Connect with us

Bitcoin

Analysis of Risks to a Project Developer in a Term Sheet Or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Published

on

Project Finance has become an increasingly attractive technique for financing infrastructure projects in developing countries over the last twenty years. Furthermore, the use of project financing raises difficult legal issues with respect to the ability of developing countries’ governments to control the provision of public services that are intimately connected to these infrastructure projects. Project finance has several advantages, such as the opportunity for investors to participate directly in an otherwise inaccessible and lucrative-albeit risky-market and the ability to participate in high-risk investments without diminishing creditworthiness. Lenders for projects are primarily large international commercial banks, such as ABN Amro and Citibank, or multilateral lending agencies, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). They will in no doubt, therefore, seek to put in some issues in a term sheet.

The first step in setting up a project financing usually involves the sponsors or developers forming a project company known as a special purpose vehicle or entity, which is designed to construct, own, and operate the project facility. Thus project finance benefits sectors or industries in which projects can primarily be structured as a separate entity from their sponsors or developers.

Thus it is the project company, which is the entity that is borrowing funds for the project. The lenders loan money to the project company with the assets and cash flow of the project acting as the security interest for the project loans.

Definitions and Meanings

European Investment Bank defines project finance as “a loan made primarily against cash flows generated by the project, rather than relying on a corporate balance sheet, the security value of the physical assets or other forms of security”.

A project developer is the sponsor or the borrower for the project.

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is an agreement which serves as one of the pre-requisites for the lender to borrow funds for a project. It is a contract that “there will be ready market for the project on completion”.

A term sheet is an outline of the principal terms and conditions proposed for the project and investment. It is not in itself a legal document but a sort of draft proposals subject for approval by all parties involved.

Types of Risks

In project transactions, there are typically numerous parties from different jurisdictions involved, and accordingly, the laws of many different jurisdictions are potentially applicable to any given transaction. Thus the uncertainties or fears expressed by each party translate to a risk of a sort. It becomes important that the terms sheet or the PPA or the PSA be analysed accordingly and where necessary, find the appropriate legal regulations or instruments to mitigate any risks.

Risks are different for each project – they are often country-specific, and differ depending on the kind of project one wishes to undertake.

There are, generally different kinds of risks with the magnitude being different from one project to another project. Some of the acceptable forms of risks that should be considered at all costs are as follows:

– Sponsor risks

– Pre-completion risks

– Inflation and foreign exchange risk

– Operating risks

– Technological risks

– Completion risk

– Input risk

– Approvals, regulatory and environmental risk

– Offtake and sales risk

– Political risks

Believe it or not, when all the risks-financial, construction & completion risks, technology & performance risks, foreign exchange & availability risks- are critically analysed, it could be deduced that they are to a greater extent linked to government’s policies; in other words, political activities or ideologies. Linking political risk to regulatory risk in most of his study, Louis T. Wells, Jr described Political and regulatory risks as a key impediment to private investment in the infrastructure sectors of developing and transition economies; and are defined as” threats to the profitability of a project that derive from some sort of governmental action or inaction rather than from changes in economic conditions in the marketplace: in each case, action or inaction by political authorities or their agents, rather than changes in supply and demand of goods and services, must be the proximate cause of the change in profitability”(Moran H Theodore ,1999). Planning and political risk occurs due to the long gestation periods of infrastructure projects. During these long periods, projects are vulnerable to changes in policy (Vickerman, 2002).

Despite the appeal of project finance, the extensive amount of political risk associated with it is very high. For this report, political risk is going to be mentioned and analysed most as the main risk to the project developer.

Political risk:

Generally, the main known political risks are the following:

-Expropriation:

The act of taking something from its owner for public use. There are many instances in the former eastern Europe and especially in Africa, where governments decide at the break of the day to take something from a private individual for the use and benefit of the public in the name of what they term as “people’s power” ,” revolution” and so on. This is very upsetting and makes project development a high risk to a project developer.

-Nationalisation:

Transfer of business from private to state ownership. This is not usually experienced in the west as in South America and Africa. Political ideologies in most part of these continents are influenced by one-party state cronies who believe in nationalism than in capitalism. There is the saying that “once bitten, twice shy”; most of these governments are in the developing countries and have the fear that as the west colonised them in the past it could happen again.

-Change of law:

The host government can change the laws overnight and this can affect a project. Sometimes for economic and political reasons, tax laws are enacted which might not be to the advantage of the project developer in terms of the cost increase to certain elements which could increase the purchase price of the product on completion and can jeopardise the PPA.For example an increase in the fuel tax can affect the supply of fuel to the project. Environmental-related issues are also to be blamed for reasons in change of law to please environmentalist pressure group and sometimes for political reasons. Any or all of these could one way or the other affect the project developer in an on-going project or proposed project.

Furthermore, there could be a breach of contract for political reasons.

