Posts Tagged ‘finance’

Bankruptcy

THE B WORD…BANKRUPTCY.

Nobody ever wants to go bankrupt, but we need to understand the basic premise of Bankruptcy provisions are here for:

  1. To look to push somebody who owes you some form of debt, to the brink and beyond. IF (i.e. make sure) they have the assets (e.g. home) they can be realised to release funds to meet your debt, or, and this is important,
  2. If you are under pressure avail yourself of the Bankruptcy law to protect yourself from your lenders.

Bell & Company always ensure that we offer Independent Professional Insolvency Advice in each and every case – it’s our mantra.

Many people don’t like to hear it, but often Bankruptcy can be the best option to alleviate their debt burden. Bell & Company provide this level of advice and expertise.

We hear of advisors claiming that Bankruptcy is not the answer and look to sell you into other Formal Insolvency options such as IVA’s.

A lot of these IVA’s are not fit for purpose.

When approached we consider every option with the backdrop of Bankruptcy. It can also assist in our negotiations as lenders will regularly use the ‘B’ word as a threat.

At Bell & Company, we take the ‘elephant in the room’ approach with Bankruptcy.

Our clients don’t necessarily want to be declared Bankrupt but if it happens, they will secure less and the realisation of the funds will take possibly years.

At Bell & Company, we understand the stigma attached to Bankruptcy and the negative connotations, however, many clients who we have assisted through Bankruptcy feel a great burden has been lifted and often yield a better result than if they used other options, an example to follow…

WE WOULD SAY THIS BUT…by approaching Debt Strategists such as Bell & Company, you can to an extent control your Bankruptcy and ensure the effects of the process are minimised, which in fact will be beneficial to you in the long term.

Furthermore, following the global financial crisis and subsequent debt affliction across Europe, the stigma has been removed.

Many understand now the need for Personal Insolvency when facing unsustainable indebtedness. People start the process of rebuilding their credit score and in turn stimulating the economy as a whole.

What we like about Bankruptcy is that it effectively “clears the decks” and can give you a fresh start. Obviously, there are negatives including:

  1. Assets at risk,
  2. Damage to your credit score, and
  3. Certain restrictions during the year period in which you are Bankrupt

Bell & Company always detail the full ramifications of any Insolvency process be it IVA or Bankruptcy. There is a mass of misinformation out there with all the ‘bar room’ lawyers. Make sure you are party to the true facts.

We have assisted many through Bankruptcy – attending all relevant hearings and giving advice on how to conduct your affairs in line with The Insolvency Service requirements.

Should you have any debt issues and believe you can benefit from our services then please call us today on 0330 159 5820.

Are Directors personally liable for company debts?

Directors Personal Guarantee

Are Directors personally liable for company debts? To begin with, at the height of the business boom, banks were often very happy to provide loans to companies.

This agreement stated that in the case of the company being unable to repay these loans:

For instance, with Coronavirus and lockdown procedures:

What if I can’t pay?

Going straight to an Insolvency Practitioner, you will find they are legally obligated to get the best deal for your lenders.

What do I do next?

Most importantly, there are always options therefore you don’t have to face the stress and uncertainty of being liable for repayments by yourself.

In addition to the above, Bell & Company, as pre-insolvency consultants, specialise in helping people like you.

As an example, we have numerous success stories helping clients who were being pursued beyond aggressively by lenders and creditors start fresh.

To conclude this weeks blog, check out our latest webinar regarding the issues surrounding Personal Guarantees and the exposure to many SME business owners.

Especially now more than ever because of this current Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by our Chairman Terry Bell who has provided:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

Are Directors personally liable for company debts

ASSET FINANCE FOR GYMS – OVER BORROWED?

NOBODY BUT NOBODY SAW COVID-19 COMING.

ASSET FINANCE FOR GYMS – OVER BORROWED?

Its effect on all businesses, as we know has been catastrophic and in this blog, we are focusing on asset finance for gyms.

Over the past couple of weeks, pre-COVID, we had 5 clients come on board who operated as gyms.

Most were franchise-based, who were offered a more or less ‘turn-key’ proposal.

