Belfast Telegraph

Bank reveals arrears legal action

Permanent TSB took legal action against 1,600 mortgage customers in arrears of more than 90 days by the end of March.

Shane O'Sullivan, chief of the bank's asset management unit, revealed that just over 25,000 homeowners were at least three months behind their repayments in the first quarter.

Around 6,650 of those - or 26% - had been offered some sort of solution to manage their debt.

Mr O'Sullivan pointed out that this was well in excess of the Central Bank target set for institutions to offer one-fifth of distressed borrowers a sustainable solution.

Some 1,500 Permanent TSB mortgage defaulters were offered a short-term solution during the first quarter, and 2,750 were offered a long-term solution which the bank deemed to be sustainable, such as a split mortgage or interest-only agreement.

Around 800 customers entered into "closure" or "assisted voluntary sale" in which they were forced to work with the bank to try to sell the property.

And 1,600 entered the legal process, involving solicitors and a court hearing date.

Mr O'Sullivan and the bank's chief executive Jeremy Masding were being questioned by the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

Ulster Bank, the Bank of Ireland and AIB have already faced the committee to answer whether they reached targets set by the Central Bank.

Mr Masding said he has no intention of writing off mortgages for distressed borrowers.

Echoing claims from Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank bosses on Wednesday, the TSB chief ruled out debt forgiveness, saying his bank has provisions in place to deal with the arrears crisis.

"I have no intention of writing stuff off, I go through a process with customers," he said.

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