Archive for December, 2017

Bell & Company urges caution for RBS and Barclays customers

Bell & Co urges caution for RBS and Barclays customers after banks were recently exposed by stress tests

It’s fair to say that England’s banks are robust and it’s likely that they are already well prepared for anything that they might face as a result of Brexit or other economic upheavals. However, while this is true for the majority of banks, it seems that two of the biggest names on the high street might not quite live up to expectations.

Recent stress tests carried out by Regulators of Threadneedle Street have revealed that both RBS and Barclays fell short of the standards expected and may not survive in detrimental situations.

So, what do these stress tests entail and what does it mean for these two major banks?

The stress tests

Stress tests are designed to model sharp economic downturn and see how banks would behave and perform when confronted with this reality. Introduced during the financial crisis, today’s stress tests are in place to probe whether any given bank’s balance sheets would be able to cope with a ‘doomsday’ scenario without crumbling.

Some of the hypothetical conditions implemented during the most recent stress tests included a surge in defaults by UK consumers and a sharp rise in interest rates.

How Barclays and RBS did in the tests

Unfortunately for these two major UK banks, both fell below their minimum capital levels in the stressed scenarios, meaning that it’s likely that they would not be able to perform effectively if a new financial crisis were to take place. RBS was hoping to restore its dividend payments and return to profitability by next year, so the results of the stress tests are likely to be a major sting to them and those that bank with them.

RBS’s capital also fell to a low point of 7%, somewhat below its 7.4% minimum ‘systemic reference point’. Similarly, Barclay’s capital ratio fell from a 7.9% minimum requirement to 7.4%. The five other banks that were involved in the testing – HSBC, Standard Chartered, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide and Santander UK – were all able to maintain their minimum capital levels throughout the course of the exercises.

What could be next

While these tests demonstrate some of the problems that Barclays and RBS may encounter during a financial crisis, they do not account for the biggest risk that all banks are likely to face in the not too distant future;  Brexit.

Furthermore, since the start of the year, RBS has managed to bolster its balance sheets by shedding assets and Barclays has raised capital by selling a large portion of its African operation, so who can really say what’s in store? Only time will tell.

We look back on 2017

Bell & Company reminisce about the year that has passed…

2017 has been a mammoth year for the team here at Bell & Company. As a business, we continue to reach new heights. If we reminisce back to 2016, we remember huge, breaking news, like BREXIT, Donald Trump’s rise to power, Leicester City winning the Premier League to name a few. In 2017, we are 9 years on from the property market downturn of 2008, and we continue to be contacted by those suffering financial difficulty.

The Gala Ball

Earlier in 2016 Bell & Company decided, by unanimous agreement, to select NSPCC NI as charity of the year. Throughout the year, we have strived to carry out as many fundraising events as we possibly can. From dress down days, to our Gala Ball in March, which raised £10,000. The monies raised at the gala ball, and other events NSPCC NI run every year, have a huge impact on the children, adults and families the charity supports.

Terry Bell, Director at Bell & Company, said: “Everyone in attendance had a fantastic time and it was a truly memorable night. Words can’t even express how delighted we are with the funds raised. It costs the charity £12,000 a day to run its NSPCC helpline so the funds raised by our team will contribute greatly ”

Belfast Business Awards

On Friday 26th May 2017,  Bell and company were crowned winners of Customer Service Excellence, Professional Business Service at the Belfast Business Awards hosted by  Belfast Chamber of Commerce.  The category saw fierce competition from industry leaders which further solidifies the achievement in winning. The annual, highly coveted awards ceremony is firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s competitive business environment.

Helping our clients

Financially, a huge story in 2017 was when The Irish Times recently reported that the private equity firm Cerberus, ironically named after the mythical three-headed dog guarding the gates of Hades, was moving forward in potentially purchasing some of AIB’s loan book. Here at Bell & Company, we have handled a number of cases where our client had issues surrounding loan sales, and we expect they won’t be the last.

In 2017, we celebrated our 7th year in business. We recognised that throughout these 7 years we have saved our clients up to 85 million pounds.

