Posts Tagged ‘Bell & Company’

SME DEBT PRESSURE – HELP THE OWNER

 

Being an entrepreneur or business owner can be very lonely, especially when the business comes under any form of SME debt pressure.

Sometimes people in paid employment look jealously at business owners looking at them as privileged, lucky and obviously loaded. Examples of comments are:

They don’t see or comment when things go wrong nor the pressure involved when things get tight or worse the business just fails.

Todays Business Environment

In today’s business environment the speed at which things happen is amazing. The line between success and failure are closer than ever.

Recently, a business crashed due to Google changing their algorithms.
All was good when it appeared 1st or 2nd on the first page. They plummeted to page 5 after the change and the crash in business happened. The business sold one-off products, ie very few repeat sales, that relied heavily on Google Ads.

Planning Ahead

Contingency planning is vital. Most businesses do their health and safety review and a ‘what if’ plan e.g. premises catch fire or systems crashing, but never an insolvency review, i.e. a ‘what if’ should the business fail. Not something you would look at doing every week, but it needs to be done. Yes, not very positive but so important.

If it’s not been done or too late and ‘it’s hit the fan’ it is imperative that the owner gets the right advice. That sounds like a very bland comment, but you wouldn’t be seeing your GP if you had a heart attack.

Why we can help

If someone is suffering from the pressure of business debt problems – make sure you help and tell them to get the very best advice they can afford. His or her accountant and/or their solicitor, will not usually suffice.

Insolvency law and processes are well established in Statute. It’s how then it is comprehended, used and then how the problem is dealt with, with a detailed and understood strategy. That’s what Bell & Company do.

To conclude, if you know anyone in ‘the mire’ get them to talk to a niche advisor in this field. They need to understand the problem and be empathetic to the other personal pressures that stem from insolvency.

Bell & Company offer free initial consultations in an understanding way – call us on 0330 159 5820 or read our E-Brochure DO NOT BE ALONE.

 

Personal Guarantee – I’ve received a Statutory Demand!

 

Personal Guarantee – I’ve received a Statutory Demand!

A call on a Personal Guarantee can be stressful. Although, if managed with meaningful, professional engagement can be dealt with.

Statutory Demand?

If a Statutory Demand is ignored or the wrong representation is made, the situation can quickly deteriorate. Moreover, a Statutory Demand will lead to Bankruptcy proceedings. Bankruptcy Petitions will be issued within 18-21 days if the Statutory Demand is not engaged with.

Seeking correct advice

Owning assets in excess of the value of the Personal Guarantee will likely have to be entertained in full.

The key point in such cases is to minimise the costs, as the issue of a Bankruptcy Petition will see costs escalate very quickly. However, offers to resolve the situation can still be made but, need to be supported by full representation.

Alternatively, if you cannot honour the Personal Guarantee. Engagement coupled with correct professional advice is important. There are many instances of ‘professional advice’ given by advisors, who aren’t debt specialist.

Who to seek advice from?

Presentation is the key, as you don’t want to create any misconceptions at this stage. It’s all about engaging with the creditors and managing their expectations through effective communication.

Above all, we would suggest that you that nobody should rely on the ‘family friend/good old’ accountant or solicitor. This is a pressurized debt situation with defined time constraints. Strategy and its application are vital. In other words, seek debt strategy specialists

For further Information or guidance on Personal Guarantees, a Statutory Demand or Bankruptcy Petitions – Call Bell & Company on 0330 159 5830

 

Who the hell are Bell & Company?

 

Who the hell are Bell & Company?

At Bell & Company, we help People who are experiencing personal or business debt. We provided individual, tailored solutions specific to the individuals’ needs. Our advice is impartial, fair and always in the best interest of our clients.

Our team works with individuals and businesses across the UK and Ireland who need assistance with Personal Guarantees, Debt restructuring, Loan sales, unsustainable debt, mortgage regulated debt, and personal debt.

We specialise in a variety of debt areas, including:

We advise and assist in anyway way we can, to benefit our clients. We act on your behalf and present your case to lenders or acting third parties in a way that is representative of your current financial situation.

When you first contact us, you can arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our skilled debt strategy team.

During the initial consultation, we will discuss your current situation I, financial and personal. We will give you impartial advice tailored to your needs and guide you on the appropriate path to becoming debt free.

What we are not, makes us unique

Bell and Company are not Insolvency Practitioners, we are debt strategists. We provide you with solutions to your issues regarding personal or business debt, which are outside the territory of Insolvency Practitioners.

Rest assured, you will receive our honest opinion and the correct advice, which is always tailored to your situation, acting in the sole interest of you, our client.

For instance, the below case study required full in dept financial reviews, liaising with legal parties and also dealing directly with the Lender on the outstanding debt. We executed a timely and detailed strategy which delivered the best outcome for our client.

Case Study

A client with a personal guarantee of £6.5million in the UK came to us with the threat of Bankruptcy looming.

Since the 2008 crash, the Client had lived with this debt and saw no way out. He hadn’t heard from his Bank in several years and had hoped that the debt would one day go away.

After years with no word from the Bank, the Client received a Statutory Demand –potentially leading to Bankruptcy.

If the Statutory Demand was left ignored it would result in a Creditors Petition for Bankruptcy.

Bell & Company were instructed to negotiate a settlement of this debt with strict time constraints imposed by the issuance of the Statutory Demand.

With the assistance of a third party, the Client raised funds and was able to settle this debt for £200,000.

Above all, this meant that the pressure himself and his family felt from the debt was cleared.

Therefore, savings of £6,300,000 were achieved on the initial Bank demand for repayment.

Our client could restart his life without the burden of debt hanging over him and his family.

Contact us

Call 0330 159 5820 for a free consultation

For more information on our services, view our brochure.W

 

A Guide to a Directors Personal Guarantee

What is a personal guarantee? Why would I need one?

At the height of the business boom, banks frequently provided loans to companies. But, banks often required that the directors of these businesses sign an agreement, A Personal Guarantee. If the company is unable to repay these loans, the signer, or guarantor, would be personally responsible for the repayment.

A Personal Guarantee is only problematic if the business has breached the terms of agreement of the loan. Although, they have become more of an issue since the 2008 financial crash. Therefore, companies now find themselves in difficulty, and lenders are entitled to pursue bankruptcy against the guarantor if… the guarantor cannot repay the terms agreed when the original agreement was signed.

Limited company vs. sole traders/partnerships

Personal Guarantees are generally signed by directors of limited companies. Sole traders or those who work in a business partnership will often have been issued loans in their names. These loans can put individuals at risk of losing personal assets or even being declared bankrupt if repayment fails.

What if I can’t pay?

If you signed a Personal Guarantee for your limited company and you fail to keep up with repayments, your lenders will pursue you, to recover the outstanding debt. If you go straight to an Insolvency Practitioner, you will find they are legally obligated to try and get the best deal possible for your lenders. Moreover, if your bank account is overdrawn, your creditors can take legal action, and you could potentially be investigated.

What do I do next?

There are always options and you don’t have to face the stress and uncertainty of being liable for repayments alone.Bell & Company are pre-insolvency consultants who specialise in helping people affected by Personal Guarantees.

If a loan has been sold off by your original lenders to a ‘vulture’ fund, the ‘vulture’ fund will pursue debt repayment aggressively. However, Bell & Company’s involvement will help, when dealing with ‘vulture’ funds.

Call Bell & Company on 0330 159 5820. Alternatively, read our brochure or visit our website

The misconceptions of Bankruptcy Exposed

Bankruptcy, the “B” word, is feared by many. This is often as a result of uninformed misconceptions. There is a possibility of positive and negative outcomes depending on the individual situation.

However, regardless of the outcome, Bankruptcies are on the rise.

This week we had 23 queries in relation to Bankruptcy. Individual Bankruptcies have increased by 27.3% in the past 12 months. Last quarter individual insolvencies reached a staggering 28,951.

So, is there such thing as a ‘best case scenario’ in Bankruptcy?

Providing the Client’s circumstances align, Personal Bankruptcy can provide a “clean slate” allowing the individual the opportunity to start again. We regularly assist individuals going through Personal Bankruptcy and help to alleviate the pressures involved, acting in our Clients’ best-interest to achieve of the best outcome.

For many the family home is the most treasured of all. There are instances in which you may keep your home, for example if the property is in Negative Equity and you can maintain your mortgage repayments. Even if there is Equity in the property we can offer the appropriate strategies on keeping your family home in Bankruptcy.

However, we must stress that Bankruptcy may not be the best option for some people and we would urge you to obtain full, advice before making this decision. Bell & Company can provide this. You do not want to be left exposed.

Look at this guide and see what will happen to your home in the event of Bankruptcy.

READ HERE

In the case where you have low value assets, even negative equity in property, and cannot proceed with Bankruptcy due to your profession or other reasons, then looking at alternatives such as an informal arrangement is an option.

In situations such as this we can negotiate on your behalf, dealing with the intricacies of your case and applying our expertise.

There are also instances in which it is not in the creditors best interest for you to go Bankrupt.

Reasons for this are:

In this case you are in a position where you can negotiate outside of the realms of bankruptcy, but you must take professional advice as Bankruptcy can still be enforced if communications breakdown.

Avoiding Bankruptcy is achievable.

In the past, we have had a client with personal guarantee debt of over £6.5 million. After receiving a Statutory Demand for full payment, we entered negotiations on their behalf. With third party financial assistance an informal agreement of full and final settlement was achieved, saving the client from Bankruptcy.

