We must do more for homeowners
As we report in today's paper, Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield has ordered the banks not to increase their variable mortgage interest rates any further. And not before time. With one mortgage lender, Permanent TSB, now charging a variable mortgage interest rate of more than 6pc, this gouging of homeowners, at a time when they are already vulnerable, is completely out of control.
Mr Elderfield's move is being interpreted as an effort to prevent AIB from raising its variable mortgage rate, which stands at 3.54pc. This compares to ECB interest rates of just 1.5pc.
The banks justify the ever-widening margin between official ECB rates and what they charge customers with variable rate mortgages on the grounds that, as concerns about their solvency have increased, depositors and other banks will only lend to them at rates far above official ECB rates.