Saturday 3 December 2016

Ulster Bank cuts mortgage rates after campaign

Published 18/04/2016 | 02:30

Ulster Bank headquarters. Photo: Damien Eagers
Ulster Bank headquarters. Photo: Damien Eagers

A leading bank has agreed to cut its mortgage rates in response to a massive switcher campaign.

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The new deal could see homeowners reducing their payments by up to €1,500 a year.

Thousands of mortgage holders registered with the One Big Switch campaign, which has now done a deal with Ulster Bank, the Irish Independent has learned.

Around 9,000 homeowners signed up for the One Big Switch mortgage campaign, which allowed it to negotiate with the bank and unlock a lower-interest rate deal.

Ulster Bank agreed to put in place a special four-year fixed rate of 3.29pc for those who signed up.

The bank has not had a four-year rate before.

The rate will only apply to those who owe less than 60pc of the value of the home, but crucially it will also be available to existing Ulster Bank customers.

The bank will pay €1,500 as a contribution to the legal fees of those switching to it, and provide a free property valuation, along with a fast-track switcher process for those who registered with One Big Switch.

A family with a 4.3pc variable rate, with €240,000 outstanding, would see monthly repayments falling by €127 by opting for the new four-year Ulster Bank rate. This works out at a saving of €1,520 a year.

One Big Switch has already negotiated deals with electricity providers and health insurers for those who sign up with it. It has a database of some 80,000 registered consumers.

Ulster Bank has also reduced a string of its other rates.

What it calls its Variable High Value Loyalty rate has come down to 3.2pc. It was 3.35pc. This applies to those who borrowed more than €250,000, and owe less than 80pc of the value of the property.

The bank has also reduced its three-year and five-year fixed rates for borrowers, with different rates depending on their loan to values.

Co-founder of One Big Switch Oliver Tattan said the deal with Ulster Bank was a big win for consumers, who desperately needed a more competitive mortgage market.

Variable rates in this country are the highest in the eurozone, more than 1pc higher than the average in the currency bloc.

"Our members have been urging us to run a mortgage campaign for years," Mr Tattan said. "To see all that passion and co-ordinated action have such a positive outcome is solid proof that Irish consumers are determined to get their voices heard."

Director of customer experience and products at Ulster Bank Maeve McMahon said: "Through our partnership with One Big Switch we will make these market-leading fixed rates available to new and existing customers.

"All switchers will also receive our €1,500 contribution toward legal fees and a free property valuation - real help for what matters."

Mortgage holders can sign up for the campaign until Friday, May 20.

 

Visit One Big Switch to find out more about the campaign.

Irish Independent

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