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Covid-19 mortgage break to be extended from three months to six

All of the country’s main banks are participating in the break.

A Bank of Ireland branch on O'Connell Street in Dublin.
A Bank of Ireland branch on O'Connell Street in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Apr 30th 2020, 11:24 AM

THE COVID-19 MORTGAGE payment break for people affected by the crisis is to be extended to six months, it was confirmed this morning.  

The break sees qualifying customers whose earnings have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic receive a break on loan repayments. The scheme began last month and was expected to be for three months but this has now been doubled. 

The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said this morning that the extension will apply to all of its members, including the five main retail banks as well as other non-bank lenders

The BPFI says that over 65,000 mortgage payment breaks and over 22,000 SME payment breaks have been granted since the initiative began on 18 March. 

The Irish Independent reported this morning that AIB chief executive Colin Hunt said he expects an extension of the scheme until there is “more certainty”.

In a statement this morning, BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes said that the pandemic is causing a prolonged and deepening crisis and that a “pragmatic approach” is required. 

“BPFI and its members fully appreciate that people are going into a very uncertain period in the weeks and months ahead and our objective is to allay their worries by offering as much relief and certainty as possible in these unprecedented times,” he said. 

All relevant BPFI member firms will be actively contacting customers who have availed of payment breaks over the coming weeks and months about the possibility of extending this break. Customers do not need to contact their lender. Providers will contact customers. All providers involved will be in communication with payment break customers in advance of the expiry of their three-month break, providing detail on the options available to them in the months ahead.

Hayes added that government restrictions have been tightened and extended since the first payment break was announced that the measures “may need to remain in operation for some time”.

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Rónán Duffy

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