Bank of Ireland repossesses 621 properties in first half of year

Bank of Ireland repossessed 621 owner-occupied or buy-to-let properties in the first half of this year, according to documents submitted to the Oireachtas finance committee in advance of the appearance by its chief executive Richie Boucher today.

Bank of Ireland has told the committee that 322 judgments were enforced against owner-occupiers, with 299 on buy-to-let investments. This means that the property was either in the bank’s possession or had been sold. In the first six months of this year, the bank had sold 80 properties that it had repossessed.

Data provided to the committee shows that 85 properties were repossessed in 2010, rising to 166 the following year, 180 in 2012 and 214 for last year. Between 2010 and last year, Bank of Ireland disposed of 383 of these properties.
Home repossession cases have increased so dramatically that additional court sittings are being scheduled to deal with them, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath has said. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times. Dáil told of surge in home repossession cases before courts

‘An increase in €10 million has been allocated directly to provide accommodation and services to homeless people. Again, an increase in funding is always welcome and comes as a surprise, but given the scale of the problem, with over five new people becoming homeless every day in the Dublin area alone, it will not be sufficient to give everyone a bed for the night.’ Above, demonstrators outside Leinster House, as Minister for Finance Michael Noonan delivered Budget 2015. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Budget 2015 does nothing to stop of the flow of people into homelessness

Private equity is reportedly bidding up the price of housing development land in Dublin. Photograph: Frank MillerPrivate equity firms bet on Dublin house-price rises

Figures for the period to June 2014 show the bank had issued 1,406 solicitor letters to owner occupiers demanding possession of a property and 514 to owners of buy-to-lets. At the end of June, there were 105 unexecuted possession orders held by Bank of Ireland against owner-occupied properties and 73 relating to buy-to-lets.

The figures also shows that the bank had submitted 226 cases relating to owner-occupiers for mortgage to rent to the housing agency, of which 90 are proceeding. In addition, there were just more than 1,000 assisted voluntary sales or voluntary surrenders. In terms of buy-to-lets, there were 967 voluntary sales or surrenders.

By the end of June, Bank of Ireland had provided sustainable solutions to 5,767 of the owner-occupier accounts in arrears of 90 days or more. This represented 52 per cent of the 11,116 total. In terms of buy-to-lets, it had provided 1,604 solutions out of 5,728 accounts in arrears of three months or more.

The bank was asked to answer 45 questions by the committee. This included its view on the Central Bank of Ireland’s proposed caps on mortgage lending. The bank said any view it held on the matter would be made known to the regulator as part of the consultation process, which runs until December 8th.

Bank of Ireland said it had approved 400 switcher products for tracker mortgage customers since its launch in April last year, of which about one-third had been drawn down.

On whether it planned to follow AIB’s lead and cut its standard variable mortgage rate, Bank of Ireland said it “keeps the pricing of all of its products under active review on an ongoing basis”. The bank said about 9 per cent of its Irish mortgages were on a fixed rate, 58 per cent were on a tracker, while 33 per cent were on a standard variable basis.

It was asked about its position on contributing to the costs of the Oireachtas banking inquiry. “Bank of Ireland has not received any material communication from the Oireachtas committee on its proposed engagement with Bank of Ireland. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate for Bank of Ireland to make any comment.”

The bank was also asked why it was withdrawing banking services from Irish companies that transferred money to Cuba or trade with the Caribbean island.

“The US government has a restrictive trade embargo against Cuba, which includes an embargo on making or receiving payments to/from Cuba and/or facilitating the making or receiving of payments to/from Cuba. As a result, we are not in a position to process such transactions.”

Bank of Ireland also confirmed to the committee that it had outsourcing arrangements with IBM (infrastructure managed services), Accenture (change delivery and IT support), Dell (applications managed services), BT (telecoms infrastructure), Wincor Nixdorf (ATM services), Mitie Facilities Management, TSYS (credit and debit card processing) and HCL (business process outsourcing and IT support).