Wednesday 17 January 2018

Empty words on mortgage cuts

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan want the banks to pass on to mortgage holders the 0.25pc cut in interest rates announced by the new European Central Bank chief, Mario Draghi, immediately after taking office. So, too, it appears, do the Central Bank and Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield.

On the surface, this is a splendid idea. Scores of thousands of mortgage holders are in extreme difficulty, in imminent danger not only of losing their homes but of finding themselves mired in an eternity of debt. Any easement looks like a lifeline.

And while a cut of 0.25pc may seem a very thin lifeline, it becomes much more interesting when one takes in the likelihood of two more cuts initiated by the dynamic new chief of the ECB.

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