ING France raise, ah, capital

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | | 4 comments »

From New York to London, Madrid to Ankara, Wellington to Sydney, Geneva to Berlin (to mention a few) worried bankers are selling off obligations at 20 cents on the dollar and /or kissing the tails of likely investors in order to shore up balance sheets.

But some, it appears, are not so concerned. This was another piece of mail waiting for me on return from holiday.

Exhibit 1: The Invitation

It is impossible from this side of the invitation to know if the raven haired lady is offering "personal coaching" of the telephone booth type; or some other strain of, hopefully, greater distinction. But turn over and all is revealed. Well, some.

Exhibit 2: The Disappointment - where is the vital savings rate stat?

Oh, right - cash coaching. From ING Direct (France - does it need to be added?)

ING has, like many of its competitors of course, a large asset-backed security portfolio with exposure to the US. A recent Morningstar report on the group says:

"These subprime and Alt-A securities amount to 75% of equity, but 95% are rated AAA, providing a strong cushion from losses on the underlying collateral. ING has largely limited its exposure to higher-quality portions of the Alt-A market, with the underlying mortgages carrying virtually no loan/value ratios above 80% and no FICO scores below 680."
Morningstar somewhat bravely rate the firm a Five Star buy on the back (mainly) of ING's growth prospects in Central Europe and, especially, Asia. Not those in France. Which means over there the "Invitations" probably use fabulous savings rates as eye candy rather than the unrelated vital stats of young ladies.

Or at least I hope so for holders of the equity.

Exhibit 3: ING share price

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  1. Charles Butler // 7/30/2008 09:28:00 PM

    They're pretty funny at ING Direct. If you try transferring anything of substance out of their 3% percent savings account, the word 'five' automatically slips sultry from between your phone mate's lips. Sorry, hon. You're mighty fine, but I like those sixes they're dishing out further down the stroll.

    Welcome back. The canal was one of this year's options. How was it?


  2. RJH Adams // 7/31/2008 09:25:00 AM

    Thanks Charles!

    (Sounds familiar bank behaviour, by the way).

    Canal and historical regional villages were excellent. Not to mention the cuisine. Mulling a post on the relative time capsule qualities of some areas in the region.


  3. "Cassandra" // 8/02/2008 03:34:00 AM


    Ahoy! Please don't make a [public] post. Ryannair will simply increase the number of flights there and ruin it.

  4. RJH Adams // 8/02/2008 06:36:00 PM

    Carcassonne is in such danger Disney a la francaise; but with RAir's latest results who knows which routes are on the hit list.

    I think the key points are that rural villages that have been shrinking are at least stabilising with agri's global strength (at least on anecdotal observations). John Deere dealerships and the like are thriving; and anything connected to abattoirs, grain storage, seed oil or whatever else farmers choose to plant (even grape)or rear is shiny and new.

    It seems only Toulouse exhibits significant urban growth and of the kind that is encroaching (as one of our formerly isolated friends near Gaillac puts it, on one time 'france profonde' hamlets. Indeed, it was striking that in small villages there were frequently new small housing devs that were probably the only new constructs in the last 100 years.

    Still, more than one person pointed out that there is nothing for the young in some of these villages however attractive they are for tourism. Simple dormitories. In Castelnaudary one German ex-foreign legionaire resident(it's the legion's French hq) made this point particularly eloquently as he rented us an environmentally friendly (did I mention he was German?)peniche.

    Happily, one other thing is certain: the local cuisine brings into sharp relief its vastly superior quality compared to that of its 'industrial' competition in all its degrees. And frequently the premium was modest.

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