Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has welcomed the announcement from An Post that it intends to enter the Irish mortgage market next year with a joint venture partner and has called on the Government to fully support the initiative.

Commenting, Deputy McGrath said, “For some time now, the Irish mortgage market has been badly in need of a major shake-up. Consumers are still paying the highest rates in the Eurozone and there has been no sign of any major new competition arriving into the market. This is what makes the statement from An Post so significant.

“While the main mortgage lenders in Ireland are spending money on marketing, there is little sign of real competition. The fact that none of the other banks have felt the need to match Ulster Bank’s new 2.3% fixed rate announced last June speaks volume for the lack of dynamic competition in the market. If An Post can deliver a mortgage product at up to 1% cheaper than the existing banks, consumers will be the winner.

“An Post is in a positive position to enter the mortgage market as it does not have to deal with legacy issue such as the tracker mortgage debacle and the high rates of non-performing loans. With the right partner, An Post has the potential to offer an exciting mortgage product and at much cheaper rates than currently available.

“I believe it is time also to review the restrictions on long term lending currently in place preventing Credit Unions from reaching their potential as a mortgage lender. Credit Unions also have the capacity to provide badly needed competition in the Irish mortgage market.

“This announcement by An Post is most welcome. They now need to be given every possible support by government to make it a reality,” concluded McGrath.