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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

There's some 'good news' for Ulster Bank mortgage holders in arrears

Those who qualify for social housing can sell their homes and not be pursued for the outstanding debt.

Updated 10.17am

A MOVE BY Ulster Bank to provide leeway to mortgage holders in arrears has been welcomed as “good news”.

In a letter to homeowners, seen by RTÉ News, the bank said that if those with outstanding repayments are eligible for social housing, they can sell their homes and will not be pursued for the outstanding debt.

Alternative arrangements will be sought with those on higher incomes.

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association has described the commitment as “good news”.

“It might very well be the fresh start people are looking for,” Hall told Morning Ireland.

He noted that those who qualify for social housing are likely to be unable to make any further mortgage repayments, and ‘have no where else to go’.

This is more about housing for that vulnerable cohort for people than it is about debt.

However, mortgage advisory group New Beginning said the new scheme must not be supported.

“This is a proposal designed to make Ulster Bank money and their customers homeless,” he claimed in a statement.

It added that this is a proposal that “might have had merit in 2009 but now lacks any understanding of where we are”.

Hall said it is “against his religion” to start a week by being complimentary about a bank, but he welcomed Ulster Bank’s efforts in this area, along with AIB and KBC.

Significant effort will be needed to coax other banks to follow suit, he said.

The Coalition is expected to announce new measures in this week’s Spring Statement to combat the mortgage crisis. “Something substantial is going to happened,” Hall predicted.

Read: ‘We’ll cut them again in a month or two’ – AIB chief on mortgage rates >

Poll: Should the government bail out mortgage holders who are in arrears? >

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