Ulster Bank dominates repossession court cases

Lender took 278 of the 465 legal actions in circuit courts since the start of October

Some 92 of Ulster Bank’s cases were taken in Dublin, while 186 were taken at provincial Circuit Courts

Some 92 of Ulster Bank’s cases were taken in Dublin, while 186 were taken at provincial Circuit Courts

Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 01:00

The country’s third biggest lender, Ulster Bank, is dominating Circuit Court lists of cases taken to repossess properties, including family homes, an analysis of court records shows.

More than 60 per cent of 465 legal actions initiated in the Circuit Courts to repossess properties since the beginning of October have been taken by Ulster Bank, according to analysis carried out by The Irish Times.

The sharp increase in repossession actions follows the repair of a legal loophole in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009.

The flaw had effectively halted applications for orders for possession from July 2011 until the repair was introduced by the Government at the end of July this year.

County registrars
Of the 465 cases listed before county registrars in Circuit Courts countrywide since the beginning of the new legal term on October 4th, 278 were taken by Ulster Bank.

Some 92 of Ulster Bank’s cases were taken in Dublin, while 186 were taken at provincial Circuit Courts. On one day in Dublin the bank had taken 24 out of 25 cases listed. Outside the capital, it took 19 cases on one day in Portlaoise.

Bank of Scotland had the second largest number with 105 or more than 20 per cent countrywide. Its highest in a single day was 12 in Dublin on October 10th.

Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB had totals of 19, 18 and 17 cases listed respectively since October 4th, with other lenders showing cases in single figures.

According to the most recent figures from the Central Bank, due to be updated at the end of this month, there are almost 90,000 primary residential mortgages in arrears of more than 90 days.

A further 45,000 are in arrears of less than 90 days.

Parent company
Ulster Bank is the third largest bank in the State after Bank of Ireland and AIB. There had been concerns that its parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland, was planning to withdraw from or significantly downsize its involvement here.

However, last week a company-wide review carried out by the treasury in Britain found Ulster Bank was “a core business for RBS”. The review said its cost base would need “substantial restructuring”.

The bank is carrying out an internal review of business as a result, and is expected to report on that in February.

It does not reveal how many of its home loan customers are in arrears, but there has been a drop recently in the impairment charge on its non-performing mortgage loans, which means the number of non-performing mortgages on its books has reduced.

In a statement to The Irish Times, Ulster Bank said it was committed to working with customers who are experiencing difficulty and “who engage with us on a genuine basis to find a solution on a case by case basis”.