Thus accordingly, Theodore, (1999) divided the political and regulatory risks that private infrastructure investments and for that matter the project developer are exposed to, into three overlapping categories:

a) Parastatal performance risks: risks of non-compliance with supplier agreements or purchase agreements by the government or government entities leading to political risk. This is to say that government agents or authorities will fail to honour their part of the obligation thereby politicizing the issue.

b) Traditional political risks: risks relating to political uncertainty, lack of Government support, delay in clearances (which primarily have to be taken from government authorities), currency convertibility and transferability, expropriation and breach of investment agreement. This could take any form from delaying permits to failing to sign licenses on time because someone is not happy because no gifts might have “passed under the bridge”. There is therefore, the tendency that the project developer will face this exposure, which lenders would not be happy with.

c) Regulatory risks: risks arising from the application and enforcement of regulatory rules, both at the economy-wide and the industry- or project-specific level. They overlap because they affect one or the other politically. Within emerging economies and under developing countries, regulatory bodies are being set up as independent bodies to minimise the political risk faced by the investors. However, in many instances, these so called independent bodies may come under tremendous pressures from their governments and tend to get influenced. For instance, a regulator, for political reasons, may make decisions relating to tariffs that render a project unattractive to investors, sometimes with the view to transfer the deal to a family friend or a political crony. This is a very common practice in Ghana.

Furthermore, infrastructure projects are subject to continuous interface with various other regulatory authorities that expose them to possible regulatory actions thus affecting their profitability. It is conceivable that explicit tariff formulae ensuring remunerative pricing at the start of the project can be negated subsequently by regulatory authorities on the grounds that tariff was too high. This issue is also very common in Ghana where the term “big elephant” has become synonymous with projects that have been abandoned over the years due to the above political reasons.

Nonetheless, the following risks can be argued to have their roots in one political activity or the other.

Legal risks

Following change of law in political risk discussed above, possible legal risks to a project developer include inadequate legal, legislative, and regulatory framework on sales tax, export & import restrictions, pensions, health and safety rules and penalties for non-compliance. Sometimes the case and administrative laws in the country concerned are not developed. These issues are of great concern to lenders and for that matter the project developer will have to deal with this risk.

Construction & completion risk

Another key risk is construction and completion risk. In the event when construction of the project is delayed for any reason whatsoever, the completion date might be affected.Levnders, therefore, focus upon cost & schedule overruns and time-delay risks of the project in great detail.

Sponsor risks

This risk deals with n two significant issues which banks are so much concern with. They are equity commitment and corporate substance (i.e. corporate strengths and experience).On corporate substance; banks consider that sponsor risk has something to do with completion date and for that matter completion risk. For this reason, whether or not the sponsor or project developer has sought pre-completion guarantees, the banks looks further by working with corporate sponsors with substantial technical expertise and financial depth. because of the belief that “one puts his money where his heart belongs”, regarding equity, lenders will normally require a contribution between 15% to 50% of the project cost to ensure the sponsor is committed to complete the project on schedule.

Financial risks

Financial risks usually cover interest rates, foreign exchange rate & availability risk, currency and inflation. Inflation really affects the project developer in a PPA for reasons like raising the cost of the project which can delay its completion due to lack of funds. Some governments are also skeptical about foreign investment in their country and sometimes prevent the repatriation of funds by foreigners outside. Devaluation and interest rate just like inflation can also affect the projects negatively especially when provision has not been made in the PPA for that. International funds are often cheaper than local ones, but given the fact that the energy generated is sold locally, and paid in local currency, using foreign loans creates exposure to the risk of currency depreciation.

Environmental risks

Global warming is becoming ‘national word’ if not a household word. Thus environmental risk is of great concern to both the government and a project developer because of the aftermath of certain projects like land degradation, pollution of rivers, and air. Lenders are concerned about their liability to meet vast claims arising out of pollution caused by borrowers and so demand high in a PPA.In a PPA, for example, the sponsor or the project developer is responsible to provide “reasonable and customary measures within its control required to ensure the protection and security of the site”. This goes to say that the project developer is responsible to secure regulatory and other approvals like licences and other local permits needed for the project. The significance of this is that until recently, project developers leave land unattended after exploratory activities and corporate social responsibility was not known to corporate bodies but now it is gaining roots. To please the locals, corporate bodies have to take extra responsibilities because of the aftermath of certain projects. This could even serve as guarantee for borrowers.

Offtake and sales risk

The uncertainty that the project will fail to take off and bring in adequate income to offset the cost of the project is known as Offtake and sales risk. When a project fails to generate the required income, lenders cannot be repaid. Sometimes the selling of the output to the market is also uncertain. Banks in effect have high interest in anything that might affect this risk and so will look for assurances in the business plan of the project developer. The onus of this risk is that the project developer had to make extensive market analysis to get to know the market demand for the product or output. It could be energy alright but if the macroeconomic situation of the country concerned is not sound, the income generated could not meet the investment. Ghana had a similar experience in the late 90s when the government in power decided to extend electricity grid to the rural areas where .It became a big issue as the villagers could not afford the payment of the tariff , the government could not pay either and the electricity corporation had to run a huge debt.

Technology & operation risk:

Technology risk is usually when the technology being applied or proposed for the project is “very new” and not really known by the lenders. Lenders are particularly concerned about such projects and will do anything to minimise such risk. Operation risk deals with the aftermath of the project and it running.i.e the risk that forecasted cash flows arising from the failure of operations of the project. Banks are not only concerned with the competency and financial capability of the contractor but also those who are going to run the project must apply the relevant technology for its day to day activities in order to generate the required cashflow.

– Others like local knowledge, customs of the local people, for example if it has to deal with hydro-related project, some river deities have to be pacified and the project could be delayed for the mere reason that some chiefs or local leaders might politicised the whole customary rites to the extent that the project cost might swell or even be called off.

