Number of homeowners in arrears continues to decline

Over 78,000 mortgage accounts still in arrears of 90 days or more

The number of mortgage accounts in arrears of greater than 90 days has fallen from 79,427 to 78,210, since the end of January. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

The number of mortgage accounts in arrears of greater than 90 days has fallen from 79,427 to 78,210, since the end of January. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

The number of homeowners in mortgage arrears with the country’s six main banks is continuing to decline, according to new figures from the Department of Finance.

The figures show total mortgage accounts in arrears fell from 115,631 to 111,748 in the month of February.

The number of homeowners in arrears of greater than 90 days fell from 79,427 to 78,210 during the same period.

The Department of Finance said engagement between consumers and lenders led to 5,699 accounts being permanently restructured in February.

AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, ACC, KBC Ireland and Ulster Bank have now agreed more than 59,668 permanent mortgage restructures.

The lenders reported a rise in split mortgages, with 8,723 split mortgages at the end of February, an increase of 1,592 on the previous month.

The number of all buy-to-let mortgage accounts in arrears at the end of February is 33,902 accounts, compared to 33,831 at the end of Q4 2013 and 34,139 at the end of January.

However, buy-to-let mortgage accounts in arrears of greater than 90 days increased by 176 accounts during February.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune has called for banks to keep track of when customers fall into arrears on mortgage protection cover, saying many families who are going into mortgage arrears are also going into arrears on their life insurance policies.

She said a Kerry mother-of-two, terminally ill with cancer, was told by a bank that her mortgage would not be paid off when she dies, because she was €260 in arrears on her life insurance.

Ms Clune said the woman from Tralee fell behind on her mortgage and life insurance payments after losing her job two years ago.

“Given that the banks own the insurance companies in most cases, I find it deeply troubling that banks are allowing customers to go into arrears on these insurance policies when ultimately, it is the bank who gains by not having to pay-out on the policy,” Ms Clune said.