Sunday 8 December 2019

Blackstone-controlled lender Northview eyes entry to Irish mortgage market

Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers
Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Global investment giant Blackstone could soon be lending mortgages to Irish homebuyers.

A British-based mortgage group controlled by the US investor and TSSP - a credit and special situations platform linked to private equity firm TPG - is mulling an entry to the Irish market.

Representatives of the Northview group, known until recently as the Kensington Group and which includes mortgage lender Kensington and mortgage servicer Acenden, have been meeting industry players in Dublin to run the rule over the sector in Ireland. High variable interest rates have been a topic of some controversy here and the increased competition provided by a new entrant would be welcomed. Launching a new lending arm here would be a radical departure for US funds, which have up to now have been best known for buying problem loans in the wake of the banking crisis.

The Northview Group plans to launch a new brand called New Street Mortgages in the early part of this year.

Australian lender Pepper has recently unveiled plans to begin lending here, seeking to capture a slice of a market that is dominated by the so-called "pillar banks" AIB and Bank of Ireland.

In response to a Sunday Independent query about its plans for Ireland, a Kensington spokesman said the company "could not offer any further information at this time".

Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers told the Sunday Independent that he had met with officials from Acenden - a mortgage servicer that is part of the group - but said he "wouldn't expect any movement too soon."

"They and many others are over looking at the market because of high margins," he added.

Separately, Capita Ireland boss Robbie Hughes told this newspaper that he had spoken to a number of parties who are set to enter the Irish mortgage market, but would not reveal names.

"We're working with a number of providers who will come to market this year. I can't say who they are yet [but] they are not banks," Hughes said

"People who have raised equity internationally see that there's a gap in the Irish market, there's a huge gap," he added.

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