Co-produced with Treading Softly
Have you ever had house envy?
Your friend, or an acquaintance, buys a new house with all the fancy bells and whistles. It's rocking the massive tub, big screen tv, and a 7 burner stovetop (apparently, that's a big deal, according to my wife). You're led to drool over their new place even if you'd never use the features.
Those who have read my work before likely know that I love to generate income from as many aspects of my life as possible. I make money whenever someone visits the gas pump. I make money when someone goes to the doctor or visits a hospital. Do you have power on your home, pay for a cellphone plan, or buy groceries? You're paying me pennies every moment.
I do this because I see the essentials of life and know that if I can generate income from them, my income stream will be secure and growing.
For many, their mortgage is their largest recurring monthly expense. So let's talk about how I take your largest bill and get double-digit yields from it.
You can do it too.
Let's dive in.
When you take out a mortgage on your house, the company you applied with likely told you whether you could apply for a "qualified" mortgage or whether you needed to apply for an "unqualified" mortgage. Likely, you didn't pay much attention to the details, you were simply concerned about getting approved for the house you wanted at the lowest possible mortgage rate. To the investors who later bought the mortgage, the distinction is everything.
Qualified mortgages are guaranteed by the "agencies," Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These are government-sponsored enterprises that are tasked with making home ownership available to the maximum number of people. The agency guarantee ensures that there is always ample capital available from investors to buy mortgages. Investors get to collect the interest and principal payments, and in the event that a borrower defaults for over 90 days, the agency buys back the mortgage at par. In other words, there is no scenario where the investor receives less than 100% of the principal. As a result, the mortgage-backed securities that carry the agency guarantee, AKA "agency MBS," are among the lowest risk investments in the world. They enjoy high liquidity, second only to U.S. Treasuries, and their yields tend to trade at a relatively low premium to U.S. Treasuries.
AGNC Investment Corp (AGNC) is a mortgage REIT that takes advantage of these unique features in MBS. Agency MBS is, for all practical purposes, as safe as U.S. Treasuries. However, since agency MBS typically trades at a premium to U.S. Treasuries, AGNC can profit from that difference.
AGNC profits from borrowing shorter-term debt and then buying agency MBS, which typically is expected to last 7-10 years. While mortgages usually have 30-year terms, very few borrowers actually keep the same mortgage for 30 years. People move and sell their houses, they refinance to take advantage of lower interest rates, they refinance to take out cash as their property value increases, some might make oversized payments, and others will refinance to extend their term and lower their payments (even if interest rates are higher).
AGNC finances its acquisition of MBS with short-term repurchase agreements. These are non-recourse borrowings that are secured by the MBS they are buying, these repos typically have terms of 3-6 months. AGNC profits on the difference between the yield it receives and the yield it pays. (Source: Q1 2022 Stockholder Presentation).
You can see the yield that AGNC receives on the chart above, and the yield it pays on the chart below.
This is as of Q1 2022, obviously, both of these numbers have changed a lot. When these are changing, the key question for AGNC is always which is changing faster? AGNC profits from the difference between yield and cost of funds. So when rates are going up, it is positive if AGNC's yield received goes up faster than its cost of funds. It is negative if the cost of funds is going up faster than the yield received.
If we look at the big picture, we can see that mortgage rates have moved a lot faster than the Federal Reserve has hiked its target rate. These numbers are not exactly what AGNC will receive in yield or exactly what it will pay, but the 30-year mortgage rate is determined by MBS prices, and the Federal Funds Rate heavily influences the repo rate that AGNC borrows at.
Note that the last time mortgages were over 5%, the Fed's target rate was also over 5%! I wouldn't say it is impossible for the Fed to get to 5%, but it would be really stupid for them to try.
This spread is very wide and indicates that AGNC will get more money on new investments/reinvestments than they have in about a decade. Of course, to benefit from this, AGNC has to have the ability to invest more. Fortunately, it came into 2022 with very low leverage relative to its history.
AGNC is in a position to leverage up and buy tens of billions in MBS and benefit from these higher spreads. But what about AGNC's older MBS? This is why AGNC hedges. They use "interest rate swaps," where they pay a fixed rate and receive a floating rate. AGNC has spent the past two years acquiring swaps with very low pay rates.
Yes, that is $51 billion, which AGNC is paying only 0.26% on and is receiving a floating rate, which as of today is closer to 1.6%. Since AGNC is likely to borrow over $51 billion, this serves to effectively fix its interest rate. This provides AGNC a long runway to leverage up at its convenience without the profitability of its legacy MBS materially decreasing.
So why is AGNC's price down so much? The answer is book value. AGNC is long agency MBS, and hedges its position by shorting U.S. Treasuries. This is a tactic that works great when mortgages and Treasury prices move together. However, they don't always move together.
AGNC has benefited from its hedges to the tune of over $3 billion ($5.86/share).
However, that change in hedges was unable to completely offset the headwind of declining MBS prices. Book value has gone down because the value of AGNC's hedges has not gone up as quickly as the value of its assets went down. This happens when mortgage rates go up quickly (prices come down), while Treasury rates, AGNC's primary hedge, have gone up more slowly.
We can panic over this, or we can realize that MBS underperforming Treasuries has increased future returns for AGNC. Like any other debt asset, lower prices reduce current values but increase the total return of future investments. In the case of MBS, since the principal is guaranteed, the fall in price has nothing to do with default risk. If these were corporate bonds, we might worry about what portion of the change in price is due to bankruptcy risk for the borrowers. In this case, the change in price is purely one of valuation. The MBS, whether priced at $105, $95, or $85 will always pay $100.
Since I'm in AGNC for the income, the prospect of getting much larger returns in the future as AGNC leverages up is far more important to me than the temporary decline in book value. Book value will recover either when MBS prices rise, or when Treasury prices fall. In the meantime, the earning potential for AGNC is much higher and that is what I am buying.
Part of High Dividend Opportunities' strategy towards interest rates has been to be "agnostic." We want our portfolio positioned in a way that whatever the Fed does, we win. Rates go up? We win. Rates go down? We win. Rates stay the same? We win.
How do we balance our portfolio to do that? We have exposure to some fixed-rate debt, like PIMCO CEFs and numerous high-yielding preferred shares. These investments go up in price when interest rates are low. At the same time, we diversify into investments that have exposure to floating rates, so if rates go up, our income goes up too!
PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, 8.00% Series B Fixed-to-Float Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Shares (PMT.PB) is an investment that does both. It pays a high fixed yield today, yielding over 8%. The dividend will remain fixed for the next two years. Then if PMT chooses not to call it, PMT-B will start paying a floating rate at 3-month LIBOR + 5.99%. If PMT-B were floating today, that means the dividend would be raised and PMT-B would pay $0.521/quarter instead of $0.50/quarter.
PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) is related to PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. (PFSI), the largest correspondent producer in the country. This means that PennyMac originates the mortgages and provides its own money, as opposed to many mortgage originators that sign the agreement with a borrower and then sell it to investors.
PMT plays the role of investor, providing capital, while PFSI is the company that holds all the infrastructure. This provides tax benefits as PMT is structured as a REIT and it also provides shareholders the opportunity to get a much higher yield investing directly in PMT.
PMT has a variety of strategies including Credit Risk Transfers (or CRTs), Mortgages Servicing Rights (or MSRs), and Agency Mortgage-Backed-Securities (or MBS). PMT's diversified strategies help ensure that it always has some business that is doing well. For example, as rates rise, Agency MBS go down in value, but MSRs go up in value. As a result, PMT's book value only declined 6% in Q1 2022. A quarter that was exceptionally volatile and difficult for mortgage REITs.
Going forward, PMT is positioned for book value to climb with rising rates.
This provides a great level of security for the preferred shares.
PMT-B is now trading at a significant discount to par. As 2024 approaches, there are a few possibilities:
This is what I mean by a win/win situation. Buying at current prices, we get a good return regardless of what rates do, and if they remain higher, we could get a really great return. This plays a very important role in balancing our portfolio to benefit if rates stay high, something that is a negative for most preferred is a benefit for PMT-B.
With AGNC and PMT-B, investors all of risk tolerance levels can enjoy large sums of recurring income from the largest investment many make - their homes. I get a cut from thousands of mortgages paid by everyday folks like you and me. All because I own companies that provide the capital necessary to support the American Dream.
Retirement comes with its own set of expenses and spending. We need income to meet those expenses head-on and to overcome them so we can enjoy the freedom to live as we please. Long ago, I crafted my Income Method to enable my portfolio to generate the income I will need in retirement. Over the years, I have seen my portfolio grow rapidly. Every year my income is higher than the year before.
You can also achieve this by using income investments to get paid for your ownership. Own the businesses that get paid from everyday expenses and turn them into everyday income generators.
Don't know where to start? You've got two great ideas right here!
