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Mortgage holders facing rate hike beyond ECB rise

Meanwhile, thousands of mortgage holders in arrears are being refunded charges incorrectly applied to their accounts, according to the Central Bank.
Jul 3rd 2011, 3:39 PM 729 4

AROUND 200,000 mortgage holders in Ireland are expected to be affected by interest rate hikes higher than those expected by the ECB later this month, according to a report in today’s Sunday Business Post (print edition).

The report says variable rates are likely to be worst affected by the increases.

The ECB is expected to announce a 0.25 per cent interest rate increase next week. Last month, its chairman Jean-Claude Trichet said the ECB and eurozone nations need to exercise “strong vigilance”, which is known as a signal the bank is preparing to increase the rate.

Reuters reports that although the Greek debt crisis cast doubt over whether the ECB would go ahead with the increase, but the markets appear to be expecting a rate rise.

Overcharging on arrears

Meanwhile, figures released by the Central Bank on Friday show that almost 3,100 mortgage accounts in arrears were overcharged almost €70,000. The discrepancy was discovered during a review of lending institutions’ compliance with the revised Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.

The Central Bank’s director of consumer protection, Bernard Sheridan, said:

This inspection demonstrates that while mortgage lenders inspected had taken steps to be in compliance with the charging requirement of the CCMA further effort was required by some of these lenders to achieve full compliance.

Sheridan said that although the amounts being refunded to each affected person might be small, “they are significant” to those in mortgage arrears.

The bank said that any mortgage holder who is in arrears or fears they are in danger of falling behind in their repayments should contact their lender as soon as possible. It also reminded lenders that they are obliged to carry out such meetings with clients “in a timely and responsive manner”.

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