Banks meet Government on arrears proposals

Wednesday 27 June 2012 18.39
Country's banks tell Government of arrears proposals
Country's banks tell Government of arrears proposals

Representatives of the banks met with the Government's Economic Management Council last night to be briefed on new personal insolvency legislation.

The Bill, which is due to be published on Friday, aims to address the growing problem of mortgage arrears.

Following the meeting, AIB said it had proposed a number of potential options for its customers in arrears, while KBC Bank said it will be piloting medium term mortgage arrears options.

AIB said its priority was to implement solutions to allow homeowners remain in their homes wherever possible. It said it will work with customers to determine the most appropriate solution for their circumstances.

These solutions include existing short term and long term measures including split mortgages, trade down/negative equity mortgages and a voluntary sale for loss option. The bank is also currently testing a mortgage to rent initiative in conjunction with the Department of the Environment and Cluid Housing Agency.

AIB's chief executive David Duffy said that the bank has trained over 300 specialist staff in anticipation of the launch of these long-term solutions.

Full overhaul of 'collections' function - Permanent TSB

Permanent TSB has said it has started implementing a full overhaul of its ''collections' function in order to assist customers facing difficulties with their mortgage repayments and those in arrears.

In a statement today, it said it has recruited international experts in this area to develop a best practice collections function and added that it is planning to double the number of people working in this area to about 220.

The bank attended a meeting of the Government's Economic Management Council last night along with the country's other main lenders.

In a statement this morning, the bank said it has also identified a number of new products to help customers in arrears which will be rolled out on a trial basis in the coming months.

These initiatives include loan term extensions, reduced mortgage repayments, spilt mortgages, equity participation, negative equity mortgages and sale agreements.

''Permanent TSB full shares the Government's concern over the mortgage arrears situation and we are determined to work constructively with our customers to find solutions which allow them to correct their positions in a mutually supportive manner,'' commented the bank's chief executive Jeremy Masding.

Bank of Ireland said it had committed significant resources to the management of mortgage arrears and has also employed third party international expertise to supplement these resources.

The bank said its policy is to deal with arrears on a case by case basis. It added that it has already extended significant support to customers who are experiencing difficulties in repaying their mortgage. ''The experience demonstrates that for a considerable portion of customers in difficulties, forbearance solutions implemented to date have been and will remain effective,'' a statement from the bank said.

It said its key message to customers who find themselves in trouble in meeting their mortgage is to ''come in and talk to us''.

The bank said its residential mortgage portfolio in Ireland is €27.5 billion and added that the vast majority of its customers are continuing to meet their mortgage repayments.