Sometimes, I wonder if the eventing community operates under a kind of hive-mind — as though, much like in Stranger Things, triggering a reaction in one person (or, um, tentacle beast) creates a ripple effect that flows throughout the inner machinations of the sport. But then again, we’re all here as boots on the ground, watching the bits that go right — and often more pertinently, the bits that go wrong — in real time, with a shared wealth of experience and perspectives, and so it’s no surprise that this year, especially, we’re all thinking many of the same things.
I say this as a crucial foreword because, as I put the finishing touches on a piece I’ve been dwelling on and discussing for a long time, I see that the excellent Pippa Roome of Horse&Hound has released a not dissimilar op-ed on the magazine’s website this morning. It’s heartening, and interesting, to read her thoughts on the matter, which are so much aligned with my own, and I encourage you all to click over and check out what she has to say on the subject of further four-star delineation, because all the voices at this big table are so important in enacting positive change over time.
The hot-button issue on the table for eventing is, and has long been, safety. This feels heightened this year, in part due to what has been an enormously difficult spring season for our sport: in the UK and Europe alone, where my reporting efforts are focused, we’ve seen two riders suffer career-ending injuries (Caroline March in the CCI3*-S at Burnham Market; Nicola Wilson at Badminton), and a number of horses euthanised for a wide swathe of reasons. My fellow EN team member Ema Klugman wrote a salient piece the other day positing the idea that ‘most planes don’t crash for one reason’ – or, to apply that metaphor to eventing, most accidents aren’t the result of one easy-to-target cause, but rather, the result of the cumulative effect of a number of factors. When you take that concept and step back, looking at a season’s worth of accidents instead of just one, it’s even more pertinent. The variety of problems we’ve seen this year are unique from one another; we’ve seen horse falls that we can attribute to rider error, such as too high a velocity, but we’ve also seen falls that we can’t quite explain, no matter how many times we rewatch the available footage frame by frame. The unexpected horse fall that Cathal Daniels suffered at fence three at Luhmühlen, riding horse who had jumped the exact same fence the previous year, is one such oddity — but fortunately for both, the dramatic incident wasn’t ultimately a catastrophic one.
In the case of horse deaths this year — and further back than that, too — we’ve seen similar variety. It’s no less tragic when a horse is euthanised as a result of a soft-tissue injury incurred while travelling on the flat than it is when a horse dies as the result of a crashing fall, but in the latter case, it’s easier to pick out a scapegoat for the blame, which is a very human response to uncomfortable circumstances. And certainly, every incident — and every near-miss, too — needs to be analysed, picked apart, discussed, and learned from, or we truly do risk seeing our sport come to an untimely end itself, whether that’s through the destruction of its ‘social licence’ or its almost inevitable removal from the Olympic line-up (which, in turn, will lead to a loss of sports body funding).
This year’s major incidents have largely befallen hugely experienced riders and horses, and so the focus has turned in large part towards course design, which should always evolve, however subtly, to respond to shifts in the sport. But we do ourselves few favours if we hone in so closely on one aspect of the sport that we neglect to build upon the others — again, that plane isn’t crashing for one reason — and so, while we’ve largely seen inexperienced competitors excel on the world stage this year, I can’t help but think that there’s still a pertinent building block that needs to be refined along the way to ensure that that trend continues.
The international four-star level is a curious thing: it encompasses such an enormous spectrum of difficulty and technicality, and as the penultimate stepping stone on the FEI pathway, it should do. There are tough courses that flirt with five-star technicality; there are softer courses that feel just a smidgeon above a national Advanced or even a beefy three-star track. There are courses that employ terrain in a way that truly tests stamina, such as Blair Castle’s mountainous tracks in Scotland, and there are flat courses wherein the time becomes much more gettable, such as Blenheim Palace, which serves as such an exceptional end-of-year aim for less experienced horses and riders. We need all of the above: there’s no sense in throwing competitors in at the deep end when they step up from three-star, and over the last number of years, we’ve seen eventing split into two increasingly disparate pathways. Not every horse will be a Badminton or Burghley horse; some horses are exceptional at the four-star level, and are ideal Championship horses or CCI4*-S specialists, while others come into their own when their deep well of jump and gallop can allow them to overtake those horses who score better on the flat. An event that may be a stepping stone for one horse-and-rider pair may well be an ultimate goal for another, and that’s commendable. With years at the upper levels of the sport comes wisdom; with that wisdom comes an innate ability to understand what each horse’s pathway should look like, and the knowledge to understand where to go to make that happen safely and successfully.
I suspect, however, that we are often too quick to make assumptions that what we ‘all’ know to be true — that Bramham’s CCI4*-L, for example, is about as tough as the level gets, while a trip around Blenheim is a considerably different run — are universally understood. And yes, I believe that riders and their support teams need to take responsibility for making a sensible plan for the season, particularly if the end goal is a move-up, and if they don’t have the available experience to hand, they should seek it out. But I also believe that there are concrete ways to help build that level of intel, removing some of the onus on any one person to make the right call and instead, creating a series of foundational steps that riders have to navigate in order to adequately prepare themselves for their next big challenge.
The issue, to my mind, lies in the current system of minimum eligibility requirements, or MERs. There’s an enormous difference between being qualified and actually being ready to move up, but ours is a fast-paced, tough world, and with a number of external pressures on their shoulders, riders — particularly those building fledgling careers — can often be hurried into stepping up. That may be because they want to attract further sponsors, or chase ranking points, or keep an owner happy; it may be because they see their peers moving up and worry they’ll be left behind; it may simply come down to the fact that as horse people, we’re all achingly aware of how difficult it is to produce a horse to the top level and that anything can happen. When you have a horse in the stable who’s fit, sound, and qualified to run at five-star, it’s hard not to consider the fact that all these fairy-dust factors may never come together again. The horse could come in from the field lame next week and never run again. Why not take the chance when it comes along, even if those qualifying results were picked up at four-stars on the softer end of the spectrum?
By changing the qualification system, just slightly, I suspect we’d remove a lot of that pressure, that risky ‘what-if’ that can steer a rider into a decision that isn’t quite right for them at the time. As I’ve said before, when analysing Badminton in retrospect, we’ll never remove the subjectivity from our sport entirely — whether that comes down to judging or entry decisions — but minimising subjectivity wherever possible will, I believe, make an impact on safety.
At the moment, qualifying for CCI5*-L as an uncategorised, D, or C athlete — that is, a rider who has fewer than fifteen MERs at CCI4*-S and above, or fewer than five MERs at five-star — requires you to gain MERs as a horse-and-rider combination at two CCI4*-Ls and three CCI4*-S competitions. For B athletes, who do have fifteen MERs or more at CCI4*-S and above, or five or more MERs at five-star, that number is reduced to one CCI4*-L MER and three CCI4*-S MERs as a combination. For A grade athletes, who are enormously experienced and, as such, have years of ingrained intel about the progression of various events on the circuit, the requirements are fewer still.
I don’t think adding MER requirements is the answer; two long-formats and three short-formats, when used sensibly, can be sufficient, and there’s a fine line to negotiate between ensuring preparedness and overrunning a horse. To my mind, the most functional solution is in categorising the existing four-star competitions depending on their degree of difficulty — Pippa Roome, in her piece, suggests ‘four-star plus’ and four-star minus’; I’ve previously posited the idea of ‘four-star A’ and ‘four-star B’. At the end of the day, the nomenclature doesn’t matter much; what does matter is that by splitting them into one camp or the other, and ascribing them a relative degree of worth where qualifying results are concerned, you can help push riders to shape their season in a more sensible way.
By rewriting the rules to demand that at least one of those two CCI4*-L MERs has been achieved at an ‘A’ or ‘plus’ event, and two of the short formats likewise, it would not only ensure that inexperienced horses and riders had tackled a top-end track competently before stepping up, but it would also ensure that events themselves maintain a level of stasis. How often have we, as riders, trainers, or members of the media, travelled to a typically ‘soft’ event to discover that this time, it’s had a serious facelift and isn’t at all what we’d expected to find? I know of at least one friend who has carefully planned a four-star move-up for an exciting young horse this year and then had this exact scenario occur after a great deal of expense and effort to get there. The course, while absolutely suitable for the level, wasn’t the softer move-up course that it typically has been, and as such, wasn’t at all suitable for a novice at the level. Had it been subject to further classification, this situation could have been avoided, minimising pressure on the rider to run the horse over a track that it wasn’t yet ready for.
As Pippa sagely points out, categorising the events won’t necessarily be a straightforward task, and would likely require a spirited roundtable discussion — or many — to ensure the job is done well. Perhaps part of that job will be creating a database of course descriptors; many of us may know, for example, that Hartpury CCI4*-S is a good pipe-opener ahead of Burghley, and Little Downham CCI4*-S is built with twists and combinations that emulate Pau CCI5* a couple of weeks later, but should we rely on the idea of common knowledge to ensure that information is well disseminated?