A word from our Directors

Amanda Bell – “Winning our Belfast Business Award was my personal highlight for 2017, it was great to have our whole team recognised for the excellent customer service they deliver on the daily. A bonus was the amazing feedback we received from the company who conducted the mystery calls for the awards, where we scored 100%!  – For next year we want to continue to provide outstanding financial solutions and ideas for clients, but also maintain the positive working environment that we have here at Bell & Company. Our team motivate one and other allowing all to develop professionally and personally, to meet their own goals”

Terry Bell – “What will 2018 have in store for Bell & Company? On a personal note, we will be changing our Belfast location and leaving our offices on Rosemary Street. We also hope that the banks can continue to have a pragmatic approach to negotiation, and we can continue to develop excellent working relationships. This year we have raised in excess of £13,000 for the NSPCC, and we would like to see this figure exceeding £20,000 by the end of 2018.”

With 2018 just round the corner, we look forward to what comes our way

Our offices will be closed until Tuesday the 2nd of January 2018. We will have sporadic access to emails and live chat throughout the holiday break. Any queries, contact [email protected] and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

Mammoth overall savings of 92%!

Our client approached us with a crystalized debt of over £150,000, owed to a huge banking institution in the Republic of Ireland.

The client had not had any contact with the said lender for almost 5 years and had relocated to England to pursue new ventures. Out of nowhere, he received letters from the bank, chasing the monies owed.

Bell & Company negotiated intensely on the client’s behalf, and after the bank carrying out their due diligence, a full and final settlement was achieved. With savings of 92%, our client was elated.

At Bell & Company., we pride ourselves on being able to adopt new strategies to aid our negotiations, whilst remaining extremely sensitive to our clients’ situation.

Our team will endeavor to answer your queries within a few hours of receiving your inquiry.  If your query is of an urgent nature you can call our office directly on  02895 217 373 or speak to a member of our team via live chat. We offer a free consultation and full financial review.

Bell & Company prove benefits of great business relationships

Bell & Company were recently able to assist a young couple with 2 young children facing eviction from the family home.

Bell & Company were appointed and approached the lender seeking a consensual sale, which was accepted by the lender.

In this instance, Bell & Company achieved savings of around £105,000, after the agreed open market sale.

Throughout Bell & Company’s 7 years in business, we have developed strong working relationships with most lenders in the UK and Ireland and are able to settle cases like this with most lending institutions taking pragmatic decisions when the case is fully submitted.

The couple delighted to be relieved of this burden. Bell & Company’s professional proactive approach ensures all those facing property debt issues can mitigate such burdens.

If you find yourself facing issues surrounding property debt, feel free to contact us. We offer a free initial consultation and full case review.

Our team will answer all your queries as soon you contact us.  If your query is of an urgent nature you call us NOW on 02895 217 373.

What could a Labour victory mean for the UK economy?

What could a Labour victory mean for the UK economy?

While Labour missed out on a majority vote in the last General Election, there is still conversation circulating about what a victory for the party would have meant for the UK economy. Read on to find out what a win for left-wing voters could have lead to…

The tax system

Labour’s manifesto was quite heavily focused on tax and a victory for the party would have meant that what they consider to be a fairer tax system would be implemented. As a result, there would have been no increase in tax for anyone earning less than £80,000 a year while the top 5% of earners would have been asked to contribute more money to help fund public services. Corporation tax would also have increased from 19 to 26 percent.

More investment in the UK infrastructure

The Labour Party believes that UK citizens have been held back due to a lack of investment in the UK’s infrastructure and had plans to address this problem by pumping a staggering £250 billion into upgrading the economy over 10 years in the form of a National Transformation Fund. This money would have been put towards completing the HS2 high-speed rail from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester. This would make commuting easier, which could, in turn, have a positive impact on the UK economy.

The way the financial system operates could have been transformed

Taking a nod from successful German and Nordic countries, Labour had a plan to establish a National Investment Bank that would introduce private capital finance and deliver £250 billion of lending power. The National Investment Bank would have filled gaps in lending by private banks, particularly to small businesses and by providing long-term R&D investments.

More people would have a say in the economy

While Britain is a long-established democracy, it’s hard to deny that often, financial decisions that involve our economy are made by a small minority of people. If Labour had achieved a victory in last General Election, the distribution of ownership of our economy would have shifted. The size of the co-operative sector would have been doubled, and a ‘right to own’ scheme would have been introduced that would have meant employees would be the buyer of first refusal when the company they work for went up for sale.

