Wednesday 17 January 2018

Thousands of BofI customers could be hit with new rate hikes reporters

Bank of Ireland customers on variable interest rates face new hikes, chief executive Richie Boucher warned today.

He said that the bank has not yet passed on the most recent European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate increase and can no longer continue to absorb the high cost of borrowing money on international markets.

Bank of Ireland has just reported losses of just over €700m for the first six months of this year, an improvement on the €1.2bn figure from last year.

While the trading environment continues to be challenging, the bank said it has seen reduced impairment charges on loans to customers and lower impairment charges and losses for disposal of assets sold or held for sale to NAMA.

Just under 5pc of its owner occupier mortgage holders are in arrears of over 90 days - up from 3.7pc at the end of December, the bank said in a statement earlier.

On the buy-to-let front 7.8pc of mortgages are in arrears of over 90 days, however the bank said it is running a successful pre-arrears process, and is dealing with 5,000 customers who see difficulty ahead.

The bank added that it is is committed to lending the €3bn to small business according to the Government directive.

Loan approvals are at 80pc, but that does not mean all of those loans are being drawn down and demand for loan generally is down, it said.

Impairment charges for the six month period came to €842m, a 22pc reduction on the same time last year, the bank said. However, the impairment charge on residential mortgages increased by €17m from €142m to €159m due to increased arrears, more unemployed mortgage holders, reduced disposable incomes and falling house prices.

Impairment charges on UK residential mortgages of €19m are continuing to decrease.

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