Read more successes like this here

Proceeding with Alternative options

Amicably liaising with a lender can vastly reduce the chance of you being declared Bankrupt and bring about a positive outcome for all parties.

If you want to negotiate with the lender to achieve a full and final settlement, we can guide you through the process.

Bell & Company, Debt Strategists, are expert negotiators who assist many through alternative arrangements outside of Bankruptcy enabling many to reach a solution to their debt problem.

Regardless of best or worst-case scenario, Bell & Company can assist in providing the appropriate advice tailored to your personal circumstances with a view to establishing your best-case scenario.

Contact the team here or call 02895 217 373 to discuss your circumstances and take the first steps towards your fresh start in life.

Don’t let your PRIDE get in the way of your FUTURE!

The word bankruptcy tends to fill most people with feelings of dread.

It’s hard to deny the fact that the word has typically negative connotations and is usually associated with financial chaos and the diminishing reputations of those associated with it. But don’t let your PRIDE get in the way of your FUTURE.

While people tend to only focus on the negative aspects of bankruptcy, there are positives that can come as a result of considering it as an option. In 2018, there are still individuals who feel that their reputation would suffer if they declare themselves bankrupt, however, we urge you to think about the positives.

Changing times

Bell & Company feel, however, since 2008 the stigma associated with the process has gradually lessened. Bankruptcy can have benefits and it is an excellent tool when armed with the best advice. Sometimes, if a person is saddled with excessive, unaffordable unsecured debt then Personal Bankruptcy can be the best route forward.

The negative connotations of Bankruptcy are a thing of the past, and although the Bankruptcy process may not be right for everyone – it can be a way to lift this burden from your shoulders. Bankruptcy essentially wipes the slate clean and allows you to move on with your life without the burden of crippling debt.

How we can help

As soon as you file for bankruptcy you can start taking steps to getting your finances back under control and improving your credit score. Without the ability to put a stop to the chaos that is credit gone awry, some people would never be able to get their finances under control again, but bankruptcy can enable that to happen.

However, before filing for bankruptcy, there are steps you must take. We work under the mantra of offering Professional Independent Insolvency Advice and many borrowers will be surprised how Bankruptcy can resolve debt issues. Our team supports clients every step of the way through Bankruptcy to reduce the stress, given this is an extremely emotional process. We see clients through preparations for filing, help with paperwork – at the Courts and liaising with bodies such as the Official Receiver or Trustees.

Try Bell & Company

We don’t sugar coat the ramifications of bankruptcy, but we do outline the positives. Don’t let your PRIDE get in the way of your FUTURE.

To understand how bankruptcy can be a positive way out, and help you get back on your feet, contact our team today on 02895217373 for a FREE impartial and no obligation consultation.

 

How loan sales and vulture funds could result in thousands of people losing their homes

A financial advisory company that specializes in dealing with personal and professional insolvency is warning how a state bank’s decision to sell off troublesome and underperforming loans could result in thousands of people losing their home.

Bell and Company are keen to alert homeowners in the North that are likely to be affected by Permanent TSB’s decision to put under-performing mortgages up for sale as part of Project Glas.

Terry Bell, Bell & Company Principle, said: “This decision by Permanent TSB is going to have lasting and damaging effects for those who own properties in certain regions. We are currently working with a number of clients that we know will be put out by this decision.

“The bank is 75% owned by the state and is planning on selling a loan book worth €4 billion to vulture funds. It’s important to recognize though that in some circumstances, not all of the customers who are going to be affected by this are underpaying or are guilty of not engaging with the bank and their financial responsibilities.”

“Often in these kinds of circumstances, customers who have engaged with their bank and have established financial arrangements are still classed as “non-performing”, despite their clear intentions of paying off their loans.”

“This sale will undoubtedly “stoke the fire”, of the many homeowners and investors who have been able to avail of extremely low tracker-rate mortgages, and the lender will definitely come under pressure from the new owner.”

“We are now urging anyone that is concerned about the implications of this proposal to get in touch with us today and allow one of our specialized financial advisors to help you find the best possible outcome for your problems. We are experts when it comes to providing strategies for people keen to overcome property debt.”

Those facing these property problems should also be aware that attempting to negotiate with vulture funds can be hazardous, especially when it comes to restructuring mortgages.

Terry continues: “With figures revealing that the amount of mortgages in arrears held by private investment funds has risen and home possession is also rising, perhaps it is time for politicians and parties to stand up against the damaging effects that vulture funds can have on ordinary families.”

For more information about managing debt or to get a free financial review, call Bell & Company on 02895 217 373 or email [email protected].

Are you sitting on a mortgage time bomb?

Are you sitting on a mortgage time bomb?

Currently, owning your own property is a luxury that many people will never experience…

With rising interest rates and the cost of living and property rising each, many millennials are turning to renting as their only option, when they fly from the safe and secure nest of their home with their parents. Having said that, many people do have mortgages, which come in different forms. If you currently have an interest-only mortgage, you may want to consider the fact that you are leaving yourself exposed to a “mortgage time bomb”, a financially insecure situation.

Read on to find out more about interest-only mortgages and their risks?

What is an interest-only mortgage?

When you take out an interest-only mortgage, you will only be required to pay back the interest on monthly payments. The term is usually between 5 and 7 years. After the term is over, you have several different options available to you. You can either refinance your home, make a lump sum payment or begin paying off the principal of the loan. Nearly one in five homeowners currently have this of mortgage.

Why might they be harmful?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has estimated that the end of these mortgage terms will peak in the next 10 to 14 years, but it has been revealed that many lenders have been ignoring letters from lenders, sparking concern that some homeowners do not have any plans in place to pay the final bill.

In 2018, there were 1.67 million full interest-only and part-capital repayment mortgages that are still outstanding, representing 17.6% of all mortgages in the UK.

Why are people ignoring their payments?

There are several reasons why homeowners might be choosing to ignore letters about their mortgage repayments. While some do have adequate payment plans in place, others are choosing to bury their heads in the sand over fears that they will never be able to completely pay back what they owe.

There is also the issue of people not trusting their lenders and therefore feeling suspicious about any correspondences they receive from them.

How can WE help?

We understand that, as a homeowner, your needs and requirements are specific to you, which is why we can offer a completely bespoke service. Whether you need advice about a payment plan for your mortgage or need to talk about how to deal with lenders, we’re happy to help. Find out more about our services call 0330 159 5820

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.

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. 

How you can beat debt

How you can beat debt

Debt is a problem that affects millions of people all over the world. In the UK specifically, over 8.3 million families are currently living in debt, with this often causing people emotional stress and anxiety as well as financial problems. The good news is that no debt is unbeatable. Even if you’re laden with massive sums of debt that seem impossible to pay back, there are ways you can combat it and services out there which can help give you some space to breathe again. Read on for our tips on how to beat debt and get your finances back on track.

Budget

This one may seem obvious but being aware of what you’re spending and how to minimize your outgoings is the first step towards beating your debt. Sitting down with a pen and paper and determining how much of your weekly outgoings can be cut down against your total income will give you a true reflection of your finances. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be aware of how much you can begin paying back.

Tackle your most important debts first

If you’re dealing with multiple debts, then the first thing to do is work out which ones are the most urgent. Finding yourself in mortgage arrears can lead to you losing your house, and not paying debts owed from parking fines can result in bailiffs seizing goods from your home, so working out which debts need to be prioritized is imperative.

Find out what you’re entitled to

If you don’t ask you never get. You might be entitled to range of finances such as working family tax credits which can give your finances a boost. We advise that you get in touch with the Government to work out what you’re owed as this can bolster your monthly income and help you to pay off your debts quicker.

Seek professional help

Sometimes people are faced with truly insurmountable amounts of debt that are impossible to pay back with their own income alone.

That’s where we come in.

We know the laws around debt like the back of our hands and have helped hundreds of clients beat their debts since we were formed in 2011.

In fact, our settlements with mortgage companies, banks and lenders have saved our clients over £130 in debt repayments over the years.

The reality of debt is that, depending on your circumstances, you might only have to pay back a fraction of what you owe. Why not call us today on 0330 159 5820 to see if we can help get you back into the black?

 

Are the banks still lending too much?

The global financial crash of 2008 is widely considered to have been the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Banks went bust, unemployment levels rose and many governments embarked upon austerity measures in an attempt to reduce enormous budget deficits the recession had laden their respective countries with. Earlier this year The Bank of England issued a stark warning that banks are still lending out too much and leaving themselves exposed to a shock in the financial system.

Perhaps the most emotive symptom of the recession, however, was the huge wave of public anger that swept across the continent. The banks, a key figure in the crash thanks to reckless lending, were to be bailed out by the taxpayer. Many people are understandably still angry about this 9 years later and now view banks as untrustworthy, unaccountable entities who are to blame for the effects of the recession that are still being felt today.

The question is, have the banks learned their lesson from the recession?

The evidence would suggest not. The recession was essentially caused by careless and impulsive lending on the behalf of bankers to people who had little hope of paying back what they owed. Every time a new loan was authorised, this created money that needed to be paid back, with the total of money owed eventually spiraling out of control to a point where it was impossible to reclaim what had been loaned out. British taxpayers alone have spent over £1.1 trillion to bail out the banks since the recession happened, and there are ominous signs that the banks may be repeating the same mistakes that caused the financial meltdown of 2008.

