Archive for July, 2015

GO KAREN!

For those of you who contact Bell & Company regularly I am sure at some point you will have spoken to our Client Liaison Manager Karen. She is the bright and bubbly one at inappropriate hours in the morning when most are still waking up!

Karen is undertaking the Belfast City Half Marathon on 20 September 2015 and is fundraising for Marie Curie. An incredibly worthwhile cause with Marie Curie caring for those suffering from Terminal Illness with their nurses working day and night to provide hands-on care and emotional support.  They care for over 40,000 terminally ill patients every year and are the biggest hospice provider outside of the NHS and have a hospice here in Belfast.  This is an excellent charity to support and we know some of the funds Karen raises will be utilised close to home which is fantastic.

For our part Bell & Company will double whatever Karen raises i.e. if £100 is raised we will double it to £200. And if she wins we will triple it….no pressure Karen!

If you wish to donate to this excellent cause please log on to Karen’s Just Giving page by clicking on the following link https://www.justgiving.com/Karen-Isaac1/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=shares-from-eua&utm_content=Karen-Isaac1&utm_campaign=eua-share-facebook&fb_ref=Default

We will also take in house donations at Bell & Company HQ.

So please dig deep and remember we will be doubling your donation. Good luck Karen and we will report on how she did after the run.

Terry Bell – Director

 

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.

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

Loan Sold to Cerberus? Act Now!

In a recent blog we discussed the sale of Ulster Bank loan books to Cerberus. Since then things have moved a pace and at Bell & Company we are pleased to report we have had constructive meetings and discussions with Cerberus thus far.

Cerberus are now starting to initiate contact with borrowers whose loans have are in their book and are looking to arrange meetings with Advisors and their client. Although working through these gradually their turnaround time in negotiations seems most efficient and without doubt more efficient than Ulster Bank previously.

Capita make a decision on initial submissions and they make it relatively clear from the outset and give the following options:

  1. Write a cheque for full amount or,
  2. Submit a proposal within 28 days, or
  3. Debt Enforcement/Recovery

Capita has a number of ex Ulster Bank employees who then report to Cerberus, we have an excellent relationship with staff here.

To date Cerberus have been open in their approach and Bell & Company have found we can talk to them quite openly. They are keen to come to settlements and believe it is in the best interest to do this on behalf of the borrower and their stakeholders.  They seek fresh settlement offers, and any previous settlements put forward to the Bank should be used for reference only.

Cerberus too seem to wish to avoid any acrimonious proceedings and therefore clients who had issues with the Bank in the past can look to move past these and drive negotiations.

Although many have expressed concern about their loans being sold there is an excellent opportunity to be had to negotiate a reduced Full & Final Settlement or re-finance elsewhere. We have noticed some advisors telling their clients to be aware of these “vulture” funds, but in Bell & Company’s experience to date providing you enter amicable dialogue and understand the protocol’s Cerberus work within then meaningful results can be achieved.

If you have been contacted by Cerberus or Capita, or expect to be contacted in the near future then call Bell & Company today on +44 (0) 2890 517047 to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your circumstances. We look forward to working with you.

As ever being proactive and appointing people you can work with and who understand and know the processes involved, “warts and “, is vital …. So call us today.

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

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!!

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

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