When we consider the alternative — and the alternative in our high-risk sport is tough, but important, to consider — I suspect it’ll be well worth a bit of extra admin. In tandem with some of the enormous safety initiatives being undertaken elsewhere in the sport, such as EquiRatings’ innovative green-light system, I truly believe we could create a safer trajectory up the uppermost levels for competitors. We have access to data in a way we’ve never had it before, with systems available that quantify difficulty based on factors such as the relative calibre and experience of the entries, and we also have access to significant anecdotal experience, with long-time riders and trainers such as Andrew Nicholson ready and willing to provide their thoughts and ideas about courses that have long served as suitable prep runs. The answer, to me, lies in bringing all of this intel together, quantifying experience with numbers and adding context to numbers by bringing horsemen into the equation.
Do safety concerns begin and end at four- and five-star? Absolutely not. But shelving whataboutery, and focusing on making tangible changes in the places where they can be enacted quickly and nondisruptively, is the way forward.
Predatory lending typically means imposing unfair, deceptive, or abusive loan terms on borrowers. In many cases, these loans carry high fees and interest rates, strip the borrower of equity, or place a creditworthy borrower in a lower credit-rated (and more expensive) loan, all to the lender's benefit.
Predatory lenders often use aggressive sales tactics and exploit borrowers’ lack of understanding of financial transactions. Through deceptive or fraudulent actions and a lack of transparency, they entice, induce, and assist a borrower in taking out a loan they will not reasonably be able to pay back.
Predatory lending includes any unscrupulous practices carried out by lenders to entice, induce, mislead, and assist borrowers toward taking out loans they are unable to pay back reasonably or must pay back at a cost that is extremely above the market rate. Predatory lenders take advantage of borrowers' circumstances or lack of knowledge.
A loan shark, for instance, is the archetypal example of a predatory lender—someone who loans money at an extremely high-interest rate and may even threaten violence to collect on their debts. However, a great deal of predatory lending is carried out by more established institutions such as banks, finance companies, mortgage brokers, attorneys, or real estate contractors.
Predatory lending puts many borrowers at risk, but it especially targets those with few credit options or who are vulnerable in other ways—people whose inadequate income leads to regular and urgent needs for cash to make ends meet, those with low credit scores, those with less access to education, or those subject to discriminatory lending practices because of their race, ethnicity, age, or disability.
Predatory lenders often target communities where few other credit options exist, which makes it more difficult for borrowers to shop around. They lure customers with aggressive sales tactics by mail, phone, TV, radio, and even door-to-door and generally use a variety of unfair and deceptive tactics to profit.
Predatory lending benefits the lender and ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay a debt.
Predatory lending is designed, above all, to benefit the lender. It ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay a debt. Lending tactics are often deceptive and attempt to take advantage of a borrower’s lack of understanding of financial terms and the rules surrounding loans. These tactics can include those identified by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), along with several others:
Classic predatory lending centers around home mortgages. Because home loans are backed by a borrower’s real property, a predatory lender can profit not only from loan terms stacked in their favor but also from the sale of a foreclosed home if a borrower defaults. Subprime loans aren’t automatically predatory. Their higher interest rates, banks would argue, reflect the greater cost of riskier lending to consumers with flawed credit. But even without deceptive practices, a subprime loan is riskier for borrowers because of the tremendous financial burden it represents. With the explosive growth of subprime loans came the potential for predatory lending.
When the housing market crashed, and a foreclosure crisis precipitated the Great Recession, homeowners with subprime mortgages became vulnerable. Subprime loans came to represent a disproportionate percentage of residential foreclosures. Black and Latinx homeowners were particularly affected.
Predatory mortgage lenders had targeted them aggressively in predominantly minority neighborhoods, regardless of their income or creditworthiness. Even after controlling for credit score and other risk factors such as loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, subordinate liens, and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, data shows that Black Americans and Latinos were more likely to receive subprime loans at higher costs.
Women, too, were targeted during the housing boom that crashed spectacularly in 2008, regardless of their income or credit rating. Black women with the highest incomes were five times more likely than white men of similar incomes to receive subprime loans.
Predatory Lenders typically target vulnerable populations, such as those struggling to meet monthly expenses; people who have recently lost their jobs; and those who are denied access to a wider range of credit options for illegal reasons, such as discrimination based on a lack of education or older age.
In 2012, Wells Fargo reached a $175 billion settlement with the Justice Department to compensate Black and Latinx borrowers who qualified for loans and were charged higher fees or rates or improperly steered into subprime loans. Other banks also paid settlements. But the damage to families of color is lasting. Homeowners not only lost their homes but the chance to recover their investment when housing prices also climbed back up, contributing yet again to the racial wealth gap.
In October 2021, the Federal Reserve (Fed) revealed that the average Black and Hispanic or Latino households earn about half as much as the average white household and own only about 15% to 20% as much net wealth.
The payday loan industry lends billions of dollars annually in small-dollar, high-cost loans as a bridge to the next payday. These loans typically are for two weeks, with annual percentage rates (APR) ranging from 390% to 780%. Payday lenders operate online and through storefronts largely in financially underserved—and disproportionately Black and Latinx—neighborhoods.
Although the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires payday lenders to disclose their finance charges, many people overlook the costs. Most loans are for 30 days or less and help borrowers to meet short-term liabilities. Loan amounts on these loans are usually from $100 to $1,000, with $500 being common. The loans usually can be rolled over for additional finance charges, and many borrowers—as high as 80% of them—end up as repeat customers.
With new fees added each time a payday loan is refinanced, the debt can easily spiral out of control. A 2019 study found that using payday loans doubles the rate of personal bankruptcy. A number of court cases have been filed against payday lenders, as lending laws have been enacted since the 2008 financial crisis to create a more transparent and fair lending market for consumers. However, research suggests that the market for payday loans has only expanded since 2008 and that it enjoyed a boom during the 2020-2022 COVID-19 pandemic.
If a lender tries to rush you through the approval process, doesn't answer your questions, or suggests you borrow more money than you can afford, you should be wary.
These are single-payment loans based on a percentage of your car's value. They carry high-interest rates and a requirement to hand over the vehicle's title and a spare set of keys as collateral. For the roughly one in five borrowers who have their vehicle seized because they're unable to repay the loan, it's not just a financial loss, but can also threaten access to jobs and child care for a family.
New schemes are popping up in the so-called gig economy. For instance, Uber, the ride-sharing service, agreed to a $20 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2017, in part for auto loans with questionable credit terms that the platform extended to its drivers.
Elsewhere, many fintech firms are launching products called "buy now, pay later." These products are not always clear about fees and interest rates and may entice consumers to fall into a debt spiral they will not be able to escape.
To protect consumers, many states have anti-predatory lending laws. Some states have outlawed payday lending altogether, while others have put caps on the amount lenders can charge.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have also taken measures to combat predatory lending. However, as the shifting stance of the latter agency shows, rules and protections are subject to change.
In June 2016, the CFPB issued a final rule establishing stricter regulations for the underwriting of payday and auto-title loans. Then, under new leadership in July 2020, the CFPB revoked that rule and delayed other actions, considerably weakening federal consumer protections against these predatory lenders.
Whenever a lender seeks to take advantage of a borrower and tie them into unfair or unmanageable loan terms, it can be considered predatory lending. Telling signs of a predatory lender include aggressive solicitations, excessive borrowing costs, high prepayment penalties, big balloon payments, and being encouraged to consistently flip loans.
In theory, yes. If you are enticed and misled into taking out a loan that carries higher fees than your risk profile warrants or that you are unlikely to be able to pay back, you have potentially been the victim of a crime. There are laws in place to protect consumers against predatory lending, though plenty of lenders continue to get away with it, partly because consumers don’t know their rights.
If you can prove that your lender violated local or federal laws, including the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), you may want to consider filing a lawsuit. It’s never easy going against a wealthy financial institution. However, if you have proof that this lender broke rules, you have a reasonable chance of being compensated. As a first step, contact your state consumer protection agency.
Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers, including high-interest rates, high fees, and terms that strip the borrower of equity. Predatory lenders often use aggressive sales tactics and deception to get borrowers to take out loans they can't afford. And in many cases, predatory lenders have targeted vulnerable populations.
Predatory lenders aren't all loan sharks. A great deal of predatory lending is carried out by more established institutions such as banks, finance companies, mortgage brokers, attorneys, or real estate contractors. The subprime mortgage boom in the years leading up to 2008 was, arguably, an example of predatory lending.
Education and research are crucial to avoiding predatory loans. Make sure you understand any loan documents you are signing and calculate how much you'll owe. But remember: if you are enticed and misled into taking out a loan that carries higher fees than your risk profile warrants or that you are unlikely to be able to pay back, you have potentially been the victim of a crime.
