IBF statement on bank recapitalisation

The Irish economy and its people need a fully functioning banking system to help us manage our way through the current financial and economic turmoil and return to growth. Recapitalisation of the Irish banking system is necessary to underpin the sector following the serious mistakes it has made in recent years. The economy needs a strong, stable and confident banking system to enable a return to economic growth. A recapitalised banking sector must now demonstrate a commitment to all of its stakeholders to work unrelentingly in their interests. Government and taxpayers’ support for this process is fully acknowledged and appreciated.

The IBF will continue to work closely with Government and other stakeholders in support of existing initiatives for businesses and homeowners and in the development of new initiatives as outlined in the statement by the Minister for Finance

Forbearance by mainstream lenders is enabling homeowners to manage arrears and avoid repossession

Financial Regulator statistics show dramatic fall in number of cases going into the courts system and in number of home repossessions – despite overall increase in arrears
IBF publishes new consumer guide to managing mortgage arrears
The latest data on private residential mortgage arrears and repossessions, published today by the Financial Regulator, confirms that forbearance by mainstream lenders is assisting distressed homeowners, according to the Irish Banking Federation (IBF).

The IBF points to evidence of the very real benefits of early customer-lender communication. Although the total number of mortgage arrears cases increased during the last quarter of 2009, a significant fall is at the same time evident in the number of residential properties repossessed and in the level of court proceedings initiated – a fact very much welcomed by IBF and its members.

The positive results that stem from a policy of forbearance by banks and building societies are all the more evident when the statistics for IBF-mainstream lenders are stripped out of the Financial Regulator’s overall statistics (which also include sub-prime lenders). This shows the following:

Dramatic fall in the number of cases going to court

The Financial Regulator’s statistics for the market as a whole show a 52% fall in the number of cases where legal proceedings have been issued to enforce the debt/security on a mortgage – down from 481 in Q3 2009 to 233 in Q4. For IBF mortgage lenders the fall is even greater at 66% – based on data submitted to the Financial Regulator.

Fall-off in the number of repossessions
The Financial Regulator’s statistics shows a fall-off in the number of repossessions in Q4 compared to Q3 2009:

27 on foot of a court order (down from 31)
74 voluntarily surrendered/abandoned (down from 79)

While sub-prime lenders account for just 2% of the total mortgage market, they account for 41% of all repossessions by court order – according to IBF.

Every opportunity is taken by IBF mortgage lenders to avoid repossession. This is reflected in the fact that the overall repossession rate here is low by international standards – for example, 13 per 100,000 compared to 93 per 100,000 in the UK.

As further evidence of the sector’s ongoing commitment to supporting distressed homeowners, the IBF has today published Your Guide to Dealing with Mortgage Repayment Difficulties – see http://www.ibf.ie/pdfs/Mortgage_repayments_guide_Feb10.pdf. Developed in consultation with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), this straightforward consumer guide provides clear four-step advice as to what the borrower should do and also spells out what the lender will do in accordance with the IBF Pledge to Homeowners and the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.


The following IBF mortgage lenders support the IBF Pledge to Homeowners as well as the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.

ACC Bank
AIB Bank
Bank of Ireland
Bank of Scotland (Ireland)
EBS Building Society
Irish Nationwide Building Society
KBC Bank Ireland
Leeds Building Society
National Irish Bank
Permanent tsb
Ulster Bank

The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) is the leading representative body for the banking and financial services sector in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Further Information: Felix O’Regan, Head of PR and Public Affairs, IBF, tel. 6715311, 087 6481644