Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch

Stuart Miles/

Stuart Miles/

Ulster Bank has said that it won’t write off debt for those who remain in their homes.

Chief risk officer Stephen Bell said that it would be unfair to current customers who are meeting their repayments if those who cannot meet such commitments have their mortgage debt written off.

The bank has also announced measures to engage with 2,000 customers over mortgage arrears, and has said it will provide such customers with the assurance that their homes will not be repossessed if revised repayment terms can be agreed. The bank did warn that legal proceedings could be initiated if such customers don’t engage.

The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO), however, has been critical of the banks’ stance towards mortgage holders, and has proposed several alternatives, including a Government-sponsored industry split mortgage that would see individuals, facing voluntary sale, surrender or repossession, receive rent supplement to allow them to rent privately and remain in their own communities rather than enter social housing; a mortgage-to-lease scheme in place of the current mortgage-to-rent scheme; and insolvency reforms.

In other news, Irish consumer sentiment remains positive, according to the latest index published this week by KBC/ESRI.

Respondents to the survey noted improvement in their own financial situation, as well as a more positive outlook for the months ahead.

According to KBC’s chief economist Austin Hughes: “The details of the sentiment survey for April suggest… consumers are becoming a little more focussed on the prospect of an improvement in their personal finances in the next twelve months.”

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.