Owner of €1.3bn worth of PTSB loans can’t be disclosed, Oireachtas told

Pepper Finance Ireland says it signed non-disclosure agreement with investor

PTSB confirmed last week that €1.3 billion of its problem mortgages would be refinanced in bond markets to shift them of its books. Photograph: Alan Betson

PTSB confirmed last week that €1.3 billion of its problem mortgages would be refinanced in bond markets to shift them of its books. Photograph: Alan Betson

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The organisation which controls €1.3 billion worth of Permanent TSB (PTSB) loans declined to disclose the ultimate owner of the portfolio because it has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the investor.

Pepper Finance, under questioning at an Oireachtas Committee, said it couldn’t confirm who the lead investor in the portfolio was.

In response to questioning from Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath, Pepper Ireland chief executive Cormac Ryan said, “I am not in a position to confirm who the lead investor is.

“There are legal consequences for me if I make any disclosure,” he added.

PTSB confirmed last week that €1.3 billion of its problem mortgages would be refinanced in bond markets to shift them of its books.

Most of the 6,272 mortgages were restructured in recent years but continued to be classified as non-performing loans (NPLs) due to the nature of the new arrangements. These include 4,046 so-called split mortgages, where repayments on a portion of the loans are frozen until a future date.

PTSB said it would receive €890 million for the €1.3 billion of par-value loans, reflecting the state of the mortgage book.

At the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach, representatives from both PTSB and Pepper outlined the circumstances surrounding the loan book.

Politicians at the meeting questioned the secrecy behind the vehicle which now beneficially owns the portfolio, Glenbeigh Securities 2018-1 DAC. They also sought to establish what protections were available to mortgage holders.

Customers’ expectations

Speaking on mortgage review periods, Mr Ryan said: “There is absolutely no plan to conduct reviews at an inappropriate frequency. I would also say the reviews and how they’re carried out are strictly governed and controlled.”

Mr McGrath, concerned that actual decisions surrounding the loans could be made by the committee of Glenbeigh as opposed to the mortgage servicer Pepper, said: “customers co-operated with PTSB, engaged and entered a restructuring agreement. They had expectations that your bank would stay the course with them.”

Jeremy Masding, chief executive of PTSB, said he understood the feelings of customers, but had to reduce the bank’s non-performing loan ratio, which would fall to 10 per cent following this transaction.

“In terms of this transaction as I mentioned in my opening remarks, the bank believes this is the right outcome for customers. It’s the right outcome for the bank reducing its NPL ratio. It’s the right outcome for Ireland plc,” Mr Masding said.

He added that the bank consulted with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe who replied at the end of November with a “letter of non-objection”.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty raised further concerns later in the committee meeting, noting there was little certainty for mortgage holders.

“Whatever people’s opinions are of high street banks, they know the banks want to be here in 30 years’ time . . . The people who own these loans are faceless,” he said.

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