The latest Central Bank figures, which show one-in-four restructured mortgages were back in arrears in the first three months of the year, proves that the banks remain the main barrier to bringing about relief for struggling mortgage holders in Kerry, according to local Senator Mark Daly.
The Kerry Senator commented, “Just over 24,700 new mortgage structures were agreed in the first quarter of the year but in a third of these cases (33.1%) this was an interest only arrangement. Banks are continuing to string thousands of people along and are failing to really deal with the crisis facing distressed borrowers. I am meeting families in Kerry who have increased fears now about repossession in light of the new Code of Conduct.
“The performance of the banks to date in managing the mortgage crisis has been abysmal. A mere 144 split mortgages have been put in place while we know that there were 95,554 residential mortgage accounts in arrears of over 90 days at end-March and an average of 250 mortgages accounts continue to fall into arrears every week.
“Despite all the evidence over the last five years showing a complete lack of compassion and desire on the parts of banks to deal with the mortgage crisis the government has actually extended the power of banks over borrowers in difficulty. The revised Code of Code is extremely disappointing particularly in its decision to allow unlimited unsolicited calls to distressed borrowers and the fact that it is now easier for them to move struggling borrowers off tracker mortgages. I know these measures will be the cause of huge anxiety for borrowers in Kerry.
“It’s not too late for the government to recognise it is on the wrong course. Mortgage holders in difficulty need support, they don’t need to be hounded by the banks, driven to the courts and put under even greater stress. Fianna Fáil’s proposal for an independent Debt Settlement Office that takes account of all of a borrower’s debts and shifts the balance of power away from the banks remains the most sensible and fairest approach to tackling this crisis.”