Saturday 24 August 2019

Permanent TSB customers returned to correct tracker mortgage

Jeremy Masding Photo: Damien Eagers
Jeremy Masding Photo: Damien Eagers

Gretchen Friemann

Permanent TSB this morning confirmed that all its customers have been returned to the correct tracker mortgage rate and pledged to pay compensation to affected customers by the end of the year as the partially nationalised lender seeks to draw a line under a scandal that has engulfed the industry.

The bank issued the announcement as part of a trading update that shows PTSB has widened its market share of the new home loan market to 11.9pc.

In total new lending growth has increased, year on year, by 64pc for the nine months ending on September 30.

The bank also posted a small increase in its net interest margin - a key profit measure - to 1.83pc from 1.81pc at its half year results.

However the positive trading momentum comes as public outrage at the tracker mortgage scandal continues to mount amid fresh revelations in recent weeks at the true scale of the crisis.

While PTSB was among the first of the lenders to identify the problem, as well as offer redress and compensation, it emerged in September that despite many years spent tackling the problem, the lender, which is 75pc owned by the State, still had a small number of borrowers on the incorrect rate.

The bank has now returned some 125 tracker mortgage holders to the correct rate.

In total PTSB has identified 1,971 affected customers. In its update it said 1,448 have received full redress and compensation with the remaining cases to be dealt with by December 31.

However the market is likely to be reassured by the bank’s assessment that the €145m set aside to deal with the crisis remains adequate.

PTSB offered no further insight into its progress on non-performing loans (NPLs), which stand at 28pc of its overall loan book.

The bank is under pressure to cut its €5.78bn of soured exposures and has already appointed the accountancy firm, EY, to advise on a portfolio sale of troubled buy-to-let loans, which is likely to be launched early next year.

It has also expanded a debt forgiveness initiative for buy-to-let investors, enabling landlords to walk away from distressed loans if they agree to surrender their properties.

The bank described the "impairment trend" over the last quarter as "favorable to expectations" due to a "better underlying performance".

But it did not update the NPL figure. However it said it continues "to review" the provisioning level "in the context of executing the NPL strategy," adding it would update the market in early 2018.

Yet as PTSB continues to tackle legacy issues, the trading update shows the bank remains well capitalised with its core equity tier 1 ratio, a measure of a bank’s ability to withstand stress, strengthening to 15.3pc, compared to 15pc at its half year results.

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