BPFI Office Relocation

BPFI has relocated to new offices at Floor 3, One Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, D02 RF29. Our main telephone number, staff telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged – Tel +353 1 671 53 11, Email: info@bpfi.ie

We very much look forward to welcoming you to our new office and thank you for your support during our years in Nassau House. We would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a very happy New Year.

FraudSMART and An Garda Siochana lead safe online shopping campaign

BPFI’s fraud awareness programme, FraudSMART teamed up with an Garda Siochana in November to launch a safety campaign for Black Friday. Urging consumers and retailers to shop and sell online safely and to protect their financial and personal details, FraudSMART provided a range top tips also relevant in the approach to the busy Christmas period. The campaign was hugely successful with FraudSMART’s spokesperson Niamh Davenport interviewed by various media outlets to highlight the key advice people should heed.

Mortgage Market Matters

The European Commission has confirmed that its review of the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) will officially commence in January 2019 and is expected to last one year.  Feedback on the European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS) and Foreign Currency Loans (FCLs) has already been sought to feed into this wider review.

Here at home the Central Bank of Ireland’s annual review of the residential mortgage measures was published in late November. With regards to the CPC 2012 addendum relating to mortgage switching BPFI member banks are working hard to be compliant by 1 January 2019.

BPFI participates in European Money Mule Action

2018 was the first year that Ireland participated in the European Money Mule Action (EMMA) initiative, now in its fourth year. EMMA is an initiative that sees the financial sector, law enforcement agencies and other key stakeholders joining forces to tackle the illegal activity of money muling across borders.

EMMA 4 affords two options to members states. The first aspect is the operational and investigation strand involving national police forces – the so called ‘action’ element, while the second is an awareness and educational campaign element, this year’s campaign being “#Don’t be a Mule” with supporting informational awareness material.

A joint press conference between BPFI and the Garda National Economic Bureau kicked off the EMMA 4 awareness campaign in December. As part of this campaign Keith Gross, Head of Financial Crime and Security, BPFI warned consumers of the dangers of  selling their identity or allowing their bank accounts to be used by criminals to move stolen money or proceeds of crime as to do so enables money laundering and engaging in illegal activity which can have severe legal consequences.

From an Irish perspective, An Garda Síochána reported that they have identified 420 mule accounts in the state and five money herders (who in turn recruit money mules). All of which could not have happened without the close cooperation of the banks.

Stakeholder Engagement

BPFI’s Director of Public Affairs joined with a wide range of stakeholders from business, consumer and civil society to participate in the Government’s National Summit on Future Jobs.  Following a plenary session opened by An Taoiseach, a host of Government Ministers chaired breakout sessions on various aspects of the economy.  This included one on SME Sustainability chaired by Minister Heather Humphreys which considered, among other matters, the financial management skills of SME proprietors and BPFI’s work with SME representative bodies to promote higher standards.

The latest trends in payments, particularly the growth in contactless, were shared with stakeholders around publication of our Payments Monitor.  Together with member banks, representatives from the Central Bank, Dept of Finance, Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, RGDATA, Dublin Chamber, Irish Hardware Association and Mastercard, among others, attended a special presentation and participated in a very constructive discussion.

Communications, Ethics and Compliance was considered by BPFI’s Director Public Affairs along with banking communications representatives from across Europe at a major ECB conference in Frankfurt.  Particular focus centred on how banks can effectively anchor good culture and behaviour within the organisation.

BPFI’s Sustainable Finance Forum engage at EU level

In November BPFI’s Brussel’s office organised for the BPFI Sustainable Finance Forum to travel to Brussels to discuss the Sustainable Finance Action Plan and implications at an EU and national level. Discussions focused on BPFI views on the key legislative proposals currently underway, the policy guidance required to facilitate transition of the banking sector to sustainable banking from national authorities, and the wider potential for Ireland to become a leader in the Sustainability agenda.

The meeting programme provided a key opportunity for Ireland’s Banking Sector together with Sustainable Nation Ireland to reinforce Ireland’s commitment to this agenda at an EU level and to engage on a topic of hugely significant importance on not only the EU stage, but on the global arena. BPFI believe that it is important that together with members and other industry players, government and regulators we collaborate efficiently to build out Ireland’s position in this market segment.

BPFI supports Europol EMMA campaign to combat money laundering

Over 1,500 money mules identified in worldwide money laundering sting

  • 168 arrested, 1,504 money mules and 140 money mule organisers identified, as a result of the fourth European Money Mule Action ‘EMMA 4’, a global law enforcement action week tackling the issue of money muling.
  • The action took place over the course of three months (September-November 2018).
  • 30 States took part in EMMA 4, alongside Europol, Eurojust, the European Banking Federation, supported by more than 300 banks.

Working together with Europol, Eurojust and the European Banking Federation (EBF), police forces from over 20 States have arrested 168 people (so far) as part of a coordinated money laundering crackdown, the European Money Mule Action (EMMA). This international swoop, the fourth of its kind, is intended to tackle the issue of ‘money mules’, who help criminals launder millions of euros worth of dirty money.

Mr Keith Gross, BPFI Head of Financial Crime and Security said: ”The EMMA initiative is about the financial sector, law enforcement agencies and other key stakeholders joining forces in tackling the illegal activity of money muling across borders.

The key message of the EMMA 4 awareness campaign “#Don’t be a Mule” is not to sell your identity and allow your bank account to be used by criminals to move stolen money or proceeds of crime because in doing so you are enabling money laundering and engaging in illegal activity which can have severe legal consequences”

Held over the course of the past three months, this year’s EMMA campaign saw participation from law enforcement agencies in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Across Europe and beyond, 1,504 money mules were identified, leading to the arrest of 168, and 140 money mule organisers. 837 criminal investigations were opened, many of them are still ongoing. More than 300 banks, 20 bank associations and other financial institutions helped to report 26376 fraudulent money mule transactions, preventing a total loss of €36,1 million. The wider community of global and European banks provided support where needed during the three months of action and committed to raising awareness in their country. Once again, this highlights the importance of a quick and coordinated response by law enforcement and the banking sector.

