Blacklisted by EBS for mortgage because I work for an airline

Q&A: Dominic Coyle answers your personal finance questions

I recently applied for a new mortgage with the EBS. I got my first mortgage with them 15 years ago and have not missed any payments.

It refused my application as I work for an airline and that’s high risk – even though we have not been subject to any reduction in pay.

I have already received a sale agreed on my house and paid a deposit on the new house. From my original meetings with the EBS, it gave me no indication that my mortgage application would be refused.

My day-to-day banking is with the Ulster Bank and, from research on, the rates are looking good. I have a meeting with them regarding a mortgage application. Do I mention the EBS had refused my application?


Mr C.M., email

So much for loyalty. And the banks wonder why they have reputation issues?

This is frankly disgraceful. It is obviously up to banks whom they will do business with but it is incumbent on them to be somewhat fair, upfront and transparent with people.

Your mortgage has been with EBS for 15 years and in that time you have not missed a single payment despite the financial crash and now Covid-19. Given the numbers who have had to avail of restructurings and payment holidays in those crises, this is an A-grade credit rating.

Yes, airlines are having a rough time right now with travel bans and economic shutdowns but, through all that, you have continued to be employed on full pay. I presume this is on a permanent, full-time capacity as those in less secure employment are understandably more vulnerable to the cutbacks airlines have had to make.

In any case, we now have the live prospect of a vaccine and an EU traffic light system, both of which are designed to make the prospects for airlines more secure going forward.

Worse still, EBS – now owned by AIB – strung you along. If EBS knew it had a blacklist for applicants working in airlines (and any other sectors) – and it must have known, if it exists – the very least it should have done is tell you at the outset that there was no chance it would extend a new mortgage to allow you move.

By not doing so, EBS has allowed you to get to a complicated position where you have a buyer for your home and a seller waiting on you to deliver.

If I were you, I’d make a point of moving my business from EBS at the earliest opportunity. It’s not as though it is even offering competitive mortgages rates as you’ll know from your check on the price comparison site,

So what about Ulster Bank and, more particularly, what do you tell them?

First things first, yes, you will have to tell them you have been refused a mortgage. It’s a standard question in the mortgage application process and is bound to come up. When it does, any failure on your part to be honest could itself jeopardise the process.

EBS is bang out of order in its approach; failure to be honest would put you right in EBS’s league.

In any case, as time is not on your side, I’d expect you to ask them straight up whether there is any reason your employment should disbar you from a loan. No point hanging around.

On the upside, Ulster, as your day-to-day current account location knows you and your financial circumstances better than any lender, and it also enjoys your business. It should be able to make a very informed assessment of the risk you present and, given the doubts over its medium-term future, I imagine it is very open to attracting business. It must be losing out on quite a lot.

And, no, I would not be put off in the slightest by any talk about whether it will or will not stay in the Irish market. If it does offer you a mortgage, that’s a contract and will not change regardless of who does or does not take over Ulster bank’s business.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice. No personal correspondence will be entered into