At last – end in sight to crippling mortgage stalemate
THE great mortgage arrears stalemate may finally be coming to an end.
After years of an effective stand-off between mortgage-holders and banks, there is at last tentative evidence that some banks may be about to move on the arrears issue.
Close to 100,000 homeowners are more than three months behind on their repayments. The arrears issue is proving to be one of the most socially and economically destructive problems the country has ever endured.
Now it has been revealed that Permanent TSB has offered 1,500 split mortgages to those who are unable to meet their repayments.
And Ulster Bank has said it is set to exceed Central Bank targets to offer long-term solutions to those in arrears. However, the British-taxpayer owned bank has threatened repossessions for those it feels are not co-operating with it.
Ulster Bank is convinced that huge numbers of mortgage-holders in arrears could pay, but these strategic defaulters are diverting the money elsewhere.
AIB, which also controls EBS, has claimed it will exceed its targets to offer permanent repayment options for those who have borrowed more than they can now repay.
Bank of Ireland is set to reveal at the start of next month if it has met regulators' demands to finally start tackling the mortgage mess.
There are some indications that the six banks that are under orders to resolve arrears will miss the deadlines.
Banks have been playing poker with the regulator.
They have been holding back on acting for years because they fear that they will encourage "chancers" to seek out a deal.
There is also a fear in banks that making long-term offers to distressed mortgage holders will entail writing off debts for many.