PUNT: Banks pushing credit unions towards the flames
THE thorny question of which lenders get burned when dealing with distressed mortgages is proving a real headache for the Central Bank's Fiona Muldoon, pictured.
The director of credit institution supervision has dragged the main mortgage lenders and the credit unions into a room together.
At issue is whether credit unions, credit card providers and other unsecured lenders should be forced into a big write off of their debt when a mortgage has to be restructured by banks.
Banks feel there can be no return to normality unless unsecured lenders take a big hit, as they themselves will be doing.
And anyway unsecured lending was just as irresponsible during the boom as secured lending, the banks argue.
But credit unions feel they did not create the problems for those who borrowed big for properties that are now problem mortgages.
The talks have been going on for months with no progress reported.
Fearing that no solution is possible, the latest wheeze is to run a pilot scheme to see how it all works. This will look at how unsecured creditors fare when a bank is restructuring a mortgage.
However, even this could come a cropper as the credit unions are reluctant take part.
WTO's smooth-talking chief has his hands full
WITH a struggling global economy and faith in free trade running low in many countries, the new head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has his hands full.
Roberto Azevedo (pictured) appears to be the right man for the job. He's the quintessential Brazilian diplomat – a well-spoken, competent and a smooth negotiator with a knack for wooing adversaries into his corner.
However, he's not without his own baggage. He's built his career advocating for a country with a less-than-stellar record when it comes to free trade.
But he's been tied to the global trade body since its inception almost 20 years ago and no doubt has a deep understanding of the complex bureaucratic workings.
Whether that insider knowledge can help him restore relevance to the global trade body remains to be seen.
DermaFace clinic boosted by soaring botox figures
THE QUEST for eternal youth is really paying off for one Dublin housewife.
Danielle Meagher of the eponymous TV3 show has announced she is expanding her Dublin skincare clinic DermaFace after sales of botox and facial filler jumped by 50pc last year.
DermaFace, which offers everything from lip plumping injections to 'mantox' – botox for men – says it will return to profitability in 2013, three years into a rebranding exercise. It says it did not expect to make a profit until year five.
The company has purchased additional space at the clinic's Fitzwilliam Street address in Dublin, which it says will triple its available clinical facility.
According to Ms Meagher – a graduate of Trinity College and Dublin's Mount Anville secondary school – this will allow it to go "full steam ahead" as it prepares for its busiest period, the run-up to summer, when she predicts that "botox will be bigger than bikinis".
Residents not keen on Lidl as neighbour
Lidl has been irritating the locals in Tallaght, the Punt notices, as the German grocery discounter continues with plans for a development that is to include a new HQ.
Earlier this year, Lidl submitted a planning application for revisions to a previously granted permission for development at a location formerly occupied by Metal Powders International.
Lidl had intended to construct 100 apartments and a nine-storey building, but scaled back the plans to omit the residential element and reduce the building height.
But Sinn Fein councillor Marie Devine has lashed out at Lidl's latest planned revisions. She says local residents feel "dismissed" by Lidl and claims they've been excluded by the retailer from the decision-making process.
The council has approved the changes, but Bancroft Residents' Association has appealed to An Bord Pleanala. Lidl "has not proven to be good neighbours", says association vice chairman Joe O'Connor in his appeal.