Typically these cases just needed to secure premises and then the model would be developed on the back of ‘footfall’.

With finance readily available – on the proviso Personal Guarantees (PGs) were given.

We issued a blog last week on FRI leases that tie in the gym owner and today we are making reference to the asset finance.

Read the full blog here: https://www.bellcomp.co.uk/blog/property-lease-issues/

Typically the gym set up model saw finance companies KEEN to sell their wares offering to finance every bit of kit and fixture needed.

This model which when the business is flying and the subscription uptake is good, can work very well.

However such highly geared operations are susceptible to any downtown and COVID-19 is the ultimate downturn.

At Bell & Company, we know of excellent, substantial gym manufacturers and wholesalers who were trading brilliantly up until the middle of March.
Literally the lockdown has put them into freefall.

We are not looking to labour on the demise of gyms but we know the typical financial structures very well.

If you’re facing a difficult future through no fault your own:

-Give us a call and we will talk your case through and then determine the best route forward.

Just so you know asset finance companies are not the most forgiving type and you need to make sure you get the best advice in your specific position…So get that call Bell & Company today: 0330 159 5820.

Peer to Peer Issues – Again? We Will Speak Out

Peer to Peer (P2P) Issues – Again? We Will Speak Out

We at Bell & Company are seeing more and more enquiries from SMEs struggling with the weight of various forms of debt, especially those with peer to peer debt in their business’ financial model, or whose businesses are reliant on this form of relatively short-term debt to survive.

In this brief blog we will consider:

  1. The short history of peer to peer so far,
  2. The peer to peer model and its issues,
  3. Personal Guarantees and their recovery,
  4. Bell & Company.

1. PEER TO PEER SO FAR

The emergence of disruptive finance after the crash of 2008-9 in the form of peer to peer lenders was and is absolutely vital to the economy especially SMEs.

After the crash the mainstream Banks not only:

The 2008 fallout was and still is massive but peer to peer lenders helped minimise this desperate situation. The low-cost base and high-tech approach was and is a breath of fresh air to businesses seeking much-needed finance in the form of working capital.

Most importantly in peer to peer loan applications – there were no slow nos.

If your management and annual accounts are an exact fit to the peer to peer platforms’ requirements and you personally can stand some financial scrutiny, in terms of Credit rating and your net asset value…then there was a good chance you would be eligible for peer to peer finance.

The market in turn expanded very quickly with many new players entering the market. This has in turn been fuelled by huge marketing efforts and use of the high-tech platforms developed.

Hedge funds and alike are now huge players in the peer to peer market and the Government has also provided support.

IMPORTANT: Yes, there are now some issues, but peer to peer is still the go-to place for funding as the mainstream Bankers still really only consider SME’s who can offer adequate security first.

2.THE PEER TO PEER MODEL AND ITS ISSUES

As stated above the peer to peer model works on platforms that require uploaded data. This usually takes the form of accounts, management accounts, bank statements, and the asset and liability statement of the borrower.

This is processed by the platform as the first stage of the decision process.

Human interaction comes in the form of the underwriter who may ask questions, which are usually answered and resolved by any broker.

Nearly all platforms work on a sales/commission basis. Obviously, the peer to peer lenders are not banks – it is not their money. As this market and loans have matured problems have started start to arise.

This coupled with the late arrival of the FCA, ‘to the party’ has seen any number of problems.

A genuine example of this is, when we sat with two indebted directors owing in excess of £500,000 and struggling, receiving an unsolicited text, on their smartphone, already approved loan of £35,000. You couldn’t make it up!

3.PERSONAL GUARANTEES AND THEIR RECOVERY

If you borrow as an unincorporated body e.g. sole trader or partnership, you are exposed to the full amount of the loan plus interest, plus costs, should the loan fail.

These costs can be substantial with the principal amount of the default loan attracting the full interest charge for the loan + legals.

With limited company loans, Personal Guarantees are required by Directors, potentially the spouses/partners of homeowners and possibly non-executive shareholders.

At Bell & Company dealing with claims on Personal Guarantee is a niche area of work that we excel in. Please see the link on a recent blog that we issued on the subject.