Earlier this year The Bank of England issued a stark warning that banks are still lending out too much and leaving themselves exposed to a shock in the financial system. Recent figures show that consumer credit in the UK has risen at a rate of 9.8% because of a boom in credit card and other unsecured loans, with the risk of this being a potential loss of £30bn if loans are unable to be repaid. Banks have consequently begun to set aside excess capital in the event of another economic shock, but such a rise in lending is a worrying sign considering the calamitous repercussions of the recession.

How can we protect ourselves?

To protect yourself and your assets at a time such as this, it’s vital that you carefully consider loans banks may offer you before entering into an agreement with them. Is there a reasonable amount of interest on what you’re being offered? Are the repayments they’re requesting likely to be paid on time? Do you really need the loan? Asking yourself such questions is critical to your financial well-being in a time where it seems the banks haven’t fully learned their lesson.

However, if you have already found yourself in difficult circumstances due to issues such as property debt, or owe a large amount which is putting your assets at risk, it is worth taking a no obligation, impartial, free consultation here at Bell & Company. Call us today – 02895217373

Will property costs in the UK continue to rise?

Property costs in the UK

For many of us, property prices are simply too high. A sizeable majority of us are priced out of living in our capital where, along with higher living costs, you’ll find the average house price to be a whopping £481,556. Perhaps soaring prices are to be expected in Britain’s capital, but even outside of London you’re likely to encounter high prices; the average cost of a house in Britain is an eye-watering £211,000. This represents a massive increase in average costs at the beginning of the new millennium, with the average spend on a UK home being less than half of the current amount at only £75,000 in 2000.

The problem for many prospective first-time-buyers is not only that house prices are too high as they are either; it’s the fact that they’re going to continue rising for the foreseeable future. Property costs in the UK are set to soar by 30% over the course of the next five years, pricing out millions more buyers in the process. The reasons for this are varied. Many argue that a lack of houses being built are to blame for the subsequent rise in prices across the UK, whilst others contest that stagnating wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living in Britain, making it impossible for homeowners to save enough.

Having said all of this, however, it is still possible for you to finance your property. Even in face of the fact that house prices may continue to rise for the next 50 years, obtaining the right financial package with sensible repayment options means that you’ll still be able to afford the house of your dreams.

Packages such as Help To Buy ISAs are a fantastic option for first-time buyers.

These work by having the Government top-up everything you save by 25%, so if you save £200 the Government will give you an additional £50. You can receive a total of £3000 from a Help To Buy ISA, which will give you a deposit total of £15,000 towards your first property.

Many young first-time buyers have used this scheme in order to pay for their first home and it’s a great choice if you’re looking to do the same. Even if you don’t choose this option, a critical rule to bear in mind is to be shrewd and shop around when choosing your mortgage. Always add together the final repayments you’ll be paying before entering agreements with banks, and don’t be enticed by initially attractive options such as interest-only loans which may not require paying back immediately. These can work out more expensive in the long run and will have to be paid back eventually.

However, if you have already found yourself in difficult circumstances due to issues such as property debt, or owe a large amount which is putting your assets at risk, it is worth taking a no obligation, impartial, free consultation here at Bell & Company. Call us today – 02895217373

First-time investor left with large shortfall

Bell & Company were contacted by a first time investor who had been left in negative equity on his home.

This was the gentleman’s first time investing in property, and unfortunately, just took out a mortgage at simply the wrong time, and had the possibility of insolvency looming over him.

At Bell and Company, over our years in business we have been able to build a strong relationship not only with clients but a good business relationship with different lenders.

The lender in this case was able to agree on a full and final settlement of £5000, which was fantastic. Although the end result was a great success, the negotiation was not easy. The team at Bell & Company had to develop new strategies to generate the best outcome for the client.

We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside of the box. We can provide strategies and solutions that others wouldn’t consider. Contact us today if you would like to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation on 02895 217 373.

‘Buy-to-Let’ property stress


Bell & Company finalise successful negotiations on a buy-to-let property.

An older couple based in England approached our company regarding a property they had bought to rent as a holiday home in the south of the country. The lender was known to be notoriously difficult to deal with, so this was an ongoing battle between the lender and Bell & Company’s strategists.

When liaising with the client initially it was a mutual decision to put the house on the market, and the couple were left with a shortfall of just over £60000.

Although a substantial amount of money, these “average” shortfalls may be tricky to settle, especially at a low percentage. However, this was not a manageable debt for the couple in question, who were desperate to move on with their lives.

Negotiating with a difficult lender, or one whom may be reluctant to make “deals” can be an extremely lengthy process.  In this instance, however, our clients were in a position to offer £8000 in full and final settlement, just short 10% of the debt.

The couple couldn’t have been any more complimentary of Bell & Company’s professional, yet warm approach, and have now been able to enjoy their retirement without the burden of property debt.

If you find yourself facing issues surrounding property debt, feel free to contact us.

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.

Have a read of another example of a buy-to-let case settled by the strategists at Bell & Company.

The debt hotspots of the UK

Debt hotspots

Debt is a problem that’s plaguing the whole of the UK. In fact, household debt across the country has increased by 7% in the last five years alone. New figures suggest that half of British adults could be financially vulnerable. Not all areas of the UK are equal in their debt problems, however. Whilst the problems which are causing debt rises in the UK are largely the same, some parts of the country fare worse than others in terms of how many people are in debt there. Read on to find out more about Britain’s debt hotspots and why the people who live in them are falling into financial difficulties.

Newham

Topping the list of debt hotspots in Britain is Newham in London. For a borough with a population of 308,000, Newham has some 60,000 people in debt. This shocking statistic is borne of a variety of reasons, one of which being the startlingly low average household income of just £15,704. This is a far cry from the national average of £22,204 and, when coupled with the higher cost of living in London, has resulted in many of Newham’s residents turning to credit cards simply to get by.

Lenders seem to have forgotten the causes of the recession in this respect; it was through careless lending by banks to people who had little chance of paying back what they owed that the global financial crash of 2008 occurred.

Another factor which accounts for the high level of debtors in Newham is the low employment rate; only 68.7% of people in Newham have a job, as opposed to the London average of 73.8%. Again, this points to the reasons that so many are looking to use credit cards and loans to alleviate their debt troubles, but it only adds to the vicious circle of debt that so many of Newham’s inhabitants find themselves in.

Stoke-on-Trent

Another one of the UK’s debt hotspots can be found north of Newham in Stoke-on-Trent. Consumer lending in Stoke ballooned by 10% in 2016, a sign of the times that lenders may indeed be becoming trigger-happy in agreeing to loans once more. The Stoke Citizens Advice bureau points to the fact that, similarly to Newham, people are borrowing to pay day-to-day bills for things such as rent or council tax. Stoke has one of the highest insolvency rates in Britain too; 43 people in every 10,000 are insolvent in the city, proving once again that a high cost of living is fuelling the need to borrow unsustainably, with this phenomenon  being facilitated by careless lending on behalf of banks.

Bell & Company are debt strategists who negotiate on your behalf. If you are going insolvent or experiencing severe debt issues, in particular mortgage debt or commercial loans, call us today.

A couple helped out of huge shortfall after their separation

A former couple had been under the weight of a huge shortfall of over £105,000. They were both trying to move on with their individual lives, but, this lender, in particular, remained unsympathetic to their situation. After a number of weeks negotiating, the lender placed the file on hold for a year, hoping for a change in circumstance that may lead to a higher return for them. This, of course, was unreasonable on all fronts.

The individuals wished to move on with their lives but were tied together with this debt. The bank remained solid that they were not negotiating for a year regarding this case. Our team strategized and decided to adopt a different approach to the lender. Within a few weeks, the lender had been convinced to accept the offer at 20% of their shortfall.

Like all cases at Bell & Company our team was very hands on, but in this case, when faced with obstacles from the lender, our team devised new strategies and became even more determined to get the best deal for our client, which is a testament to our success. Expert Negotiators with a wealth of experience in dealing with many types of lenders.

If you are experiencing similar issues and need assistance in property debt, then call us today. Our negotiators are experiencing excellent settlements even in times where lenders are changing their protocols.

English ‘buy to let’ case settled within 5 months

A young man based in England approached our company regarding an unsustainable ‘buy to let’ property he owned.

After weighing up his options, he decided after much deliberation to surrender the property back to the lender. Thankfully the property sold quickly and left a shortfall of just over £30,000. This shortfall is deemed as a “manageable debt”, especially for someone who is quite young and in full-time employment. “Smaller” shortfalls such as these are notoriously difficult to settle, especially at a lower percentage. They will often take quite some time.

In this instance, however, our clients were in a position to offer £3,000 in full and final settlement, 10% of the debt. The lender was extremely cooperative, thanks to our strong professional relationship and the case settled within a few weeks. From surrender to the settlement, the turn around was just 5 months. Needless to say, our client was ecstatic!

“Smaller” shortfalls such as these are notoriously difficult to settle, especially at a lower percentage. They will often take quite some time. In this instance, however, our clients were in a position to offer £3,000 in full and final settlement, 10% of the debt. The lender was extremely cooperative, thanks to our strong professional relationship and the case settled within a few weeks. From surrender to the settlement, the turn around was just 5 months. Needless to say, our client was ecstatic!

From surrender to the settlement, the turn around was just 5 months. Needless to say, our client was ecstatic!

