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Funts, ninjas and brickor mortis

You might know the ins and outs of structured products, how securitisation contributed to the downfall of the banks and who authorised Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension, but do you know what brickor mortis is?

Anyone know who among us is “funt”, or how I can get my hands on a ninja loan?

A lot of negative repercussions have followed the onset of the credit crunch, with sweeping unemployment, stock market collapses and the crumbling of the banking system just the tip of the iceberg.

But one thing to flourish amidst the doom and gloom is the imaginative way we describe the crash’s spin-off effects.

Brickor mortis describes a situation where home owners are too scared to sell and buyers are too scared to buy, leading to a property market frozen stiff. The Sydney Morning Herald reckons brickor mortis aptly describes the current state of the housing market in the United States and Britain.

One of my personal favourites is ninja loan – which comes from the abbreviation of No Income, No Job, No Assets. I can’t help but picture bankers transforming into deadly assassins targeting the unemployment line with 125 per cent mortgages.

One could argue that the mortgage market is an easy target, but the literary wit doesn’t stop there.

According to Susie Dent’s 2008 edition of Words of the World, a funt describes someone who is financially untouchable. I think this could be a popular choice to describe the man people love to hate, Sir Fred.

A zombie bank describes a half-dead creature that lives off taxpayer handouts, or a bank whose liabilities exceed its assets.

SMH says America’s system of non-recourse, where mortgage holders have no liability for a shortfall between the loan amount and their home’s sale price, has given rise to “jingle mail”. This occurs when house prices fall and would-be homeowners decide not to make any further payments, instead posting their house keys to their bank or leaving them in the mail box.

Every cloud has a silver lining and while these phrases might not have cheerful origins, we can at least have a giggle at the way we choose to describe the fallout.


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