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Repossession orders hit record high

THE High Court yesterday saw the largest number of applications from the banks for home repossessions so far this year.

Both Irish and foreign lenders filed cases for "possession orders", where loans had fallen into arrears.

While the majority of the applications were from Start Mortgages and GE Capital, a number of big-name Irish banks were also seeking the orders, including AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne granted eight repossessions yesterday, most of which were in favour of sub-prime lender Start Mortgages, which is a market leader for the sub-prime sector.

They supply loans to people who have difficulty getting finance from the high-street banks.

There were 19 new applications for possession orders before the High court yesterday, the highest so far this year. And, in total, there were 54 cases before the court, again, the highest number this year.

In the past, Irish banks have been hesitant to go down the route of repossession, due to fears of poor public relations as a result.

Of the eight repossession orders granted yesterday, four were for Start Mortgages, two for Ulster Bank, one for ACC Bank and one for Bank of Ireland.

In one case for Start, arrears of €21,000 had been built up on a property, but there had been no response from the occupants of the home.

In another case a possession order was granted against a property where arrears of €54,0000 existed on a loan of €404,000.

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In a third case, the court heard that not one payment had been made in respect of a loan from Start on a property where arrears of €30,000 had arisen.

Ulster Bank were granted an order, after the court heard there had been no contact with the owners of a family-home since April.

An order was also granted to Bank of Ireland following on from agreement with the client, the court heard.

There has been a steady increase in the number of possession orders granted since 2000, with the then-figure more than doubling, from 220, to 465, last year.

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