If you find yourself facing issues surrounding property debt, feel free to contact us.

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.

 

Finance professional avoids Bankruptcy

Bell and Company recently assisted a professional to avoid Bankruptcy

Our client, who happened to be a professional in the field of finance, unfortunately, fell victim to the property crash, which saw them left with a shortfall of over £110,000. They decided to surrender the property back to the lender as arrears and liability continued to grow, with no visible resolution.

Upon the initial consultation with ourselves at Bell & Company, we were able to oversee the surrender of the property and swiftly entered into negotiations for settlement. Due to our strong relationship with their lender, we achieved a full and final settlement of £5,000, under 5% of the shortfall, with a write-off, of over £105,000!

We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside of the box. We can provide strategies and solutions that others wouldn’t consider. Contact us today if you would like to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation on 02895 217 373.

Alternatively, have a look at our frequently asked questions on our website.

I am a company director of a limited company with personal Guarantee. How will this effect me?

I am a company director of a limited company with personal Guarantee. How will this effect me? More often than not where a Lender is offering loan facilities to a Company, they will, by way of security, require a Personal Guarantee to be offered by the Director(s) of same Company. This will essentially provide the Lender with the reassurance that, even in the event of the Company becoming insolvent, they can pursue the Directors directly and personally in relation to monies owing. It provides them with an extra layer of cover so to speak…

Directors (especially in the past) will have seen this as a risk worth taking, particularly as it could massively influence the Lender’s decision as to whether to approve/deny a loan application submitted on behalf of the Company. This is all very well when the Company is performing however where a Company begins to experience financial issues/is showing signs of being in a position of financial distress, Personal Guarantees can have serious and hard hitting consequences for the obligated Director(s).

In some instances, Personal Guarantees will be capped at a specific amount and the amount will have been influenced by the overall, net worth of the Director(s) at that time. In other instances however, Guarantees will be somewhat open ended and will be as wide as to cover all debts owing by the Company to the subject lender. Negotiating in relation to a Personal Guarantee is most definitely possible, when broached in the correct way and with the right presentation, however is not straightforward.

The subject lender will analyse the position in an in-depth manner and conduct a high level of due diligence, often engaging specialist professionals, in order to determine what can be recovered thus it is imperative that positioning and approach is concise and watertight. Creditors will look at various aspects of the Director(s) position, not least, to include asset/monetary position and a number of documents, reports and evidence will be required to be submitted in order to support any submissions made. There are central in the context of negotiations.

Once again, the importance of obtaining the correct advices with regards how to communicate/approach must be stressed here as this can very often mean the difference between losing and retaining livelihood/home etc. The importance of being pro-active cannot be emphasised enough as failure to do so will often result in Judgment/Statutory Demand, both of which can be avoided when the correct steps are taken.

To conclude, we would state as follows:

Whilst Personal Guarantees do not very often impact/feature in the thought process of Directors at the time of loan application and where the Company is performing, other than to be considered the determining factor re sanctioning/rejection, they can have serious, personal consequences where the Company becomes insolvent and the debt is called in. The Lender is entitled to explore all surrounding property, the equity therein and the financial well-being of the individual and can pursue up to and including Bankruptcy in which event there is often a lot at risk.

This can be avoided in its entirety if the correct line of communications are adopted from the outset and with the right advice, guidance and representation. There are significant savings to be achieved if handled in the correct way – We have achieved savings at 0.6% of overall debt owing however each case will be circumstance dependent. Why take the risk caused by delay…?

Act now and protect what is important.

My home has been sold and now I have received a letter chasing an outstanding balance. What are my options?

As the various lending institutions work through their ‘delinquent’ mortgage books, more and more people are approaching us at the end of the sale process, when the lender and their agents, usually solicitors, chase and seek recovery of the outstanding amount due, after the disposal of the asset(s) involved.

If a property was purchased pre property crash, then inevitably there will be a significant price variation after a sale based on today’s property values. Negative Equity is an extremely prevalent issue in today’s property climate in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

Invariably this balance will be a lot higher than you thought but will include the following additional information:

1.       All the interest since the last payment made.

2.       The property would have been sold ‘In Repossession’. Recent DSD figures show that these properties yield as little as 59% of the market value.

3.       Costs of the necessary action to recover the property through court.

4.       Any other associated costs

 

The balance left after the sale, I.e. ‘The shortfall’ is relative and the route which is taken is dependent upon two key factors

1.       Do you have significant surplus income? And/or

2.       Do you own other assets?

 

Inevitably, the balance is irrelevant. If a client cannot afford to pay a £70,000 shortfall, then they most certainly will not be able to afford a £100,000 shortfall.

Therefore, If the answer is no to both of the above questions then the options open to you firstly and the lender secondly are:

1.       A choice of formal insolvency, be it bankruptcy or IVA, subject to your individual circumstances.

2.       An informal insolvency option to settle with the lender on a full and final basis for a reduced amount.  

 

As ever we would implore you to be proactive as these things will not just go away.  By this stage the lender and their advisors usually want the matter resolved, one way or another, as does the client. 

Bell & Company have developed a specialised team who work with a wide variety of lenders and situations and resolve issues like these on a daily basis with excellent success.  If you find yourself with any of these issues, please get in touch with us here at Bell & Company. To discuss your case with us please call Karen on 02895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation at a time and place to suit you. We look forward to assisting you.

Brexit to potentially delay Bank Loan Sales

In recent times, we have been approached by various individuals, businesses and professionals, all of whom have received letters from their primary lender essentially providing them with them with three options as follows:

(a) Pay now in full

(b) Re-finance and pay in full

(c) Failing the above, we will sell to a third party fund

Needless to say, this has caused grave concern for many, particularly as the time frames implemented, along with the options provided, are neither reasonable nor feasible. Recent discussions that we have been party to however have revealed that, as a direct result of Brexit and, indeed, the lingering sense of unknown and uncertainty as to how things will look/operate going forward, there has been complete failure in terms of attracting third party interest for loan purchase.

Previous loan sales have attracted the attention of monumental vulture funds such as Cerberus, Cabot, Loan Star etc. however it would appear that the appetite is non-existent this time round…for now anyway. This means that certain loan sales have been delayed for now which is neither what the Banks wanted, nor what they had planned for. Further communications with the relevant Bank’s have further demonstrated that the Banks are, once again, open to proposals of settlement where addressed forthwith. This welcomes a final opportunity and shot for those, previously threatened with loans sales, to engage with their subject Bank forthwith and to look to put matters to bed once and for all, seeking final settlement and resolution and thus avoiding further delay.

 

The experience to date with certain loan sales for many Borrowers has been a heightened sense of delay and thus frustration in dealing with matters. We would strongly encourage and, indeed, emphasis to anyone in this position, importance of seeking to deal with matters now rather than putting them on the long finger in which event, the same issues/debts could continue to surround and pressurise months, years even, down the line yet with continued, accruing interest and charges. Why wait – Engage now with a view to finding peace, freedom from the burden of pressuring debt and, indeed, a new beginning!

 

Call us now in order to discuss your options going forward and to start on the path to resolution

Bankruptcy- What can happen?

Bankruptcy, the “B” word, is feared by many and has negative connotations associated with it. Sadly, we see many Creditors petitions in Court for borrowers being made Bankrupt by their Lender. Perhaps the stigma surrounding Bankruptcy has been reduced since 2008 due to the increase in numbers filing for Bankruptcy but it is still something that many fear and want to avoid at all costs however It can prove to be a useful tool for borrowers whose debts are so significant that there is no route to negotiate with lenders.

Aggressive Creditor’s Petition? What’s the worst that can happen?

You can be made Bankrupt by your lender. It is a lengthy process for the Creditor and does involve cost but nonetheless many will pursue this route to non- responsive debtors. Throughout the process a Creditor must take action to declare the debtor Bankrupt, the debtor will be given every chance to respond. Amicably liaising with a lender can vastly reduce the chance of you being made Bankrupt and also bring about a positive outcome for all parties involved should this be the best option for you.

Should a Creditors Petition be followed through you could find yourself in increased financial difficulty. You may be called for a meeting in the Official Receivers to discuss your finances and they may decide to implement an Attachment of Earnings Order. If this is put in place funds could be taken directly from your monthly salary and distributed to the relevant Creditors. Furthermore, if made Bankrupt your assets could be in significant danger for example, if you have equity in home this asset is in severe risk. Other matters to consider include vehicles, pensions, life insurance policies etc.

Is there such thing as a ‘best case scenario’ in Bankruptcy?

Providing the Client’s circumstances align, Personal Bankruptcy can “clear the decks” allowing the individual the opportunity to start again. We regularly assist individuals going through Personal Bankruptcy and help to alleviate the pressures involved.

Dependant on your personal situation Bankruptcy may not have a serious effect on your day to day life for example, if your home is in negative equity there may be a a high possibility that you can retain this in Bankruptcy once mortgage payments are maintained. Furthermore, an income payment order may not be applicable if there is an undisputed deficit each month. There is also a possibility that you will retain your vehicle, life insurance and pension.

Regardless of best or worst case scenario, Bell & Company can assist in providing the appropriate advice tailored to the debtor’s personal circumstances with a view to establishing your best case scenario.

Contact the team here or call 02895 217 373 to discuss your circumstances and take the first steps towards your fresh start in life.

 

Will seeking to reach a settlement with my lender impact on my credit rating?