Even though we are not analysing the responsibilities of the seller and buyer in a PPA, suffice it to say that both parties’ responsibilities are considered vital hence the need to have proper enabling environment especially politically in order to execute the project successfully. This will have to come about with the help of the Government in power.

Actually, developers have built up experience in negotiating PPAs and factor in time for negotiations which are necessary to get a satisfactory deal. Wind energy schemes are generally seen as a low risk technology, compared to other renewable energy technologies.

Nevertheless some developers have noted that PPAs are generally not long enough and that it takes time to find a suitable solution which can lead to delays. Most comments in relation to PPAs focused on the need to maintain certainty in the Renewable Obligation in order to avoid destabilising the market. One smaller developer noted that ‘political change is a big worry…we wouldn’t be able to finance projects if the RO changed’.

The minimum investment criteria for renewable energy projects varied from respondent to respondent, but typically investors do not want to commit to projects until financial close or beyond, when all project risks have been satisfactorily mitigated in terms of planning, technology, performance and long-term revenue security (PPA). Some investors will look for a minimum project size, in terms of installed capacity or output per annum, whilst others will look for a minimum amount of debt to be provided at an internally acceptable rate of return.

Mitigating the Risks

In the World Report 2006 by UNCTAD,some key causes of delay were discussed.

Although of the perceived risks, no single element was unanimously highlighted from the responses as the most significant cause for delay. It was reported that, beyond planning approval, mitigating risks to enable finance and insurance to be secured is the next most significant barrier highlighted by all of the developers. The ability for a developer to raise finance is greatly affected by the perceived risks of the project and or the developer himself. Financial investors or lenders will typically require all risks associated with fuel supply, planning conditions, construction & completion, and wayleave rights, power purchase agreements, technology and the EPC contract mitigated prior to their participation, which would normally not be before project financial close has been reached. This will also inevitably be a concern to a project developer.

Nonetheless, the following approaches have been suggested as ways and means to reduce or eliminate the risks mentioned above. Among them are:

Track record of country:

With regard to political risk, the solution lies in having a stable political atmosphere in the country in which the project developer is investing. And because of the way some political leaders influence the populace with their ideologies, it id expedient that there is a sound legal framework like rule of law in place to combat the way issues are politicised.Sometimes it is clear that personal ideologies are made to take precedence over what will benefit the whole nation. Another mitigating approach is to have proper laid down investment and other financial regulations in place which can help out project developers reduce or eliminate political risk in a PPA.Local knowledge is also very important. A recent issue reported in the News and the Financial Times about locals in Ethiopia killing 9 Chinese workers among 74 people working in an exploration site in Ethiopia because of what the locals described as “not having their permission to mine in their territory”. This kind of issue could have been avoided should the Chinese knew about the local perception about their presence with regard to the project and adhered to. In most instances, sound macro-economic indicators i.e. sovereign credit rating, for reserves, trade balance, future government obligations are very important to lenders and provide guarantee to the project risks being minimised.

Insurance by World bank or credit export agencies:

The risks of a Government changing its position in terms of law could be covered on the political risk insurance market. Occasionally, export credit agencies enabled equipment suppliers to sell on credit by covering most of the buyers’ credit risk. The market for political risk insurance in developing countries is still small. This is because; first, significant South-South FDI is a recent phenomenon, and as a result, demands for political risk insurance from developing-country. Traditionally focusing on trade, export credit agencies (ECAs) in developing countries have not yet fully developed political risk insurance services for investors and their capacity to underwrite is limited. There are, however, indications that concerns about political risk and awareness of risk mitigators are growing as investors from developing countries seek out business opportunities in other developing countries.

Occasionally, export credit agencies enabled equipment suppliers to sell on credit by covering most of the buyers’ credit risk. But in recent years, several new risk mitigation instruments have become available.

Lease-purchase scheme:

The full package of risk mitigants used in typical project finance can carry a high cost, too high for smaller projects. But some of the concepts of project finance can be used even in rather small projects in order to reduce risks. For example, the “limited recourse” aspect of project finance has been used in a lease-purchase scheme for small hydropower plants in Cambodia. It works like this; local entrepreneurs prepare the project, showing that the proposed plant is economically and financially viable. On the basis of this feasibility study, they can then negotiate a power purchase agreement with the national utility, Electricité de Cambodge (EdC), and they would also sign a lease-purchase agreement for the hydropower plant; both will come into operation only once the plant has actually been constructed. On the basis of these two agreements, the entrepreneur can then obtain short-term construction loans from local banks and equipment suppliers – in other words, until the plant is constructed, the entrepreneur takes all the risks.

However, once the plant is operational, the lease-purchase agreement becomes operational: EdC buys the plant from the entrepreneur for the total of his construction loans, which can then be reimbursed. EdC leases back the plant to the entrepreneur, and deducts the payments due for the lease from the electricity payments it makes under the PPA. After a fixed lease period, the entrepreneur can buy the plant from EdC for a symbolic US$ 1. This scheme considerably reduces financing risks and, therefore, costs, and makes this form of renewable energy competitive with conventional energy sources. This scheme in my opinion will work not for small projects but also many projects in general considering the fact that the lease-purchase scheme becomes operational after the project has been completed.

Receivable-based finance:

The crux of the receivables-based financing structure lies in leveraging contractual obligations within the value chain. Receivables from the power purchaser or receivables from other partners in the chain can be used either as security or for directly meeting the financial obligations related to the renewable energy project.

