Latest BPFI figures show good growth in mortgage drawdown activity as well as in approvals activity

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today published the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Drawdowns Report for Q1 2019 and Mortgage Approvals Report for March 2019.

The following are the key figures from the Mortgage Drawdowns Report for Q1 2019:

  • 8,577 new mortgages to the value of €1,884 million were drawn down by borrowers during the first quarter of 2019
  • This represents an increase of 8.9% in volume and 10.6% in value on the corresponding first quarter of 2018. A comparison with the previous quarter (Q4 2018) shows a decrease, but it should be noted that Q1 is typically the weakest quarter in any year and Q4 is the strongest – see the chart below.
  • First-time buyers (FTBs) remain the single largest segment by volume (47.3%) and by value (47.9%).
  • Switching activity (re-mortgage loans) also recorded a year-on-year increase of 37.0% in volume and 39.3% in value.
Mortgage Drawdowns Trend, Q1 2017 to Q1 2019

 

In addition BPFI also published today the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for March 2019. The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 4,142 mortgages were approved in March 2019 – some 2,114 were for FTBs (51.0% of total volume) while mover purchasers accounted for 1,035 (25.0%).
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 22.8% year-on-year and by 23.1% month-on-month.
  • Mortgages approved in March 2019 were valued at €920 million – of which FTBs accounted for €473 million (51.4%) and €266 million by mover purchasers (28.9%).
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 20.7% year-on-year and by 21.6% month-on-month.
  • The number of re-mortgage/switching approvals rose strongly both on a year-on-year basis (37.1%) and a month-on-month basis (43.6%).

Commenting on these latest figures, BPFI’s Director Public Affairs, Felix O’Regan, stated:

The number and value of mortgages actually drawn down by borrowers during Q1 2019 show good growth on corresponding 2018 activity.  This reflects the appropriate response by lenders to increased demand for mortgage finance.  Furthermore, the uplift in the number and value of mortgages approved in March indicates that further growth in drawdown activity can be expected.”

The BPFI Mortgage Drawdowns and Mortgage Approvals reports can be viewed on the BPFI website here.

 

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 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie 087 9016880

Mortgage arrears statistics review

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) invited banks and BPFI to comment on its review of the mortgage arrears, restructures and repossessions return. The proposed changes are mainly focused on enhancing the analysis of accounts that are greater than 720 days in arrears. Lenders have engaged constructively on the proposals and BPFI has submitted a formal response on behalf of industry.

Stakeholder Engagement

BPFI has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders regarding our serious concerns about the No Consent No Sale Bill proposed by Sinn Fein – a measure which would require borrower specific consent before the sale of a mortgage loan to a third party.  Throughout this engagement process we have stressed how this proposal would provide no additional protections to borrowers over and above what’s already there; while at the same time it would increase the cost of mortgages for new borrowers arising from the increased cost of funding for lenders.  We are also contributing to the process of pre-legislative scrutiny organised by the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

BPFI input to Europol’s cybercrime survey

BPFI has contributed to the Europols EC3 fifth Internet Organised Crime Assessment (IOCTA) due to be published in September.

The 2019 report will focus on the threats, trends and developments in the area of cybercrime as observed by European law enforcement and key stakeholders/partners.

Key to the success of this document is the invaluable input Europol receives from the banking sector across Europe, which will includes the input from Ireland provided by BPFI.

The IOCTA report is Europol’s premier strategic publication and provides a unique and comprehensive insight into cybercrime within Europe and the EU, going beyond generic information and offering detailed information on specific cyber threats.

BPFI’s Financial Education Programme

As part of its programme of financial education activity BPFI recently held the prize giving ceremony for the European Money Quiz as well as hosting its annual Chief Economist Webinar for Students.

In the coming weeks Tallaght students Daniel Olusegun,13 and Darragh McGourty,13, are set to fly the flag for Ireland as they bid to become European Champions in the finals of the European Money Quiz 2019, a European-wide financial education competition which aims to promote financial literacy among secondary school students.

BPFI hosted the Irish heats of the quiz in March, when over 800 students across Ireland competed simultaneously in a real time Kahoot! Webcast. Winning team, Daniel and Darragh, first year business studies students from Firhouse Community College, Dublin 24, were crowned national champions and were recently presented with a trophy by BPFI President, Gavin Kelly. They will now travel to Brussels to represent Ireland in the competition’s European final on 7 May.

At the end of March BPFI brought together the chief economists from AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland and Ulster Bank to deliver an Economist Masterclass Webinar streamed live to business and economics secondary students right across Ireland. The event took place as part of European Money Week 2019, a financial education initiative taking place in over 30 countries across Europe.

