To do so could be detrimental to consumers and in breach of competition law,” she stated. 

“As the economy starts to re-open, we are closely monitoring the activities of businesses and similar representative organisations and, if necessary, the CCPC will take appropriate action to deter or stop any potentially anti-competitive behaviour,” she cautioned.

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CCPC tells businesses to act independently on prices

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has warned businesses that despite economic challenges, they must act independently in their commercial decisions, especially when setting prices and charges. 

The warning comes on the back of engagement between the CCPC and a number of trade associations after they made public statements about new potential charges and price increases, which their members may apply.  

The Commission also reminded businesses that they have additional responsibilities under consumer protection law, when setting new or additional fees, or making changes to business practices.

It said the practice of trade associations suggesting future prices, or coordinating ways of passing on costs to consumers, could constitute an infringement of competition law.

Isolde Goggin, chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said the CCPC is acutely aware of the new challenges that businesses across the country are facing at this time due to Covid-19. 

But she said that businesses must be mindful that the rules set out by competition law remain unchanged. 

“Whilst the CCPC recognises the importance of businesses and representative bodies working collaboratively in such unprecedented circumstances, it’s important for them to know that competition law still applies, even during a global pandemic,” Ms Goggin said.

“We remind all representative bodies that they must not attempt to co-ordinate the pricing decisions of their members. To do so could be detrimental to consumers and in breach of competition law,” she stated. 

“As the economy starts to re-open, we are closely monitoring the activities of businesses and similar representative organisations and, if necessary, the CCPC will take appropriate action to deter or stop any potentially anti-competitive behaviour,” she cautioned.

Article Source: Click Here

CCPC tells businesses to act independently on prices

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has warned businesses that despite economic challenges, they must act independently in their commercial decisions, especially when setting prices and charges. 

The warning comes on the back of engagement between the CCPC and a number of trade associations after they made public statements about new potential charges and price increases, which their members may apply.  

The Commission also reminded businesses that they have additional responsibilities under consumer protection law, when setting new or additional fees, or making changes to business practices.

It said the practice of trade associations suggesting future prices, or coordinating ways of passing on costs to consumers, could constitute an infringement of competition law.

Isolde Goggin, chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said the CCPC is acutely aware of the new challenges that businesses across the country are facing at this time due to Covid-19. 

But she said that businesses must be mindful that the rules set out by competition law remain unchanged. 

“Whilst the CCPC recognises the importance of businesses and representative bodies working collaboratively in such unprecedented circumstances, it’s important for them to know that competition law still applies, even during a global pandemic,” Ms Goggin said.

“We remind all representative bodies that they must not attempt to co-ordinate the pricing decisions of their members. To do so could be detrimental to consumers and in breach of competition law,” she stated. 

“As the economy starts to re-open, we are closely monitoring the activities of businesses and similar representative organisations and, if necessary, the CCPC will take appropriate action to deter or stop any potentially anti-competitive behaviour,” she cautioned.

Article Source: Click Here

CCPC tells businesses to act independently on prices

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has warned businesses that despite economic challenges, they must act independently in their commercial decisions, especially when setting prices and charges. 

The warning comes on the back of engagement between the CCPC and a number of trade associations after they made public statements about new potential charges and price increases, which their members may apply.  

The Commission also reminded businesses that they have additional responsibilities under consumer protection law, when setting new or additional fees, or making changes to business practices.

It said the practice of trade associations suggesting future prices, or coordinating ways of passing on costs to consumers, could constitute an infringement of competition law.

Isolde Goggin, chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said the CCPC is acutely aware of the new challenges that businesses across the country are facing at this time due to Covid-19. 

But she said that businesses must be mindful that the rules set out by competition law remain unchanged. 

“Whilst the CCPC recognises the importance of businesses and representative bodies working collaboratively in such unprecedented circumstances, it’s important for them to know that competition law still applies, even during a global pandemic,” Ms Goggin said.

“We remind all representative bodies that they must not attempt to co-ordinate the pricing decisions of their members. To do so could be detrimental to consumers and in breach of competition law,” she stated. 

“As the economy starts to re-open, we are closely monitoring the activities of businesses and similar representative organisations and, if necessary, the CCPC will take appropriate action to deter or stop any potentially anti-competitive behaviour,” she cautioned.

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NTMA due to hold two bond auctions in third quarter

The National Treasury Manangement Agency said today it plans to hold two bond auctions in the third quarter of this year.

The NTMA said it will hold bond auctions on July 9 and September 10.

The agency is also planning three Treasury Bill sales and these are pencilled in for July 16, August 20 and September 17.

The NTMA continues to move towards its annual funding target of up to €24 billion to shore up government finances to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

It has raised €18.5 billion from bond issuance so far this year.

In April, the NTMA announced a revised bond funding range of €20 billion to €24 billion for the full year, to meet the extra borrowing requirements of Government measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That replaced the original bond funding range, announced in December, of €10 billion to €14 billion.

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Euro zone factory downturn eased in June as lockdowns loosened

The downturn in euro zone manufacturing was not as bad as initially thought last month after more economies in the bloc eased restrictions imposed to quell the spread of the coronavirus. 

Over 10 million people have been infected by the virus globally and more than 500,000 have died.

This lead governments to impose lockdowns and force businesses to temporarily close and citizens to stay at home. 

But with transmission rates falling in much of Europe, and economies opening up, IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moved closer to the 50-mark separating growth from contraction in June. 

It registered 47.4 last month, up from May’s 39.4 and comfortably ahead of an earlier flash reading of 46.9. An index measuring output jumped to 48.9 from 35.6. 

“The final PMI numbers for June add further to signs that the euro zone factories are seeing a strong initial recovery as the economy lifts from Covid-19 lockdowns,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. 

“Expectations for the year ahead have also rebounded sharply as hopes grow that the economy will continue to find its feet again in the coming months,”  he added. 

The future output index, which gauges optimism about the coming 12 months, bounced back into positive territory at 57.3 from May’s 44.6. 

However, all other indexes remained stubbornly below the breakeven level, suggesting any recovery might be slow and long. 

A June Reuters poll predicted the bloc’s economy contracted 12.5% last quarter but would expand 7.9% and 3.1% this quarter and next, respectively.

To combat the historic downturn the European Central Bank has expanded its pandemic-related bond purchases to a total of €1.35 trillion and 31 of 41 economists in the Reuters poll said the ECB was not yet done with new policy announcements.

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