The highest mortage interest rates in Europe
According to the Central Bank of Ireland, Irish mortgage holders pay the highest mortgage interest rates in the Eurozone – over twice the European average. This is made even worse by the fact that the interest received by customers on their savings is only 0.05%, compared with the European average of 0.36%. This means that for every €100 saved a customer will receive only 5 cents. For every €100 borrowed they are paying over €3.
Fine Gael has continued to back the banks at the expense of the people. They have resisted every attempt at regulating the market to ensure mortgage interest rates are fair and reasonable. Fianna Fáil will bring much needed transparency to the market and further competition on rates.
Fianna Fáil’s plan to lower mortgage interest rates
Ban cashback offers and other gimmicks that are used to hide higher interest rates. According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission a cash back offer can cost the customer over €40,000 in extra interest over the lifetime of the mortgage.
Limit competition to rates
Ensure that banks are competing on rates alone.
Ban rate discrimination
Ban discrimination between new and existing customers. Too many banks offer new rates that are only available to new customers. We would ban this practice. If a new rate is being offered, it must be offered to existing customers also. This would make it easier for them to switch provider if they choose to do so.
Open up competition.
Enable An Post and the Credit Union to enter the mortgage market, adding much needed competition to the sector which would drive down interest rates.
Deal with legacy mortgage arrears
Deal with the legacy mortgage arrears issue by establishing a Mortgage Arrears Office to deal with these cases. Banks should not be simply outsourcing their loan books to vulture funds. Dealing with the legacy arrears issue would bring down interest rates and encourage competition in the market.
Reduce barriers to mortgage switching
Make it much easier for mortgage holders to switch their mortgage to another provider. Ireland has extremely low mortgage switching rates and this needs to change.
Rates should reflect risk
Ensure that the rates charged reflect the risks faced by the bank. As a customer pays off their mortgage the risk to the bank decreases. This will also provide an incentive for the customer to pay off their debts.
Cap on interest rates
Place a cap on interest rates if they remain the highest in the Eurozone. This has been done in many Eurozone countries.