Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The B of E no longer independant

I won't bore you with this - I'm sure you've all realised what a sea-change has happened in the last couple of weeks. And don't forget, the B of E will now take up to £10billion of " mortgage backed securities" for 3 months from next week from anyone who cares to lob them along Threadneedle Street. That won't be mortgages with less than 25% outstanding being paid by 55 year olds who have been in the same job for 40 years. It will be the 100-110% ones to the likes of Sid Vicious which are already in arrears, and which - ultimately, because of Flash and Darling Darling's utter ignorance and lack of understanding of Economics - will eventually fall on the taxpayers in the UK.
No, what I want to share with you is something that has been niggling in the back of my mind for a week or two, and which suddenly burst forth in full flower as I wrote a cheque this morning . ( Those that know me well will realise this is not something I do either willingly or often). I was, at the same time, looking at a calendar, and noted a date - 18th October.
I have a godson whose birthday this is, and whose father is an IT whizz. He spends his whole time working for banks, being paid the most unbelievable sums of money, because he makes sure the systems ( all a bit creaky now) keep running - and he makes sure the back-up works too.
Anyway, about this time last year, Mr. Itwhizz, his wife and two children were visting us, and we were chatting about what he was up to at that time.
" Ah well, " he said, " I am doing systems for the banks to manage their mortgages in big chunks"
We had a discussion about it, and I eventually asked why the banks were doing this.
" It's because they will all run out of money next year, about August"
I had forgotten this conversation until I saw the October birthdate on my calendar this morning.
In essence, all the banks do mortgages, but actually lending the money, as opposed to taking the fees for arranging them, is not very profitable. In case you don't know, the banks profits come from fees - not actually lending money.
So last year, Mr.Itwhizz was being told by the banks that they would run out of money this year, and therefore needed to offload their mortgages, and needed systems to cope with this.
Makes you think doesn't it?
Robert Peston, on the BBC website, has a good description of the mayhem at the heart of the BofE, the FSA and the government. One can't help but feel it would never have happened under Steady Eddie


Winchester whisperer said...

Looks bad. Somebody today told me that N.Rock didn't do proper credit checks

kinglear said...

Credit check? What's that?

In Actual Fact said...

And here was me thinking that up until about 10 days ago the B of E had played this just about right (okay, okay, I do large datasets for other than finance, but the principles of evolutionary statistics work with money too).
The Fed and ECB were flinging cash at the markets and the B of E was saying "if you want cash, it's there at a +1% penal rate..." Commendable - it was only when the Libor was >1% over base that things got a bit sticky.

Of course Northern Rock and the Labour movement have a special relationship. During the miners' strike of the early 80s they let striking miners temp. default on their mortgages during the strike. Now, as someone born in a mining village in the North East - and had a savings account opened as a christening present - I was very grateful when they became a bank (thanks for the shares, I'm off to a differnt building society now). If Labour don't look after this particular bank/building society, no matter what the economic consequences, the political consequences from the leftish wing of the party would be extreme. Just my opinion, of course.

kinglear said...

Mr. Fact, too true.Politically NR is deep in to NuLabour - from Wanlees on their credit committee and main board, to the £500,000 donation to Flash's "charity", to his favourite pollster's use to channel further funds his way.
The Hamilton's were mere pikers at sleaze.