Online gambling harms mortgage applications

ONLINE betting accounts are being used as reasons for refusing struggling homeowners the option of having a mortgage approved or restructured.

Other items being scrutinised by banks include tuition fees, Sky digital subscriptions and mobile-phone bills.

Chief executive of mortgage debt advisory firm Negotiate, Trevor Grant, said gambling transactions on bank statements are often used as a reason to decline a mortgage or restructure application, regardless of any other financial information submitted and its strength.

Mr Grant said: “When a lender assesses an application for reduced mortgage repayments due to financial difficulty, the customer is required to submit a detailed application, often including current account and credit-card statements.

“Not unreasonably, lenders will form a view that if the customer is struggling to pay their mortgage they should be tightening their belts, and they consider gambling, for example, as a non-essential activity and therefore should be one of the first social indulgences to be cut,” he said.

The director of the Irish Mortgage Corporation, Frank Conway, said he has seen cases where lenders have questioned mobile phones, school tuition costs and Sky bills.

A spokesman from the Irish Banking Federation said it is important that borrowers seeking to restructure their mortgage repayments carefully review all of their income and expenditure as part of discussions with their lenders, in order to help identify a “new, workable repayment arrangement”.

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