Power steering failure on 6 week old new model Citroen C4 Picasso. Dealer unable to repair after a further 6 weeks. Next day Citroen agreed to replace the car.18-04-2015:
Repeated electrical problems reported on Citroen C4 Grand Picasso from new. Car delivered 12-3-2015. On 16-3-2015 the car's warning lights showed faults with ESP, ABS, Auto Gears, Passenger Airbag, Tyre pressure monitor, Hill start and Parking brake. Faults then mysteriously disappeared. A few days later they re appeared, then went again, then 2 of them appeared. AA came to check, but found no faults. Several days later faults occured again and electric parking brake automatically applied twice at speed. Then suffered gearchange faults. AA came to transport the car to the supplying dealer and this time all the fault warnings came up and were seen by the AA. Car taken back to supplying dealer for 2 weeks. No faults found.16-08-2016:
Auxiliaries belt snapped on C4 Picasso at 2 years old and 12,000 miles.21-11-2016:
Report of problems with April 2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 THP 155 manual. Engine warning light came on in April 2016. Faukt was a failed coil pack. Then in November 2016, at 37,000 miles, engine warning light cvame on again. Two faults were fuel tank sender pump and carbon deposits on the inlet valves (THP 155 is direct injected). Prior to this engine had been idling roughly on start up. Owner had been using a mix of 'premium' 95Ron petrols. Advised to switch to Shell V-Power 99Ron. (This follows: 19-6-2016: Report of 1.6THP 156 petrol engine of 2011 Peugeot 5008 (same engine) going lumpy at 54,000 miles after a lot of short local stop/start school runs. Dealer updated software on recall, found misfire on no 1 cylinder, proposed Terraclean at £600. Car then started running better on long runs, so suggested switch to Shell V-Power or BP Ultimate might clean it up.)16-01-2017:
Report of n/s front wheelarch liner of Grand Picasso repeatedly detaching itself in heavy rain.01-03-2017:
Report of fault coming up twice on 2015 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso diesel. RAC cleared fault code both times. Dealer unwilling to replace injector as fault not currently showing. Possibly due to the diesel being used. Recommended a swap to Shell V-Power Nitro Plus.01-03-2017:
Report of new (B78) 2016 Citroen C4 Picasso Airdream Exclusive 1.6 e-HDi manual, bought September 2016, breaking down in mid November with a manufacturing fault identified by the dealer but which they can't fix because the part is unavailable. The Motor Ombudsman ruled that it was acceptable for the owner to be supplied with a smaller C3 Picasso until his brand new car was finally repaired. Owner wants to reject the car, as he has every right to do under all relevant legislation and case law including The Consumer Rights Act 2015.21-05-2017:
Report of milometer of new Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 Puretech 110, bought 13-3-2017, randomly changing from miles to kilometres. Dealer (Robins & Day that is owned by Peugeot) later admitted this was caused by a software problem and it would require a 2 hour reboot to cure.23-08-2017:
Report of problem with TA Traffic Announcements on radio of Citroen C4 Picasso Purtetech+ VTR bought new in July 2015. Car returned to dealer who removed the radio for details to be sent to Citroen for a remedy to be found. On the first service owner enquired if the repair was possible to be told its status had been upgraded in the system. On the second service in July 2017 the answer given was to make contact with customer service, which the owner did and the reply was that some units may not function correctly to which there is no solution. Owner lives in in West Sussex; local station is BBC RADIO SUSSEX, he has never received TA from them but receive BBC RADIO BERKS which is fifty miles away and random commercial stations around the country.04-09-2017:
Report of owner taking Citroen C4 Picasso in for an a/c regas to be told "it's the expensive gas" (R1234YF). While there, some TSB recall work was done and the whole job took 3 hours. Several weeks later the a/c failed again.19-09-2017:
Complaint of screen washer jets of 2016 Citroen Grand Picasso not spraying far enough up the screen. Owner has been told by the Citroen dealer that this is normal. The wipers are supposed to pick up the screenwash and distribute it over the screen.22-02-2018:
Report of driver's side windscreen wiper of Citroen C4 Picasso intermittently but repeatedly hitting the right hand side screen pillar. There is a variation of around 30mm in the point at which the wiper ends in the vertical position. Apparently each front wiper arm has a separate motor. Despite numerous attempts, the Citroen dealer has not been able to rectify the problem.23-03-2018:
Report of "in service" replacement of alternator belt tensioner pulley on 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6HDI at 22,500 miles. Though the tensioner was replaced under warranty the owner was asked to pay £55 for the belt itself. (If an alternator belt comes off, it can wrap itself around the unprotected lower timing belt pulley, causing the engine to self-destruct.)05-05-2018:
Report of top dashboard screen malfunction in new 2018 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.24-05-2018:
Report of ex-rental 2016 Citroen C4 Picasso bought and first serviced at 17,000 miles in March 2017 suffering worn auxiliary belt when service for a 2nd time at 22,000 miles by non-franchised garage.25-07-2018:
Report of failure of clutch and dual mass flywheel of 2016 Citroen Picasso at 8,000 miles. Dealer quoted £1,536 and refused to allow owner to keep old clutch and DMF for independent inspection.03-08-2018:
Report of injector failure on 2013 Citroen C4 Picasso at 40,000 miles (presumed to be 1.6HDI). Lost power on motorway. Recovery company diagnosed injector failure. Citroen dealer has quoted £600+ for labour?07-10-2018:
Report of 2014 Citroen Grand Picasso recalled in May for replacement of clutch master cylinder. Subsequently, in September 2018, at 50,000 miles, the clutch slave cylinder failed, making it impossible to select any gears. The dealer told the owner that this would necessitate a new clutch and quoted £800.18-10-2018:
Report of a/c condenser of 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso 2.0 HDI cracking at 30,000 miles along one of the welded seams. Citroen replaced the condeser FoC but charged £350 for labour.12-02-2019:
Depending on the age of the car a 1.2 Puretech might be due a software update for the engine ecu. There's has been a software update campaign for the older Puretech 130s that Peugeot / Citroen main dealers will carry out when you take the car in for a service / other work.19-02-2019:
Report of failure of a fuel injector in a 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDI. Cost to repair £500.29-04-2019:
Report of all four blistered alloy wheels on a January 2018 itroen C4 Grand Picasso replaced FoC under warranty.01-05-2019:
Report of 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso requiring an R1234YF aircon re-gas in July 2018. The gas has now leaked and a further re-gas with R1234YF is charged at £245, adding to Honeywell's profits.02-05-2019:
Report of history of problems with October 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 E-HDI 115 Exclusive now at 33,000 miles. 7.10.16 City Motors Bristol – multiple rattles – partially rectified – no charge. Date unrecorded – City Motors Bristol – heavy/clunking gearbox – reported as normal for this model – no charge. 20.6.18 City Motors Bristol – Rubber buffer pad n/s tailgate – broke, fell out, replaced – also rattles from sunroof/headlining -no charge. 2.11.18 City Motors Bristol – Heated front seat not working (failed 27.10.18, 12 days outside of Warranty). Diagnoses to have further full diagnostic investigation at a cost of £193.70. Cost of initial diagnoses £57.00. 11.12.18 Ubley Motors, Ubley Parking brake fault occurred 30.11.18 fit new rear r.h.s.brake actuator – cost £253.56. 15.1.19 City Motors Bristol - Full diagnostic test for heated front seat – replacement heating diaphragm cost £144.53+VAT and Parking brake replace rear harness cost - £404.39+VAT. Citroen contributed £270.35+VAT towards the cost of seat and brake (33%). Total nett cost of this work £673.70. 11.4.19 City Motors – Clutch pedal not returning to engaged position – replaced Master Clutch Cylinder – cost £311.12. Citroen granted a 33% discount in partial recognition for the seat and brake problem but this is a reduced discount because owner had the car serviced outside of the franchised dealership even although all genuine parts and consumables were original. This car has cost over £1,600 in servicing and repairs in less than 3.5 years and 33,000 miles.19-05-2019:
Report of 2016 (out of warranty) Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 Puretech 130 suffering engine fault. The engine management system detects the fault and responds by turning the engine off, even when driving down a dual carriageway. Reader writes, "The fault code from the engine management system is meaningless to anyone except Citroen, so it has to be fixed by a main dealer, who need to completely strip the engine and rebuild it – obviously a very expensive repair at main dealer prices. The local dealer has taken 3 weeks, wasted time, fobbed us off with promises that it will be another 2 days, another 2 days, etc, and so far done nothing useful." (By 24-5-2019 it had turned out that t here were 5 engine management faults. The main fault was caused by the cam belt shredding and the bits blocked up the oil system. They didn't say if that's happened to that sort of engine before. Citroen will supply a new timing belt + labour to fit, but the dealer is still charging £678 for diagnostics, stripping the engine down, work on a cam centring switch and to clean the valves.11-06-2019:
Final report of 19-5-2019: Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 Puretech 130. Engine needed a replacement camshaft, cleaning of valves to remove carbon pitting, and a fresh timing belt. Citroen Goodwill amounted to 70%, plus one free subsequent service. Customer did have to pay the remaining £678.02 for removal of the pitting and the replacement camshaft. (May be related to 3-6-2019: Report of 2017/67 Citroen C4 1.2 Puretech 130 EAT6 auto being recalled for a "quality recall Software get reference code GNK." SEE UNDER RECALLS.)24-06-2019:
Report of cracks at the top of the tailgate of a 2014 Citroen C4 Picasso both sides. Citroen agreed it was a manufacturing defect and will supply a new tailgate free of charge but will not cover the labour cost of fitting the replacement and nor will the supplying dealer.28-08-2019:
Report of 2016 Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 Puretech 130 requiring two new replacement engines and yet a dash message of “engine fault” persists. When the warning comes up the engine feels sluggish.18-09-2019:
Report in Ask of faulty ECU, BCM, wiring loom in 2017 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 1.2 Puretech 130 Manual. Now been with dealer for 5 weeks being repaired under warranty.25-09-2019:
Report of waterpump failure leading to timing belt coming off and destruction of engine of 2015/64 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso (presumed diesel) at 57,000 miles.11-10-2019:
Complaint that stop/start not functioning on 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 PureTech 130. Recently Citroen dealer chenged the battery and stop/start will now function as long as no major electrical components are being used. If the A/C and climate control are switched off it works. If owner sets the ventilation fan above 5/8 of maximum, it stops working. This is the compromise between a regenerating alternator and a stop/start system. An engine-powered alternator uses 2-3mpg of fuel, whioch is a lot more than the stop/start system saves.22-11-2019:
Report of gradual failure of aitconditioning of 2015 Citroen C4 Picasso, eventually traced to a failed a/c condenser. Apparently there is a TSB about this, number A1CW010GQ. There seems to have been a problem of incompatibility between the new R1234YF low CFC refrigerant and the condensers. (See: 4-9-2017, 18-10-2018 and 1-5-2019.)
