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‘Repossessions show catastrophic effect of economic crisis’

"Close to 220,000 borrowers are currently more than three months in arrears and about a third of them are expected to be repossessed this year.

"The danger with these sort of figures is that they are a further blow to already fragile consumer confidence. The one glimmer of good news is that 98% of borrowers are managing their mortgage payments satisfactorily.

"It’s important that homeowners don’t feel as soon as they struggle to meet their mortgage payments, they will lose their home. This simply isn’t the case. Lenders are actively working to support borrowers wherever possible through difficult times.

"What’s really important though is that lenders ensure they have the expertise to respond directly to customers when they receive a plea for help. The current practice of many lenders to outsource arrears counselling at significant cost to the borrower and to charge high fees for arrears administration needs to stop.

"Lenders need to embrace their responsibility of treating financial hardship sympathetically. Anyone who finds themselves struggling with their mortgage should seek help immediately. After all, it is rarely in anyone’s interest – including the lender’s – to instigate a costly repossession."

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