Why do people help criminals launder money?

Money mules are individuals who, often unwittingly, have been recruited by criminal organisations as money laundering agents to hide the origin of ill-gotten money. Tricked by the promise of easy money, mules transfer stolen funds between accounts, often in different States, on behalf of others and are usually offered a share of the funds that pass through their own accounts.

Newcomers to a State, the unemployed, and people in economic distress often feature among the most susceptible to this crime. This year, cases involving young people selected by money mule recruiters are on the rise, with criminals increasingly targeting financially-distressed students to gain access to their bank accounts.

While mules are being recruited via numerous routes, criminals are more and more turning to social media to recruit new accomplices, through the advertisement of fake jobs or get-rich-quick posts.

Although this may sound like quick and easy money — all it takes is a click to transfer money from an account to another — permitting a criminal group to use one’s bank account can have severe legal consequences. Mules may face lengthy imprisonments and acquire a criminal record that could seriously affect the rest of their lives, such as never being able to secure a mortgage or open a bank account.

#DontBeAMule

 

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie 087 9016880

BPFI Housing Market Monitor points to housing supply matching current demand in three years time

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today published the BPFI Housing Market Monitor for Q3 2018. The Monitor draws on BPFI’s unique loan-level data as well as a range of published data under the three key headings of housing supply, housing prices and rents and housing transactions for its assessment of the current state of the housing market.

In his commentary accompanying the report, BPFI’s Chief Economist, Dr Ali Uğur, states that notwithstanding strong growth in 2018 in the rate of new dwelling completion it will likely take until 2021 before housing supply will match current demand:

If dwelling completions were to continue their strong growth rate of around 25% in the last quarter of this year, new dwelling completions should be around 18,000 units for the full year.  Assuming a growth rate of around 25% per annum in the short term for completions, it would take until 2021 for supply to meet the estimated demand of around 35,000 units per annum – notwithstanding the fact that latent demand will not have been addressed during this period.”  And he goes on to state that “as long as the construction sector does not hit any significant blockages in terms of staff requirements, completion numbers are likely to be around 22,000 units in 2019 with current growth rates observed in commencement numbers.”

Assessing property prices published by the CSO, Ali Uğur also highlights the widening gap which has been emerging since 2014 between new and existing homes in terms of median prices:

“In addition to the regional divergences we see in residential property price changes in Ireland, there is a widening gap between new and existing homes in terms of median prices, particularly since early 2014. According to the twelve-month rolling average, at the end of 2013, the median price of a new and existing home was around €159,000 and €155,000, respectively, whereas by September 2018 the median price of a new home had more than doubled to €330,000 and the existing home median price had gone up by 40% to about €217,000 – notwithstanding the difference in quality between new and existing homes.”

The Housing Market Monitor also confirms overall growth in mortgage lending activity.  The total value of drawdowns in the first nine months of the year was €6.1 billion compared to €5.1 billion in the same period of 2017.  FTBs and mover purchasers accounted for around 48.7% and 32.8% of the total mortgage drawdowns in the third quarter of 2018 respectively.  The level of approvals from lenders has also increased, amounting to €8.6 billion to end-October compared to around €7.8 billion during the same period in 2017.

 

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

The BPFI Housing Marking Monitor is published quarterly. In addition to presenting a unique range of loan-level data, the Monitor draws on a range of published data under the three key headings of housing supply, housing prices and rents, and housing transactions in its assessment of the current state of the housing market.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie 087 9016880

Mortgage Approvals: uplift evident in October 2018

€929 million worth of mortgages approved in October 2018

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has published the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for October 2018.*

The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 4,262 mortgages were approved in October 2018 – some 2,014 (47.3% of total volume) were for first-time buyers (FTBs) while mover purchasers accounted for 1,230 (28.9%).
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 13.6% year-on-year and by 11.4% month-on-month.
  • Mortgages approved in October 2018 were valued at €929 million – of which FTBs accounted for €446 million (48.0%) and €303 million (32.6%) by mover purchasers.
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 11.4% year-on-year and 13.0% month-on-month.

Re-mortgage/switching approvals rose on a year-on-year basis – by 71.0% in volume and by 71.0% in value terms.

The annualised volume of mortgage approvals reached 45,316 in the twelve months ending October

2018, 1.1% higher than the twelve months ending September 2018. The annualised value of approvals exceeded €10 billion for the first time since the data series began in 2011, rising by 1.0%.

Commenting on the figures, Felix O’Regan, Director Public Affairs stated:

“Mortgage approvals in October show an uplift in activity both in volume and value compared to the previous month as well as the previous year.  Accounting for more than 47% of all approvals, first time buyers (FTBs) remain by far the single largest segment of market activity.  Looking at the figures on an annualised basis provides a clearer picture of overall trends however. This shows that all segments of the mortgage market contributed to an overall increase in annualised approval volumes and values in the twelve months to end-October 2018.  Home buyer approvals (FTBs and mover purchasers) increased in volume by 0.6% to 34,728, while approvals for switching increased by 4.2% to 5,655.”

Data collection for the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report began in September 2012 covering the period from January 2011 onwards in respect of the market’s main mortgage lenders. The BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report October 2018  as well as the time series data file is available on the BPFI website here.

[*] The full time series of monthly data from January 2011 onwards is available on the BPFI website.

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland represents banking and payments in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

 

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie 087 9016880