Structured finance techniques:

Structured finance can help overcome some of these barriers and manage many of the risks, though not all (policy-and regulation-related issues need to be dealt with by Governments; limited local managerial capacity or poor understanding of renewable energy projects in local banks can be tackled by donor-funded capacity-building programs, etc.). Financial risks can be mitigated through the incorporation of certain elements into the financing structure (e.g. escrow accounts), while others can be shifted to third parties. The possibilities for shifting risk are improving. For example, the possibilities to shift risk to the capital market, through securitization, have much improved.

Structured finance techniques, which are widely used by financiers in the commodity sector to mitigate a series of risks, can help to reduce the “funding gap” for renewable energy projects, and can help Governments and aid agencies to improve the leverage that they achieve with their financial support. Several case studies illustrate how this can lead to successful projects. Renewable energy is a sector in full expansion -even though it is still far from replacing hydrocarbons as the major source of energy. Renewable energy offers great opportunities for developing countries, in particular for areas that are not immediately adjacent to existing electricity grids. However, private sector financiers are often wary of funding renewable energy projects – a sector with which they are often not very familiar and which carries certain risks. Governments and aid donors support the expansion of the sector, but often have difficulty finding sustainable models.

UNCTAD has done considerable work on the use of structured finance techniques in developing countries, particularly for the commodity sector. Use of such techniques reduces the risks taken by the financier, including by shifting risk from the borrower to other parties who are more creditworthy, leaving the financier with performance risks rather than credit risks on the borrower. The general principles of structured finance and its potential uses for developing countries are discussed in several UNCTAD reports, as are some particular applications (e.g. warehouse receipt finance).

Turnkey construction contract:

With regard to construction & completion risks, a strong Turnkey construction contract is recommended with performance LDs to overcome cost and schedule overruns which could affect the project construction & completion. Lenders can also minimise this risk by analysing whether or not the various contractors’ area financially capable and that their obligations are covered by performance bonds or other third party sureties. In another report , another suggestion of fixed price EPC contract with delay LDs was provided to combat cost and schedule overruns. It further indicated that, a World Bank Study of 80 hydro projects studied, 76 projects exceeded their final budgets, with half of those exceeding the cost by at least a quarter. With a strong turnkey construction contract, this risk could be avoided. Another solution is putting in place a sponsor completion support in form of contingency facility, stand-by equity or credit by a credit agency.

Guaranteed-price PPA:

There should be long-term guaranteed power purchase agreement or contracts for projects to serve as a key element that can eliminate the price and volume risks from energy projects for example. Contracts could also be drawn such that banks are offered an outstanding Offtake agreement if the other party’s (purchaser) financial standing is not certain and the generator has the ability to set output pricing for the whole time of the contract. Finally on Offtake and sales risks, it is recommended that sponsors consider the fact that lenders will wish to take security to guarantee power and heat sale contract. Lenders could also be assured that should the volume and price risk surface again, the sponsor will be prepared to consider paying a portion of the debt.

On sponsor risks, the effect of reducing this risk is that an invitation could be extended to a more credit worthy sponsor for partnership in the project. Furthermore, smaller sponsors can have their governments guarantee some projects or approach a bank for structured finance after asking for a credit rating form a recognised agency and transfer the risk to a third party.

With regard to technology & operations risk, the project developer must try to reduce these risks and so must show that the technology is not new and has a high success rating. It should also be demonstrated that the contractor in charge of the building of the project is competent and conversant with the mtechnology.Operations and Maintenance of the project on completion must also be assured ion addition to the fact that warranties and guarantees have been thoroughly negotiated. This could be achieved by engaging the services of a recognised contractor with the relevant skills and competency. This is known to be highly acceptable by banks as reduced operation and technology risk.

Ghana has recently celebrated its golden jubilee of becoming an independent state dealing with its own affairs so to speak; however, politics has not changed much because politics is the ideologies of individuals. For that reason, so many people within one political party or government can bring different ideas to bear on the politics of a nation affecting project finance one way or the other. It is the inability of the synchronization or blending of these ideas that is really a matter of concern for political risk in project financing. If these could be suppressed or eliminated, then political risk and all the related risks can be mitigated. The list for project risk could be endless considering the fact that people as well as governments’ fear and anticipation are very uncertain.However; the risks could be somewhat minimised or eliminated.

Reference

1. Evaluation of PPP by EIB by (on line) (accessed on 10th February,2007)

2. Hoffman, S.L. (2001) the Law and Business of International Project Finance-a Resource for Governments, Sponsors, Lenders, Lawyers and Project Participants.2nd Edition, New York, Transnational Publishers.