Far too many people underestimate the importance of their Credit Rating. It is a key tool in life and maintaining your credit score can bring about significant benefits to you in sourcing any form of credit from an Energy Account, Mobile Phone, Credit Card and all the way to Mortgages. A strong credit score will allow you to access higher levels of credit at much better rates.

Bell & Company will advise of the full ramifications of the process you take will have on your credit file. That is why our advisors typically ask for your credit file when we meet for our free initial consultation, it is key we hav all of the information so the team can paint the full picture for you.

Some advice we hear clients given regarding their credit rating is appalling. Many advise to simply stop payments – this can damage your credit rating massively and should you default will cause you 5-6 years of difficulty. Make sure you get the correct advice by calling Bell & company and attending a free initial consultation.

In answering the title, it depends! Through the negative equity resolution process your credit score can be maintained depending on your circumstances and the lender processes involved. Some lenders however will require missed payments and this can cause damage to your credit file. Once again, if you provide us with the full information from the outsets we can offer advices as to the impact on your credit score.

To discuss your case with us please call 02895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation at a time and place to suit you. We look forward to assisting you.

Can I sell if I’m in Negative Equity?

Bell & Company regularly hear individuals in Negative Equity declare themselves as “Mortgage Prisoners”. This opinion is often developed from listening to poor knowledge of their circumstances and not seeking professional independent advice.

The answer to the question is, YES but it depends.

Releasing a charge on a deed

Some lenders will allow borrowers who are in Negative Equity to sell their property. This must be done with prior consent from the lender. Otherwise, they will not release their charge on the deed so there would then not be clear title to complete the sale.

Open Market Sale

The lenders who do allow an open market sale will require a full financial review often in their own format. Bell & Company know which lenders allow borrowers to sell on the open market and we also know the processes. Our Resolution team achieve on market sales agreed with lenders daily.

Some lenders however will not allow an open market sale. This does not seem like a commercially minded decision given that an open market sale if beneficial for all parties. Achieving the true price for the property which will ensure the lender receives the maximum sales proceeds possible and the borrower’s shortfall debt is reduced.  Nonetheless, this is their stance and must be respected.

Even if you are with a lender who will not allow an open market sale it is still possible to offload the negative asset, but it comes with greater issues. This involves repossession (through court) or voluntary surrender of the property – this will typically mean a sale in possession by the lender which typically achieves only 70% of open market value. There could also be consequences for your credit rating.

Appointing Bell & Company

It is essential you do not deem yourself a “mortgage prisoner” and understand that options do exist and that many people in a similar situation have extricated themselves from Negative Equity by appointing Bell & Company.

Our expert team will ensure the advice is tailored to your situation. We do not tell you what you want to hear but instead what you need to know to move forward. All our initial consultations are free and to arrange yours please call us today on 0330 159 5820.

My Loan Has Been Sold to A Third Party – What does this mean for me?

At Bell & Company, we assist individuals whose original loans have been sold to a third party.

Vulture Funds

An initial reaction from Borrowers whose loans have been sold is that of trepidation.  This attitude is likely brought about by reading articles wherein these third parties being called “Vulture Funds”.  Some firms have outlined the likes of Cerberus and Lonestar as being vulture funds. There is without question the opportunity to resolve defaulted debt accounts and Personal Guarantees.

Many clients, that we are currently assisting in this field, have seen that a loan sale has given them the opportunity to address the issue. The case with many lenders, who sold loan books, is they were previously inundated with cases. These cases required resolving without having the personnel or resources to resolve the matter.

Conversely, a loan purchaser will be looking for a quicker turnaround and a return on their initial purchase which will be a significantly reduced price when compared to the outstanding loan balance, dependent of course on the Borrowers’ surrounding position.

Benefits for the Borrower

Considering this, the benefit for the Borrower is they are dealing with an entity that has the appetite to address the issue and are looking for a return which is significantly less than the overall liability. Essentially, a loan sale gives the borrower a chance to finalise a problematic loan default, Personal Guarantee or debt.

Your third party will be requesting proposals and Bell & Company have the experience on how to structure, present and negotiate any proposal tailored to your current circumstance. Our Corporate department work in this field daily and are changing both the lives of individuals as well as business prosperity. Many successful businesses have been subject to defaulted debt and once resolved the fabric of a successful business can remain.

If you or anyone you know has a personal or business loan, sold to a third party and want professional independent debt advice.

Please call the office today on 0330 159 5820.

Bell & Company always offer a free initial consultation and we look forward to meeting you to outline all the options available.

Could I lose my home?

Could I lose my home?

One thing we understand entirely is that home is sacrosanct to most people thus it is imperative that the situation at home is investigated first and foremost. In many instances, a Borrower/Guarantor’s home will be mortgaged with another lending institution and, as a result of the property crash, there will very rarely be equity in the home thus there is nothing there for lending institutions to pursue/Official Receiver to vest an interest in.

However, each case is different. A lot centers around mortgage balance, current market value and whether there is any equity within the property. A lending institution only can initiate repossession proceedings. if your home has been directly offered as security.

Personal Guarantee

If you have signed a Personal Guarantee, your personal assets are exposed. Any Creditor can seek to realise the equity in any assets relating to you by seeking Judgment and enforcing same thereafter or, alternatively, petitioning for Bankruptcy, even if they have no security.

If there is equity in your home, this will have to be considered in any settlement proposal to ensure that the same is protected. This will often avoid aggressive action than by a Creditor. However, rights are always reserved.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from our services, please call us today on 0330 159 5820.

 We look forward to working with you.

BREXIT – IMPLICATIONS ON NORTHERN IRELAND PROPERTY MARKET

It is coming up to a couple of weeks since the EU Referendum was held and that Brexit was announced. It has been perhaps the most turbulent time in British politics in living memory with party leaders stepping aside or being under severe pressure. Whatever your political views or whether you voted leave or remain the fact is we face a period of instability with very little sound knowledge of the future.

 In respect of property you can almost read an article to suit either markets will be fine or will plummet, you choose the article and your preference.

 Many articles are London-centric, much like the politics pre-referendum and reading those shows that the top end of the property market saw a fall since the result was announced.  It will be interesting to see if this filters down, as we have commented previously the London Property Bubble could burst at any time and perhaps Brexit could be the trigger.

 Looking specifically at Northern Ireland there is far less literature, nonetheless we have found some interesting papers along with comments from associates in our network see the below.

Residential

The simple fact is that Property markets do not like uncertainty.

 Speaking with a local estate agent in Belfast Bell & Company were advised there was a slight reduction in supply of property on the market, vendors where awaiting the outcome of the referendum perhaps before making the decision to list their property. In the immediate aftermath the agent advised that on the Friday three sales fell through ranging from the low to top end of the Belfast market. In terms of the supply factor in may take months to see if this downward trend continues and some point to the fact that limited supply (UK wide) may buffer house price decline.

 Another factor to consider is that the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee have now aired views to reduce the already incredibly low interest rate further. This may not happen at next week’s committee meeting but could be on the agenda for August.  Bell & Company at the start of the year commented on how we could only see Interest rates rising, clearly this may not be an option for the Bank of England, but again researching you can find an argument to increase interest rates to assist the strength of Pound Sterling.

 Lower interest rates would mean good news for first time buyers who could benefit from a longer period of interest rates being low than previously anticipated. Also cash buyers could benefit further as Banks may look to tighten lending given we are in a period of increased risk and uncertainty.

Commercial

Commercial property in Northern Ireland has seen confidence fall. Even when the referendum was announced confidence began to decline. The shock result has seen further delay in property deals with companies holding off until we see increased stability.

 Brain Lavery, Managing Director of highly respect commercial agents CBRE, was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph lately “Until there is clarification on the ramifications of the Brexit vote, developers of new schemes of all types are anticipated to proceed with caution and an eye on how our politicians work together to regain market confidence in a changed landscape”. CBRE commented that compared with this time last year commercial transactions are down by 27%.

 Clearly developers are rattled.

 Realistically, in the long term, no one really knows how Property Markets will be effected. The UK and Northern Ireland (as we stand) is rudderless and until we negotiate an exit from the European Union we do not fully know the ramifications. Surely, the strength of the Pound and Property Markets will be high on the agenda for Osbourne and the new Prime Minister come October and when they negotiate an exit.

 Unfortunately for some the Brexit vote will have little implication on their debt burden. Bell & Company specialise in Residential Mortgage Negative Equity debt assisting borrowers through the process and eradicating their mortgage shortfall debt. We also assist Businesses and Individuals with Corporate Banking Debt. Our excellent team achieved some excellent results in June and we would be happy to discuss these with you either in person or over the phone. Bell & Company offer market leading pre-insolvency advice and we always offer clients a free initial consultation at a location to suit you.

 If you or anyone you know could benefit from our services please call us today on 02895 217373. We look forward to working with you.

** Brexit Update 04/11/2016 **

keep updated with current Brexit news from the BBC by clicking the button below:

BREXIT NEWS

 

Pressure from a pending loan sale?

Pressure from a pending loan sale?

Are you under pressure from a pending loan sale?

As will know, there has been a multitude of bank loan sales of late to a variety of recovery companies and vulture funds. This includes Ulster Banks loan sales to Cerberus and Cabot amongst many others.

