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Saturday 25 November 2017

Just four lenders offer credit to students

Jenny Darmody

ONLY four mainstream lenders are offering loans to hard-pressed students this year -- and most college-goers will need a guarantor to access cash.

The tough environment for students seeking credit was revealed in an Irish Independent survey, which comes as students await their college application results this week.

The survey found that National Irish Bank and Permanent TSB don't offer any student loans -- leaving the market to just AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and credit unions.

Nationalised AIB said it required guarantors for all student loans "in addition to normal lending criteria". Students who made the cut got a 1.5pc discount on the bank's typical personal loan rates, implying a rate of 9.95pc.

Bank of Ireland's spokeswoman said guarantors were required for loans over €1,000 if students "do not have their own independent repayment capacity". Student loan rates are typically 11.9pc, but the bank also offers a nine-month interest-free student travel loan.

The third lending bank is RBS-owned Ulster, which offers loans at a rate of 6.85pc, typically to a maximum of €2,700. Guarantors may be required.

Credit unions are the fourth vista -- all branches set their terms individually, but the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) said rates were as low as 4.1pc.

Borrowers must be a member and have savings of at least half the loan amount, the ILCU spokeswoman added.

The spokeswoman said a "number of credit unions" had already experienced an "increased level of enquiries for student loans".

Irish Independent

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