Banks criticised on mortgage woes

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dail there were reports from the banks, particularly the two pillar banks, of decisions being arrived at with mortgage holders in distress.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dail there were reports from the banks, particularly the two pillar banks, of decisions being arrived at with mortgage holders in distress.

Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 00:00

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has criticised the banks for a lack of engagement with those with mortgage difficulties.

"I am not happy at all with the level of resolution involved here," he said.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil today there were reports from the banks, particularly the two pillar banks, of decisions being arrived at with mortgage holders in distress. In many cases, they were put on interest-only arrangements which were not a long-term solution to the problem.

He was aware, he said, that Central Bank governor Prof Patrick Honohan had expressed his frustration at the extent of engagement and decisiveness about mortgage arrears.

Mr Kenny said the personal insolvency agency would open its doors in early summer. He hoped that before then the banks would realise there was an opportunity to get on with the business of dealing with those in mortgage distress.

The Taoiseach was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said household debt and financial distress were at unprecedented levels. There were now more than 180,000 residential mortgages in some form of distress and difficulty.

It was a very serious situation on a personal, social, financial and societal level and a national emergency which demands a significant response, he added.