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Service firm for 60,000 mortgages sold to Link

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Pepper Ireland services 60,000 residential mortgages on behalf of vultures from its base in Shannon. (stock photo)

Pepper Ireland services 60,000 residential mortgages on behalf of vultures from its base in Shannon. (stock photo)

Pepper Ireland services 60,000 residential mortgages on behalf of vultures from its base in Shannon. (stock photo)

Thousands of mortgage holders whose loans were sold by banks to vulture funds now face having to deal with a new company.

This is because the parent company of mortgage servicing firm Pepper Ireland is to be sold.

Pepper Ireland services 60,000 residential mortgages on behalf of vultures from its base in Shannon.

Its parent company is to be sold to Australian group Link in a €200m deal.

Pepper insists that it will continue to service the loans and the deal will have no impact on customers.

Pepper Ireland manages loans sold on by the likes of Bank of Scotland (Ireland), after it pulled out of this market, Permanent TSB and Danske Bank, along with loans sold by vulture funds Tanager and CarVal.

Last October, Ulster Bank transferred the management of more than 3,000 non-performing mortgages to Pepper.

Mortgages sold by IBRC, which were originally issued by Irish Nationwide, are also serviced by Pepper.

There was controversy two years ago when Permanent TSB transferred the servicing of 6,000 residential mortgages to Pepper.

Finance experts say Pepper "holds the legal title" to the loans it services. But the beneficial ownership of the loans tends to be with foreign vulture funds. The beneficial owner, or ultimate owner, of the loans serviced by Pepper tends not to be disclosed.

It took weeks of investigation by this publication to establish that the almost 13,000 Danske mortgages were sold to a company called Proteus, whose ultimate owners are US investment giants Goldman Sachs and Pimco.

Pepper services these mortgages that were originated by Danske.

Along with mortgages, Pepper services 10,000 commercial loans.

Overall, it had around €18bn of assets under management at the end of last year.

It said that 80pc of the residential mortgages that it manages were performing.

People whose mortgages and commercial loans are handled by Pepper were assured that there will be no change to how their loans are serviced after transactions.

However, if new owner Link rebrands Pepper, they will end up dealing with a different company.

Pepper said in a statement: "All customers will continue to be covered by the protections of the Central Bank's consumer protection codes and regulations as they did before."

Pepper is regulated by the Central Bank as a credit servicer. But the regulator said there was no requirement for Pepper or Link to write to those whose loans are being serviced to inform them about the change of ownership of the servicer.

Irish Independent