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Ulster Bank customers hit out at timing of loan sale letters

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Solutions: Chief executive Jane Howard insists that Ulster Bank works with mortgage holders in financial difficulty

Solutions: Chief executive Jane Howard insists that Ulster Bank works with mortgage holders in financial difficulty

Solutions: Chief executive Jane Howard insists that Ulster Bank works with mortgage holders in financial difficulty

MORTGAGE holders with Ulster Bank whose loans were sold to a US vulture fund last year were annoyed to get letters this week confirming the sale of the loans.

The sale was announced last July, and completed in October.

But some of those affected only got letters this week telling them their loans would now be serviced by Pepper in Shannon.

The timing has been questioned given the disruption caused by the pandemic, while some of those whose loans were sold claim the bank refused to properly engage with them.

The bank insists the letters have been going out for months, and customers were well aware their loans were deep arrears.

The sale includes 2,800 home mortgages and 375 buy-to-let loans.

US vulture fund CarVal is the buyer of a portfolio that the bank has called Project Deenish.

The bank has insisted mortgage holders were given every chance to strike a deal with it to avoid having their loan sold.

One residential mortgage holder questioned the timing of letters confirming the transfer of the servicing of the mortgages to Pepper.

He said he had tried to put an arrangement in place to clear his arrears, but claimed the bank did not come back to him on this before the loan was sold.

"I put proposals to the bank. The bank rejected it so I appealed it within the bank. Before I got any word back on the appeal I got a letter telling me my mortgage was sold," the man, who did not want to be named, said.

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation also claimed Ulster Bank had failed to properly engage with the debtors before selling the non-performing loan portfolio.

The portfolio was sold for €800m.

Ulster Bank said it was it was a portfolio of non-performing loans which was announced last year.

Ulster Bank insisted it actively works "with customers in financial difficulty to find a solution that keeps them in their home while paying a mortgage that is affordable for them in the long run and have been able to do so for four out of five customers".

It said that it is not possible to work out a deal with every customer as the mortgage may not be sustainable.

Irish Independent