Personal Guarantee – I’ve received a Statutory Demand!

In cases of P2P lending, some of the due diligence on the validity of the asset and liability statements is poor.

The desire to ‘fire out’ the money and earn the fees saw many cases of poor practice.

With the involvement now of the FCA, processes are rightly tightening up.

We know there is a legacy of issues with peer to peer loans and their associated Personal Guarantees.

4.BELL & COMPANY

We have recently settled a peer to peer loan on the back of a Personal Guarantee totalling £84,000 at £27,000.

In this instance, we impeded the lender’s attempt to commence legal action.

Peer to peer lenders are all too keen to give carriage of cases to solicitors with no consideration to the amount that will actually recover.

Again, this we believe stems from the over-reliance on data and information. At which point the lack of quality of due diligence often becomes apparent.

Bell & Company continue to strive to work with peer to peer lenders, but solely for our clients, to ensure they maximise their recovery for their stakeholders in cases that fail…but they don’t believe it!

They are usually very aggressive at the start of any case. Our role is to explain the TRUE position they now find themselves in.

If you know of anyone under this sort of duress, do them a favour and call us or send on this blog. To see real results, check out our success cases: https://www.bellcomp.co.uk/success-stories. 

PARTNERSHIP BREAKDOWN

We see partnership breakdown a lot in our line of work.

A pair of business partners parted ways and needed to settle on their commercial debt with a major banking institution.

In this case, they had partied to litigation with an award due.

This award would have in excess covered the commercial debt settlement and given significant monies to both parties.

However, due to a partnership breakdown in the relationship both parties failed to reach an agreement over the shares.

In this ongoing disagreement:

The commercial debt which was owed to the lender was included in a proposal for a loan sale, this could have put our clients’ homes and other assets at risk.

With our negotiation skills:

Both parties maximised from the mediation.

The bank was satisfied with the settlement which was the best possible resolution for all involved

Your steps to a debt-free future

Vulture Fund Negotiations

Liability of £120,000 with secured assets worth £195,000 sold to ‘vulture fund’ settled for £38,000, vulture fund negotiations took place. 

Our client’s liability with a major banking institution which was sold to a ‘vulture fund’ with a secured asset attached worth £195,000. This case involved vulture fund negotiations.

The client could not bear the thought of losing his family home.

He tried to ignore the situation, however:

Giving notice to the client, he sought independent advice and this is where Bell & Company came in.

With our strong legal & financial backgrounds, our team of strategists were quick to act and thus halted immediate action from the solicitors.

With continued correspondence and negotiations with both the Bank and Solicitors.

We successfully managed to stop any further legal action and propose a full and final settlement.

With our steadfastness approach to getting the best result for our client with vulture fund negotiations.

We were able to come to an agreement with the lender and settle the debt for £38,000 in a full and final settlement.

Not only this but the client was able to protect his home and exit the scenario with his liability cleared.

Total Savings of £82,000 achieved!

Your steps to a debt-free future

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.

 

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

What caused the Carillion collapse?

If you follow the news you’ll probably be aware of the Carillion collapse, which has resulted in the UK’s second-largest construction company buckling, due to a colossal £1.5 million debt pile. Despite numerous discussions taking place between the company, its lenders and the government, nothing could be done to save Carillon, who employ around 20,000 in the UK and even more abroad.

So, where did it all go wrong for Carillion and what exactly caused this epic collapse?

Who are Carillion?

Carillion is a company that specialises in construction but also deals with management and maintenance. The firm has a plethora of experience on large private sector projects such as the Battersea Power station redevelopment and the Anfield Stadium expansion, both of which have contributed to the corporation becoming a household name.

While Carillion does work on private sector projects, it is perhaps best known for being one of the largest suppliers of services to the public sector. One of the company’s most notable achievements is being part of a consortium that holds a contract to build part of the forthcoming HS2 high-speed railway line, and it is the second largest supplier of maintenance services to Network Rail. Furthermore, Carillion also maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence, manages nearly 900 schools and manages highways and prisons.

