Wednesday 18 October 2017

Banks in UK face a £10bn claim bill

UK banks face a £10bn (€11.8bn) bill to settle claims they mis-sold interest rate hedging contracts to real estate firms, research from property consultant DTZ has showed.

DTZ estimated the total cost to British and overseas banks was between £5bn and £10bn, which will pile further pressure on lenders already under fire for rate fixing.

Such hedging contracts were designed to protect UK borrowers against rising interest rates but ended up by costing them huge bills when rates fell.

The punitive costs – which included big penalties to get out of the deals – prevented many commercial property companies from striking much-needed refinancing deals in the wake of the financial crisis as real estate values plunged.

Such compensation will help unblock "one of the biggest impediments so far to successful refinancing and restructuring of debt across the commercial property industry", said DTZ global head of research Hans Vrensen.

Though mis-selling claims typically involve smaller companies unaware of the risks in using such financial derivatives, bigger companies also suffered, said Mayad Rassam of Vedanta Hedging.

"We are advising a number of large international property firms, some with notional swaps in the hundreds of millions, who believe they did not fully understand the complexity of what was provided to them," he said.

DTZ's research covers sterling-denominated loans by British and overseas lenders to real estate borrowers of all sizes and includes cash payments and concessions.

British banks have paid out £500,000 to compensate smaller companies for mis-sold interest rate swaps and the figure is set to rise rapidly in coming months. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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