Mortgage Approvals: Uplift very evident in February

€757 million worth of mortgages approved

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has published the latest figures from the  BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for February 2019.*

The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 3,364 mortgages were approved in February – some  1,693 (50.3% of total volume) were for first-time buyers (FTBs) while mover purchasers accounted for 931 (27.7%).
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 10.8% month-on-month and by 7.2% year-on-year.
  • Mortgages approved in February 2019 were valued at €757 million – of which FTBs accounted for €391 million (51.6%) and €233 million (30.8%) by mover purchasers.
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 12.7% month-on-month and by 9.6% year-on-year.

Re-mortgage/switching approvals rose on a year-on-year basis – by 1.8% in volume and by 4.3% in value terms.

In total there were 45,775 mortgage approvals in the twelve months ending February 2019, valued at €10,175 million. Annualised mortgage approval activity increased in volume terms by 0.50% compared with the prior period and increased in value terms by 0.66% over the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Felix O’Regan, Director Public Affairs stated:

“Mortgage approvals in February show a strong uplift in activity both in volume and value compared to the previous month as well as the previous year.  This uplift is especially evident for first-time buyers;  and their predominance within the overall market remains, where they now account for just over half of all approvals by volume and value.”

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 2019  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 (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has 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

UK to remain in SEPA

With continued uncertainty on the outcome of Brexit, all eyes were on the European Payments Council (EPC) Board meeting on 7 March, where a decision was to be taken in respect of the UK application to remain a SEPA participant in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Sentiment within the EPC regarding the outcome had always been positive and this was ratified by the positive decision taken by the Board supporting the UK application to remain in SEPA.

The geographic scope of SEPA already extends beyond the EU and the EEA, with several third-countries already participating, therefore in the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK will assume a similar position and retain the ability to continue to operate within the scope of the SEPA Credit Transfer and Direct Debit schemes.

This is a very welcome outcome for Ireland as we have a significant volume of payments flowing in and out of the UK.  This decision eliminates the necessity of implementing alternative solutions that could negatively impact customers.

The UK’s participation will be closely monitored by the EPC to ensure that adherence to the eligibility criteria is retained into the future.

BPFI and Insurance Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Event

BPFI’s Brussels office, in collaboration with the Brussels office of Insurance Ireland, held a joint event in March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Brussels. Ambassador Declan Kelleher, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the EU, gave a keynote address, while the event was attended by over 150 stakeholders from the financial services community in Brussels.

Speaking on the event, Niamh O’Donnellan, BPFI Head of EU Affairs said, “BPFI was delighted to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday with a range of stakeholders in Brussels. In what is undoubtedly a time of great change and challenge for Europe and for Ireland, BPFI looks forward to continuing our work at EU level into 2019 and building and strengthening our relations with our partners and the wider financial service community in Brussels”.

Stakeholder Engagement

At the invitation of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform a BPFI delegation – Acting CEO, Director of Public Affairs and Head of Legal and Regulatory – presented on the future framework for accountability in banking.  Stressing the sector’s support for the development of the proposed Senior Executive Accountability Regime, we also pointed to some issues for consideration in the interests of a fully effective regime: namely, the importance of avoiding an overly bureaucratic process; the need to ensure the regime doesn’t hinder talent attraction and retention; and clarification of the distinction between collective board fiduciary responsibility and individual accountability of directors.  Questions raised by the TDs and Senators present touched on the area of conduct and culture as well as accountability.

A range of stakeholders joined with member bank representatives for the briefing by EY-DKM’s Annette Hughes on the latest BPFI SME Market Monitor.  Representatives from the Dept of Business & Enterprise, Dept of Finance, ESRI, Central Bank, ISME, Chambers Ireland, Retail Excellence Ireland, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland heard that unprecedented uncertainty around Brexit was finally affecting SMEs; and this was reflected in a number of worrying trends: a sharp fall in consumer sentiment, a fall in retail sales for the third month running and a further fall off in visitor numbers from Great Britain.

