A number of banks here say they will offer mortgage and loan repayment deferrals to personal customers, to help them deal with financial strain caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Bank of Ireland said it has a range of supports, including payment breaks or flexible arrangements on mortgages or loans for up to three months that it will discuss with personal customers directly.

Similarly Ulster Bank said personal customers in financial difficulty as a result of the virus may be able to defer their mortgage and loan repayments for up to three months.

It will also enable customers with fixed term savings accounts to access the funds early without a breakage fee.

The option of applying for an increase in overdraft and credit card limits would also be open, it said, along with increased cash withdrawal limits and the waiving of cash advance fees for customers using credit cards to access cash in an emergency.

However, the bank also said these aren't blanket provisions and individual customers will be considered and options matched on a case-by-case basis.

"We are already meeting with and listening to our customers to ensure we are best placed to provide the real, tangible support when they need us most. If any customer is concerned about their finances as a result of the coronavirus, please get in touch," said Ulster Bank CEO, Jane Howard.

The move follows similar measures announced by Ulster Bank's parent group in the UK, Royal Bank of Scotland.

While in Italy, the government said it will suspend mortgage repayments and other household bills following the decision to put the entire country on lockdown.

Other banks here say they already have existing measures in place to assist customers through the difficult weeks ahead.

AIB said impacted mortgage customers can avail of an interest only or moratoria period of up to six months.

It also said it allows interest-only repayments in certain circumstances and credit options and supports depending on the specific needs of the customer. 

"We have assessed the supports in the context of the evolving situation around Covid 19 and are evaluating potential scenarios which our customers might encounter," it said in a statement.

"The bank is currently engaging with customers and also responding to customer queries to assure them that we will use these measures to support customers in line with the particular circumstances the customer finds themselves."

Meanwhile, Permanent TSB said it already offers support to customers in financial difficulty, including appropriate treatment options based on an individual's circumstances.

"We will continue to offer this support for our customers and will keep the situation under review, should any further measures need to be put in place to support our customers as a result of the impact of Covid-19," PTSB said.

"From an industry perspective, a cross bank co-ordination group, chaired by BPFI, continues to work on an industry wide plan to best manage the continued provision of banking services in the event of an escalation of Covid-19 nationally or an outbreak of the virus in a particular area of the country."

Bank of Ireland has also put in place supports for business customers, including the provision of emergency working capital, payment flexibility on loan facilities, and the provision of trade finance and foreign currency products for those sourcing products from new suppliers internationally.

It added that it prioritise loan decisions for impacted businesses.

Ulster Bank also announced measures to assist firms including a €500m working capital fund for small and medium sized enterprises.

It will also be offering temporary emergency loans with no arrangement fees as well as capital repayment holidays on variable rate loans

A "realignment of payments" will also be offered to customers who are seeing short term liquidity pressures, it said.