Just this week, the BBC announced that the collapse of Carillion will lead to the delayed opening of Liverpool’s new Royal Hospital. A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed that it will be unlikely that the £335 million infrastructure will be completed in 2018.

What went wrong for the firm?

Carillion employs 43, 000 staff globally, and a large company like that is often not as averse to taking risks as smaller ones might be.

It has been suggested that the company overreached itself and was drawn into a number of risky contracts, such as the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital, that didn’t pay off in the way that was initially expected.

Carillion were facing payment delays in the Middle East that hit its accounts hard, causing them to issue three profit warnings in five months and wrote down more than £1bn from the value of contracts. These actions meant that it was much harder for the company to manage its huge £900m debt pile and £600m pension deficit.

Why does the collapse matter so much?

The failure of Carillion is significant because the company is such a large supplier of goods to the public sector, meaning that massive disruption could be set to take place. Furthermore, a lot of jobs hang in the balance and there is potential for redundancies.

Are you worried about the financial reputation of your business and is corporate insolvency something that is playing on your mind? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

Implementing your New Year’s Resolutions

With 2018 in full swing, many of us are focussing on staying on track when it comes to achieving the resolutions that we set for ourselves this year.

For a lot of people that means tackling debt that may have crept up to higher levels over the festive period. With presents to buy and more social occasions to attend, it’s easy to let your finances spiral out of control over Christmas. If you are keen to get back on track, check out our tips for lessening your debt and ensuring this year is your most financially comfortable one yet.

Be aware of your borrowings

The first step you will need to take when it comes to reducing your debt is being aware of how much it is that you actually owe. Also get to grips with how much interest you are paying, and to whom it is being paid to. If you already have a credit card or loan with a particular company, it is unlikely that they will allow you to take out another one to contribute towards lessening your debt.

Transfer to a zero interest credit card deal

If your debts are substantial, it’s unlikely that you will be able to move them to one credit card account, but you do have an option. You could move as much as possible to a zero interest credit card deal. You would need to pay the minimum allowed on this account and then focus your efforts on paying off the more expensive debt that you weren’t able to pay off.

Check out all of your other finances

We all have a number of outgoings to deal with each month and in the interest of reducing your debt it may be worthwhile seeing if any of them can be altered in any way to help you reduce your debt.

Utilities – Gas and electricity prices are up following recent rises, so if you are on a standard tariff or fixed deal that is about to end, it may be worthwhile shopping around and seeing if you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Mortgage – For most people, this is the biggest expense each month so it can be helpful to discuss your options with a mortgage advisor. If you have had the same home loan for a long time you may be able to reduce the interest rate by remortgaging.

If you are concerned about any of your personal debt, property debt and/or negative equity we are able to offer industry expert advice to help you overcome your problems. Call Bell & Company today to discuss your circumstances with one of our skilled advisors, experts in debt.

What does the Autumn Budget mean for house prices?

What does the Autumn Budget mean for house prices?

As soon as the budget is introduced, most people are quick to question how it may affect them, with one of the main areas of concern being house prices. The housing crisis is, of course, something that most of us are affected by, and with Theresa May hinting at plans to build more houses more quickly, what will the new budget mean for house prices in the UK?

Stamp duty could be set to change

As ever, the government is under increasing pressure to help young voters and one of the main areas of focus is stamp duty. Abolishing stamp duty would mean that first-time buyers would be able to climb the property ladder more easily as it would help combat extortionately high house prices, so this is good news if you are thinking of taking a leap and putting down a deposit on your first home.

Abolishing or changing stamp duty could save first-time buyers between £3000 and £5000. The rethink of stamp duty will, however not be such good news for landlords, who could be hit by an increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let properties.

Green belt and planning rules may change

In terms of the budget for housebuilders, one of the key areas that is always in question is planning rules. Historically government is renowned for hogging land, but it seems that this time around, housebuilders could be set to get what they want. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is currently considering changing parts of the green belt rules, which would be an easy move to make as it would cost him nothing.

Borrowing rules for councils

At present, local councils are not allowed to borrow money to build homes, but 21 London Boroughs have recently followed up calls for local councils to be allowed to invest in new housing. If the government plays its part by investing the appropriate capital, resources, and freedom, it could mean much affordable housing would be readily available for people residing in London. This is good news given how expensive property is in the capital.