The New C4 Picasso is available in a range of eight body colours and all versions are fitted with alloy wheels as standard, with a range of original designs from 16 to 18 inches.
The brand new, standard specification, 7 inch Touch Drive interface controls all the vehicle settings and in-car functions such as the dual-zone air conditioning, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio.
The panoramic 12 inch screen enhances the driving experience still further and can be configured to display a range of additional driving information such as the cruise control and speed-limiter settings. There’s even the option of changing the theme and uploading a personal photograph as a backdrop.
Available as an option on all versions, New C4 Picasso can provide users with access to Citroën’s Multicity Connect, a portal of connected applications, controlled from the 7 inch touchpad. The system lets users find the nearest service station, a hotel or restaurant, get weather updates or traffic information.
|VERSION||CO 2 EMISSIONS||MRR OTR PRICE|
|VTi 120 manual VTR||145||£17,500|
|HDi 90 manual VTR||109||£18,195|
|VTi 120 manual VTR+||145||£18,760|
|HDi 90 manual VTR+||109||£19,455|
|e-HDi 90 ETG6 VTR+||98||£20,155|
|e-HDi 115 manual 6-speed VTR+||105||£20,255|
|e-HDi 115 ETG6 VTR+||104||£20,755|
|THP 155 manual 6-speed Exclusive||139||£21,060|
|e-HDi 115 manual 6-speed Exclusive||105||£21,555|
|e-HDi 115 ETG6 Exclusive||105||£22,055|
|THP 155 manual 6-speed Exclusive+||142||£23,460|
|e-HDi 115 manual 6-speed Exclusive+||105||£23,955|
|e-HDi 115 ETG6 Exclusive+||105||£24,455|
Built on PSA Group's new Efficient Modular Platform (EMP2), and offering a weight reduction of up to 140kg per model. Wider and shorter that the previous model without the pendulous front overhang.
4,438 mm long x 1,826 mm wide (2,117mm with mirrors) x 1,625mm high on 2,785mm wheelbase.
The interior features some clever new tricks, such as a fold-forward front passenger seat back that extends load area to an impressive 2.5m - a boon for DIY enthusiasts - while the three individual rear seats also feature full front-rear adjustment, so the passenger-to-luggage ratio can be varied according to need. Each of these three individual seats is fitted with Isofix tethers.
In front of the driver is a full-digital dual screen driving interface – with 7-inch touchpad and 12-inch panoramic HD screen, 360 VISION; Park Assist for convenient manoeuvring and parking; and active cruise control, active seatbelts and automatic high-beam operation. Power is from a range of new or heavily-revised HDIs - all of which are cleaner and more economical.
Entry-level is 90PS 1.4-litre and it is joined by a pair of 1.6-litres in two states of tune: 115PS (104g/km and 70mpg combined) and 150PS (110g/km). The e-HDI 90 is said to achieve 98g/km and 74mpg in clutchless six-speed manual form, making it the market sector's most efficient diesel.
The range's high-efficiency models will be - rather unoriginally - called 'Blue', and will add a new SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) exhaust system. But the Blue does meet Euro 6 standards.
Now availaibe with 1.2 litre Puretech 130PS (230Nm) 3-cylinder engine.
Revised Citroen C4 Picasso and C4 Grand Picasso announced, on sale from September 1, 2016 at prices from £19,635 for the C4 Picasso and £21,935 for the Grand C4 Picasso.
Cosmetic changes include a redesigned front bumper and 3D-effect tail lights, along with new colour options and alloy wheel designs. Interior revisions include new upholstery finishes and a more responsive touchscreen system, featuring MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Safety tech including adaptive cruise control, blind sport warning and active lane departure warning are available in driver assistance packs, plus optional convenience technologies like a hands-free electric tailgate.
Engine range is 1.2 litre PureTech turbocharged petrol engines with power outputs of either 110PS or 130PS, along with 1.6 and 2.0 litre BlueHDI diesels producing 100PS, 120PS or 150PS. Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions are offered and emissions range from 99g/km to 116g/km. BlueHDIs require AdBlue.
Citroen C4 Picasso 1.2 PureTech 130 petrol with EAT 6 torque converter automatic transmission now arriving at Citroen dealers.
All-new Fiesta was launched at September 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show. Looks very much like a slightly smaller Focus, but with a less radical rear-end treatment. Handles nicely enough.
Dimensions of 5-door are: length 3,917mm (12 ft 10in); width 1,683mm (5 ft 6in); height: 1,417mm (4ft 8in). Luggage volume is 284 litres to the parcel shelf with the rear seats up.
Four engines available at launch:
New Ford/PSA 1,399cc Duratorq TDCi aluminium block, common rail direct-injected diesel. Power output is 68ps at 4,000rpm with 160Nm (118 lb ft) torque at 1,750rpm. 0-60 is quoted at 14.5 seconds, top speed 102mph, Euro combined mpg 62.8 and CO2 emissions 119g/km (£110pa VED). This engine meets Euro III emissions limits. The Ford of Britain/PSA joint venture for the production of the DLD/DV was announced in September, 1998. Half of the total engine count are produced at Ford of Britain's main plant at Dagenham, England and at Ford's Chennai plant in India, the other half at PSA's Trémery plant in France.
The inline 4 engines are sold under the Duratorq TDCi name by Ford, and as the HDi by Citroën and Peugeot. Mazda also uses the Ford made DLD engine in the Mazda2 and the Mazda 3, calling it the MZ-CD or CiTD.
The Duratorq DLD-414 (or DV4) is a 1.4 L (1398 cm3/85 cui) inline 4 cylinder turbodiesel. Output is 67 HP @ 4500 rpm and 160 NM (117 lb-ft) @ 2000 rpm.
The DLD-414/DV4 is available in two versions:
One, an 8 valve design, uses a Borg-Warner KP35 turbocharger but no intercooler. This is the same turbocharger as the Renault K9K Diesel. It is Euro 3 compliant, but will receive a Diesel particulate filter from 2006 to make it Euro 4 compliant. In Ford, Mazda, and most PSA applications it uses a Siemens SID804 or SID802 common rail injection system. In some PSA applications a Bosch common rail system is used.
A second version uses a DOHC 16 valve design, with an intercooled variable geometry turbocharger. This engine uses Delphi Corp.'s DCR1400 common rail injection system. This derivation will no longer be built from 2006, as it will not be able to comply with the Euro 4 regulations.
8 valve non-intercooled, 55 HP and 130 NM (96 lb-ft)
2005–2008 Citroën C1/Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo 1.4 HDi
8 valve non-intercooled, 68 HP and 150 NM (111 lb-ft)
2003–2009 Citroën C2 1.4 HDi
8 valve non-intercooled, 68 HP and 160 NM (118 lb-ft)
2002–2009 Citroën C3 1.4 HDi
2002–2008 Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi
2002–2008 Ford Fusion (European) 1.4 TDCi
2002–2009 Peugeot 206 1.4 HDi
2005–2009 Peugeot 1007 1.4 HDi
2004 Citroen Xsara 1.4 HDI
2002–2007 Mazda 2/Demio 1.4D
2008–present Mazda 2/Demio 1.4D
2007–present Ford (India) 1.4 TDCi Fiesta, also marketed as the Ikon in South Africa.
2008–present Ford Bantam TDCi commercial vehicle in South Africa.