How does the rise in interest rates affect you?

How does the rise in interest rates affect you?

It came as a surprise to many when The Bank of England decided to increase the base rate from 0.2% to 0.5% after over a decade of no rises at all taking place. The rise in interest rates is something that we are all aware of and are constantly being bombarded with stories about. But how much do we really know about them? More importantly, what will the implications of rising interest rates be for you? Read on to find out.

Variable mortgage rates will increase

If you are one of the 9.2 million households in the UK that has a mortgage, you will notice that your monthly mortgage payments will increase. Around half of the properties in the UK are on a standard variable rate or a tracker rate, and it is these households that will be affected most. Luckily, the people who are at such variable rates do tend to be older, and with smaller outstanding mortgage balances to pay back. On average, such households owe £89,000 and will face rises of between £11 and £12 a month, according to UK Finance. This, none the less is an inconvenience!

Fixed rate mortgages could see changes

If you are new to the property market and are only just taking out a mortgage loan, it’s likely that you will be on a fixed interest rate – 94% of new mortgages operate in this way. Such rates have begun to increase, but it’s unlikely that you will see any sort of rise immediately. It is, however, worth noting that once you reach the end of your term, you may find that your monthly payment rates increase. There is also a possibility that you could end up with a cheaper deal as lenders who offer fixed rates tend to be especially competitive.

Savers will benefit from an increased return

Good news if you’re currently putting aside money for a rainy day, the hike in interest rates will mean that you could see your pile getting bigger slightly quicker. According to statistics from The Bank of England, the average easy-access savings account is currently paying 0.14% in annual interest. So, someone with £10,000 worth of savings is earning £14 a year. If the rate rise is fully passed on, they would earn an extra £25 a year, making £39 in total.

However, if you have already found yourself in difficult circumstances due to issues discussed, it is worth taking a no obligation, impartial, free consultation here at Bell & Company. Call us today – 02895217373

The professions most likely to fall into debt

Anyone, regardless of their job, years of experience, age or financial situation can fall into debt. This can be the result of a whole host of factors such as difficult personal circumstances, business deals gone bad, irresponsible lending on behalf of banks and more.

Having said this, not all professions are created equal. The same way in which choosing a certain career path or profession will give you a greater chance of earning more money, some careers also come with an increased likelihood of falling into debt. Read on to find out which ones they are and why this is the case.

Property investor

Property developers are at increased risk of falling into debt due to the volatility of the housing market. Making a large investment in a property before renovating it can leave you in debt. Debt that you may have initially thought you could repay by selling the newly renovated home.

However, a stagnant housing market and rising property prices could result in you not being able to achieve the sale price you wanted. Leaving you in debt with a property you’re unable to sell or the prospect of selling at a reduced price and making a loss.

Bar owner

Running your own bar is a dream for some, but it’s an extremely risky operation. Generational drinking trends mean that an eye-watering 12 pubs an hour are closing down in the UK, despite years of beer tax cuts. This means that the customer base for pubs is dwindling every year. Although, there are also a host of other factors which make falling into debt a strong possibility for pub landlords.

Large electricity and heating bills are required to keep pubs running. Other bills include large payments for rent, alcohol, and refrigeration. Many pubs also have their own kitchens, which also rack up large energy bills. The result of this is that a bad month of business can be devastating to bar owners, due to the consistently high bills. Making the risk of them falling into debt relatively high.

Fleet manager

Another job that poses a high probability of falling into debt is fleet managers. These professionals depend upon their drivers and cars working as efficiently as possible in order to make money, but this sadly isn’t always the case.

Unexpected accidents can cost fleet managers tens of thousands of pounds in repair bills and suddenly leave them facing huge debts. Whereas, problems such as fuel theft and inefficient driving styles can slowly drain a fleet manager’s profits until they become losses.

If you fall into debt through your job then the answer isn’t always bankruptcy. Sometimes a settlement can be made with the debtor that could shave hundreds of thousands of pounds off your bill.

Call 0330 159 5820 to speak to one of our specialised debt strategists.

Alternatively, read our E-brochure for some information regarding Bell & Company. 

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