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Collapse of NZ "Guarantor" Puts $300M Deposits for 10K Homes at Risk

Guaranteeing things is an excellent business until it fails suddenly and completely.

In the Great Financial Crisis guarantors were wiped out. It's happening now down under where 10,000 Property Buyers are Caught in the Collapse of Deposit Power.

A leading national property finance company has collapsed potentially leaving an estimated 10,000 residential, commercial and property investors in the lurch about the fate of nearly $300 million worth of deposits.

Deposit Power, which provided interim finance to property buyers, has closed its doors after the collapse of New Zealand's CBL's insurance, which was an issuer and guarantor of deposit bonds.

Sale Complications

Worried mortgage brokers, who recommended the products to clients, are seeking advice on whether clients need to buy other cover, or secure additional or replacement financial risk bonds. It could mean unspecified risks, uncertainty and deal delays for tens of thousands of counter parties, financiers and their representatives, including lawyers and other brokers.

Mortgage brokers, who act as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders, are being warned the status of existing loan guarantees is unknown, pending applications will not be processed and no payments have been taken.

Investors calling the Sydney-based office are being answered by a recorded message the company is facing "external issues" and that it is unable to process any deals.

Deposit Power's bonds were sold to individuals, first time buyers, retirees, self-employed borrowers, trusts, corporate entities, or self managed super funds purchasing commercial or residential property. It was established in 2012 and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

They were also heavily marketed to first time and off the plan property investors. A deposit guarantee is an alternative method of placing a deposit on a property.

CBL in Interim Liquidation

The New Zealand High Court last month ordered CBL Insurance be placed in interim liquidation on an application by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the insurer's prudential supervisor.

In New Zealand, liquidators are warning those insured by CBL, or any beneficiaries of its policies, to seek advice on whether they need to buy other cover or secure additional, or replacement financial risk bonds.

Information Lacking

According to the article, CBL has yet to inform Australian liquidators about whether Sydney-based Deposit Power will fully, or partially, back the bonds.

Here's a hint: When authorities shut down guarantors, it's because they have gone bust. The question is not whether anyone will be fully paid back, it's whether anyone will be paid back anything.

Guarantee Scams

Guarantors make money in good times but because of leverage they go bust in bad times. In the case of CBL, we see the true nature of its guarantee: It was worthless.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Assuming half of those property buyers are invested Auckland, that's likely ~5,000 people about to dump property simultaneously into an already saturated and slipping market, read:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12006528

From the above News Article:
"The number of Barfoot listings is up. Inventory jumped from 4320 available listings at the end of January to 4648 listings at the end of February. New listings rose from 1200 in January to 1747 last month."

Barfoot's description of themselves on their website:
"New Zealand's largest privately owned real estate company, run by the Barfoot & Thompson families for over 90 years. We sell 1 in 3 Auckland properties."

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