Thursday 22 February 2018

Families keep health cover and second car in bank debt deals

Couple on €100,000 a year to have €233,000 written off

FAMILIES have been able to keep their health insurance and a second car in some of the first debt deals agreed with banks.

The first batch of 20 cases provisionally agreed to by banks also shows that families will have thousands of euro of credit card and credit union debts written off.

Most of the people who have had deals with banks processed by personal insolvency specialists Grant Thornton Debt Solutions are in families with children and work in the PAYE sector.

And most managed to keep their homes despite having crippling debts.

Details of the deals being hammered out with the banks emerged as the first personal insolvency deal to be formally signed off by the banks and the courts was finalised yesterday.

In that case, a Donegal man in his 40s had 70pc of his debts written off. The arrangement follows a protective certificate being issued by the Circuit Court in Monaghan in October.

It has now been signed off on by the courts.

Although every deal is set to be different, the Irish Independent can reveal details for the first time of the conditions imposed by banks agreeing to write off huge amounts of personal and mortgage borrowings.

The monthly living expenses being allowed by banks are far less draconian than at first feared.

One family on a combined €100,000 a year managed to get €233,000 written off from their home mortgage, buy-to-lets and credit card debts.

But they have surrendered their family home, along with the investment properties.

The family decided that they were so overwhelmed by their massive mortgage borrowings that they volunteered to hand back the keys to their homes in return for having a large chunk of what they owed written off.

Those who have surrendered their homes are understood to have done so by choice.

Stephen Tennant, a partner at Grant Thornton Debt Solutions, said that the new system was not perfect, but the cases that had been agreed by his firm with banks and other lenders showed that it was possible to get write-off agreements.

"We can see the market is now starting to find its feet, and that industry protocol is beginning to develop.

There is a realisation that the legislation, while not perfect, offers a strong basis for individuals with multi-creditor exposures to deal with their financial problems in a systematic fashion."

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Irish Independent

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