BPFI joins law enforcement agencies to highlight cybercrime initiative for victims of ransomware

‘No More Ransom’ online portal helps ransomware victims recover their files free of charge

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has joined law enforcement agencies and industry partners across Europe, including Europol, to highlight the cybercrime initiative No More Ransom, an online portal designed to help victims of ransomware recover their files free of charge.

To date the initiative has helped more than 200,000 victims of ransomware retrieve their files, thus preventing in the region of €96 million euro from reaching criminals. With 14 new tools added in 2019, the portal can now decrypt 109 different types of ransomware infections – a number that is continuing to grow.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their systems or devices; and it asks victims to pay a ransom through specific online payment methods by a certain deadline to regain control of their data. The general advice is not to pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that the victim will receive the decryption key in return. By sending the money, victims will be financing criminals and encouraging them to continue their illegal activities.

No More Ransom is the first public-private partnership of its kind offering the victims of ransomware an alternative solution to losing their files or having to pay the demanded money to the criminals. A total of 42 law enforcement agencies, five EU Agencies and 101 public and private entities including BPFI have come together in support of this initiative.

Speaking about the importance of the initiative BPFI CEO, Brian Hayes, stated: “We are pleased to be partnering in this well-established No More Ransom initiative. The dedicated portal serves as a way to help educate the public about ransomware, but more importantly, to also offer decryption tools to help individuals recover files that have been locked by ransomware. Ransomware authors are criminals who are wholly dishonest in what they do. This initiative is another piece of armoury in the battle against cybercrime . People should be able to use a computer, tablet or smartphone without the fear of having their information or held hostage.”

Prevention remains as the most effective method of protection against ransomware. Consumers and businesses are advised to follow a number of simple steps to avoid ransomware from getting into their electronic devices: keep offline backups, ensure software is up to date, use a robust antivirus and apply caution when clicking on attachments and visiting unknown websites.

For more information visit www.nomoreransom.org

 

For further information contact Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, BPFI, 087 9016880 or jillian.heffernan@bpfi.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 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

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 Q2 2019 and Mortgage Approvals Report for June 2019.

The following are the key figures from the Mortgage Drawdowns Report for Q2 2019:

  • 10,157 new mortgages to the value of €2,250 million were drawn down by borrowers during the second quarter of 2019
  • This represents an increase of 8.8% in volume and 11.7% in value on the corresponding second quarter of 2018. A comparison with the previous quarter (Q1 2019) also shows a strong increase in both volume (18.4%) and in value (19.4%) – see the chart below.
  • First-time buyers (FTBs) remain the single largest segment by volume (49.6%) and by value (50.5%).
  • Switching activity (re-mortgage loans) also recorded a year-on-year increase of 11.0% in volume and 12.8% in value.
Mortgage Drawdowns Trend, Q1 2017 to Q2 2019

 

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

  • A total of 4,478 mortgages were approved in June 2019 – some 2,235 were for FTBs (52.1% of total volume) while mover purchasers accounted for 1,233 (27.5%)
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 4.8% year-on-year and fell by 9.1% compared to the previous month.
  • Mortgages approved in June 2019 were valued at €1,032 million – of which FTBs accounted for €550 million (53.3%) and €332million by mover purchasers (32.2%).
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 7.3% year-on-year and fell by 9.2% month-on-month.

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 Q2 2019 show good growth on corresponding 2018 activity.  This should come as no surprise, as it reflects the growth during the first half of the year in the number of mortgages approved for borrowers by lenders – largely driven by First Time Buyers.  The growth in mortgage switching over the last 12 months supports our assessment showing activity in this area returning to a level last seen in 2008.  Mortgage approvals in the year to June show good growth at 4.8%, while activity is down on the preceding month of May – which could be down to seasonality.”

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

BPFI Publishes Brexit Banking FAQs for Consumers

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) have today published a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for consumers to help explain how Brexit will affect bank products and services including mortgages, savings and payments. Also included is information for business customers as well how BPFI member banks are preparing in the event of a hard Brexit.

Speaking on the publication of the FAQs, BPFI CEO, Brian Hayes said: “With continued uncertainty around Brexit and what will happen next, we are very aware that consumers have concerns about how their day-to-day banking might be affected. While many of our members banks have produced a range of information for their customers, this series of FAQs aims to provide further reassurance to consumers on the key questions they may have around the most common banking products and services and allay any fears they may have in this regard.”

The information, Brexit: Your Questions About Banking Answered, is available 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.

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

Central Bank Report on Tracker Mortgage Investigation: BPFI Statement

Noting publication today of the Central Bank’s final report on its tracker mortgage investigation, BPFI’s CEO, Brian Hayes, stated:

 “The tracker mortgage scandal represents a shameful chapter in Irish banking which caused great distress and financial damage to many bank customers.  We welcome the conclusion of this element of the Central Bank’s work, while its enforcement actions against offending banks remain to be concluded.”

 “The future of banking in Ireland must be about the highest possible standards of behaviour and professionalism. What’s important now are actions rather than words.  Delivering a change in culture in order to achieve better outcomes for bank customers, bank staff and society as a whole is the absolute priority.” 

 The Irish banking industry is focused on concrete outcomes over the coming months in addition to various initiatives already underway across our member banks.  These will include a number of new initiatives of our own, our supporting the work of the Irish Banking Culture Board and working with the Central Bank on the new Senior Executive Accountability Regime.”

