IT has taken five years, but at last there are signs that something may be done for the thousands in a mess with their mortgage. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and the Central Bank have joined forces to tell the banks to get off their hands and start cutting deals with those in trouble repaying their home loans.
Banks are now beginning to get to grips with the situation, fully half a decade after the house-price collapse started. They are suddenly getting serious about the build-up of arrears by putting in place special collection teams to tackle the problem. Ulster Bank, for example, is recruiting 150 people to start intensively helping those who just can’t meet their repayments.
And most of the leading lenders have completed pilot projects on what are called long-term forbearance options for struggling homeowners.In the next few months we can expect a range of longer-term offers to be made to financially distressed mortgage holders to help them better cope with the situation.
The solutions to be offered include:
The split-mortgages idea means that part of the total home loan will be shelved or put to one side to make repayments more manageable. For example, a family struggling to make repayments on a €200,000 mortgage would ask for up to half of this to be put to one side. They would then only have to deal with half of their mortgage until they got back on track financially, which could take years.
AIB and EBS will not apply interest on the “parked” part of the mortgage, but Bank of Ireland intends to charge interest.
Mortgage to rent
The mortgage holder will lose ownership of their home by selling it to a housing charity or a local authority, but they get to stay in the home as a tenant. This will only apply to those who meet the criteria for social housing.
Permanent TSB will offer this if there is a prospect of the house rising in value.
The bank takes part ownership of the house in lieu of repayments. It gets its money back from the eventual sale of the house.
Bank of Ireland will offer those in trouble the option of spending up to five years paying interest only on the loan.
Voluntary sale for loss
The house is sold and the homeowner trades down. A repayment plan is agreed for the difference between the sale price and what is owed on the original mortgage.
Those in large houses and in negative equity trade down to a small property to reduce their debts. The ‘negative equity’ part of the debt moves on to the mortgage for the new property.