PTSB agrees sale of subprime mortgages

Mars Capital Ireland to pay about €280m for Springboard subprime mortgage book

Permanent TSB: an announcement on the deal is expected later this week. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Permanent TSB: an announcement on the deal is expected later this week. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg/Getty Images



Permanent TSB is believed to have agreed the sale of its Springboard subprime mortgage book to Mars Capital Ireland, a British business that specialises in mortgage servicing.

An announcement on the deal is expected later this week following a sale process that has lasted for about six months.

Earlier this year Mars acquired residential mortgages from Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in a transaction backed by funds managed by Oaktree Capital in the United States.

It is not clear if Oaktree is involved in this deal.

Springboard has a loan book with a face value of about €465 million, comprising about 2,200 mortgages. The business is no longer offering loans and is in wind-down.

It is not clear how much has been paid for the book but market sources indicated last night that PTSB might have achieved 60 cent or more in the euro for the mortgages.

This would suggest that PTSB achieved a price of about €280 million for the book, which is one of a number of non-core assets that the bank has decided to offload.

A spokesman for PTSB, which is 99.2 per cent owned by the State, said it never comments on market rumours or speculation.

Mars Capital could not be reached for comment.

Code of conduct

When the sale is confirmed, attention will switch to whether the Springboard customers will be covered by the terms of the Central Bank of Ireland’s code of conduct on mortgage arrears.

In July, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, indicated that this would be the case in reply to questions from Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman, Michael McGrath.

Springboard was originally a joint venture between Irish Life & Permanent (a predecessor of PTSB) and US bank Merrill Lynch that was established in 2007 to sell mortgages to what it called “near-prime” customers – or those with poor credit histories.

In March, PTSB said Springboard was being prepared for sale and Morgan Stanley was appointed in June to advise on this process.

On its website, Mars Capital Ireland is described as a business established to administer residential owner-occupied and buy-to-let mortgages purchased from other lenders.

‘Ongoing administration’

The “ongoing administration” of the mortgages will primarily be undertaken in Dublin and overseen by Mars Capital Finance Limited, which was set up in 2008 to administer mortgages purchased from British lenders.

The company is authorised and regulated as a mortgage lender and mortgage administrator by the Financial Conduct Authority in Britain.