The latest, highly irritating, half-talk about the real issues comes courtesy of our FR. Per Matthew Elderfiled, Ireland's mortgage arrears figures stand at 36,000 borrowers or 4.3% of the borrowers. Now, the number clearly does not include:
- Those who have renegotiated their mortgage terms (acknowledged by Mr Elderfield), forced to do so by... err... inability to pay; and
- Those who are in the receipt of state aid to pay their mortgage interest, due to their... err... inability to cover their mortgage; and
- Those who are missing some of the payments, without triggering actual arrears (say paying 5 months out of every six, thus sliding in and out of arrears)
It's a hugely difficult subject," Mr Elderfield told the Dail Committee today. Really? What's all the highly paid FR staff for, then? To write speeches for the Regulator and arrange events calendar?
Another question for Mr Elderfield. Q1 2010 estimate by NIRSA showed that 32,321 mortgages were in arrears 90 days or over. Figures from the Central Bank show that 36,438 mortgages were in arrears for more than 90 days at the end of June 2010. What's the value of Mr Elederfiled's latest statement if it offers no new information?
And just when you get the idea that Mr Elderfield should have been answering more questions than he did, here's the last one: What is his office doing to prevent banks from savaging more vulnerable (to increases in the cost of mortgage finance) ARM mortgage holders?