3. HWWA Discussion Paper 263,January 2004 “Measuring The Potential Of Unilateral CDM-A Pilot Study”(on line) available from hm-treasury.gov.uk/media (accessed 10th February,2007)

4. Yescombe, E.R. (2002) Principles of Project Finance.UK, Academic Press.

5. “Proposed Credit to Bosnia and Herzegovina for 3rd Electric Power Reconstruction Project” available on www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDS content. Accessed on 10th February,2007)

6. abnamro.com/btcpipeline (accessed on 10th February,2007)

7. member.aol.com/projectfinance/ (accessed on 10th February,2007)

8. World Investment Report 2006.FDI from Developing and Transition Economies: Implications for development. available online (accessed on 10-02-2007)

9. “Barriers to commissioning Projects” 2005 by Land Use Consultants in association with IT Power for DTI & Renewable Advisory Board. available online(accessed on 20-04-07)

10. “Encouraging investment in infrastructure services: political and regulatory risks” by S.K Sarkar & Vivek Sharma, online

google news

Bitcoin

Mortgage Post Closing Services: Describing What They Entail

Published

on

By

Could you be interested in mortgage post closing services? They entail strict reviews and audits to ensure compliance and completeness of documents. It is only after total confirmation of documents that the lender can fund the loan. The service provider selected by your company must be very experienced and good at their work. They must know how to correct documents from various origination stages and review them. The only documents that providers of mortgage post closing services could correct are those that have been signed and funded. The work of hired professionals also is to review legal, loan processing and other documentation for regulatory conformity.

They follow origination and underwriting rules to the letter, making sure missing information, if any, is retrieved. Mortgage closing services also entails data integrity checks so as to generate quality control reports. While doing integrity checks on loan information, service providers also state any possible exceptions. Basically their major activities entail the following. Tracking all documents (trailing document retrieval) associated with the mortgage post-closing is the first critical step. The documents that need to be trailed include assignments, assumption agreements, judgments, tax records, trust deeds, modifications, and UCC (Uniform commercial code) among others.

After the completion of this, issuance of final title policy, lien and assignment take place. The second activity offered during delivery of Mortgage closing services is the assembly of post closing loan package. What this entails is compilation of all loan documents that are usually submitted during the whole origination process. It means therefore that the provider of mortgage post closing services will work together with underwriters, loan officers, loan processors, mortgage brokers, home appraisers, property sellers and any other involved parties. The assembling work is rather tiresome and lengthy and that is why you want it to be done by a big company with many employees.

Another activity includes post closing data integrity audit as aforementioned. The main reason why this audit is done is to tackle possible home loan deficiencies. They verify and address red flags that were raised during the underwriting process. After this, all loans that have been fully approved are registered with a given mortgagee system. This whole process of registering approved loans prevents future assignments on loans. It also saves lenders from incurring future correction and tracking costs or facing document penalties among others. This step of mortgage post closing services also ensures faster execution of loans, zero errors on documentation and an easy closing process.

Mortgage quality control audit is also part of mortgage post closing services. There are automated audit systems used for this task. The service you will be offered in this step include pre-funding, post-closing, servicing, compliance, foreclosure loans, fraud investigation, preparation of the QC plan, cancel or reject, and commercial loans audit among others. It is imperative to make sure that the provider of the post closing service can audit and review the loans you normally process. Many outsourced companies deal with FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac among other home loans. Their basic auditing process entails file document review, evaluation of underwriting process, credit risk analysis and third party verification.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

All You Want To Know About Mortgage

Published

on

By

A mortgage is a kind of agreement. This allows the lender to take away the property if the person fails to pay the cash. Generally, a house or such a costly property is given out in exchange for a loan. The home is the security which is signed for a contract. The borrower is bound to give away the mortgaged item if he fails to make the repayments of the loan. By taking your property the lender will sell it to someone and collect the cash or whatever was due to be paid.

There are several types of mortgages. Some of them are discussed here for you –

Fixed-rate mortgages- These are actually the most simple type of loan. The payments of the loan will be exactly the same for the whole term. This helps to clear the debt fast as the borrowers are made to pay more than they should. Such a loan lasts for a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of 30 years.

Adjustable rate mortgages- This type of loan is quite similar to the earlier one. The only point of difference is that the interest rates might change after a certain period of time. Thus, the monthly payment of the debtor also changes. These kinds of loans are very risky and you will not be sure that how much the rate fluctuation shall be and how the payments might change in the coming years.

Second mortgages- These kinds of mortgage allows you to add another property as a mortgage to borrow some more money. The lender of the second mortgage, in this case, gets paid if there is any money left after repaying the first lender. These kinds of loans are taken for home improvements, higher education, and other such things.

Reverse mortgages- This one is quite interesting. It provides income to the people who are generally over 62 years of age and are having enough equity in their home. The retired people sometimes make use of this kind of loan or mortgage to generate income out of it. They are paid back huge amounts of the money they have spent on the homes years back.

Thus, we hope that you are able to understand the different kinds of mortgages that this article deals with. The idea of mortgage is quite simple- one has to keep something valuable as security to the money lender in exchange for getting or building some valuable thing.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

What Insurances Can I Have With My Mortgage?

Published

on

By

Life Cover

Life Cover provides a lump sum if you die during the policy term. This can be used to pay off your mortgage so your family do not have to worry about making any further repayments.

Critical Illness Cover

Critical Illness Cover is designed to insure against critical illnesses which could have a severe impact on your ability to earn a living. It should pay out if you are diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses or disabilities listed on the policy. You could then use the lump sum to repay your mortgage or help pay expensive medical costs. Some policies pay out on death during the period of cover if you are eligible to claim.

Accident, Sickness & Unemployment Cover

Accident, Sickness & Unemployment Cover is a short-term income-protection policy. It pays you a tax-free monthly sum for up to 12 months if you are unable to work due to an accident or sickness or if you become unemployed through no fault of your own. Policies are available that protect you against all of these events or just cover you for accident and sickness only, or unemployment only.

