AIB IS TO grant the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) €150,000 towards the running of a new third-party body that will advise distressed mortgage holders.
The move is part of the bank’s attempts to increase engagement with distressed borrowers – particularly those that have not returned a standard financial statement (SFS).
David Hall, the director of the IMHO, said that the deal would be free, confidential and independent.
“The cost of this service is grant aided by AIB Group but independently provided, staffed and managed by IMHO. Customers of AIB Group who are experiencing difficulty paying their mortgage will have the benefit of free and independent professional advice to help them engage with AIB Group and reach a sustainable solution.”
Customers with mortgages from AIB, EBS and Haven will all be able to avail of the service, which will employ a financial advisor to guide borrowers through their dealings with the bank.
Mortgage holders in difficulty will be provided by the IMHO with a designated point of contact where they will be assisted with and advised on the completion of an SFS.
Brendan O’Connor from AIB said that the key for the bank is engagement.
“We need people to fill out the SFS. Anything that helps us get more people doing that is helpful.
Engagement is a crucial part of the arrears resolution process and we view this initiative as an important additional avenue available to customers in difficulty. We recognise that some of our customers are reluctant to deal with the bank directly and view this initiative as a means for people to seek free help and advice from an independent party as part of the resolution process.
However, O’Connor moved to knock back the notion that the new body would be an appeals board for customers who have already been offered a solution by AIB.
“This isn’t an appeals process. If a person has been offered a deal by AIB it is unlikely that, without new information,a new deal would be offered.”
O’Connor added that the bank was keen to overcome the “David versus Goliath” idea that many borrowers have about engaging with the bank.
He also revealed that AIB would be announcing a new split mortgage product in the coming weeks.
First published 1.15pm