On the 15th December the Financial Regulator released figures which revealed that almost 14,000 mortgages for more than three months were in arrears at the end of June this year. This figure represents 1.4% of residential mortgages, and is up from the end of December 2006 when 11,252 mortgages or 1.2% of all mortgages, were in arrears. In launching these figures, Mary O'Dea the Consumer Director of the Financial Regulator, called on mortgage lenders to continue to engage with borrowers who are in financial difficulties and willing to enter into revised arrangements to repay their mortgages. As part of a study by the Regulator into procedures for handling arrears, it found that lenders accepted revised payments when a mortgage holder was in financial difficulty and was willing to repay the debt. The study also found that mortgage lenders generally had procedures in place for handling arrears and repossessions which clearly stated that repossession of a residential property was a last resort.
The Irish Bankers Federation has welcomed this confirmation by the Financial Regulator of the well-established lending practices of the mortgage lenders in Ireland and attributes this to the fact that the banks subscribe to the IBF Code of Practice on mortgage arrears.