75% of mortgages in arrears for over 90 days not restructured

Almost three quarters of householders whose mortgages are more than 90 days in arrears have not had them restructured, the Department of Finance has confirmed.

Of the 79,782 mortgages that were more than 90 days in arrears in December 2013, only 13,985, or 18%, had been permanently restructured. Of the rest, 6,571, or 8%, had been temporarily restructured and 59,226, or 74%, had not been restructured.

The figures are based on an analysis of mortgages for principal homes at the six main banks — AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, KBC, ACC, and Permanent TSB.

Those lenders are part of the Central Bank’s Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets and represent 90% of all lenders.

The figures show of the 697,046 mortgages held by those banks in December, 582,000 are not in arrears and 115,000 are in arrears.

The total in arrears fell by 3,517 from September to December.

According to the department, in the same period:

* Engagement between consumers and lenders led to 51,188 permanent restructures, an increase of 6,011 accounts;

* The number of mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days has fallen from 81,156 to 79,782, a drop of 1,374 accounts.

The latest figures also showed a significant rise in the number of split mortgages, from 2,521 when the figures started to be compiled in that way last August, to 6,239 by the end of December.

Ciaran Phelan, CEO of the Irish Brokers Association, said that any claim of “improvement” in the latest figures, masked the reality of the situation.

“Those in long-term arrears remain in that position and they are the most vulnerable,” he said.

“Legal actions, which some banks cite as sustainable solutions, have increased dramatically, and other than a couple of hundred over-publicised agreements, banks are still reluctant to agree sustainable long-term deals that involve any write-down of unsustainable debt.”

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the data showed there was still a need for an independent body to step in and make reasonable deals that both the banks and customers can live with.

“Yet another set of figures on mortgage arrears show that the banks are not being realistic about providing sustainable solutions,” said Mr Doherty. “At this rate, we would be into the next decade before our mortgage crisis is over.”

When it came to buy-to-let figures for the six banks, the department reported that, of the 127,190 of those mortgage accounts, in December 33,831 were in arrears.

That arrears total had only fallen by 361 since September. The number in arrears of greater than 90 days fell by 156 accounts since the end of November. The department said engagement between consumers and lenders has led to 10,148 permanent restructures, an increase of 342 accounts on the end of September.

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