Initial Correspondence 

When a borrower initially receives correspondence to notify them of a pending sale, they are usually provided with several options in order to prevent the sale however most involve full repayment. Which is simply not feasible for the majority to receive written indication. Such a loan sale can be distressing for any person or business. Particularly, where they have been banking with the same institution for many years.

Be Proactive

Many of these funds or companies can be commercial and will make pragmatic decisions so long as the correct approach, attitude and presentation is adopted. We have recently engaged in a negotiation resulting in settlement at in and around 1%, which was a phenomenal outcome for our client.

It is essential that a proactive approach is adopted to avail of this opportunity.
In the event that an individual/business does not engage or communicate and instead, chooses to ignore the matter, it is highly likely that the fund will become aggressive and choose to litigate.

Be Forthcoming

You will have seen it publicised in the media of late. Mass actions are being taken by certain vulture funds resulting in a multitude of borrowers receiving a summons and inevitably, judgment will be sought. This can be avoided by being forthcoming with regards communication, submissions and proposals.

Bell & Co have first-hand experience of the opposite response from these funds. We have witnessed directly how making the correct approach can result most favourably for the borrower in terms of settlement and savings.

If you or someone you know have received an indication that your loans will be entered a loan sale, we would urge you to be proactive in taking advice and seeking to reach conclusion allowing all then to move forward.

You can do so by calling my colleague Karen Campbell now on 0330 159 5820

LONDON – IS THE BUBBLE BURSTING?

Bell & Company have previously written posts on the potential property bubble developing in London and the South East of England. In the last week there have been murmurs in the financial press that the bubble could indeed be bursting. London, once deemed one of the most secure property investments, is now looking shaky.

A combination of ultra-low interest rates, investors taking advantage of tax breaks to purchase Buy to Lets and foreign investors encouraged by the stable political environment saw prices reach dizzying heights in the Capital.

Just this week however Halifax revealed prices in London fell by 0.8% which is incredibly unusual, nonetheless this fall links with the additional tax on second homes adding 3% on the purchase price.

Nonetheless other signs (across the entire UK) show signs the market has peaked and may decline. Notable sellers are accepting offers on properties 10% below the asking price with the average UK discount in April being c£25,000 up from £21,560 in January this year.

Henry Pryor, a leading housing analyst, has worked through three property recessions  and sights that the current market conditions has a frighteningly familiar feel to it. Mr Pryror adds the following:

With some indicators sighting a fall could occur see the potential example below.

As mentioned above house prices in London and the South East have been continually rising due to constant demand in the area. With this demand starting to wane we could being to see property prices fall and the start of prevalent negative equity for the younger generation of homeowners.

Should you or anyone you know be effected by Negative Equity please contact Bell & Company today on 02895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation. Our team achieve regular settlements with a variety of lenders and understand how your lender operates. We look forward to meeting you.

 

NEGATIVE EQUITY STILL PREVALENT IN IRELAND


A recent Standard & Poors report cites that 4 out of 10 mortgage borrowers in Ireland are in Negative Equity. Furthermore, 6 out of 10 borrowers in Mortgage Arrears are also in Negative Equity. The average negative equity balance is currently €54, 000.

Given 40 per cent of borrowers find themselves in negative the estimate of those suffering this burden stands at €322, 500. An incredible statistic given we are now a decade on from the housing market crash.

Many have underestimated the problem of negative equity and its effect in Ireland. One issue we see at Bell & Company is that young families are essentially trapped in a property which is not big enough to accommodate them adequately. Accordingly, they are unable to up-size as required. The main catalyst of this issue was mortgages issued with a higher loan to value during the credit boom.

Another consequence of negative equity is that those suffering the burden typically are less inclined to spend which effects everyone. This is known as the “wealth effect” and Ireland is one of the worst performing countries in this aspect compared to others.

And high levels of negative equity feed into the rates charged on variable mortgages. If you are in negative equity you cannot switch to get a better deal, so have accept whatever high rate you are charged by your exploitative bank. What this means is that you may not be in negative equity, but it is playing a role in the high variable or fixed rates you are paying.

Bell & Company understand the burden of negative equity debt, but insist you do not have to be a “mortgage prisoner”. We have assisted borrowers across Ireland to liaise with their lender and secure a property sale despite the negative equity. From here we have successfully negotiated reduced settlements with a variety of core Irish lenders saving our clients often tens of thousands of Euros per case.

Should you or anyone you know be suffering a Negative Equity burden with any lender or associated entity then please call Bell & Company today on +44 (0) 2895 217 373. We always offer a free initial consultation and where feasible will happily travel to meet prospective clients. We look forward to assisting.

Terry Bell

 

TEAM BLOG – INTRODUCING ERIN WEATHERSTONE

Name: Erin Weatherstone

Position: Personal Assistant

Time with Bell & Company: 10 months

What does your day to day role entail?:

My day to day role as Personal Assistant for Bell & Company is very varied. I proactively manage, organise and ensure directors are prepared for appointments and activities across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the UK and help co-ordinate director travel arrangements and work with our marketing team on co-ordinating our in house corporate events.

I am also the first point of contact for Terry Bell, our Principal Director, working closely with him on a daily basis to ease his workload and I also liaise with the rest of the management, teams and clients to manage the diary.  Since starting at Bell and Company over 10 months ago my responsibilities have grown. I have taken on varied roles which now include monitoring the office Data Protection to ensure all our Clients information is being kept secure and we are compliant with the Data Protection Act. My newest tasks have included Business Continuity Planning to ensure Bell and Company are prepared for any eventuality that may affect our day to day running so we can always be here and available for our clients.

What do you enjoy most about your position?:

There isn’t a day that goes by at Bell and Company that is the same and this makes for a very interesting and varied role. Although my main role is to work with our Director Terry I often get to work within the other teams to keep my role engaging and refreshing. I am very grateful to work for people who genuinely value the work that I do and this is often rewarded. Bell and company are a very supportive family based business who value their team as much as their clients and long may my role here continue to flourish and grow with their support.

Spare time activities:

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family as I have 2 very young sons who keep me on my toes. I also have a passion for baking, as this lets my creative side show through and I am often found baking and decorating cakes for family and friends when family allows and asking the team to be my guinea pigs.

Contact Details:

Erin Weatherstone

[email protected]

Direct Dial: 02895 217376

Mobile: 07845 287141

BUSINESS CONSULTANCY – WE DO THAT TOO!

As Bell & Company has grown, we have continually looked to add different skills and services which can benefit our clients. Towards the end of 2015, we were asked more and more business-specific queries from clients and how we could assist in improving their business. Accordingly, we are looking to develop a consultancy side of our business.

Our staff have a range of backgrounds:

Whilst it’s all well and good having some letters after your name. There is no substitute for experience, sometimes the theory learned cannot be put into action.

Having developed Bell & Company with just myself and my son James working in a small 2-person office suite to a firm employing 19 Full-Time staff I understand the pressures and rewards when developing business.  I hope to pass on my experiences to other business owners to allow to benefit from my successes and also to learn from my mistakes.

Not only do we have a fantastic variety of personnel to call upon but thanks to our business developing, we have an excellent network of peers who could also benefit your business.

Bell & Company firmly believe that there are some tremendous business owners and businesses in Northern Ireland and by bringing them together we can stimulate business, trade and ultimately the wider Northern Irish economy, which will benefit all.

If you want to discuss anything regarding your business please contact us today, it doesn’t just have to revolve around debt and even if we are not equipped to assist, it is more than likely we will know someone who will.

As ever though, Bell & Company continue to specialise in Corporate Debt Negotiation, Personal Insolvency, Negative Equity Assistance and should you or anyone you know require a free initial consultation to determine your position and options please call the office today on 0330 159 5820.

REAL ISSUES IN TODAY’S FINANCIAL WORLD – OUR NEXT EVENT

We are excited to announce our next event will be held at Millenium Forum in Derry/Londonderry on Wednesday 24 February 2016 at 8am to 10am. This event represents an excellent opportunity to come and enjoy and excellent breakfast whilst networking with a range of professionals from across Northern Ireland.

We will also have a panel of speakers at the event:

  1. Terry Bell – Company Director of Bell & Company.
  2. Helen McCarragher – Corporate Manager at Bell & Company
  3. William Davey – Resolution Manager at Bell & Company
  4. Ian Farley – R&D Tax Credits

The selected senior staff at Bell & Company will discuss issues relating to our line of work including Corporate Banking Debt, Loan Sales, Personal Guarantees, Negative Equity negotiation both in Northern Ireland and across Europe.

We also have an excellent guest speaker at the event, Ian Farley. Ian is an R & D tax specialist and will introduce the concept that R & D tax credits are very generous and can generate large corporation tax savings. You will be surprised what activites in Northern Ireland can qualify for these credits and many companies are not taking advantage of this valuable relief. We are sure Ian’s expert advice will be beneficial to you and even your clients.

Following the presentations by the panel the floor will be open for Q&A.

Whilst this is an open event we appreciate some of you may have more private queries so please contact us in advance to arrange a time where the appropriate team member can discuss matters on a one to one basis.

The event is ticketed but FREE of charge. To obtain your free ticket please click this link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/real-issues-in-todays-financial-world-tickets-20786910208

Should you have any queries regarding the event or any debt related issues then please call the office on +44 (0) 2985 217373

We look forward to welcoming you at the Millenium Forum for a fantastic morning of networking.

Terry Bell

STARTING 2016 WITH A BANG – JANUARY SETTLEMENTS

2016 has started brilliantly at Bell & Company with some excellent deals by both our Corporate and Resolution teams.

