Central Bank to prioritise arrears crisis, insists Honohan

Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan

Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan has hit out at banks for failing to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis head on.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Week in Politics, Professor Honohan said senior management at the Central Bank were “tearing their hair out” at the lack of action from banks to get people “back on target” but said they would be making the issue a priority now that a deal had been secured on the nation’s debt.

He said the Central Bank were even considering issuing directions to lenders on how to deal with arrears, such was their concern at the issue.

Around 17% of homeowners are currently in arrears with Prof Honohan insisting that progress on restructuring loans was “not good enough”

“They’re (homeowners in arrears) not being dealt with in sufficient numbers and that’s why we’re tearing our hair out… this simply isn’t good enough.

“There’s ongoing progress to get them to work more quickly, the sorting of people who have to be brought back on target and those who need relief.

“I’m not satisfied at all that the banks have made as much progress as I would have expected.

“They haven’t made up their minds exactly how to make these choices and as time goes on, we’re getting close to being more directive,” Prof Honohan said.