Mortgage Approvals – February 2018

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has published the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for February 2018.*

The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 3,137 mortgages were approved in February 2018 – some 1,580 (50.4% of total volume) were for first-time buyers (FTBs) while mover purchasers accounted for 808 (25.8%).
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 5.0% year-on-year and fell by 0.3% month-on-month.
  • Mortgages approved in February 2018 were valued at €691million – of which FTBs accounted for €351million (50.8%) and €211million (30.5%) by mover purchasers.
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 11.1% year-on-year and by 0.2% month-on-month.

Re-mortgage/switching approvals rose on a year-on-year basis – by 65.5% in value and by 64.0% in volume terms.

An analysis of mortgage approvals on an annualised basis shows that the fastest growing segment, yet again, was switching – with volumes rising to 3,927 in the twelve months ending February 2018, double the volume in May 2016. In addition, the annualised volume of mortgage approvals rose for the 23rd consecutive month, rising by 0.3% in the twelve months ending February 2018 to 43,549.

Data collection for the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report began in September 2012 covering the period from January 2011 onwards in respect of the market’s main mortgage lenders. The BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report February 2018  as well as the time series data file is available on the BPFI website here.


[*] The full time series of monthly data from January 2011 onwards is available on the BPFI website.

Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland represents banking and payments in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, 087 9016880

European Money Week

BPFI hosted a number of very successful events in March to mark European Money Week 2018, an annual financial education initiative which takes places in over 30 countries across Europe. This year’s programme saw the launch of the inaugural European Money Quiz in which second level business students in schools across Ireland competed directly against each other in a live Kahoot! webcast on YouTube. The winners of the Irish heats, a team of students from O’Carolan College, Nobber, Co. Meath, will now go forward to represent Ireland in the European finals where 30 countries will compete in a live event to become European champions. This final will be held on 8th May in Brussels.

In addition, BPFI held an Economist Webinar which brought together economists from Ireland’s leading retail banks in a session which was streamed into second level classrooms across the country allowing them to engage on the top economic issues of the day.

European Money Week is an initiative led by the European Banking Federation  which takes place in March each year. The week consists of a series of events both at national and European level, with the aim of raising public awareness on financial literacy and improving financial education for students at primary and secondary level.

BPFI welcome Covered Bonds Package

BPFI has broadly welcomed the adoption of the European Commission’s package on covered bonds, which is a key element of the European Union’s Action Plan on Capital Market Union.

BPFI member banks welcome the proposals which provide for the harmonisation of the European Covered Bond product while maintaining the functioning national systems already in place. The Commission’s engagement with industry through various fora has resulted in proposals that will be broadly welcomed by the industry and BPFI looks forward to engaging on behalf of its members with the European Parliament and Council of Ministers as the file progresses through the legislative process in the next weeks and months.

BPFI is encouraged to see that the proposed directive is looking to legislate for a number of elements that the Irish legislation already encompasses or that Irish issuers already provide – for example, in terms of transparency or the use of a cover pool monitor.

Consultation on SME definition

BPFI is currently preparing a response to the EU Commission’s public consultation on the definition of SMEs. The goal of the review is to ensure that the SME definition remains fit for purpose and meets its objectives in the context of current economic conditions. The EC launched the consultation in February and it will remain open until 6 May.

Sustainable Finance Action Plan

BPFI has welcomed the publication of the EU Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth and believe that preparation for the actions required under the Plan will facilitate a welcome conversation with Government regarding the on-going development of sustainable finance at national level. BPFI appreciates that the recommendations for action reflect the European Commission’s ambitious objective to facilitate sustainable finance for the benefit of EU economies and citizens. For all stakeholders a key challenge will be to incorporate the actions required into a legislative and regulatory framework in the relatively short timeframe provided.

FraudSMART Campaign

BPFI’s fraud awareness initiative FraudSMART has continued delivering key messages across social media, with our February Valentine’s Day Campaign reaching over 30,000 consumers. Fraud alerts have also been sent through our FraudSMART alert service, which consumers and businesses can sign up to through In addition to raising consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity, engaging with key stakeholders who can assist us in this work will play a key part in our 2018 fraud awareness programme.

CCR data enquiry gets underway

With BPFI member banks now reporting Phase 1a data (consumer credit extended by lenders other than licensed moneylenders and local authorities) to the Central Credit Register (CCR), enquiry to the CCR commenced on 20 March. This means that, when a consumer applies for credit of €2,000 or more to a lender, the lender must make an enquiry on the credit report of the consumer, prior to making the decision whether or not to grant the credit being sought. BPFI continues to work with members in preparing for Phase 2 of the project, the “may submit” phase of which is due to commence on 31 March.

BPFI welcome Fintech Action Plan

BPFI and its affiliates have strongly welcomed the European Commission’s Fintech Action Plan.

This renewed emphasis on Fintech at EU level is particularly important given Ireland’s own expanding fintech ecosystem.  Ireland is a unique location in Europe in the way and extent to which it brings together domestic banking, global banking, leasing, funds, consultancy firms, law firms, internet darlings, indigenous start-ups and scaling companies to both collaborate and compete.

The Action Plan outlines a number of key initiatives in particular in relation to encouraging member states to explore the benefits of innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes – initiatives which BPFI and its affiliates believe could significantly enhance the efficiency of industry collaboration on the ground if appropriately implemented here. The Commission’s commitment to analyse and identify best practices by Q4 2018 around FinTech facilitators and to present a report around best practices for regulatory sandboxes by Q1 2019 are very much to be welcomed.

Stakeholder Engagement March 2018

Representatives from the Central Bank, the Dept. of Business, Enterprise & Innovation and the Credit Review Office were among those stakeholders who – together with SME bank lending representatives – attended BPFI’s briefing on the latest EY-DKM/BPFI SME Market Monitor. The Monitor reported an uplift in all indicators tracked to provide a generally positive environment for SMEs, notwithstanding potential challenges on the international horizon.

Over 100 second level business and economics classes from across Ireland participated in BPFI’s live streamed Economist Masterclass webinar as part of BPFI’s European Money Week 2018 programme of activities (featured on  Participating students received presentations from and engaged in discussion with the Chief Economists from a number of our leading retail banks.  The top economic issues of the day were covered: Brexit, The Irish Economy and the Housing market.  European Money Week is an annual event which aims to raise awareness on financial literacy and improve financial education for students at primary and secondary level.

We had a very strong turnout from brokers, estate agents, auctioneers & valuers, the property and construction sectors for our most recent Housing Market Monitor presentation to stakeholders. Most of the discussion which followed the presentation by BPFI’s Chief Economist, Ali Ugur, focused on the housing supply challenge, with some consideration being given to the scope for cross-sectoral agreement on possible solutions.