More money invested into the Help to Buy Scheme

The Help to Buy scheme is a great resource for first-time buyers and things could be about to get even better. The Prime Minister has stated that there are plans to invest another £10 billion into the scheme, making it available to an additional 135,000 people.

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

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?

 

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

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.

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.

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.

Real Issues In Today’s financial World- Derry/Londonderry

See below.

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TEAM BLOG – INTRODUCING JOHN NELSON

John first came to Bell & Company as a placement student.  He has come on leaps and bounds and is a valuable member of the team.

John works in the resolution team and assists our clients directly but also doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty when some manual work is required in the office including building office furniture which has become a bit of a forte.

Name: John NelsonJOHN-NELSON1

Position: Resolution Case Manager

Time with Bell & Company: 2 years

What does your day to day role entail?:

I am typically the first point of contact for most clients once they have opted to sign up to our Resolution service. I oversee the achievement of shortfall sales on their behalf or advise them on the best option with regards to disposing of the Negative Equity asset.

I am becoming increasingly involved in the negotiation with the lenders, and/or their representatives, with regards to the shortfalls and I also assist with any day-today duties within the Resolution department to ensure that we are working as efficiently as possible.

What do you enjoy most about your position?:

I take great satisfaction knowing we are able to help individuals such as growing families who feel that they are trapped in their unsuitable property and have no way out. The majority of our clients are victims of circumstance who are in an incredibly unfortunate position to no fault of their own. I get great satisfaction from assisting these individuals in coming to an amicable conclusion to their situation and allowing them to move on with their lives.

I also enjoy the working with all of the team and we regularly group together to brainstorm to consider all alternatives to give our clients’ all of the options that are available.

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

The areas affected most by the economic downturn in Northern Ireland were the rural areas, many of which are still only worth half of what their value was at the peak of the market. The unfortunate truth is that many of these properties may never reach their previous value. Sadly many borrowers are slight “deluded” and believe that values will come back to peak levels.

We are also aware in the Resolution team that many borrowers are going to find mortgage payments difficult to make when interest rates increase at some point in 2016.

Spare time activities:

I enjoy live music and regularly attend music nights across Belfast.

Also love to travel and this summer I was fortunate to go to Spain and Italy travelling for 2 weeks.

Contact Details: [email protected] 07938767197

 

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ULTRA-LOW INTEREST RATES

Following the latest Bank Of England Monetary Policy Committee Meeting rates remained, as expected, at 0.5%. The consensus is that in early 2016 we may see a rise to 0.75% with small increases occurring regularly.

Bell & Company are not the only ones focusing their attention on the issue of Interest Rate changes. Hamish McRae is one of Europe’s foremost economic speakers and journalist who specialises in global future trends – he is highly respected and recently published an article on the effects of the low interest rate period.

Mr McRae states that when circumstances seem to be in place for the US Federal Reserve and UK Bank of England to increase Interest Rates something turns up. These include the second Eurozone recession, inaccurate data on the UK economy, falling oil prices and the Chinese economic slowdown. All of these problems have been more or less non consequential. For example, Greece’s demise is a sideshow, UK economic growth has been steady, falling oil prices has seen a boost in consumption worldwide and a slowdown in China’s economic growth was expected and essential for the growth in the developed world.

As the issues the Bank of England highlighted above never arose to cause serious economic harm other issues have arisen due to the extended period of low Interest Rates:

  1. Wealth Inequality

There is a focus on income inequality but an issue under the radar has been the increase in wealth inequality. As asset prices in some areas have soared and those who have multiple assets have benefited massively.

  1. Property Prices Worldwide

A slightly London centric view point here but residential property price increases have been incredibly damaging. The same phenomenon has occurred in New York, Berlin and Mumbai. We all know the Northern Irish situation is different but nonetheless price increases are starting to occur albeit slowly.

  1. Pension Poverty

Pension funds are held in Government Bond Yields which have been held down for regulatory purposes – Pensioners have suffered a double hit.