16 valve intercooled, 90 HP and 200 NM (147 lb-ft)
2001–2005 Citroën C3 1.4 HDi 16V
2002–2005 Suzuki Liana 1.4 DDiS
1,388cc Duratec 16v which is a development of 1.4 16v Zetec S engine in older Fiesta and Focus. Power output is 80ps at 5,700rpm with 127Nm (94 lb ft) torque at 3,500rpm. 0-60 quoted at 13.2 seconds, top speed 103mph, Euro combined mpg 46.3 and CO2 emissions 146g/km (£100pa VED). This engine meets Euro IV emissions limits.
1,596cc Duratec 16v which is a development of 1.6 16v Zetec S engine in the current Fiesta, Puma and Focus. Power output is 100ps at 6,000rpm with 143Nm (105 lb ft) torque at 4,000rpm. 0-60 quoted at 10.5 seconds, top speed 115mph, Euro combined mpg 42.8 and CO2 emissions 158g/km (£120pa VED). This engine meets Euro IV emissions limits.
Old 1,297cc Duratec 8v with new overhead cam alloy head instead of the old pushrods. Power output 68ps at 5,000rpm with 108Nm (80 lb ft) torque at 2,800rpm. 0-60 is quoted at 15.7 seconds, top speed 99mph, Euro combined mpg 48.7 and CO2 emissions 139g/km (£100pa VED). This engine also meets Euro IV emissions limits. This 'Rocam' engine fitting is quite rare, and briefly the cars came fitted with the old pusrod 1.3, which is to be avoided. You'll only know when you pop the bonnet.
Was originally thought that future engines may include a new 3 cylinder 1.1 that weighs just 100kg, yet puts out 110bhp and a useful 118lb ft torque (160Nm) at 1,800rpm. (That engine finally arrived in 2011.)
Standard equipment on all five-door Fiestas includes ABS with EBD, height adjustable driver and passenger seats, twin dual stage front airbags, five three-point seatbelts, decoupling pedals to protect the driver's feet in a severe impact, a passive anti-theft system, and a spare wheel stowed inside the boot rather than slung under it. Standard tyres are 175/65R14 which helps ride comfort. Side airbags, side curtain bags, perimeter alarm system and remote central locking are available either as standard or as extras depending on model.
Rear suspension is twist beam with compact spring damper units developed from system used on the previous Fiesta and Puma rather than the 'Control Blade' rear suspension used on the Focus.
original list prices from £8,495 for 1.3 Duratec Finesse to £11,195 for 1.6i Ghia. 3-door from late 2002, range topped by 2.0 litre ST150 with 7.0 second 0-60 and 135mph plus top speed from December 2004.
Four star 2003 NCAP crash test rating; two star pedestrian safety rating.
Durashift automated manual available from January 2003.
1.3 pushrod engine replaced by Bridgend built 75PS 1.25 twin-cam Zetec S/Duratec from April 2003.
4-speed 100PS 1.6 Durashift full automatic from February 2004, list priced from £12,120, does 112mph and 0-60 in 11.4 seconds. Rated average for breakdowns and fewest problems and faults, so 'Worth Considering' in 2003 Which survey.
Restyled late 2005 for 2006MY with bobbles on the front headlights like the Nissan Micra's (last two photos). Specs announced October 2005, on sale from November 2005.
92PS diesel really livens the car up and allows its handling to be exploited, while remaining under 121g/km so cheap VED. 92PS 1.6 TDCI Zetec S and ST150 both RECOMMENDED.
2007 new year offers and upgrades:
Fiesta Silver special edition includes £550 of extras, on the road at £9,295
New Fiesta Zetec Climate goes up-market with new trim levels, on-the-road from £10,195
New Sport Pack available for Fiesta Zetec Climate, saving £150
New technology pack available on selected Fiestas
3-dr Fiesta Silver came with features that add up to £550: body-coloured power/heated door mirrors, body colour side mouldings, door and tailgate handles, leather steering wheel with aluminium trim, silver gear knob and 15in nine-spoke alloy wheels. Available with the 1.25-litre, 1.4-litre petrol or 1.4-litre TDCi engines, this special edition Fiesta is also available with a new range of colours: sea grey, verdigris and ocean blue.
Fiesta Zetec Climate was enhanced to Excellerate its appearance inside and out and appeal to the image-conscious Fiesta driver. Additional features include: body-coloured power/heated door mirrors, body colour side mouldings, door and tailgate handles, silver dashboard bezel, leather steering wheel with aluminium trim and a chrome front grille. The new Zetec Climate is on sale now with all engine options from £10,195.
Fiesta Zetec Climate customers had an additional option of a Sport Pack: 16-in seven-spoke sport alloy wheels and privacy glass are available at £300, a saving of £150.
Technology Pack consisted of automatic-headlights and wipers, power-fold door mirrors, stereo/radio remote controls and a second remote key. The new technology pack is ideal for customers who like to drive small cars with big car features and is available on Fiesta Zetec Climate, Zetec S and ST models, priced at £200.
Chequered Flag limited edition of 400 from March 2007 based on 100PS Zetec S 1.616v in unique radian yellow paintwork, chequered flag roof decal, air-con, leather seats, MP3 connection. On-the-road at £12,595.
Special edition Fiesta Zetec Blue announced 30-11-2007. Based on Style Climate, Zetec Blue costs £200 but has £800 extra spec. Standard equipment includes: body coloured bumpers, handles, mouldings and door mirrors, front fog lights, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel with aluminium trim, single slot Sony CD player, 16-in seven-spoke sport alloy wheels, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, air conditioning and Quickclear heated windscreen. The Fiesta Zetec
Three or five doors, 1.25-litre 75PS,1.4-litre 80PS and 1.4-litre 68PS TDCi engines. Two new interior trims: Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dusk, six body colours including new Blazer Blue. On-the road prices start at Â£9,995 for the 1.25-litre, three-door model, up to Â£11,595 for the 1.4-litre TDCi, five-door model.
SATURDAY POLITY STORIES
Tokunbo Abiru, former Group Managing Director of Polaris Bank and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the December 5 Lagos East Senatorial by-election, talks to select journalists, including Bennett Oghifo, about his mission in politics and dreams for Lagos East
I spent about 29 years of my career life in the banking sector
By training, I am an economist and a chartered accountant. I put in about 32 years of work after my university education. I spent about 29 years of my career life in the banking sector. By the grace of God Almighty, I got to the peak of my chosen career. By 2013, I became an Executive Director in First Bank Plc. Thereafter, I had the privilege to be the regular-appointed Group Managing Director for Skye Bank Plc., during the turbulent times. I had the mandate to rescue it and save it from total collapse that challenged the financial stability of the country.
In 2016, Skye Bank was one of those banks that are systemically important in the country. It had serious prudential ratio challenges. I headed the management team that was saddled with the restoration of the bank. By 2018, precisely by September 11, we had virtually reversed all the negative ratios, be it profitability ratio, which was hitherto negative, capital adequacy ratio or liquidity ratio. All has become normal and even more competitive. By 2019, the efficiency ratio of the bank had become very competitive when compared with its peers in the industry.
CBN’s mandate on Skye Bank was fulfilled
When we were setting out on July 4, 2016, the mandate was very clear then: stabilise the bank and return it to the path of profitability. At the end of 2019, the mandate had been fully achieved. For somebody like me, I had to take stock of my career and asked myself what next, since I had delivered the mandate. I concluded that it was about time to throw in the towel and possibly, let others come and try their hands.
Why I joined partisan politics
I had already the mindset that I was going to retire at the end of this year. It was not clear to me what I was going to do when I retire. When this opportunity came, I reflected on it and thought it made a lot of sense. And I will explain the reason. In the course of my career, between 2011 and 2013, I was appointed Commissioner for Finance in the Babatunde Fashola administration. It was a four-year arrangement. After two years, I, on my own, stepped down to wrap up my career. At the time I joined government in 2011, I was just Deputy General Manager (DGM). As at that time, that was the limit of the management career because it is from the DGM one will become an Executive Director.
For me, I did not think wrapping up my career in private sector, as the DGM was the best thing. That was not the way I wanted to account for my own career. Yes, Commissioner for Finance is a great job with great exposure. It gave me an indication of how government is run and how things are done in the public sector. But if you look at it from the perspective of focus, I needed fulfilment in my own career. After two years, I had to engage the governor that I had to go. I remember my conversation with him. He said to me that my assignment was for four years.
I insisted that I had to go. I replied him: ‘You are a SAN. Despite the fact that you are a governor, you got to the peak of your career. How will I write my story in future that from being DGM, I became Commissioner for Finance?’ I can always come back to the public service. When the opportunity came this time, it was part of the reasons I had to fast-forward my retirement time to August 31. Coming into public space is not completely accidental. It was occasioned by the opportunity that presented itself. It was also due to the prior motive that I had. I thought it was a better story to tell that I had accomplished one and moved to another. I have been tested with human and material resources, and I delivered.
