Nationwide to restart 90% mortgages
Nationwide is to restart mortgage lending to first-time buyers with a 10% deposit, saying that the stamp duty tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak had helped restore confidence in the property sector. The building society restricted its mortgages in June, citing fears that falling house prices could leave high-mortgage borrowers in negative equity, with only customers holding a 15% deposit having been able to apply for loans. It has now said it will resume lending to first-time buyers with a 10% deposit as of July 20. Henry Jordan, head of mortgages at Nationwide, said: "We understand one of the biggest barriers to homeownership is raising a deposit. While we will continue to monitor the market carefully, we feel it is the right time to enhance our lending, initially to those looking for their first home." Following Nationwide’s announcement, Coventry Building Society said it would offer 90% mortgages on a trial basis, while Platform, part of the Co-operative Bank, will now also offer 90% loans.
Lloyds in-app service will let users cancel subscriptions
Lloyds Bank customers will be able to cancel subscription services in their banking apps under a new service. The bank, which runs Halifax and Bank of Scotland, will let mobile customers view the subscription services they have signed up to and cancel them with three clicks. Users will also be able to sign up for notifications telling them when the price of their service increases or when they are due to be billed.
BlackRock warns banks over climate change
BlackRock, the world's biggest investor, has warned banks it plans to take action against those closely linked to global warming. Having warned company directors it will revolt at annual meetings if they fail to make progress on managing climate risk, BlackRock says it will target banks over the role their funding plays in creating carbon emissions.
Barclays gave Jenkins a £50m payoff
A civil trial in London has heard that Barclays paid its Middle East head Roger Jenkins, who helped the bank secure a lifeline investment from Qatari investors, £50m when he left in 2009. This was in addition to his annual salary of around £39m.
NIBC accepts reduced takeover
Dutch bank NIBC has agreed to a lower proposed bid by private equity firm Blackstone. The coronavirus-prompted discounted offer values the bank at just over €1bn, compared to €1.3bn previously. NIBC said its board unanimously recommended the new offer, saying it offered the best option available for all parties involved.
Bankers ‘smuggled’ $6bn out of Lebanon, says ex-finance chief
Alain Bifani, Lebanon’s former director-general of public finance, says bankers have smuggled up to $6bn out of the county since October, despite controls introduced to stem the outward flow of capital.
Airports renew calls for rates relief
The Airport Operators Association has again appealed to ministers to scrap business rates amid the continuing the coronavirus pandemic. The UK airports body wants a year of rates relief for operators, in line with perks already enjoyed by the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors.
UK completes assessments for City access to EU
The UK has submitted the paperwork necessary for the City of London to potentially retain access to the EU after the transition period ends on December 31. Officials missed the July 1 deadline for the 28 assessments, having received much of the paperwork later than promised. The EU will now assess whether UK regulations are similar to their own – known as equivalence – before deciding if financial services firms can be granted access to EU markets.
London leads Europe in follow-on fundraising
Data shows that London markets have seen their busiest six months for follow-on fundraising in a decade, with more than £21bn of funds raised in H1. Of all the funds amassed in Europe in Q2, 40% was raised in London. In a combined measure of IPO and follow-on activity since the start of the year, London came behind only NYSE and the Nasdaq, and Hong Kong.
Aon chief defends decision to cut staff pay
Aon boss Greg Case has defended the insurance giant's temporary staff pay cut. "Hope is not a strategy," he said of the short-lived move to cut costs amid the pandemic.
Coronavirus vaccine prototypes gets 'fast tracked'
The US Food and Drug Administration has granted two of Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s experimental coronavirus vaccine candidates 'fast track' status, which is designed to speed up the regulatory review process for drugs and vaccines that show the potential to address unmet medical needs. The market is “desperate to latch onto any positive developments in the vaccine field,” JPMorgan analyst Cory Kasimov said in a note.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
BT boss warns against ditching Huawei
BT chief executive Philip Jansen has warned the UK government that cutting Huawei out of the UK’s telecoms network could cost "billions" and also result in large scale service interruptions. Ministers are due to decide this week whether to impose tougher restrictions on Huawei, amid the US campaign to edge the firm out of the 5G space.
Mortgages cheapest on record
Mortgages are at their cheapest on record, according to analysis by financial advisers Moneyfacts. Having hit record lows in June, the average rates for both two and five-year fixed rate mortgages have fallen even further this month, standing at 1.99% and 2.25% respectively. The study shows that the number of deals for those with a 10% deposit or equity has fallen by 90% during the coronavirus crisis, from 779 in March to just 70 at the beginning of this month
Retailers see sales rise in June
Retailers saw the biggest monthly sales jump since May 2018 in June after a number of high street stores reopened, with the British Retail Consortium retail sales monitor revealing a 3.4% increase. This represents the first growth since the lockdown was introduced and marks an improvement on an average decline of 6.4% recorded over the previous three months. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "June finally saw a return to growth in total sales, primarily driven by online as a result of lockdown measures being eased and pent-up demand being released.” She added that retail “is not out of the woods yet”, warning that the pandemic “continues to pose huge challenges to the industry, with ongoing store closures and job losses."
Manchester City overturn two-year European ban
Manchester City have successfully overturned their two-year ban from European club competitions, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) saying the club was cleared of "disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions". UEFA had ruled that City had committed "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations between 2012 and 2016. It handed out a €30m fine that the CAS has now cut to €10m.
Serie A seeks bids for broadcasting rights
Serie A, Italy’s top-flight football league, has asked investors to submit bids for a minority stake in its broadcasting rights business by July 24. Sources say CVC, Bain Capital, Advent International and TPG are among the companies interested in bidding, with Apollo and General Atlantic also reportedly having looked at the dossier. Sources say Serie A, advised by investment bank Lazard, will select a shortlist or will give an exclusive period to one of the bidders by the end of July. The league has been in talks over a €2.2bn bid from CVC Capital for a stake of up 20% in a venture managing the league's media rights for 10 seasons.
OBR boss proposes debt write-off
Richard Hughes, the new head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), says a broad write-off of toxic coronavirus debt may be the only way to save the economy. He has suggested making repayments on £45bn of taxpayer-backed loans earnings-contingent, saying they could be linked to companies' revenue, with anything owed after a set timeframe cancelled. Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Hughes said: “The longer the crisis goes on for, the more likely it becomes that Government-guaranteed loans become less of a facilitator of the recovery and more of a burden, because firms have built up large stocks of debt which they will struggle to write off.” He added: “The more that debt is a burden on companies, the less they will invest.” Edwin Morgan, of the Institute of Directors, commented: “Our figures suggest corporate debt could cast a shadow over investment plans for some time.” “We’ve called for a student loan-style system, by which firms pay back as they recover,” he added.