AIB’s Senior Economist, John Fahey; Dr. Loretta O’Sullivan, Group Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland; Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank Ireland; and Simon Barry, Chief Economist, Ulster Bank, joined forces to deliver a series of presentations via a webinar to the students on a range of current economic issues including the impact of Brexit, the housing market, as well as Irish, EU and global economic performance. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion chaired by BPFI Chief Economist Ali Ugur. The webinar can be watched back here

The event was one of hundreds of activities taking place across Europe during European Money Week (EMW) 2019, a joint initiative between the European Banking Federation and over 30 European banking associations, including BPFI. The annual initiative aims to raise public awareness on financial literacy and improve financial education for students at primary and secondary level.

FraudSMART Money Mule Campaign

BPFI’s fraud awareness initiative FraudSMART, recently launched a campaign with An Garda Síochána aimed at young adults encouraging them to be alert to the risks and consequences of being recruited as “money mules”.

A survey commissioned by FraudSMART shows strong evidence of money mule activity among young people in Ireland, with research indicating more than two in five (43%) 18-24-year olds are likely or very likely to lodge or transfer money for someone using their own bank account in exchange for keeping some of the money for themselves. This makes them the age group most susceptible to becoming money mules, compared to an overall average of 29% across all age cohorts surveyed.

The survey also revealed that 14% of 18-24-year olds say that they or someone they know have already been approached by another person looking to use their bank details to store money for someone else. When asked about transferring money, the figure jumps to one in five (19%) young adults aged 18-24 who reported that they, or someone they know, have been asked for their bank details by a third party looking to carry out a transaction. This compares to 12% of adults aged 25+, with older age cohorts less likely to be approached.

As part of the awareness campaign, a team of up to 30 crime prevention officers from An Garda Síochána will be on college campuses around the country over the coming weeks to engage with students on the issue and FraudSMART information leaflets are being made available through the Students Union of Ireland.

Dublin students set to represent Ireland in European Finals of financial education competition

Two first year students will go head to head with students from 27 other countries in the live final of the European Money Quiz in Brussels

Dublin students Daniel Olusegun,13 and Darragh McGourty,13, are set to fly the flag for Ireland as they bid to become European Champions in the finals of the European Money Quiz 2019, a European-wide financial education competition.

The European Money Quiz is a European-wide competition which aims to promote financial literacy among students aged between 13-15 year olds. In March, BPFI hosted the Irish heats of the quiz when over 800 students in classrooms across Ireland played the quiz simultaneously in an innovative real time Kahoot! Webcast on YouTube. Students, in teams of two, had to answer a range of financial education related questions with the winner being the team to answer the most correct questions in the fastest time.

Winning team, Daniel and Darragh, first year business studies students from Firhouse Community College, Dublin 24, were today crowned national champions of the Irish heats of the competition and presented with a trophy by BPFI President, Gavin Kelly, at a ceremony to mark their success at national level. They will now travel to Brussels to represent Ireland in the competition’s European final on May 7th. This will see teams of two from 28 countries play directly against each other in a live final in a bid to become European champions. The final will be hosted by the European Banking Federation of which BPFI is a member. In 2018 team Ireland – two students from Co Meath – took second place in the European final.

Speaking at today’s presentation, BPFI President, Gavin Kelly said: “BPFI is delighted to mark the great success of Daniel and Darragh in winning the Irish final of the European Money Quiz and beating off some very stiff competition from schools right across Ireland in the process. This innovative quiz is a great initiative to boost financial literacy amongst students in Ireland. It is vital that we help young people prepare for their future and this quiz is a fun way to learn about money, personal finance and financial terminology. We wish both students every success as they go on to represent Ireland in the European final in Brussels in May and in hoping that, whatever the result, they will learn even more from their experience.”

The European Money Quiz take place as part of European Money Week (EMW), a joint initiative between the European Banking Federation and 30 banking associations across Europe – including BPFI. BPFI’s participation in EMW is part of its on-going work in the area of financial education which also includes the development of BusinessEducation.ie, an online resource for teachers and students of business subjects at second level developed jointly with the Business Studies Teachers’ Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and member banks.

 

For further information contact Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, BPFI, 087 9016880 jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie

European Money Quiz 2018 Irish Final – winners and runners up

Winning Team
Daniel Olusegun & Darragh McGourty, Firhouse Community College, Firhouse, Dublin 24

1st Runners Up
Ciarmhac O’Fionnagain & Michael McGovern of O’Carolan College, Nobber, Co Meath

2nd Runners Up
Patrick McWalter & Aoife Sharkey of St Colmcille’s Community School, Scholarstown Road, Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Over 40% of 18-24-year olds willing to act as “Money Mules”  – new FraudSMART survey

Gardai warn young adults are targets for bank details

Over 1,600 Money Mule cases reported by main Irish retail banks in 2018

An Garda Síochána in association with FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), are advising consumers, particularly young adults, to be alert to the risks and consequences of recruitment as “money mules”.

