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Homeowners fear 'cliff-edge' as mortgage break scheme ends

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

The mortgage payment break scheme will not be extended.

However, Government ministers have played down the threat of a "cliff-edge" for mortgage borrowers on payment breaks.

It comes after ministers met the heads of the country's main retail banks as pressure was piled on them to further extend their offer of loan repayment breaks for those who borrowed from banks and other lenders.

The breaks will no longer be offered from the end of this month, with most of those who took out a six-month break back in March now coming to that end of the break on Thursday.

This has prompted fears of a cliff-edge, where households and businesses will not be in a position to resume payments.

Some 37,000 mortgage accounts are benefiting from a payment break.

There had been calls from Sinn Féin and Labour to extend the breaks.

But there is to be no large-scale offer of extending the payment breaks by banks and other lenders.

Instead, some payment breaks may be offered, with other solutions also looked at, according to a Government statement.

Solutions

Chief executive of the Irish Mortgage Holders' Organisation, David Hall, said: "This is a shameful decision which will cause additional unnecessary harm to many households and shows banks' continued unhelpful approach."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath were online for the virtual meeting with the heads of the five main banks.

Afterwards, the Tánaiste said the banks agreed solutions for those unable to resume full payments would be applied on a case-by-case basis.

He said the pandemic meant that people found themselves unable to repay mortgages or business loans through no fault of their own.

"For this reason the banks must continue to offer payment breaks to individuals and business that still need them."

"Following on from the meeting, the banks agreed that this would be done on a case-by-case basis with other options also being made available; reduced payments and interest-only, for example."

Mr Varadkar said that anyone who is struggling should contact their bank and he expects that arrangements will be made based on each individual's circumstances.