This type of insurance is expensive so to reduce the cost you can choose to have a ‘deferred period’. Then, in the event of a claim, you will not receive any benefit for a period of time at the beginning. This deferment could be for 30, 60 or 90 days for all three types of claims. You can also have a longer deferred period of 180 days for accident and sickness cover. To help you decide which deferred period is best you should take into consideration such things as any savings you may have and any sick pay you get from your employer.

You can choose the amount of monthly benefit you wish to receive up to 65% of your gross monthly income. Gross income is your wages before deductions have been taken such as income tax and National Insurance contributions. Of course the higher the benefit you require the higher the cost of the insurance. Cover provided by some companies may be limited due to individual circumstances.

Just as an example, Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover typically costs £4.71 a month for every £100 of monthly benefit. This is based on a 36-year-old customer choosing £850 of accident, sickness and unemployment monthly benefit with claims paid after a 30-day deferred period.

The cost of this insurance depends on a number of factors including your age, your occupation and where you live.

A number of companies offer short-term income protection and other products designed to protect you against loss of income.

Buildings Insurance

This covers the structure of the home such as the roof, walls, windows and permanent fittings.

Contents Insurance

This covers household goods, personal possessions and valuables within the home.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

Tips to Choosing a Mortgage Broker

Published

on

By

When you’re searching for a new home, you go through a number of properties to find that perfect match for you and your family. Once the excitement settles, it’s time to secure your financing.

You have two choices, you can approach your bank and hope that they are offering loans right now or you can approach a mortgage broker, someone who specializes in property financing and works with a host of leading banks, financial institutions and credit unions to secure you the best deal available to meet your budget.

When you first start looking for someone to help you secure the financing you need, it’s advisable to speak to family and friends that have recently purchased property in the area. They may be able to recommend an experienced broker that they dealt with, who secured them their financing. Word of mouth is usually the best way to find the best of the best.

Another option is to search online. You will be welcomed by hundreds of mortgage brokers who all want to assist you in getting the finance you need to secure your new home. If you choose online, there is some additional research you will have to do to ensure you will be working with someone who has experience and knowledge in the industry and has a good reputation with their customers.

There are a number of different brokers out there, some will be tied to certain estate agencies, some will work independently and some will work for large lending centers that are working closely with a number of the leading lenders in the country. Try and steer clear of the first two, rather go with the one that can work alongside a large number of banks and financial institutions to find you the money you need in the shortest period of time.

The mortgage broker should be focused on finding you the best possible deal. They may present you with a number of offers, enabling you to choose the one you feel meets your specific requirements.

One of the most important considerations is that they have extensive industry experience and an excellent reputation. You want your mortgage broker to work for you, they should provide you with all the information and advice you need, also providing you with outstanding customer service. This is so important as a first time buyer when you are unsure about the processes that lie ahead.

Determine if they charge any upfront fees. Some mortgage brokers will charge fees for their efforts. Ensure you are aware of the percentage they charge and how the payment is to be made. Is it upfront? Do you have to pay it straight away? This may reduce your down payment slightly, so take this into consideration.

Always do your own research as well, don’t rely on what they tell you. Even if you have chosen to use a mortgage broker because they can secure the best deals, approach the banks and find out what they are offering right now. Don’t settle for the first offer that comes you way, by doing some research, you can ensure you find the best mortgage with the best interest and terms to suit your budget.

Never assume your loan is secure. Ensure everything is provided to you in writing. This should be the offer from the lending institution, the mortgage broker’s fees and anything else imperative to your decision.

With everything in writing, you are set to go ahead and place an offer on your new dream home with the confidence that your financing should be approved within the shortest period of time.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

STAR Servicer – Total Achievement and Rewards Program for Mortgage Servicers

Published

on

By

As the fall out continues with the countrywide 50 state investigations, lending servicers who are responsible for bill collection of mortgage payments and other aspects of mortgage servicing for investors, it has come to the attention of the government how badly these companies are run. Fourteen companies have been under review and all of them have been found to violate foreclosure laws. Fannie Mae and other government agencies have been discussing how to best improve our mortgage servicing and lending here in the United States. Fannie Mae has come up with a performance program to help assist mortgage servicers’ to get it right and to stay within the boundaries of the law. This ultimately will help ensure the health of our housing economy and help support the housing recovery.

Not only will servicers be facing no procedures, they will also be facing harsh fines as a group entity. These fees could total over 20 million; however, this is just an estimation of what they could be paying for violating foreclosure laws.

Fannie Mae on Wednesday announced the STAR (Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards); the program is designed to better assist and will help examine how the servicers help homeowners avoid foreclosure. The goal of this new program is to set clear expectations and specific measurements to help Fannie Mae and servicers increase focus on avoiding foreclosure.

As more and more news comes out about how servicers’ have violated foreclosure laws, this program is an ongoing effort to hold servicers accountable. So how will this work? Each servicer will be given a servicer performance scorecard, which in turn will provide feedback on a monthly basis. With this program it should help servicers see where they need improvement and overall performance. Top ranking servicer’s will become eligible to receive monthly incentive awards and recognition. Also, top ranking servicer’s performance will be made public in an annual scorecard. Many believe this program will help gear better customer service to home owners, help with the housing recovery, and keep the servicers on the right track.