 

The Resolution team work to assist borrowers with regulated Mortgage Debt and in particular those who have fallen foul of Negative Equity. You may have read in a recent post that the team assisted a Borrowers achieve an excellent settlement in Republic of Ireland with a core lender there. The team has also concluded Full & Final Settlements with UK lenders who had security over property in Northern Ireland. A brief summary is provided on a couple of examples below:

 

 

The Corporate department too has been busy finalising excellent settlements for clients. Some examples include:

As we continue into February both departments are working tirelessly to complete further settlements for our clients.

Should you or anyone you know wish to discuss either a Corporate Banking Debt or Negative Equity Property issue then please call the office today on +44 (0) 2895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation. You could benefit from the results above and eradicate your debt burden.

TEAM BLOG – Welcome back Leah O’Kane- Bankruptcy Expert

Welcome back Leah O’Kane- Bankruptcy Expert

Last week we welcomed Leah O’Kane back to Bell & Company from her maternity leave following the birth of her first child, Charlie.

We are excited to have Leah back and she is a very valuable member of our team likely holding one of the most challenging roles assisting our clients with Bankruptcy. This post follows on from our Blog on Bankruptcy and how useful a tool it can be certain circumstances and this is something Leah will confirm.

Should you want to discuss Bankruptcy then please contact Leah, her details are at the bottom of this post.

Name:

Leah O’Kane

Position:

Corporate Case Manager

Time with Bell & Company:

2 Years 5 Months

What does your day to day role entail?:

I manage a number of Corporate & Bankruptcy Cases, each case is unique and assistance is tailored around what the Client wishes to achieve.

Since returning from Maternity Leave this month however I will be focusing more on the Bankruptcy side of the Company and attempting to detach the Stigma surrounding Bankruptcy. I will still continue to be involved in a number of Corporate Cases that I previously managed as they will be an integral part of my daily role at Bell & Company.

I work on different Corporate Cases with particular focus on Cases that may have complex Legal issues on-going.

I engage with Solicitors on a daily basis regarding the Legals and engage with the Banks regarding the Corporate debt.

Negotiating is a vital part of my role at Bell & Company, I strive to achieve the best result for the Client should it be in negotiating a Clients Personal Guarantee, Corporate debt or a possible Income Payment Order in Bankruptcy.

I engage with the Insolvency Service also and attend Court with Clients that wish to proceed with Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is not always the first option or sometimes the most pleasant option for individuals but it is sometimes the best option.

Each case is thoroughly assessed and all avenues explored before Bankruptcy is discussed with the Client. If the Client wishes to proceed with Bankruptcy then I will guide them through the process and be with them every step of the way.

What do you enjoy most about your position?:

 

What are main issues you are seeing for clients in your position?:

In many Corporate Cases there is frustration on the significant misconception of true current market value of properties held by Cerberus/Capita by way of security.

Furthermore the stubborn approach adopted by Cerberus in terms of accepting nothing other than full re-payment is entirely unrealistic and will not be achieved.

A more commercial and realistic approach needs to be adopted here so we can push matters forward and reach a conclusion for our Clients.

In numerous Bankruptcy Cases the stigma people believe attached seems to dissuade them, however the stigma is not what it used to be pre 2007 as it is practically non-existent in 2015. Once the Client understands what Bankruptcy actually means and the true effect it will have on their life then they are a lot more content about it all.

Spare time activities:

I Love spending time with my husband and son as they mean the world to me.

If I have a few free days I try visit my amazing family in Dublin.

I enjoy exercising (sometimes) and generally trying to keep fit.

I have a great interest in books also so any time I have free will usually be spent reading.

 

Contact Details:

Leah O’Kane

11 Rosemary St, Belfast, BT1 1QF

Tel: 02895217373

Mob: 07780452963

Email: [email protected]

 

TEAM BLOG – Introducing Claire McCarragher

Name:  Claire McCarragher

Position: Corporate Accounts Manager

Time with Bell & Company: 2 Years & 11 months (3 years in January)

What does your day to day role entail? 

Once an individual has become a Client of Bell & Company I take carriage of their case and become the first point of contact.

I liaise with Creditors, Solicitors, Accountants etc. on behalf of the Client.

We assist and guide our Clients in the following fields:

  1. Corporate Debt: Company and other Business Debts
  2. Property related Debt
  3. Personal Guarantees
  4. Personal Insolvency

I work extensively on cases across the insolvency range with particular reference to complex financial issues including personal credit matters.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

I enjoy developing working relationships with my Clients.

I like the fact that you are continuously learning and broadening your knowledge in this position.

I also like the fact that every case is different, there is never two cases that are the same.

I also love the fact that we are helping people have a fresh start in life.

People who are in financial difficulty are not just affected by how much they owe  – this can consume their entire life and we help them realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there is nearly always an option.

Some of our clients don’t realise that this is not just a job for us – we live this experience with them, through the ups and downs in the process and we have the same end goal – to get them out the other side and let them and their family move on with their lives.

I have never dreaded coming in to work – I love what I do and will continue assisting clients who are in financial difficulty as long as my services are required.

What are main issues you are seeing for clients in your position?

We have a significant number of Clients associated with Cerberus/Capita further to the loan sales, in both the North & South, and are actively and aggressively engaging on their behalf with the appropriate parties.

The main issue that we are experiencing is that there appears to be a significant misconception of true current market value of properties held by Cerberus/Capita by way of security.

There have been many instances in which our Clients have actively worked to successfully attract the interest of ready, willing & able third party purchasers with a view maximising the yield to Cerberus with regards sales of security.

Very often, the offers are in fact above and beyond the value assigned to the assets by professional and reputable Chartered Surveyors & Agents with a profound knowledge of properties in the subject areas.

This is undoubtedly because of our Clients’ determination to drive sales & minimise their exposure.

The reality is that portfolio sales here will not allow for full debt repayment due to the fact that, as a direct result of the economic crash, properties are very obviously worth only a fraction of what they were.

The stubborn approach adopted by Cerberus in terms of accepting nothing other than full re-payment is entirely unrealistic and will not be achieved.

If Cerberus want to achieve any sense of progress and resolution here, they are going to have to take a more pragmatic and commercial view.

Spare time activities?

I enjoy drama and was appointed as Chairperson of our drama school for 2 years running.

I also enjoy music and have played guitar for 5 years and the drums for 12 years (a great way to release).

I also have two young nephews who I adore and love spending time with.

Contact Details:

[email protected]

07827924462

Bell & Company Celebrate Grand Office Opening in prestigious new building

 

Grand Office Opening Event Ulster Tatler Coverage

Grand Office Opening Event Ulster Tatler Coverage

INTEREST RATES – ARE YOU READY FOR THE RISE

The Bank of England will soon need to rediscover its trigger finger and fire the gun on as interest rates rise in the near future. We have enjoyed 7 years of ultra-cheap rates and “cheap money”, however any rate change is set to have a significant impact.

Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on 8 October and though they are expected to vote to keep rates at 0.5% there is a consensus one more member may vote in favour of a rise. Furthermore, members have conceded a rate rise in the near future is inevitable.

What the committee is weighing up is the sharp rise in disposable household income and the effect global uncertainty will have on the UK economy, this uncertainty is caused by the ongoing Eurozone crisis and China’s struggles. Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, has said the rise in household disposable income is the next step towards a rate rise although economists have argued the economy may be unable to handle a rate rise come Spring and Summer 2016 due to global economic uncertainty.

When I research the interest topic the literature rarely focuses on Northern Ireland. The fact is a high proportion of borrowers here are “mortgage prisoners” and many simply will not be able to sustain mortgage payments. When you couple rising mortgage payments and increase in general in credit commitment payments many will find themselves in a dire financial position.

Bell & Company are advising borrowers concerned with mortgage payments to contact them today. It is important to “act” and not “react” to the proposed changes in interest rates. We cannot stress enough the inevitability of this rate rise, we have had our time utilising cheap credit and many will now feel the pinch. Even if you are in Negative Equity our expert team can assist. Please call the office on 02895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation.

The team look forward to taking your call.

 

CERBERUS – WHATS NEW?

You may recall over the last month we have been placing a focus on Cerberus. In fact I took it upon myself to write a paper on the subject for my most recent MBA modules such is breadth of scope and detail regarding their acquisition of loan books both in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland (Sad man but true!)

Whilst there has been a lot of bad news regarding their acquisition of Project Eagle from NAMA, with particular scrutiny placed on their debt collection techniques and also a government fixers fee, Bell & Company from the outset have advised their clients to work with Cerberus. At the end of the day we can only work with what is in front of us and understanding their protocol, as we do, can achieve excellent results. This is vindicated with Cerberus advising a Stormont committee of significant write downs.

Details of Cerberus’ action to date:

Bell & Company have long believed there to be a real opportunity for our clients to work with Cerberus and extricate themselves from non-performing default loans. When with NAMA or the Ulster Bank negotiations often become stagnated but with Cerberus we have found there to be a real proactive approach working out what is best for all parties.

Should you or anyone you know had your loan sold to Cerberus then please contact Karen in the office today on 028 9521 7373 to arrange your free initial consultation.

James Bell – London Office Manager.

