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ICS sees 143pc growth in mortgage lending in 2021


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Irish non-bank lender ICS Mortgages saw a 143pc year on year growth in drawdowns in 2021.

The €530m increase boosted the firm’s share of the mortgage market to 5.05pc last year, ICS said on Friday.

ICS Mortgages increased its total loan book by over 25pc to more than €1bn in the course of last year.

Chief executive Fergal McGrath said the lender aims to supply over 10pc of Irish mortgages within the next three years.

The announcement comes the year after Ulster Bank and KBC announced their exit from the Irish mortgage market, with their loan books to be taken over by the existing pillar banks.

“As a majority-Irish owned non-bank lender in the mortgage market, we are purely focused on providing mortgages and on delivering real value to our customers via market-leading competitive rates and product innovation,” said Mr McGrath.

“We are really pleased that Irish consumers have responded to our offerings in such growing numbers.

“We look forward to building on this significant performance in 2022 and beyond. Everyone at ICS Mortgages is committed to continuing to deliver market-leading price, service and innovation for Irish home buyers.”

ICS Mortgages was originally established in 1864 as the Irish Civil Service Building Society.

The news comes after the European Central Bank hinted at a rise in interest rates this year in response to the rising cost of living, with eurozone prices hitting a record 5.1pc in January.

KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said it was a “noisy and nervous time for borrowers” but that any rate rise would be lower than in previous years.

Most Irish home loans are on fixed rates, with around a third of all outstanding mortgages on tracker rates, which move in tandem with ECB rates.

But Mr Hughes said the ECB move - which is not likely to come until much later this year - will likely lead “filter through to more general lending rates” with banks and buyers becoming more risk averse.

“At the margins it might take the froth out of the housing market as people will be a but more cautious,” he said.

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