This will also help the federal government to set guidelines and regulations in place for the mortgage servicing industry. As the mortgage industry and bank industry is reviewed by the government to find a solution and to prevent another financial crises,it seems many changes are going to happen over the next few months and years. As we wait and see if the HAMP program and other federal programs will stick around, it is good to know servicers will now be regulated better in hopes of making the homeowner ship experience safer for everyone.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

Foreign National Mortgages: Things To Keep In Mind

Published

on

By

A foreign national mortgage refers to a loan for non-us residents. Even the government can issue loans to non-residents of the States. Let’s find out more.

First of all, if you are in the States legally, you can apply for the loan. However, for illegal residents, there are zero chances of success. The reason is that main lenders always require ID before reviewing an applicant. And these requirements include visas, work permits, green cards and social security numbers as well.

Rules for the resident foreigners

Generally, it’s not difficult for non-us residents to look for a mortgage. There are two primary categories that they fall in:

1. Permanent residents: they have green cards and the rights to live in the States with all the long-term residency rights

2. Non-permanent residents: Generally, your residency rights are based on your employment.

Regardless of which category you fall in, you can apply for a mortgage. However, you may need to put in a little more effort if you are not a permanent resident.

Permanent vs non-permanent

If you are a non-permanent resident, you may have to show a proof that you will live in the country for at least another three years. If your visa or work permit has fewer than 12 months of expiry date, your lender can find out how likely you may be to stay.

FHA loans are designed for non-permanent residents. According to the rules, if you have a renewed visa or work permit, you can be a good candidate for approval.

Refugees or those in the asylum

If you have been in the asylum or have the refugee status, we have good news for you. With this status, you have the right to work, and you have greater chances of getting a mortgage approval. So, this is important to keep in mind.

Non-resident foreign buyers

If you have no right to live in the USA, you may still be eligible for the loan. However, you may have credit score problems to face. Actually, lenders have concerns as how they can enforce a debt in case of these non-residents.

So, you can’t get the type of deals a resident or citizen can get. In fact, you may have to make a down payment up to 50% to get this type of loan. Aside from this, the mortgage rate can be quite higher unlike the rate charged to a resident.

Welcome to the States

Immigrants were the founders of the States. Therefore, American has always been quite welcoming to immigrants.

Typically, lenders make their lending decisions based on the risk factors, such as the financial resources, down payment size, and creditworthiness of the borrower. As far as determining the best deal is concerned, you can be on the level playing field irrespective of the citizenship status you may have.

Long story short, if you are non-resident in the United States, you can still apply for a mortgage but you need to meet the requirements set by the lender. Hope this helps.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

Tips To Choose a Mortgage Lender

Published

on

By

No matter how rich you are emergency situations can crop up at any time. Thus, you have to consider taking a loan either from an individual or from a financing company or a bank. Most of the people of now like to opt for the latter options rather than going for the first option. This is because the financing companies or banks are more reliable than a person. But the high interests that are charged on the loans are really a burden. So, a better alternative that you can look for is mortgaging your property against the loan you take. This will relief you from being taxed with high charges and you can pay the loan amount at your convenience within the time limit that the company has offered you. To choose a proper loan lender you can follow some of the tips that we have provided in this article.

Prepare a List

While you consider risking your personal property, why plan everything in haste. Some companies would try to persuade you to take quicker decisions by offering attractive rates but let them be as they are and take your time to take your decision. Research well and make a list of the companies that you find.

Check the Terms and Conditions

Not only choosing the company but knowing the terms and conditions through which the loan to be completed are important. Remember that you are risking your property for money and the slightest carelessness in this respect can cause you to lose your money.

How Quickly They Respond

The next thing that should be your determining factor is that how quickly they respond to your queries. Emergency situations don’t give you a lifetime opportunity. A delay can make the problems to increase. So, instead, you should go for the ones that respond quickly to your needs.

Compare and Choose

After you check with several companies you can compare the interest rates and also the time period they are allowing you to make the repayments. You also have to ensure that the company that you are thinking of dealing with should have a good reputation in the market. Check their client reviews and the years the company has been in the market. If you find that the company is a genuine one then you should go ahead with finalizing the deal with the company.

We hope that just by reading this article you have got an idea about choosing the mortgage provider. This will help you in choosing a better lender for your needs.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

Credit Card Processing: How the System Works

Published

on

By

Establishing a merchant account for your business enterprise is the wisest financial decision you will ever make for the growth, expansion and success of your business. Once you’ve set up a merchant account, you can accept credit and debit cards payments from your clients for your products and / or services. You can also arrange to accept online and mobile banking payments for your products and / or services.

A merchant account opens up new avenues for your business; therefore, giving your business many more opportunities to flourish. But, have you ever understood how the credit card processing system works? Have you tried to perceive the complexities of the players involved in the process and the intricacies of the system?

While it is not entirely essential for you to know the inside and outside of the card processing system because your Merchant Service Provider will do the needful for you; it is good for you to acquaint yourself with the system on a general basis.

The Participants Involved in a Card Transaction

A typical credit or debit card transaction involves the following players:

• The customer

• The merchant

• The payment gateway

• The customer’s credit card issuer

• The credit card interchange

• The processor at the acquiring bank

• The merchant’s acquiring bank

The Route the Money Takes from the Customer to the Merchant

Let’s take an example to understand how the card processing system works.

Suppose that a customer walks into a clothing store and she finds a bag that catches her eye. She immediately proceeds to the payment counter and makes a payment of $100 towards her purchase with her cards.

The cashier at the merchant’s store accepts the cards and uses a card swiping machine to set the process into motion.

