Icelandic news translated into English

November 11, 2008

Three thousand asked to change their car loans

Filed under: economy,families — newsfrettir @ 5:48 pm
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Three thousand persons have asked to change their payments on their car loans from Lýsing since october. 16 thousand clients have 23 thousand car contracts from Lýsing. In two and a half days the sales representatives served 900 persons who asked for payment delays for November.

The clients of Lýsing are confused because of a request from the government the October 22 to finance companies They asked that they would allow to freeze loans in foreign currency without special payments around that. That they would not request a special insurance or payment for freezing loans. Then it would be possible to freeze loans uncommitted to the financial state of the clients. In an announcement from the Ministry of Trade said: “It is expected that other finance companies will have the same treatment.”

Lýsing is on the other hand asking for a 7000 ISK payment if the client asks for a change in their car loan payments. It asks for an agreement from the co-signer that the loan is prolonged. The condition to have the loans changed are that all the previous payments are up to date and paid for.

Sævar Bjarnason, manager of personnel division of Lýsing, says the company is as many others just trying to stay afloat in the economic crisis. “We are not a central ban. We do not have a government insured business as many of our competitors and we have to make sure we are able to pay our dues with our payments.”

He points out that it is not a condition that there is a co-signer on all loans, but he is a consulting agent in changes of loan agreements that are already at hand. Then the price for changing deals was 10 thousand, but it was decided to lower it to 7 thousand. “The amount is divided if the client has two cars.” He says it is very important that clients review their status at Lýsing. It is important that people do not delay their payments unless they need to.

Sævar says that since the company itself has to make their payments it has been decided to find a solution that fits both the clients and the company. “There is not a lot of money available today and that is why we have to make money for the demands. We are working with the clients as we are a service company that needs to do well.” The clients are offered to pay half the capital stock for three months. After that time it is planned that they pay full payments.

“But it is a while till that happens and hopefully the situation will be so that it is capable for people to make their payments with a decent order. The working environment of companies and homes as intolerable today.”

(News article by Gunnhildur Arna Gunnarsdóttir)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 8, 2008

No other country crashed this fast

Filed under: economy,families,jobs — newsfrettir @ 6:09 pm
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“Stunned Icelanders Struggle After Economy’s Fall ” is the headline of a long article about the economy and state of mind of the Icelandic nation, which is posted on the website of the New York Times today. The author Sarah Lyall, speaks to a few Icelanders and puts up a picture with that of the situation and the atmosphere in the community.

It says in Lyalls article that the crash had happened so suddenly that one woman described it like being hit by a train. Another person she spoke with says it is almost like being imprisoned, but not knowing why.

Lyall says that it seems as the nation is is total shock. A month ago when the first hit came it was like it was a bad dream but now Icelanders are waking up to that the nightmare is coming true.

She talks about how people lost their savings, how prices are going up, how the restaurants are empty, the currency of the króna crashed and all currencies are rationed so companies are in trouble doing business with other countries.

“No country has ever crashed as quickly and as badly in peacetime,” says Jón Daníelsson, economist at the London School of Economics in his interview with Lyall.

Sarah Lyall Article

(News Article by Ómar Ómarsson)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 7, 2008

Families of the country in priority

Filed under: families — newsfrettir @ 7:15 pm

Björgvin G. Sigurðsson, minister of trade, says the government have put emphases on insuring families in the country. To mention is unemployment benefits alongside part time jobs. It shall be capable to move all housing loans to the housing financing fund. Stamp duty will be discontinued and it will be a possibility to prolong loans, says Björgvin in a press conference in the ministry house today.

He restated that all the debtors at the banks are all under the same hat and it has been rather unfortunate when it was decided in the board meeting at Kaupþing to exclude the employees of the bank to pay the loans they had with the bank for share purchases.

(News Article by noname)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 4, 2008

Families are getting stuck in the chains of debt

Filed under: economy,families — newsfrettir @ 2:00 am

The real estate market is frozen. At the same time 7231 properties are being built across the country. Over ten thousand properties are listed for sale. Auðbjörg Ólafsdóttir from the analysis department of Glitnir says that it is clear that the properties values will lower by 25-30 percent. Sigurður Helgi Guðjónsson, chairman of the House owners Union, is scared that people will be stuck in the chains of debt.