 “Rebuilding trust and reputation in Ireland’s banking sector is a challenge that the industry fully recognises. We are determined to fix the problems.”

 

 

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, 087 9016880 or jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie

Brian Hayes, BPFI CEO addresses the Association of European Journalists in Dublin

Brian Hayes, CEO, Banking & Payments Federation Ireland today addressed the lunch of the Association of European Journalists at Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin. In his speech, extracts of which are included below, he addressed the issue of trust and reputation and reaffirmed the banking industry’s commitment to rebuilding trust in the sector and embedding a customer-focused culture.

“Big controversial decisions leave a legacy that can define politicians and indeed can define industries. Reputations lost can be very hard or sometimes impossible to regain. In going to work for and in the banking industry I’m well aware of its standing in Ireland and well aware of the legacy issues that remain…

“Repairing reputation requires not just words or speeches, but tangible actions in the here and now. Real actions that deliver change and are clear to customers that change is underway.

“Some say we should simply write off the banks. That we start out again. But what do we put in their place? If we didn’t have banks, effecting the lives of so many people on a day-to-day basis from payments to the financing of the real economy; what alternative do we replace them with?

“I believe the industry is worth fighting for. I believe that the 30,000 people who work in Irish banking, which represents about 40% of the entire financial services jobs count in Ireland, have a right to work in an industry that is respected. People who work in banking in Ireland – 50% of whom were not in the banks 10 years ago – have a legitimate expectation that their job and their work is recognised as being important to Ireland and her economy.

“Reputation for me is determined by two fundamental measurements. One is capability, the other is character.

“On capability the question is really do you trust a bank for instance to do a job? Have they capability? If you deposit money will you get it back? Do you trust a bank with data or is that bank good at detecting fraud online or through traditional accounts?

“Do you know or trust your local branch? Banks have meaningful engagement everyday across this country through a network of branches. Online banking is regarded as one of the most significant recent inventions. The efficient use of capital is fundamental to the reason why a bank exists. I believe that most people when pressed or maybe begrudgingly, broadly accept that banks have certain capabilities.

“On the character measurements – that’s where the banks really fall down. The lending decisions taken before the crash and the subsequent tracker mortgage scandal – point to a lack of character and without character there cannot be reputation.

“Character is that intangible ingredient. It makes up a person’s mind. It defines what a person might do – do they make the right decision, or do they make the wrong decision? Do they confront bad behaviour or simply ignore it? – putting risk or indeed profit ahead of their customers. Customers; who they have a long-term relationship with. If there is a perceived lack of character – it’s difficult to get past first base.

“Whatever banks do – they cannot hide away. Banks need to explain their side of the argument and they cannot leave the stage empty. The new regulatory, liquidity tests and de risking environment that operate in is a million miles away from what happened in the past. The last eight years has all been about building out banking union across the EU. Effectively building it from scratch.  From new EU stress tests to the provisioning of extraordinary amounts of capital that are required today – European banking has gone through seismic change.

“Banks are too important to the real economy and too important to the investment phase of Ireland’s economic come back. And it is the investment phase that is so important now. From the top of the crisis till now we are about 20% below where we should be on investment. Sustainable growth is predicated on investment and while non-bank lending is growing – bank lending will continue to be the mainstay for households and businesses into the future.

“The issue of the loss of banking reputation is replicated across the world. It’s not of course unique to Ireland. But we owe it to the people of Ireland especially, after everything that’s happened, to deliver on commitments made. To fix the problems that exist within Irish banking.  To repay the taxpayer in full. To transform the customer experience. To speak out on public policy where banks have expertise and knowledge. To encourage banking as a profession to the next generation as an important core task in a modern diverse and internalized economy.

“I hope we can make progress. I know there is a firm industry commitment, at the highest level, to build on important foundations that exist. But actions and cultural change will determine the future of banking in Ireland. We all have responsibility to deliver that.”

 

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, 087 9016880 or jillian.heffernan@bpfi.ie

Mortgage Approvals: Strong uplift in May 2019

Over 4,900 mortgages to the value of €1.14 billion were approved in May

Over 10% increase in year-on-year number of approvals

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

The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 4,926 mortgages were approved in May – some  2,520 (51.2% of total volume) were for first-time buyers (FTBs) while mover purchasers accounted for 1,297 (26.3%).
  • The number of mortgages approved rose by 19.9% month-on-month and by 10.1% year-on-year.
  • Mortgages approved in May 2019 were valued at €1,137 million – of which FTBs accounted for €600 million (52.8%) and €344 million (30.3%) by mover purchasers.
  • The value of mortgage approvals rose by 22.1% month-on-month and by 12.1% year-on-year.

While not as strong as the growth in FTB approvals, re-mortgage/switching approvals still rose on a year-on-year basis by 7.5% in volume and by 5.1% in value terms.

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

“Mortgage approvals in May show a significant increase in both volume and value compared to the previous month as well as the previous year.  In line with the broad pattern over recent months this uplift in activity is very evident in the first-time buyer segment of the market, which continues to account for just over half of all mortgage approvals.  Ongoing growth in the market overall is reflected in the 47,354 mortgage approvals to the value of €10.5 billion which have been issued by lenders to borrowers in the 12 months to end-May 2019.  All in all, these approval figures point to a good pipeline of mortgage drawdown activity.”

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

Contact: For further information contact BPFI on 01 6715311