• The $100 amount makes its first stop at the payment gateway where the payment is first authorized with a minor deduction in the amount.

• Now, $99 travels to the appropriate processor and after a minor deduction is submitted to the card interchange as $98.5.

• Once the transaction gets a clear at the interchange, it moves on to the issuing bank with a further deduction where the issuing bank verifies the availability of funds in the customer’s credit / debit card.

If the transaction is declined, it makes its journey back to the customer from here.

• If the transaction is approved, $98 reaches the processor at the acquiring bank, just one step closer to the merchant account.

• Once authorized, $97.5 gets deposited into the merchant’s account, which is now at the merchant’s disposal.

(The figures and fees involved in card processing are based on the number of players in the process, merchant type, card type and risk factors)

In the present age, quite a number of payments are made electronically, especially with the extensive use of credit and debit cards and online funds transfer. Although typical card processing takes seven participants, the entire transaction amazing takes a maximum of five seconds for approval.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

5 Tips to Consider When Refinancing Your Mortgage

Published

on

By

Here are 5 tips to consider when refinancing your mortgage.

Is it the right move?

When conditions are right, financially and economically, you might be considering a refinance of your mortgage. Before you jump into what seems like a good idea, it’s best to know exactly what the refinancing process is, and just what it entails. You should know that when you are going to refinance, it involves starting the loan application process right from the start, as if you are buying a new home. Will you be taking the loan with a new lender, setting up a new deal, or should you shop around and see what’s on offer from other loan providers? The best person to lead you through what is now a veritable minefield of lenders, is your mortgage broker. They are far more up to date with what’s on offer than if you spent hours scouring the internet looking for the best deals.

Why Refinance?

What are your reasons for refinancing? There could be a variety of reasons. Lower interest rates on offer? A difference of a point or two in the rate may seem small when you look at it, but that couple of points can save you thousands over the years because your repayments will go on for 15 to 30 years for a typical mortgage.

Another reason some may decide to refinance is to get a shorter term, which also saves thousands of dollars. For example, things have never looked rosier personally, and both you and your partner are working, and your income is higher. So, a change in your financial situation can be used to save money on higher monthly payments. Conversely, you might be after a lower monthly payment or have that fixed rate changed to a variable rate, or vice versa.

Refinancing Costs

There are some obvious things to look at when considering refinancing. One of the first things is the actual cost of refinancing. Look at the fees you will be paying and divide it by the months of your mortgage and see whether there is a saving as a result of the refinancing. Sometimes you are ahead straight away, other times you might have to work out when you will hit the break-even point.

Penalties

Are there any penalties in your mortgage terms and conditions that apply if you pay out the mortgage early? Lenders do NOT like mortgages paid out early. Remember, when you refinance, you are paying off one loan and applying for another completely new loan. Add any penalties to your total costs for refinancing and calculate that break-even point again. Be certain that you are not losing money overall when you refinance.

Your Equity

An important factor in this whole process is to work out the equity you have in your home. A negative equity is when you owe more on the home than what the house is worth. If you have been in your home for a number of years, the annual increase in your home’s value will stand you in good stead. But if this is a refinance taken out after only a short time into your mortgage, price fluctuations may have worked against you. If your lender is offering less than the equity, you will not be able to get the refinance, unless, of course, you have the money to pay the difference. Current markets indicate an overall rise in prices, but there have been some downward movements as well over the year and that may have had a negative effect on your home’s value.

google news
Continue Reading

Bitcoin

Get Over from Your Credit! Credit Debt Management

Published

on

By

Credit arises when you spend without paying. And how it is done? Yes, you are right, it’s through credit cards. Here, we are going to discuss how can we control that small plastic card which can make us happy with its service and can lead us to bankruptcy if goes out of control. Credit debt management can suggest us the way to get back that control and maintain it.

Credit card handling tips which you can follow for efficient credit debt management:

o Use your credit cards wisely; this will help you build a good credit history.

o Reviewing of credit card bills helps you pay them on time simultaneously finding errors (if any) in the bill.

o Get your credit report and analyze it. Contact credit rating agencies if there is any mistake in the report regarding credit card or any other debts.

o If you are already having balances on your credit cards, don’t apply for more cards.

o Get your balance transferred to a card with lower interest rate, if you use more than one credit card.

o If you are late on payments to another creditor, your credit card company can raise your

interest rate. So, always pay your bills on time for all your debts.

o Special cards such as gas and petrol cards, departmental store cards or rewards cards carry higher rates as compared to normal cards, so avoid them

o If your credit debts are getting out of hands, contact credit debt management agencies for help.

Along with the measures specified above you can take the help of credit debt management companies. You can search among numerous credit debt management companies available online along with the services they offer. These services include credit counseling, credit card education and credit card debt consolidation services. Under a credit card debt consolidation service, you make a single monthly repayment to these agencies for all your credit card bills. Further, this agency pays your creditors from that amount at negotiated amounts. Yes for getting this service, you will be charged with a certain percentage of the total debt payment for credit cards.

You can enroll for a credit debt management agencies within 15 to 20 minutes. After the enrollment the consultants from these agencies will contact you with the services and credit debt management plan while discussing your credit card spending with you. The services of these agencies will continue till all your debts are in control or you have decided you withdraw voluntarily from this service. A credit debt management besides erasing your debts can also erase your stress due to credit cards.

google news
Continue Reading

Trending