State 'has abandoned mortgage holders'
THE Government and banks have been accused of abandoning thousands of mortgage holders who are years behind on their mortgage repayments.
New figures from the Department of Finance show that 29,070 mortgage accounts were more than two years behind on repayments at AIB/EBS, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, KBC Bank and ACC in April.
The total number of residential mortgage accounts in long-term arrears at the six banks has changed little over the past two months.
The six banks are subject to Central Bank targets for dealing with arrears cases.
David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation warned that those in long-term arrears were most at risk of losing their homes.
"This long-term arrears figure is where the real issue is," Mr Hall said. "Banks and the Government are spinning good news on short-term, temporary arrears.
"But they are intentionally not addressing the socially and financially dangerous levels of long-term arrears."
He claimed the Government had chosen to prioritise its political future over those in long-term arrears.
Mr Hall said recent announcements by the Government for dealing with those more than two years in arrears lacked substance and were about keeping the problem off the news agenda until after the general election.
The department's figures show there has been another fall in the overall number of mortgage accounts in arrears at the six main domestic banks.
But banks still have a huge backlog of cases where the accounts are in arrears and the repayment agreements have yet to be restructured.
A total of 57,100 mortgage accounts were more than three months in arrears at the end of April. This is down by almost 900 accounts. But more than 40,000 accounts are in arrears and the payments have not been restructured to sort out the problem, the figures show.