Ulster Bank offers 2,000 debt deal
ULSTER Bank is to offer debt write-off deals to 2,000 customers already in arrears with mortgage repayments.
The offer applies to those eligible for social housing and who have not engaged with the bank in relation to repayments and are already facing repossession.
The bank will also consider a debt write-off deal for other mortgage holders who do not qualify for social housing, but it is understood this approach will be on a case-by-case basis.
The bank is writing to customers today outlining plans for those eligible for the deal if they sell their homes.
If a customer does not qualify for social housing the letter says the bank will work with them to agree what it calls a "fair process". This may involve some form of write-off of residual debt.
"Ulster Bank's primary objective has always been to help our customers in difficulty come to a fair solution which allows them to remain in their homes," said chief risk officer Stephen Bell.
"We firmly believe that through engagement, a solution can be found for the vast majority of customers who are in arrears and we are trying to encourage this in every way we can.
"For the 22,000 customers that have already come out of home loan arrears or are in an arrangement, these commitments are not new, but for those who are not reading the letters or answering the phone to our help, I appeal to them to engage with us.
"We will not seek to repossess your home if you engage with us and we can agree a solution or outcome. We will also look sensitively at your expenditure to ensure that you maintain a reasonable standard of living. But if you do not engage, we have no choice but to go down the legal route."
A statement from the bank added that although the majority of people engage with the organisation, "some 2,000 customers neither contribute to their home loan nor discuss this issue with Ulster Bank. In these situations, the Bank has no choice but to pursue the legal route as a last resort".
Ulster Bank employs 350 people in Dublin and Edinburgh to deal with its mortgage arrears customers.
The number of the bank's customers behind on their mortgages has steadily fallen over the last two years, with 12,000 moving out of arrears.