Auðbjörg says it is clear that the situation today is as difficult as it gets. “There is nothing working with the real estate market at this time. Everything is working against it,” she says. Auðbjörg says it is obvious that there will be a minimum of 20 percent lowering in net worth of properties this year alone. It is also known that in the countries that have been through a crisis like Iceland is going through now the property value has dropped in value from 25 to 70 percent.

The biggest drop in value was in the Asian countries but Auðbjörg thinks it is unlikely that the value of properties here will drop that much. It is more likely that the evolvement will be similar to the bank crisis in the nordic countries where values dropped by 25 to 45 percent.

Sigurður Helgi Guðjónsson, chairman of the House owners Union, says he doesent know where this is headed. “This is just the calm before the storm, there is very little happening and home owners can barely feel whats really happening, but there is surge all around them,” says Sigurður. He says he has felt for a long time like the screamer in the desert trying to warn about the real estate price bubble.

Now it can be expected that the bubble will burst violently and values and prices drop severely. If the price lowers down below the amount of mortgages then everything will slide away from the mortgages. “People are going to get stuck in a debt and property owners chains. It will sit with debt and no property. In that situation there is no joy in existing,” says Sigurður.

(News Article by Ritstjórn DV)
Original Article in Icelandic

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Unemployed during these hard times

Filed under: families,jobs — newsfrettir @ 1:46 am

“I was on my way out of the house, just put on my coat and was on my way on a project when i was called to a meeting,” says Lára Ómarsdóttir who was at her house with her family when the reporter from DV paid her a visit.

Lára was one of the 26 employees of Morgunblaðið who were fired without a notice last friday but according to the sources of DV they were all asked to quit immediately. In this group were few of the most experienced reporters of the news paper. The atmosphere amongst the others at the editorials is filled with anxiety, because the experienced and hardened employees watched their friends and co-workers pack up their things and leave their place of work.

News commentaries ruined
“I guess i´ll just take the winter off,” says Lára, who is not going to work her notice. She, as many others who were fired this friday, packed her things at the editorial that same day.
“They asked me to quit right away. I had 3 news commentaries in process that i had started the day before i got fired. News commentaries that wont be news commentaries from this point,” says Lára, obviously unhappy about the time wasted.

(News Article *ritstjórn dv*)
Original Article in Icelandic

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October 31, 2008

63 have been laid off in Akranes

Filed under: economy,families,jobs — newsfrettir @ 6:00 pm

The office of the Labour Union of Akranes has received announcements of 63 lay offs in the small town this month. Over 20 lay offs were added yesterday and today. The president of the Labour Union of Akranes says that the labour market is in a turmoil.

“Icelandic wageworker doesent know what is really going on and fear and agony around the nation is obvious becouse of all the layoffs in the country.” says Vilhjálmur Birgisson, president of the Labour Union of Akranes on the unions website.

He said this week that he was afraid that more announcements of reduction would appear before the month was over, but last wednesday had already been announced 42 layoffs this week in Akranes.

“Today this number is up to 63 persons unfortunately. One example of a company that announced 13 layoffs on Wednesday had to reduce by 9 more today. So clearly there is total panic amongst employers because of the economic situation of the nation.” says Vilhjálmur Birgisson

He encourages employers to honor the rules and wage contracts that are valid in icelandic labour market today when it comes to reducing employees and changing work procedures. He says there are examples of companies who were going to resign on their current shift plans and put up a new plan with only a few days notice, despite the rules say that it is impossible to do so with such a short notice.

“The board of the Labour Union of Akranes wants to say to this nations persons of authority, wake up, because Icelandic companies, wage workers and homes are bleeding out. The board would also restate that the Icelandic government has to help companies, wage workers and homes and that immediately, and the lack of action and solutions that are facing the nation lately has to stop,” writes Vilhjálmur Birgisson, president of the Labour Union of Akranes.

(News Article by *Steinar H*)
Original Article in Icelandic

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Many are forced to pay mortgages for two apartments

Filed under: families — newsfrettir @ 5:02 pm

Married mother of three has repeatedly looked to the bank Landsbanki to have her bonded house morgage frozen – latest after getting a notice to quit her job. The banks answers are clear: We cannot do a thing. Hundreds of families are in financial crisis because of the real estate market situation.

