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TRACKER mortgage holders will benefit from the decision by the European Central Bank to retain interest rates at record lows – and it said it could cut even further.

Chief Mario Draghi said that ECB rates – which are listed at 0.5pc – would remain at this point for the foreseeable future.

"The Governing Council expects the key ECB rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time," Mr Draghi said. He noted the council has considering cutting the deposit rate on bank deposits at the ECB – already at zero – in an attempt to encourage more lending.

UMBRELLA

Separately, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said AIB, Bank of Ireland and one other institution will come under the umbrella of direct regulation by the European Central Bank.

The Frankfurt-based powerhouse will oversee affairs in these particular banks here when the new European banking supervisory regime comes into force.

Mr Noonan told the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform this week that the Central Bank of Ireland and the ECB will identify which Irish banks are directly regulated under the regime.

The banking union will see the introduction of a single supervisor in Europe, the ECB.

It will take over responsibility for all major or systemically important banks from national regulators from mid-2014.


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