Best solution, lowest take-up

THE Central Bank has issued figures detailing the mortgage mess this country finds itself in.

The lowest number in the statistics is perhaps the most significant.

That number is 12 – the number of homeowners who have been offered split mortgage deals, the solution with perhaps the best chance of sorting out the mortgage crisis.

Split mortgages have been heralded as a key factor if we want to avoid mass repossessions.

But the ludicrously low figure sums up the reluctance of the banks to recognise the mortgage mayhem – let alone do something about it.

The new personal insolvency legislation, due in March, will provide for a five-year debt deal, including mortgages, in return for debt write-downs.

But the banks retain a veto on these deals. The mortgage holder support group, New Beginning, has called for judges to be given powers to stop banks repossessing family homes if the lenders have been unreasonable in rejecting a personal insolvency arrangement.

That would be a welcome step.