  1. Cheating Unsophisticated Savers

Those who do not have access to specialist advice on getting a better return have failed to take the money out of the bank and putting it into a portfolio of performing assets.

  1. Encouraging Risk Takers

Savers are taking on ill-understood risks and overextending themselves on the basis Central Banks will keep rates low.

  1. Long-term damage to the financial system

This is hard to pin down as we won’t see the effects for years to come. But low rates mean people are avoiding Banks and this has a few consequences. The use of cash has risen sharply and it is hard to measure peer-to-peer transactions. But by reducing risk in the Banking sector the authorities are increasing it in other sectors as low returns encourages risky innovation.

The half a dozen points raised are already in effect but Mr McRae highlights another concern around the corner – inflation. Firstly, central banks have created asset inflation that resembles a price bubble which could burst. Furthermore, around the corner could be inflation in goods and services. Private sector wages are rising at the fastest rates in 15 years and this will fade into costs in the coming months as the effect of low oil prices wears off. When inflation turns up the Bank of England will have to react, but given their concerns of external factors out of their control highlighted earlier it may be too late to head off domestic inflation which was in their control. Due to delayed action to date when Interest Rates do rise they will have to at a faster rate than we expect.

Bell & Company are urging homeowners who are concerned about the effects a rise in Interest Rates in the future to get in contact NOW. Even if you are in negative equity we can assist. Furthermore, if you think it will be fine I can re-mortgage back onto a fixed rate product then think again. Following the Mortgage Market Review borrowers will find re-mortgaging a trying process and there is concern for the elderly or younger families with varying income could become mortgage prisoners.

Should you or anyone you know be concerned by the issues raised then please call the office on 02895 217 373 to arrange your free initial consultation. Our Negative Equity Resolution team will be able to discuss your scenario and tailor advice to ensure the matter can be resolved.

Terry Bell

 

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.

 

 

NAMA DRAMA – CERBERUS ISSUES

Meetings and Discussions with Cerberus

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.

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

BELL & COMPANY IN THE PRESS!

Check out our ‘Real Issues in today’s Financial World Seminar’ review published in this months  Tatler July where Bell & Company representatives spoke on their successes in obtaining Commercial Finance. If you have any queries in relation to commercial finance contact us today!  Make sure to keep an eye out for details on our next seminar which will be available soon!!

DEBT MANAGEMENT – WE DO THAT

At Bell & Company we deal with all forms of debt. We assist clients with outstanding debt of millions of pounds to individuals who are struggling with much smaller credit card balances. No matter the size of debt, it is very personal in its nature and Bell & Company understand the stress of any debt if it is not sustainable.

In cases where a client has credit card debt with a meagre income it is possible to arrange a Debt Management Plan whereby we can present your circumstances to your relevant lender and advise you are not in a position to maintain contracted payments but instead recommend a more manageable monthly payment.  It is likely agreed over a 6 month period when another review is performed and the payment altered according to any change in circumstances.

In some instances it is possible to negotiate a Full & Final Settlement with Credit Card lenders, but this is only lender specific and not all providers’ offer debt forgiveness. Bell & Company have represented clients against a large number of Credit Card providers and know how each works and if settlements can be achieved.

Many will say that they can deal with Credit Card lenders themselves. Although possible, it is far better to remove yourself from the emotion of the situation and understand that the lender will look to “trip you up” should you attempt to create a debt management plan yourself. Bell & Company have many contacts and understand their protocol and thus can tailor advice to your situation. It is important clients also know the effects on their credit file which could have implications for life in the future.

Again, we stress that we understand that any level of unsustainable debt is incredibly stressful and can put borrowers in emotional situations. We hear daily about people who are willing to go to extreme lengths to end their debt burden and it is horrible to hear the effects it has on individuals. We therefore urge clients to be open and pragmatic by contacting us today to arrange a free initial consultation to plan a route forward.

Contact Bell & Company today on 02890 517047 to discuss any form of debt. Our trained advisors will always offer independent impartial advice specific to your circumstances. All we ask is clients are open and honest and in most likelihood we can recommend a strategy to eradicate or relieve your debt burden.

Terry Bell – Director