Wednesday 20 November 2019

What it says in the papers: business pages

The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section
The front page of this morning's Irish Independent business section
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Here are the business stories you need to know about this morning:

Irish Independent

*Thousands of AIB customers could have unwittingly lost their tracker rates years ago, a leading debt adviser has claimed, as a lawsuit is brought against the bank over its handling of mortgages.

Ross Maguire of New Beginning said he thinks there are potentially thousands of AIB customers who fixed their mortgage for a defined period and then, when that period expired, were not informed of their right to return to a valuable tracker product.

His comments came as one couple are taking a lawsuit, claiming that they should have been offered the opportunity to move to a tracker product by AIB after their fixed-rate term expired, but were not. The case appears similar to claims made against Permanent TSB, which culminated in a July apology by that lender plus compensation for affected customers.

AIB declined to comment.

*Farmers are expected to escape premium rises but drivers will be hit as FBD insurance is expected to report losses later today and signal that it will continue to increase prices.

The troubled insurer is due to report financial results for the first six months of the year.

Dublin stock market watchers are braced for more losses after the group sank into the red to the tune of €4.5m last year.

*China's economic slowdown and a sharp fall in its stock market is not a crisis but a 'necessary' adjustment for the world's second-biggest economy, a senior IMF official said.

Fresh evidence of easing growth in China hammered global stock markets last week, driving Wall Street to its steepest one-day drop in nearly four years. More than €2.5 trillion was wiped off the value of global stocks.

The Irish Times

*The Government is exploring legislation designed to ensure banks and receivers repossessing buy-to-let properties don't evict tenants into homelessness.

Sources in the Department of the Environment confirmed officials there are discussing 'duty-of-care' legislation with Department of Finance counterparts.

The new rules would stop a tenant being evicted if they had no alternative accommodation.

*AIB audited its accounts in full in June, despite not being obliged to do so, fuelling speculation that it will this year start financial restructuring needed before a return to private ownership.

Market sources believe the bank will be able to return €3bn-4bn to the State before a stock market float, and possibly before October's budget.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will decide on the timing of the move.

*The owner of blogging site Wordpress has removed an anonymous site that was allegedly defamatory of Irish oil and gas explorer Petroceltic.

The move means Automattic will avoid potential fines of up to €100,000 a day and possible legal action.

Mr Justice John Hedigan last week said Automattic would face the "most serious consequences" if it did not take the site down as ordered by the High Court.

Irish Examiner

*Mortgage holders look set to benefit from a price war between the major banks as one cut already promises over €1,000 a year in savings to switchers.

With major savings already available to switchers, banks look set to compete with AIB's recent cut - its third in 2015, according to Ken Murray of the Association of Expert Mortgage Advisers.

Mr Murray said  he'd be shocked if there wasn't a reaction to the move from other banks.

*The Irish Exporters' Association has called for restraint in public sector pay rises.

The Association said it was opposed to flat-rate increases and called for a structure based on rewarding those who try harder or deliver more.

It said it was 'bitterly disappointed' that such a structure had not already been implemented.

*Retailers are set to benefit from a new 'one-stop shop' for registering and applying for licences they need to trade.

The new portal is designed to cut the amount of red tape businesses face.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the system goes some way towards meeting the Government's goal of making Ireland 'the best small country in the world in which to do business.'

Online Editors

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