Bank of Ireland received 15,000 applications for a three month break on mortgages from customers impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, up to the end of March.

The bank has seen up to 2,000 applications for a payment break on some days.

"Just to put that into perspective, normally, before Covid, we would get two or three applications for a break each day," Francesca McDonagh, Bank of Ireland's chief executive, said.

The bank has been working with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, and other banks, to have a consistent approach to help customers. Ms McDonagh said they are seeking to make the process as straight forward as possible, enabling customers to apply for the mortgage payment break online.

80% of the bank's customers have applied for the break online.

"We are not making customers jump through hoops. We recognise that many people in Ireland would have had an absolute cliff edge fall in their income, and we want to get them back on track once the economy hopefully does come out of this public health crisis," she said.

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"A very small number" of customers have been turned down for the payment break.

The initiative allows people take a three month break from paying their mortgage. Once the three month period has past, interest and capital payments will be spread out over the remaining term of the loan. 

"If that's over a ten year period that makes the monthly repayment as manageable as possible," the chief executive said.

Bank of Ireland has also received 5,000 requests for payment breaks on loans, and working capital facilities, from businesses.

30% of those requests have come from the hospitality and tourism sector, and 14% from retail.

"For business customers, often the term of the loan is much shorter, so the three month break will be added to the end of the term of the loan," Ms McDonagh said. 

The bank has seen footfall in branches reduce by over 40% since the most recent restrictions on movement were introduced by government. The volume of inbound calls to call centres has increased by 80%.

Bank of Ireland is donating €1m in emergency funding to communities with urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, the Bank is fast tracking €500,000 of the funds to 13 organisations that are working to support the immediate needs of vulnerable groups across the island of Ireland, north and south. 

This support is being delivered to projects which will support children and older people, domestic abuse, rural isolation, cancer support, mental health, and food distribution.

Bank of Ireland (UK) and AA extend financial services partnership deal

Meanwhile in the UK, Bank of Ireland and the AA have extended their long-term financial services partnership for an additional three years to at least 2028. 

Delivered through Bank of Ireland (UK) plc, products will now include AA branded car finance, which will sit alongside the savings and personal loan products. 

The partnership currently has around 90,000 customers and a balance sheet of about £700m. 

"The AA is a highly trusted and recognised brand and we are proud to have extended our partnership so that, together, we can continue to serve both new and existing AA customers for many years to come," commented Ian McLaughlin, Bank of Ireland UK's chief executive. 

"The combination of the AA's brand and distribution platform and Bank of Ireland's expertise in service delivery means our partnership will continue to be successful in providing competitive and popular products to meet the needs of AA customers," he added.

Simon Breakwell, AA's CEO, said the deal extension underpins the company's desire to deliver relevant and attractive products for its customers and Bank of Ireland's strong financial services expertise.