My campaign not elaborate as such
I will not describe my campaign as elaborate as such. If you are familiar with Lagos East, you will come to this conclusion. First, it largely comprises indigenous people of Lagos. We are talking about Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu. Outside Ikorodu, which is my place of origin, I am not sure I am well known in these locations. Second, if you look at the composition of people along this belt, you will find a commonality there. And the belt is composed of Ijebu-speaking people, especially in Epe, Ikorodu, Ibeju-Lekki and Somolu. For somebody who has spent his life in the private sector, I cannot take things for granted.
Let it be that people actually know me. I have to move around and explain myself to them. Also, I crisscrossed all the local government areas (LGAs) in Lagos East. We have five LGAs as constituted under the 1999 Constitution. We equally have 11 local council development areas (LCDAs), making 16. I needed to crisscross all these local councils. Part of what people are saying is that they do not know me. This is what actually galvanise me to move round and secure public acceptance so that people will not think we are taking them for granted. It was important to garner people’s acceptance. Part of what I learnt on the campaign field is that our democracy may be young, but it is gradually getting deepened. People too are asking questions regarding who their leaders should be.
As that was coming to my consciousness, the issue of apathy was also coming up. When you talk to people, you find out that they are remote and not happy generally. The reasons for the apathy are not far-fetched. One is the state of the economy. Two is the compounding case in the issue of COVID-19. As a result, there was need to make myself well known. We, also, need to moderate the issue of apathy. This takes me to something critical. I think the by-election is more difficult than the general election. That is the reality. A general election is like a carnival. There are other candidates contesting for different political offices. We have those contesting for the office of the President. We also have those contesting for governorship and legislative positions at the federal and state levels. It is like a carnival in town that everybody feels. But the by-election is very tricky. We have to wake people up that something is going on. A lot of people do not even know. We have to let them know. It is not meant to be a presidential or governorship election campaign. We are just doing the right thing a democratic setting should embrace.
Politics to me is about service
If I compare where I am from and where I am going into, honestly, there is a common feature. That common feature is what I can call service. Banking, for instance, is about service. I am sure you will agree with me because all of us are account owners or holders. Even if you go to ATM and it does not respond to you, you know all the crises you can create. Politics, to me too, is about service. That is one belief that I hold. This tells you that I have just handled one type of service and I am getting into another type of service. What do I do to meet the need of my people? First, the answer is almost obvious to all of us. People need all things that can Excellerate human development index (HDI). People need good roads, stable power supply, good governance and accountability, among others. Given my background, what I am going for is not an executive position.
So, I will see it in terms of good governance and accountability. All through my career, I have been guided along the path of accountability and good governance. I will also use this as an illustration. If I have had the privilege of saving a bank, it is like you have saved a community. The staff strength of the bank is up to 10,000 people. If that bank went under, it means 10,000 people would have lost their jobs. It, also, means over 40,000 dependents would have been in disarray. Then, it was a bank that has four million customers with over N1 trillion deposit. You can imagine what will happen if that bank collapses. That means I am coming with the background of someone who has been tested both human and material resources. With all sense of modesty, I have delivered on it. With the kind of experience I have gathered over the years, it tells me clearly that part of the conversation around this country today is about somebody who can bring quality representation. I must tell you that this is not an executive role.
I cannot tell you that I will go and construct road here. I cannot tell you that I will go and provide water there. I see a legislative role as more of facilitation and influencing. The kind of background and pedigree I have will come into play. Let me give you some examples. When I visited Epe, I went from Ikorodu. I have not travelled from Ikorodu to Epe by road for a very long time. But I was shocked as to the state of the road when I was going. I was really shocked. So, we had this session in Epe. It was a raining day and the journey was tortuous. I was so tired that I told my campaign that if you are returning to Ikorodu, I was going to Lagos. I did not realise that I was going to have another experience. Coming from Epe through Lekki was another bad experience. This is where one’s background and pedigree come to play. I just picked my phone and called my former boss, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who is today the Minister of Works and Housing. I told him it was important to do something on the road. The minister told me that Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe road was a federal road. But that f you are talking about Lekki-Epe road, it is a state road.
I equally called the governor and told him the same thing. I have known the governor for more than 20 years. We were in banking together. Even his deputy, we served together under Fashola. While he was the Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, I was the Commissioner for Finance in the same cabinet. Why am I bringing this up? If you have a pedigree that has a wide influence, then it is going to make the job easier. I may not have executive power, but I can reach out. I can confidently tell you that we have gone far on the Lekki-Ibeju road, mainly from Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate to Epe. We have to mount pressure on the governor to do something about the road. The pressure also gingered him that he could not leave the road that way. For me, we can serve role models for the upcoming youths. We can shape them so they don’t just assume leadership roles blindly.
The youths, the old, will feel my impact through legislation, facilitation
The youths, the old and everybody will feel my impact through legislation and facilitation. Beyond this, I have a constituency office here in Ikorodu. It was properly set up with a vision beyond winning the by-election. I do not hope to replicate the same in other LGAs because it will be a waste in this age of technology. At best, I probably can have satellite offices in LGAs. It will just be a small one so that we do not waste resources we can use for the betterment of the society. But I deliberately set up the Ikorodu office because I am from here and it is important I have a coordinating office beyond my campaign office. Beyond the primary roles of legislation, facilitation and influencing, a senator is expected to anchor. I, on my own, will establish an empowerment and endowment programme, having been around and seen the level of poverty, the rate of unemployment and the number of vulnerable people. You just need to go on a campaign trip. Part of it that worries me is the number of young people, young women, older people that are running after us.
If these people are engaged or have their means of livelihoods, they will not probably be doing this. If you want to campaign in an estate, probably a well-organised one, you have to look for a weekend or else you will not get any person to attend because these are people, who are engaged. You will not see any person if you go to any organised estate during the week. The number of people that followed us from here to Epe was huge. Some will join us on the road on their bikes. This has been my burden. I keep asking the party, what happens to these people after the campaign? It is not something I can do alone. But I believe strongly that I can lead by example. After the victory on December 5, I like us to discuss a validation of what I am about to say, perhaps, after 90 days in office. I intend, by the grace of God, to have an empowerment and endowment programme that can at least impact directly by January 31. It is a model I have been working on. Part of the model I am working on is that we shall be impacting between 500 and 1,000 constituents across the senatorial district on a monthly basis. I will tell people to go and validate it. Also, we have a situation whereby you wake up in the morning; different people are sending messages to you, complaining about one health challenge or the other.
I intend to come up with a medical arrangement that can impact the people in a structured manner. I do not need to see your face or whatever. But it will be limited because I am just an individual. Personally, I want to set up an endowment. It must be in place at the end of December or not beyond January 2021. That endowment will focus on two critical things. First, it will focus on our youths. I have studied different empowerment schemes, their strength and their shortcomings. The kind of empowerment I want to do will focus on the youth and women. We will identify vocational centres. Our emphasis will be on skill acquisition and skill development. We will determine the number of people we can bring on board periodically. The selected people will run six-month or one-year training at the cost to the endowment, we can then give them the tools they need. If any person endures to go through the training, he will definitely have his hands in it. If you take them through a learning curve and they come out successfully, then there is possibility that out of five persons, three or four will take it up from there. Second, given my own background that has been essentially in lending and banking, I want to come up with credit scheme that can support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the district. We can accommodate between 500 and 1,000 per annum. We will give them soft loans. Again, part of the problems is access and the cost of such credits. In this case, access will be easily available. In terms of the cost, that is the interest rate, we have just to bring it to what is just affordable. I am just hoping people will not see this as the dividends of democracy.
We just try it and hope it will be successful. Of course, there will be a scoring model. We will ask them whether they belong to Community Development Committee (CDC), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), any Islamic association or if there is a leader who can identify you. Or you have a BVN. This is enough to serve as collateral. I am saying, within my own capacity, the seed money of that foundation will come from me. Also, I am going to use the goodwill I have built during my work life to get people on board, either associates or friends. I have had conversation with some of them and they also believe in it. I have benefited particularly from Lagos State. Look at my background in terms of education; I went to public schools all my life. I went to Ereko Methodist Primary School, which was owned by government. I went to Government College, Lagos. I went to Baptist Academy, which was also owned by government. I also went to Lagos State University, which was established by government. With this antecedent, I think it is the right time for me to give back to the society.
Special status for Lagos
The issue of special status has been with us for a long time. We can trace the origin to 1976 during the time of General Murtala Mohammed. He actually initiated the need to relocate Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to Abuja. He also mentioned that given the level of federal government assets that have been invested in Lagos, be it seaport, airport and even flyovers, among others, they will continue to be sources of attraction for those outside of Lagos. That is what we call rural to urban migration. He went further to say that there is need for the federal government to have a special arrangement to sustain these assets for the benefit of all. If we cast our minds to that period and to 1990 when General Ibrahim Babangida, we can see that Lagos still remains the commercial, entertainment, financial and tourist capital of Nigeria. It behooves on us to find a way to continue to enhance the facilities that are attracting a lot of people here.
