Today in the pressMonday 26 May 2014 08.36
DANSKE MOST AGGRESSIVE IN PURSUING DEBTORS – In an analysis of official court records, The Irish Times reports that Danske Bank is now the most aggressive financial institution in the State when it comes to pursuing its debtors through the courts for summary judgment.
Danske is more than seven times as likely as either of the pillar banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland, to resort to court action against its customers, when the number of cases is measured against the size of the banks’ loan books.
A total of 1,354 cases for summary judgment – where the plaintiff applies for a fast-track ruling from a judge without a trial or witnesses – were recorded on the High Court database in 2014 to the end of last week. Danske, which is winding down its Irish loan book, accounts for almost one in five such applications.
Banks criticised Edmund Honohan, the Master of the High Court and a brother of Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, has repeatedly criticised banks for their increasing use of summary judgment applications in debt cases.
Mr Honohan has questioned whether the fast-track procedure gives bank borrowers a fair chance to mount a defence.
Danske has issued summary proceedings against 263 of its borrowers so far this year.
STRIKE TO COST AER LINGUS UP TO €10M – The Irish Independent reports that a planned strike by cabin crew at Aer Lingus this week is expected to cost the airline up to €10m in lost business.
Up to 28,000 people were booked to fly on the day of the planned work stoppage on Friday, at the start of the bank holiday weekend.
Some 18,000 of these passengers have rebooked, or been refunded, as a result of the strike due to a row over rosters.
Aviation sources estimate that the direct impact of the strike will cost Aer Lingus at least €6m in lost business and hiring in aircraft and crews for extra flights.
However, a knock-on loss in business this week and next week could push that figure closer to €10m.
Aer Lingus recently revealed that gains in revenue it made last month have been wiped out due to the strike threat.
BRITAIN’S STATE-BACKED LENDERS RETREAT FROM LONDON MORTGAGES – The Financial Times reports that Britain’s two state-backed banks have retreated from lending to the London property market since the financial crisis, in a sign of caution amid fears of an inflating housing bubble.
Lloyds Banking Group has more than halved its share of London lending – from 31% to 16% – since 2008, according to figures obtained by the Financial Times. Royal Bank of Scotland has also reduced its exposure to the capital, although less dramatically.
London mortgages accounted for 13% of RBS’s lending in 2013, compared with almost 16% in 2008, when values were substantially lower.
After several months of booming house price growth in London, concerns are mounting that borrowers are overstretching their finances to afford homes.
Nevertheless, a number of lenders are still piling into the market. Mortgage brokers said three banks – Woolwich, a subsidiary of Barclays; Santander UK; and Clydesdale – had been the most active in London in recent months.