Mortgage-arrears plan due today, as Taoiseach denies repossessions will be widespread

Mortgage-arrears plan due today, as Taoiseach denies repossessions will be widespread

The Government will today unveil a new strategy for banks to deal with distressed mortgage holders.

Under the plan, banks will be given targets setting out the number of mortgages they must restructure every three months.

The latest figures show that 186,000 mortgage holders are behind in their payments, with those mortgages valued at about €17bn.

The coalition is most worried about 100,000 of these where homeowners have been unable to meet repayments for some time.

It is expected that today's plans will include a range of options for customers, including longer loan terms, interest holidays or debt write-down.

The new targets for banks are leading to fears of widespread reposessions, but the Taoiseach told the Dáil yesterday that the vast majority of home owners in arrears should not have to worry about repossessions as the banks' first priority would be to restructure their payments.

He said banks now had trained staff to deal with homeowners unable to pay their mortgages.

"I hope that when banks engage with (their clients) that there will be a speedy and compassionate resolution (to mortgage difficulties)," he said.

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