Bank of Ireland has 'zero plans' to buy or sell mortgages in arrears

The bank has reported an underlying profit of just over €1 billion for 2017

Bank of Ireland has 'zero plans' to buy or sell mortgages in arrears

Photo:Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Bank of Ireland says it has 'zero plans' to buy or sell mortgages in arrears.

The bank has released its annual results for the past year, showing it made an underlying profit of just over €1 billion.

The issue of banks' distressed home loans has become a political issue in the wake of Permanent TSB's confirmation that it plans to sell around 18,000 distressed mortgages.

That move has sparked concerns from opposition parties that the loans could end up in the hands of so-called vulture funds.

Last week, Ulster Bank also said that it could sell up to 7,000 loans that are in arrears.

However, Group CEO of Bank of Ireland, Francesca McDonagh, says they have no intention to do likewise.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, she said: "We have zero plans to be acquiring or selling [non-performing loans].

"It's not in our plans. Part of the results today are showing a really important improvement in our asset quality. So we see our non-performing exposure reduced by 31%, which is good progress."

Speaking about this year's profit, she observed: "It's the first time in ten years that we're confirming our intention to pay a dividend to our shareholders, which is a pivotal moment for the bank."

She also noted that the bank is 'significantly increasing' their new mortgage lending, adding that they are also planning to re-enter the broker market later this year.