Bank of Ireland is keeping variable mortgage rates high to push customers towards fixed plans

The bank can't rule out selling non-performing loans to vulture funds...

Bank of Ireland is keeping variable mortgage rates high to push customers towards fixed plans

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Bank of Ireland's chief executive Richie Boucher has told the finance committee that the bank has kept its variable mortgage rates high in an attempt to nudge customers towards fixed rate options.

"We are deliberately incentivising customers to switch to fixed rate," he said, adding, "Every one of our existing customers can avail of a fixed rate and everyone of our existing customers could save money by going to a fixed rate."

"The borrower gets certainty on what they repay and we get certainty from our point of view," he continued.

"It does bind you for a period, but it's not for the lifetime of the mortgage," Mr Boucher told the committee.

The majority of mortgages being drawn-down by customers are now fixed rates.

On mortgage arrears, the banker said that repossessions are likely to rise in 2017 - but there will not be a dramatic increase - he added that such action is always reserved as a "last resort."

When asked if the bank can rule out the sale of non-performing loans to vulture funds he said that such a sale cannot be ruled out.