70% recession has been in the real estate market this year. So it can be assumed that large group of people have found themselves in the situation of having recently bought a new property – but not being able to sell the old one. Therefore they are paying two housing mortgages.

At the Housing Financing Fund there have been 300 requests to freeze loans because of problems selling the old properties. Applications for these actions are increasing by the day now. President of the Realestate brokers is guessing 2-3000 families could be in this situation already.

One of these families came to the news station today. The woman and her husband have a full job with 3 teenagers. They decided a year ago to get a larger house, buy a house for 60 million ISK, but ease the payments by renting out a part of the property.

They had no luck selling the old apartment. They got tennents that didnt pay the rent. The woman got a notice to quit her job this week. The inflation this year alone has raised the loan on the apartments well over 10 million ISK. The plans calculated at home in the living room a year ago – and promised good things, are now broken.

But the family didnt take a mortgage in foreign currencies and therefore cannot have any financial aid or loans frozen at the bank. The news room got a copy of the e-mail sent from one of the Landsbanki employees the woman received yesterday:

“Sorry to hear that you lost your job. But unfortunately the answer is the same as before we cannot do anything about these loans, freezing the loans is not an option.”

(News article by *noname*)

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One third considers eloping Iceland

Filed under: economy,families,Uncategorized — newsfrettir @ 4:45 pm

Close to one third of the Icelandic nation in the ages from 15-75 years old have thought about eloping becouse of the economic situation, states Gallup after making a survey for Morgunblaðið.

Half of the nation between the ages 18-24 have thought about it. Many more men than women have throught of moving away from Iceland and almost half of specialists from private practices have also thought about it. Included in that number are many financial specialists who have lost their jobs after the bank crashes. Most all can imagine is moving to one of the other nordic countries.

(News Article by *noname*)

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More people seek help from Mothers Aid

Filed under: economy,families — newsfrettir @ 4:35 pm

About 1.000 families have had to rely on food donations from Mothers Aid in Reykjavík this October. They have increased by 50% since september.

Usually the Mothers Aid are busiest when it reaches the end of the month like now. Yesterday around 300 persons showed up asking for food donations which is much more than usual. Ragnhildur G. Guðmundsdóttir, president of the committee, says that around 1.000 families have asked for help in October, which is almost 50% more than before. Unemployed seeking for help from them have increased and Ragnhildur says she´s seeing a group of people she has hardly ever seen looking to them.

Those who are asking for help from Mothers Aid are in all age groups. Wednesdays they hand out food and clothes, but Tuesdays people can come to them with food and clothing as gifts for the needy. Ragnhildur thinks that there will be more increases soon, and the committee is preparing for that.

(News article by *noname*)

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31.10 – 15 been laid off from Nýherji

Filed under: announcements,economy,families,jobs — newsfrettir @ 2:53 pm
Tags: ,

Nýherji has now laid off 15 persons in Iceland and monthly pay for the rest of the staff will be reduced by 10%. The basic pay for employess with less than 300.000 ISK per month will stay the same.

In the announcement it states that the pay reduction will be effective from 1. february 2009. The pay segment of the job contracts will be cancelled in writing with 3 months notice. The pay of managers and CEO´s will be reduced by 10% effective 1. November.

There might be discussions with a few employees if they will consider a part time job to come up against the recession in their job area.

There will be serious restraint in finances in running Nýherji, and reduced funds in developement and all other expences will be reduced as possible, as the announcement states.

“The financial state of Nýherji is solid, and the company is moderately indebted, but it predictable that the difficult situation in icelandic economy could have an impact on the companies income and practice. The cost of pay is almost 80% of the companies expences, so it is essential to cut back. We want to act right now as this situation has unfolded.” Says Þórður Sverrisson, president of Nýherji.

The company chain of Nýherji are 20, both here in Iceland and abroad. The daughter companies in Iceland are TM Software ehf, Applicon ehf, ParX ehf, Sence ehf, Linkur ehf, SimDex ehf, Vigor ehf, Skyggnir ehf, Origo ehf and eMR ehf. Around 720 employees are in the chain, there of 550 individuals here in Iceland, and 170 overseas. Original news article written by Sverrir Vilhelmsson

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