Banks getting 7,000 calls per day about mortgage payment breaks

Banks getting 7,000 calls per day about mortgage payment breaks

Banks are fielding some 7,000 calls each day from mortgage holders seeking payment breaks as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), the banking industry lobby group, said there has been a 400% increase in calls seeking support since March 17.

All of the country's banks and lenders signed up to the three-month mortgage payment break deal after talks with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. The aim is to ease the burden on those financially impacted by Covid-19.

The calls are a mixture of queries about the future and requests for actual payment breaks and the number of calls has surged since the announcement of the payment break last Thursday.

In some cases, payment break instructions have gone from an average of 10-15 per week to 800-900 per day.

Some 500 calls are coming in each day from business customers seeking payment breaks or modifications, BPFI says.

SME call volumes have doubled and are 'easily' exceeding the 1,000 mark daily.

Footfall in branches has dropped by 20% to 24%.

Brian Hayes, CEO of BPFI, said banks have made a number of changes to be in a position to respond to the calls: "There have been monumental changes to manage the flow of calls and applications with customer facing staff working around the clock to help those most impacted."

"Banks are reallocating non-customer-facing staff and all of its customer-facing staff to supporting customers and improving processes for those impacted by Covid 19. This covers IT teams, credit and risk teams, digital teams and operations teams. Naturally, banks are also experiencing reduced staff numbers because of a variety of Covid-19-related circumstances, impacting anything from 15% to 25% of staff in some cases."

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