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EU Commission Fines Rate-Rigging Banks

EU Commission Fines Rate-Rigging Banks

EU Commission shocked that competing banks were in collusion

The European Commission has fined eight banks – including RBS – a total of £1.4 Billion (GBP) for forming illegal cartels to rig interest rates. The cartels operated in markets for financial derivatives, which are products used to manage the risk of interest rate movements.

A number of banks were engaged in the rigging of interest rate products intended to reflect the cost of interbank lending in euros, while another group fixed prices for products based on the Japanese yen.

The rates are used to set the price of Trillions of dollars (USD) of products, including mortgages.

Some were involved in both markets and more than one cartel, including RBS, which was fined a total of £325 Million (GBP). The fines are the first ever penalties for interest-rate rigging by the EU.

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Mortgage Loan Approvals Increase

Mortgage Loan Approvals Increase

More “Help To Buy” Mortgage Lenders Announced

The number of mortgages given to first-time buyers increased by a third in the 12 months to August 2013 according to the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), with new entrants to the property market accounting for 44% of all residential property purchases during the month.

The CML figures were published as Barclays became the latest high street lender to confirm it was signing up to the second part of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which is designed to make more 95% mortgages available to first-time buyers, second steppers and home movers.

Barclays join Santander, RBS, Halifax and HSBC in confirming it will use the taxpayer-backed guarantee to make high Loan-To-Value (LTV) mortgages available for property purchasers, meaning that more than half of UK mainstream mortgage lenders are now signed up to provide more mortgages at higher loan to value ratios.

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Both LloydsTSB and RBS face running up more losses over the next three years, whilst Northern Rock has been downgraded by a ratings agency following its purchase by Virgin.

Standard & Poor’s downgrading has come partly because of Northern Rock’s ‘moderate’ likelihood of needing further taxpayer support.

Meanwhile, analysis by Barclays Capital says that taxpayer-backed Lloyds and RBS could be hit with £33bn of new losses, and face having to write down mortgages, other consumer loans and corporate debt.

RBS is 83% and Lloyds 41% owned by the taxpayer since the UK Government’s bail out of the UK banking system.

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