Repossession 'will be last resort'
Published 12/03/2013 | 18:01
The Government is to unveil a strategy for banks dealing with distressed mortgage holders.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also said the vast majority of customers should not fear losing their homes as banks will do their utmost to restructure repayments, insisting that repossession will be a last resort.
"The Minister for Finance ... will address this matter and I do hope that timelines and targets and objectives will set out that from now on," Mr Kenny said.
"The situation will be that when banks do engage with client X or client Y, that there will be a quick and speedy compassionate resolution here that both parties will adhere to in a restructuring and reorganised fashion. That's what we want."
Michael Noonan will outline guidelines for the banks, following a commitment from the Taoiseach last week to prioritise tackling the country's mortgage arrears crisis.
Latest figures from the Central Bank show that more than 180,000 mortgages are in arrears, of which 143,851 are "private households" which are behind to some degree, with 1.8 billion euro of repayments not met.
The Central Bank said 94,488 of those private homes were in arrears of more than 90 days at the end of last year, up 3,130 in just three months.
Mr Kenny said banks have been training staff to deal with struggling customers and insisted all mortgages would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
"I now understand that they have trained personnel to work with clients individually to work out a solution and a resolution of what the particular circumstances might be for any mortgage, and the last consideration is the question of house repossession," he said.
Customers could be offered a restructuring of their loans in the form of extended repayment terms and interest-only holiday periods.