The warning comes as a new survey commissioned by BPFI as part of its FraudSMART campaign for 2019 shows strong evidence of money mule activity among young people in Ireland. The practice involves criminals recruiting young people to help launder stolen or illegal money using their bank account – often unwittingly. FraudSMART aims to raise awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends, and how consumers and businesses can act to protect themselves.

According to the FraudSMART survey more than two in five (43%) of 18-24-year olds are likely or very likely to lodge or transfer money for someone using their own bank account in exchange for keeping some of the money for themselves. This makes them the age group most susceptible to becoming money mules compared with an overall average of 29% of adults across all age cohorts surveyed.

The chance to earn a “quick buck” is a tactic used by fraudsters to recruit money mules, who are promised a share of the proceeds in exchange for their bank account details. The survey also revealed that 14% of 18-24-year olds say that they or someone they know have already been approached by another person looking to use their bank details to store money for someone else.

When asked about transferring money, the figure jumps to one in five (19%) of young adults aged 18-24 who reported that they or someone they know have been asked by a third party for their bank details to carry out a transaction. This compares to just 12% of adults aged 25+, with older age cohorts overall less likely to be approached.

The FraudSMART research also mirrors new data from BPFI’s member banks, including AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, PTSB and Ulster Bank, who collectively had more than 1,600 confirmed cases of money mule activity on customer accounts in 2018, a large proportion of which involved young account holders.

Niamh Davenport, Head of Fraud Prevention who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, said: “We understand that young adults are trying to juggle work and study with an active social life, with all kinds of costs to cover and it can be very tempting when someone offers you the chance to earn extra cash quickly for little effort. Our research shows that two in five 18-24-year olds are likely to do just that in exchange for their bank details, backed up by data from our member banks which shows that money mules are a growing reality in Ireland today.

 We’re urging young people to be smart when it comes to money mule recruitment, whether it’s someone asking for a favour or promising payment. Know the warning signs, understand the risks and check with someone you really trust if you’re unsure. Equally, for teachers, parents, youth workers and friends to play their part in raising awareness so that more young people are on their guard. We know from experience that most of the recruitment happens online, but it’s having the conversation offline at home, college or work that could really make a difference to a young person you know.”

Gardai warn of consequences

Detective Inspector, Catriona Gunne, is urging young people to understand the consequences of letting another person use their bank account. She said: “If caught, there is the breach of contract with the bank, the prospect of a criminal record as a money mule, and even the possibility of aiding other criminal activities funded by the proceeds of money laundered through your account. Being unaware is not a defence, the bottom line is you are acting illegally.

When it comes to the perceived consequences, whether they knew the money was stolen or not, some 40% of 18-24-year olds surveyed by FraudSMART said jail was the most likely punishment or consequence, followed by the bank closing their account (26%), getting a hefty fine (21%) or receiving a caution (9%). Worryingly, some 4% did not think there would be any consequences at all.

To further highlight the issue, a team of up to 30 crime prevention officers from An Garda Síochána will be on college campuses around the country over the coming weeks to engage with students.

 

For reference:
Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501

Garda Press Office at www.garda.ie

Notes to Editors

The research was carried out by Core Research on behalf of BPFI FraudSMART in March 2019 using a nationally representative omnibus sample of 1,000 adults.

Money Mules Explained

Money Mules are people recruited by criminals to help transfer stolen or fraudulently obtained money from bank accounts. Money Mules can also be known as ‘money transfer agents’.

Criminals pose as employers and dupe targets into laundering money on their behalf. They contact prospective victims with a “job vacancy” advert online, on job search websites or in newspapers. These jobs are usually advertised as “Financial Manager” or “Payments Clerk” with no requirement other than having a bank account. The mule accepts the “job” and in doing so becomes involved in money laundering, which is a criminal activity.

Once recruited a Money Mule receives stolen funds into their account, this is followed by a request to transfer/forward the funds, minus their commission, usually overseas, using a money/wire transfer service. The money the mule is transferring is stolen, and what they are doing is called money laundering, which is illegal.

Top Tips

  1. Thoroughly research any work from home opportunities and do not get involved unless you are sure the business is legitimate. Verify any company that makes you a job offer and check their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website).
  2. Be very careful of unsolicited offers or opportunities to make easy money.
  3. Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they are legitimate.
  4. Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
  5. Never allow your bank account to be used by someone else.
  6. If a job sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

About FraudSMART: FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with the following member banks, Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB, Ulster Bank and An Post. The programme aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends and provide simple and impartial advice on how best they can protect themselves and their resources. www.fraudsmart.ie

About BPFI: 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. www.bpfi.ie

Further advice/information: www.garda.ie for crime prevention advice and contact details of local Garda Stations.