Saturday 18 August 2018

We did not sell any clean loans to vulture fund, insists PTSB

Mortgage campaigner David Hall
Mortgage campaigner David Hall
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A leading bank that sold thousands of mortgages to a US vulture fund has insisted it has not sold any clean loans.

However, mortgage debt campaigner David Hall has accused Permanent TSB of lying and claims the lender added performing home loans into the controversial sale.

Amid mounting pressure over the sale of 10,000 loans to vulture fund Loan Star, the bank is continuing to maintain that anybody affected would have at least one loan in arrears.

The loan in arrears is usually a buy-to-let, even though the customer may be paying their main mortgage on their home.

In other cases the residential mortgage is in arrears, a spokesman for Permanent TSB said.

But Mr Hall, of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, said he has been contacted by thousands of those affected.

He said some of these have been engaging with the bank, and do not have a buy-to-lets mortgage that is in arrears.

Mr Hall claimed Permanent TSB had added in a number of performing loans into the portfolio sale as a "sweetener" in a bid to make it more attractive to buyers.

Some properties which were put forward for the mortgage-to-rent scheme were included in the loan sale, he claimed.

These, by definition, would not have involved the mortgage holders having a buy-to-let investment.

Mr Hall said a number of the residential mortgages sold had split repayment arrangements in place, even though the bank had earlier agreed to exclude these from the sale.

He added that people whose loans are going to Loan Star, and to its Irish-regulated affiliate Start Mortgages, would have little access to alternative payment arrangements.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said yesterday there are "major questions" about the sale and the way it has been handled.

"Both the bank and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe now need to step up and provide some answers," he said.

Permanent TSB said what it sold were non-performing loans linked to 10,700 properties.

Some 3,300 of these are buy-to-lets, with 7,400 residential properties.

The bank said around 1,000 of the loans that were sold were performing mortgages on residential properties, but insisted that these were linked to a non-performing investor mortgage.

Connected

A spokesman for the bank said: "In transactions like this, all connected mortgage loans transfer together."

He added that some of the mortgages sold involve a customer who is engaging with the bank, but for whom the lender has been unable to agree a restructuring deal that is "affordable and sustainable".

The spokesman went on: "If a borrower has agreed a restructure or an alternative payment arrangement (ARA) and they have consistently made payments in line with the terms, then these terms will be honoured by Start Mortgages."

Start Mortgages did not respond to a query, but the company says on its website that it offers a full range of alternative payment options for those in arrears.

Irish Independent

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