| 12.3°C Dublin

AIB 'on track' over debt deals for 33,000 who are in arrears

AIB IS on course to have begun restructuring about half of its mortgages in arrears by the end of this year, according to the head of the bank.

Chief executive David Duffy said the lender hoped to offer restructuring proposals in 2013 to most of its clients who are in arrears. He confirmed that 33,000 AIB mortgages were now in arrears.

Mr Duffy said the bank hoped to make contact with all 33,000 by the summer in an effort to work out agreements.

"We are confident we will meet or exceed the regulator's targets, which is to offer 50pc of mortgage holders in arrears a solution by the year-end," he said.

"We think we can deliver that. We are trying to target a couple of thousand solutions per month and for the year to date we seem to be on track to deliver that volume."

AIB last night said that 9.1pc of owner occupier mortgages, which accounts for 85pc of their loan book, was in arrears. Some 17.7pc of buy-to-let mortgages, which accounts for the remaining 15pc of their loan book, are in arrears.

AIB and the other banks have come under repeated criticism for making it almost impossible for people to get mortgages.

But Mr Duffy insisted that the bank was making credit available. He said: "We began the work last year of laying the foundations and were able to move from 28pc of the mortgage market in 2012 to 45pc by the end of the year.

"In total, that was €1.5bn of lending into the mortgage space versus our original target that we had set ourselves of €1bn."

The CEO admitted that AIB could do deals on arrears that involved writing off part of the mortgage. He insisted that the bank would only evict homeowners if all other avenues had failed to find a suitable solution.

"We are saying if it's on the mortgage side, we try to keep the person in the home wherever possible... Only in exceptional circumstances will we see ourselves in the foreclosure territory."

On the business lending side, Mr Duffy made clear that the bank would "try to support viable businesses where we can".

That would involve some sort of debt write-off where necessary, but as with mortgages, this would only happen under strict circumstances.

Irish Independent