Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ulster Bank tells TDs and senators its committed to Irish market

Live stream below: Bank of Ireland says ahead of target on mortgage solution deals

Ulster Bank CEO Jim Brown
Ulster Bank CEO Jim Brown
Bank of Ireland's Richie Boucher (right) with Andrew Keating, Group Chief Financial Officer
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

ULSTER Bank boss Jim Brown has told a Dail Committee that the company is committed to the Irish market.

Mr Brown was addressing TDs and Senators after the Central Bank set targets that financial institutions should offer sustainable mortgage deals to 20pc of those in arrears by the end of June.

Earlier, Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher said his bank is ahead of Central Bank targets to offer mortgage solution deals to customers in arrears.At the end of March 11,774 of Bank of Ireland owner occupier mortgages were three months or more behind on their loans repayments.

By the end of June the bank said it had offered a sustainable mortgage deal to 27pc of those accounts - some 3603 customers. The offers are made up of various types of reduced payment deals such as interest only, capitalisation of arrears and some split mortgages.

The bank said an additional 26pc of customers in arrears were involved in either a legal process where the bank has sent solicitors letters or in a consensual process with the bank to surrender their home.

The chief executive of the bank reported the figures to members of the joint Oireachtas Finance Committee in Dublin said it does not regard a threat of legal action by the bank as being involved in a legal process.

Mr Boucher revealed that more than half of the accounts in trouble by the end of March had since entered into a restructuring or a legal process.

But he denied a letter from the bank was a repossession threat, adding that the legal process began when a correspondence from a solicitor was sent and claimed that usually opened up talks.

"We would be extremely disappointed if it goes all the way," he added.

Figures showed 3,103 accounts were classified as being in the legal or resolution process, with another 3,164 made a restructuring offer by the end of June.

Bank of Ireland executives were the second of the country's top bankers to face the Oireachtas Committee on Finance to discuss the financial services sector and activities within the four main lenders. Allied Irish Banks officials appeared on Tuesday, with Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB appearing before hearings later today and tomorrow.

Committee members, including chairman Ciaran Lynch, criticised how Bank of Ireland presented its figures and asked for a breakdown on how many customers were receiving threatening letters or genuine resolution offers.

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty said: "I think you're playing this committee for fools."

The bank revealed that as of June, nine out of 10 of its mortgages were performing, but 3,603 owner-occupied and 776 buy to let accounts were 90 days or more in arrears/impaired.

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