If you speak to the Lagos State Government, they will tell that the population growth rate of this country is at an average of 2.5 per cent. But the rate of people migrating to Lagos is in excess of 3 per cent. So, the pressure is so much. You see traffic here. You see traffic there. It is welcome. But we need to enhance those structures until we get true federalism. We cannot stop the arrangement for special status. We will continue to agitate for it. That is the way they are treating Abuja as well. Abuja is centrally funded from the national budget. The federal government cannot leave Lagos for the Lagos State Government. Even if you take a look at the budget of this government, this financial year is about N1 trillion. In terms of size, Lagos is supposed to be the smallest state in Nigeria. That tells you the kind of pressure in this state. Also, you see what happened recently. The good intentioned #EndSARS protest, the hijack and the destruction barely tell us that we do not have a choice than to support the facilities that are attracting people to Lagos State. Special Status, of course, is a just agitation.
Feedback from my campaign is encouraging
For me, the feedback has been very encouraging and supportive. Of course, it is a mixed bag of people’s challenges and their concerns. Without being selfish, I think that I see what I can describe as genuine acceptability. I always make it very clear everywhere I went the kind of background that I parade. I also let them know that it is not all about me. It is all about giving to the society. With due respect to everyone here, I am not an old man. I am full of energy. Part of what I am bringing on the table is the energy I use to deliver my earlier career. I still have that energy to bring to the table. I see a lot of acceptability from the people – the traditional rulers, the youths, the old people, the women and even the working class. Again, part of what we heard from the people is the need to attend to people’s needs.
For instance, mothers were pleading to have job opportunities for their children. When you heard that unemployment rate is 27 per cent, in real life, you will see that this is a major challenge. We just have to find a way around it. The solution must be sustainable and enduring. We have to look at the development deficiency of this country. If we have high unemployment rate and look at the demography of the country, people between 18 and 35 account for about 65 per cent. And we have unemployment rate around 27 per cent.
It tells you that we have a lot of burning energies that are unused. We have to support policies that create enabling environment for businesses. That is what I mean by sustainable opportunities. If we create a fluke that endure for a short period, it will not help us. We need a development policy that creates employment opportunities. We can only build it around initiatives that will support infrastructure; that will encourage private enterprises and that will allow businesses to grow.
We need peace because businesses can only grow where there is security of lives and property. These are things we need to keep our minds to save ourselves from the economic situation of this country.
Message to voters
I strongly believe this is an opportunity for Lagos East to have on board somebody that is experienced; that has the capacity and exposure to play the roles expected of a senator. Also, this is an opportunity to bring on board somebody who can give quality representation as to what is expected of a senator representing Lagos East.
It is an opportunity to bring in a personality that is homegrown individual, whom our youths can look up to, learn from and believe as to the possibilities in this country. I am not a foreign trained person in any form. My background is very basic and local. When I look back, I have more to lose if I do not live up to people’s expectation. That is part of the burden I carry on this assignment. I have run a very successful career. I will not at this stage do anything that will rubbish it. This is a journey of four years and I have run a career of 32 years unblemished. I will not at this stage of my life mess it up.
I think this is an opportunity for Lagos East to have somebody that will not disappoint them; somebody that will live up to expectations and somebody that has listening ears. My life has been of service. I will not be a kind of person that they will only see during election period. I will be that person that will periodically, either quarterly or biannually go back to my constituents to give account of what I have done; listen to them to get feedback and see what I can do to further their cause.
PIX: Tokunbo Abiru.jpg
Bayelsa West: CDC Chairmen, Youth Presidents Back Dickson
The Chairmen of the Community Development Committees and Youth Presidents in Ekeremor Local Government Area have reaffirmed support for Chief Henry Seriake Dickson’s Senatorial bid for the Bayelsa West District.
The CDC Chairmen and the Youth President said Dickson was the most qualified with the requisite experience and contacts required to promote the interest of the district, the state and indeed the Ijaw nation in the National Assembly.
The different groups which spoke during solidarity visits to the former Governor at his Opolo, Yenagoa residence yesterday, said that the former governor should have returned unopposed going by his experience and record òf performance.
Spokespersons of the groups, Philip Enieyekebi, Chairman of CDC Ndoro, and his Ekeremor counterpart, Hon Fiemotonghan Otuma and the Youth President, Agori, Akiki Ezoukumoh, were unanimous in their position that Dickson is the only candidate they know in the forthcoming senatorial contest in the zone.
They stressed that Chief Dickson is more exposed no national politics and in a better position to promote the interest of the district apart from the arrangement on zoning that favors him.
They assured that the election would be peaceful and urged the electorate to turn out enmasse to vote without fear of molestation and also defend their votes come December 5, 2020.
“Everybody that is truly sincere knows that you are in a better position to articulate the needs of the Ijaw nation having played crucial roles at different levels of government.
“We the CDC Chairmen and our youth Presidents are not aware of any other candidate contesting the Senatorial seat. It is on record that you and your party, the PDP, have consulted widely in our communities and we hold the firm view that you will be returned as our Senator,” They said.
In his response, the former governor thanked the CDC Chairmen and the youth groups for their sustained support and reaffirming their endorsement of his candidature as the right person for the Senatorial slot.
He urged the youth to give the deserved priority to the need to ensure that the election is violence free in their communities.
Dickson commended the leaders and members of the groups for insisting on the power sharing arrangement between the two local government areas making up the district which Favour a Sagbama to produce the next senator.
He assured them of his unflinching commitment to the cause of the people and indeed the Ijaw nation, at the upper chamber of the National Assembly if elected.
Leadway Pensure’s RSA Funds
Michael Olugbode in Abuja
Leadway Pensure PFA Limited, foremost pension funds administrator, has outperformed the benchmark funds under its Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for October 2020.
A statement yesteday from the company reported that all funds under its Retirement Savings Account (RSA) outperformed their stipulated benchmark for October 2020.
The statement read: “In the month under review, Leadway Pensure PFA’s annualised return for RSA Fund I was 32 per cent against a 25 per cent benchmark; RSA Fund II returned 25 per cent against a 23 per cent benchmark; RSA Fund III returned 20 per cent against a 15 per cent benchmark, and RSA Fund IV returned 18 per cent against a 9 per cent benchmark, culminating in an overall high performance of RSA funds across multiple investments in the company.
“The annualised return represents the approximate return achievable by an investment if retained for a whole year as opposed to when it is prematurely terminated.”
Commenting on the results, Managing Director, Leadway Pensure PFA, Mrs. Aderonke Adedeji stated that the performance was a testament to the company’s consistent efforts to deliver excellent results to its customers and remain one of the leading PFAs in the country.
She said: “As a company, we work assiduously to never stray from our objective of remaining amongst the top-five Pension Fund Administrators in the nation. Being intensely aware of the dynamic nature of the market, we consciously guard our RSA funds against downturns to preserve value. Thus, causing our funds to outperform a 14.23 per cent inflation rate in October. We remain confident that the rest of the year will not be any different.”
The Retirement Savings Account was initiated by the Federal Government under the repealed Pensions Reform Act (PRA)of 2004 (now enacted PRA 2014) and is used to set aside money towards an individual’s retirement; with joint contributions from the employer and the employee, while the multi-fund structure is a framework designed to align the retirement savings of contributors to their risk appetite by maintaining four funds with different tolerance for risk.
Tetfund Harps On Judicious Utilisation of Intervention Funds
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund, has stressed the need for the judicious utilisation of the agency’s interventions to public tertiary educational institutions.
This was even as the agency commended the management of the Bayero University, Kano for the proper utilisation of the interventions it received from Tetfund, reiterating the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to improving the standard of tertiary in the country.
The Chairman of Tetfund’s Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, stated this at the Annual Tetfund/Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) interactive Forum in Kano during which the agency also inspected Tetfund intervention projects at the University.
“We are happy about what we saw in Bayero University, Kano because it is one thing to make funds available to the universities, it is yet another to utilise such interventions properly. The stakeholders contributing to Tetfund can only feel encouraged when they see that their contributions are making the necessary difference in transformation of our universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
“On the part of Tetfund, we will continue to engage all stakeholders as well as insist on the judicious utilisation of funds made available to the tertiary educational institutions”, Ibrahim-Imam said.
Also speaking at the interactive forum themed “New Thrust in Sustaining the EDT Collection During COVID-19 Pandemic for Effective Service Delivery of the Fund”, the Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, commended the commitment and diligence exhibited by FIRS in collecting the funds on behalf of the Tetfund.
While equally commending the management of Bayero University for proper utilisation of Tetfund’s interventions, Bogoro noted that FIRS’ diligence had made it possible for Tetfund to discharge its mandate without much hitches.
“We have never found them wanting, nor have we had any cause to quarrel. To me this is an indication of the integrity and honesty of the FIRS personnel”, he stated.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Alhaji Muhammad Mani, who was represented by Director of Collections, Mr. Pam Davou, reaffirmed the commitment of his agency to discharging its responsibility with utmost zeal and commitment to ensure that the nation’s institutions of higher learning lived up to expection.
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Bayero University, Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas, commended Tetfund for the infrastructural development in the university where the agency has so far funded 108 projects.
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