European Money Week

BPFI recently held the Irish National Finals of the European Money Quiz, a European-wide financial education competition for 13-15 year olds. The Irish heats of the quiz saw hundreds of students in classrooms across Ireland go head to head when they played the quiz simultaneously in an innovative real time Kahoot! Webcast on YouTube. The two winning students, from Firhouse Community College, Dublin, will now go forward to represent Ireland in the European finals of the quiz organised by the European Banking Federation in Brussels in May. There they will take on over 25 other counties from across Europe in a bid to become European champions. The European Money Quiz is part of European Money Week a joint initiative between the European Banking Federation and 30 banking associations across Europe, including BPFI, which aims to boost financial literacy levels and raise awareness on the benefits of financial education. In addition to running the quiz, BPFI is also holding its Economist Masterclass Webinar for senior cycle business and economics students. Bringing together the chief economists from BPFI’s retail banks, the Webinar is set to stream into classrooms on 28 March allowing students right across Ireland to engage on the top economic issues of the day.

BPFI-HSE Workshop on Safeguarding Customers

BPFI and the HSE recently held a joint workshop to discuss how best to collaborate to safeguard customers who may be experiencing financial abuse. This workshop generated considerable interest among BPFI members as well the HSE’s Safeguarding and Protection Teams.  MABS and the Dept of Social Protection and Employment also participated in the day. HSE expertise provided the group with insights into the “holistic” experience of such customers, including the fact that financial abuse is often an indicator of the presence of other types of abuse. BPFI members in the room clearly signalled the importance given to safeguarding customers within their institutions and of their intent to do the right thing,

Following presentations from the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Team and a number of banks ten mixed teams considered different case studies, based on real customer experiences. The in-depth discussion that followed yielded some great new ideas to help further the safeguarding customer agenda within the banking sector and demonstrated the relevance of the Assisted Decision-Making legislation to all service providers.  A key outcome was consensus to enhance collaboration via similar events: The workshop helped improve our understanding of how best BPFI members, HSE Safeguarding Teams and other parties can interact to support customers in a vulnerable situation.

Fraud Prevention in a Digital Landscape

Banking & Payments Federation (BPFI), in association with Kyriba, will host a Fraud Prevention Conference on Tuesday 28th May from 9.00am – 12.30pm in the BPFI Conference Suite, Floor 3, One Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

Protecting your organisation and your customers against financial fraud is an ongoing challenge in the ever-increasing digital world. Technology developments create an enhanced experience for customers, but it also provides opportunities for fraudsters.

Our conference looks at both sides of the fraud prevention coin – the human element in fraud prevention along with how in our digital economy and the world of open banking organisations can seek to protect customers and deliver the seamless customer journey that is expected. We will explore fraud trends – past, current and future, as well as developments in AI & Biometrics and how online retailers are balancing customer security and expectations.

For individual bookings, please click on the ‘Book Now’ button below. For organisations who wish to send several members of their team, we are pleased to offer further discounts for group bookings (applicable where all attendees are employed by the same organisation and are registered under one booking):

4 for the price of 3
7 for the price of 5


The agenda is available to download here.

SOLD OUT – Mortgage Conference

Banking & Payments Federation (BPFI) will host a Mortgage Conference on Thursday 16 May from 9.00am – 12.30pm in the BPFI conference Suite, Floor 3, One Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

Speakers from home and abroad will address three key areas that are very relevant for the mortgage market today. Market participants and economists will consider the outlook for the housing market as a whole and the role of mortgage finance along with other sources of finance and investment.

In light of the increased focus on sustainability another session will examine how the ‘green’ can be put into the mortgage finance product.   And with eye to customer service and process efficiencies the digitalising of the mortgage journey will be examined with the help of a case study from abroad.

This conference should prove valuable and interesting not just for those directly involved in the mortgage market, but also those with an interest in wider housing market issues.

For individual bookings, please click on the ‘Book Now’ button below. For organisations who wish to send several of their team, we are pleased to offer further discounts for group bookings (applicable where all attendees are employed by the same organisation and are registered under one booking):

4 for the price of 3
7 for the price of 5
10 for the price of 7

Check if you are a member here.


Final Agenda Available Here

BPFI and Insurance Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Event

Pictured L-R: Florian Wimber, Insurance Ireland; Ambassador Declan Kelleher, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the EU; Niamh O’Donnellan, BPFI
Pictured L-R: Brian Hayes MEP; Maurice Crowley, BPFI; Ashley Fox MEP; Seán Kelly MEP
Ted Hart, Legal & General; Eve Finn, Legal & General; Barry Andrews Fianna Fáil; Niamh O’Donnellan, BPFI; Helena Walsh, Cicero
Maria Walsh, Fine Gael, Niamh O’Donnellan, BPFI; Florian Wimber, Insurance Ireland