Belfast Telegraph

Bank: 10% of mortgages in arrears

More than one in 10 struggling mortgage-holders fell behind on payments in the first three months of the year.

The Central Bank said 77,630 loans on homes - 10.2% of the 768,917 private residential mortgages held in Ireland - were in arrears of more than 90 days at the end of March.

Another 7.8% of mortgage holders were behind with payments of more than six months.

Elsewhere, the courts ordered lenders to repossess 65 homes, while another 105 properties were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned.

The total number in arrears by three months had jumped by 1% since December. Almost 80,000 mortgage holders had arranged to restructure their payments with lenders, up by about 5,000 from December.

The Central Bank said almost half of these were not in arrears and that agreed payments were being made. The remaining 41,000 restructured accounts were in arrears of varying amounts.

"Therefore, 116,288 accounts were either in arrears of over 90 days or had been restructured and were performing as at the end of March," the Central Bank added.

The Irish Banking Federation said the figures were unsurprising as they reflect the lag effect of new customers who in 2011 were unable to meet their payments.

It insisted that banks were committed to working with customers to resolve the situation.

"While most borrowers continue to meet their mortgage repayments, those borrowers facing difficulties are being assisted by their lenders based on individual banks' recovery strategies and in a manner which reflects direction and guidance from the Central Bank of Ireland which focuses on determining the sustainability, on a case-by-case basis, of each individual mortgage," a spokesman added.

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