Fears Grow As Ulster Bank Join PTSB In Plotting Mortgage Sales

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Ulster Bank claims it’s to sell around a third of its home loans in arrears which means as many as 7,000 mortgages could be put on the market.

It published its full year results this morning which show it had an operating loss of 151 million in 2017.

The sale would make it the second major bank in the country to try to put non-performing mortgages on the market.

Permanent TSB is also looking for a buyer for 18,000 despite Fianna Fáil’s threat to block the sale.

Ulster Bank’s CEO Gerry Mallon says they’ll try to sell their loan book as long as it’s legal… ”We operate under the framework of laws and regulations and neither of those are optional to us. So the laws are a matter for the lawmakers and the regulations are a matter for the regulators and we’ll do whatever is required to comply with both. We’ll have a portfolio that we’ll bring forward to the market and we’ll see who is eligible and interested to but it.”

”Part of our strategy and one of the things that we’ve made an adjustment in our accounts for is the fact that we reckon that a loan sale is going to be one of the things we will have to deploy and it could be approximately a third of the overall non-performing loan book.”

The proposal has met with criticism because of the risk those mortgages will end up in the hands of vulture funds.

The finance minister is taking the weekend to consider the proposed bill, and whether or not the government will support it.

Fianna Fáil’s Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has introduced a bill that would regulate vulture funds, having met with Minister Paschal Donohoe earlier this week.

He’s says it’s crucial that the issue is addressed before any potential sales from both banks … ”The policy is more important than the politics, if we solve the policy problem than we will also have solved a political problem. Next week really is critical in getting a decision from government.”

Meanwhile the opposition aren’t resting on their laurels in offering reproachment for the government over the issue.

One party says the government should buy some of the non-performing mortgages being sold by banks.

People Before Profit fears unregulated vulture funds may buy the majority of the distressed mortgages.

PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett says the government needs to step in … ”They are probably people who are saddled with a massive debt, do not know how to cope. The banks have not exactly been the most pleasant people to deal with, so it’s hardly surprising that many of them are burying their head in the sand.”