 

 

POST HOLIDAYS – BACK TO IT AND RECENT SETTLEMENTS

I hope you all enjoyed the extended weekend over 12th July and managed to have some relaxation time. Typically at Bell & Company headquarters we see a slowdown in business for the week with the phones being quiet. This period though gives our advisors in both the Corporate and Resolution teams’ time to work together to present proposals to lenders. As a result we have seen some excellent settlements for our clients.

Corporate

A client had a debt with an Irish Bank following a failed development project. The outstanding balance was in excess of £750,000 and was settled on a Full & Final Basis for 5%.

Resolution

The resolution team recently settled two cases with an eminent Building Society in the UK.

Following the sales of Negative Equity properties the outstanding shortfall balance owed was £425,000 and following protracted negotiations this was settled on a Full and Final basis for 12%.

Our advisors continue to work on cases with a variety of lenders and having developed experience and relationships we know the protocols certain Banks work under and what realistically can be achieved. All lenders are different and tailor our advice to suit your circumstances and fully explain the process from beginning to end. Often there will be changes along the way and Banks change their protocol but we constantly adapt to the environment we work in to get the best results for our clients.

Why not arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your circumstances where you will be shown documentary evidence of the results we have achieved. Please call the office on 02890 517 047 and liaise with Karen or John.

Keeping it short and sweet today as we have a busy week here at Bell & Company hq. Please keep in touch via social media.

Terry Bell – Director.

IVAS – WHY WE DON’T LIKE THEM

Our client liaison team often field queries in respect to IVAs. Many initial enquiries requiring our resolution service have a portfolio of properties in negative equity and feel the IVA route may suit them, accordingly they often contact an Insolvency Practitioner.

Typically at Bell & Company we do not like IVAs, though in some instances they can have their benefits. If an individual has a diverse range of unsustainable credit such as mortgages in arrears, unsecured credit and HM Revenue & Customs debt it is an option. The primary reason we do not encourage clients entering IVA’s is the length of time the client is in the IVA, 5 years. Initially the individual may feel the benefit paying an agreed sum into the agreement every month and not having to worry about creditor perusal. But, over time we find the debtor becomes frustrated with the payment given it is over five years, it adds up to a good annual family holiday!

Many debtors do not understand the IVA process, you don’t simple just sign the dotted line and are debt free. Your creditors vote to accept the IVA proposal and this is a face to face meeting. Many IVAs don’t go through simply because Creditor’s do not turn up and vote. Furthermore, if a creditor wishes to be more aggressive in their debt collection approach they may not vote and instead commence legal action to recover outstanding monies.

As the agreement is over 5 years there is a good chance an individual’s circumstances will change. If they worsen, payments may become unsustainable and an IVA variation is required where creditors again have to meet to vote. Or if the IVA fails you are once again liable for the balances outstanding, effectively meaning the IVA was ineffective and ultimately a waste of time.

The damage to your Credit Rating is also dramatic as an IVA is a form of insolvency. We have already eluded to in a previous blog entry that your Credit Report and Score are an important tool and in an IVA your credit will be badly effected and will not improve for 5 years.

Other options are available and Bell & Company can offer expert advice in these areas. Firstly, there is the option to enter into dialogue with the creditor in question and appointing an expert advisor, such as Bell & Company, can lead to reduced settlements in a shorter time frame and often with a smaller impact on your Credit Rating.

Secondly there is Bankruptcy, the dreaded “B” word! The stigma of Bankruptcy has been reduced now given it is an option which so many have utilised since 2008 We recommend you always take control of your Bankruptcy and put forward a Debtors petition rather than be made Bankrupt by a creditor. Although a concerning thought Bell & Company advisors are trained to give you the full ramifications of Bankruptcy and what can and can’t be done. What we like is that it “clears the decks” and gives you a straight edge to start again and is particularly useful for a younger individual. Your credit is damaged but the time period in Bankruptcy is one year rather than 5 for an IVA and credit options are available post-Bankruptcy to improve your rating over time.

If you have been given advice to enter an IVA why not call Bell & Company to discuss other options. All our initial meetings are free and we offer a relaxed environment to discuss your circumstances. Even if you do not sign up as a client we can offer you an insight into the other options and ramifications and if you choose not to utilise our services we will bear no grudge. So call an advisor today on 02890 517047 to discuss your scenario. We await your call.

Terry Bell – Director

Can I Preserve my Credit Rating?

Your Credit Report and Rating are very important. Many underestimate the value of a good credit rating and the positive impact it can have on your life.

It is crucial that you understand what a credit rating can achieve for you. Any substantial financial decision you or your family make will likely require your credit to be scrutinised. Many new clients come to us having listened to terrible advice to stop payments to creditors which has already damaged their credit rating without being advised this would be the result.

Bell & Company ensure to give every client the correct advice on the effects any route they take will have on their credit rating. Sometimes, it is not possible to protect it but it is possible to put a timescale on when the score may begin to recover and give instructions on how to speed up the recovery process. Other scenarios can see it adversely effected but not completely ruined and in some cases it may be possible, providing you follow advice carefully, to not damage your credit file.

Some clients are initially concerned when Bell & Company request a credit report during an initial meeting, many feel perhaps it is an invasion of their privacy and circumstances given we may have only met for the first time. We stress that a Credit Report gives our advisors a fantastic overview of your circumstances and ensures that we miss nothing before proceeding with any case. We can also point out changes in your credit report and advise how it would be effected by the processes and options we discuss in the meeting.

Bell& Company recommend you constantly review your credit file, even applying for a Phone Contract can have an effect. If you are new to this why not sign up to www.creditexpert.co.uk for a 30 free day trial. Other sites provide online credit reports include:

www.checkmyfile.com

www.equifax.co.uk

www.callcredit.co.uk/consumer-solutions/your-credit-report

In Republic of Ireland we have utilised the postal service provided by the Irish Credit Bureau. These can be purchased at www.icb.ie and we also understand they now have an online version available.

As we stated, any of the services Bell & Company offer could have an effect on your credit file and hence why we raise the issue, we pride ourselves in providing independent advice and reviewing any client’s credit file falls into this remit.

Should you wish to discuss any debt related matter then please call the office on 02890 517047 to have a chat with one of our trained advisors and to arrange a free initial consultation. Be sure to follow or like Bell & Company on your preferred social media platform for latest updates.

Terry Bell – Director

Recent Developments at Bell & Company

Dear All,

As the holidays approach we write with latest news of recent developments here at Bell & Company.

In terms of personnel Helen is back full time and straight back into the fray! John Quinn now joins Karen in the Client Liaison Department and Christopher Ferry works with Jessica in our Marketing department.

We have recently held a couple of very successful seminars, one of which was featured in the Ulster Tattler and we hope to hold another soon. They go under the banner of ‘Real Issues in Today’s Financial World’. You will shortly receive an email inviting you to our next event, where we look to get expert opinion on the current market and latest goings on from a selection of leading industry experts.

Raymond Crooks, Chairman of the landlords Association of Northern Ireland and erstwhile solicitor spoke on the mounting statutory requirements facing landlords. Brian Hill of St James Place detailed the ramifications of George Osborne recent pension changes. All very interesting and superbly delivered. Look out for the next one!


Our work continues apace across the board with excellent settlements achieved by the team we have at Bell & Company.

As ever all initial consultations are FREE and if you, any relatives or friends have financial issues in any form call Karen on 02890517047 today.

Kind Regards

Terry Bell

Director

Settlement Examples

Settlement of a £700,000 corporate debt at £50,000 on a full and final basis. The client was obviously delighted and the bank were agreeable as it reflects the very best yield they could have achieved here.

A farmer owing £842,000 settled at £300,000 and the farm is retained. This has taken two years to settle but we are finally reaching the end goal.

A buy to let portfolio was repossessed leaving £225,000 shortfall, settled at £40,000, raised from the considerable equity in his family home.

AS EVER ALL DEBTS WERE SETTLED ON A FULL AND FINAL BASIS

Northern Ireland Repossession “Hotspots”

Following the setup of The Housing Repossession Taskforce they undertook a review of the market of property repossession in Northern Ireland and identified hotspots. These are listed below:

This demonstrates a “Belfast-centric” approach to the housing crisis in our opinion. As in England where everything is “London-centric” the same applies to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Many individuals in Belfast believe that the economy is improving and that as property prices are slowly increasing in the city then they must also be across the province. They could not be more wrong.

A real frustration for Bell & Company is when we negotiate with lenders either based in Belfast or mainland UK they cannot seem to understand the difference in circumstances or how the location of the property can effect a situation. These lenders also do not understand that when they repossess and sell a property in possession the effect it has on the surrounding area and as we often say to client’s the postcode is damaged and consequently home values are significantly affected in a negative manner.

Conversely when we can deal with local Banks, particularly with our corporate clients we can often see a more realistic approach undertaken by the Bank which is ultimately beneficial to all parties to agree a route forward.

As we have eluded to in previous blog posts when interest rates begin to increase from quarter two of 2016 we will see another surge in property repossessions and perhaps another detrimental effect on property prices in the Province. More “hotspots” will arise.

Bell & Company understand that those living in more rural areas will find it incredibly hard to deal with their negative equity situation but nonetheless we have helped many to move on with their lives and eradicate their debt problem. Our advisors are often on the road across Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland so please call the office today on +44 (0) 2890 517047 and see if we are in your area to arrange an appointment at a location to suit you. Or alternatively please sign up to our e-newsletter and be the first to be aware of our next network evening when our advisors will be on hand to discuss any debt matter.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Terry Bell – Director