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Irish Troubled Home Loans Rise to More Than 100,000, Data Show

The share of Irish mortgages in arrears or restructured rose in the fourth quarter to more 100,000, or 14 percent of all home loans, according to the central bank.

At the end of December, some 107,708 out of a total 768,917 mortgages were either more than 90 days behind in payments or were performing after loan terms were altered, the Dublin-based central bank said in a statement today. At the end of September, the figure was 99,346, or 12.8 percent of loans, according to data published on Nov. 18.

While Ireland’s government has ruled out widespread mortgage debt forgiveness even as it reshapes personal bankruptcy and insolvency laws, the central bank is pushing lenders to come up with solutions for unsustainable mortgages. The state has injected about 62 billion euros ($81.4 billion) into banks over the past three years amid soaring bad loans.

“It is important that borrowers cooperate fully with their lender in order to be able to avail of protections under the Central Bank’s revised Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears,” Bernard Sheridan, the bank’s director of consumer protection, said in the statement.

Irish mortgages in arrears for more than 90 days rose to 9.2 percent at the end of last year from 8.1 percent at the end of the third quarter, according to the central bank.

Irish unemployment tripled to an average 14.2 percent last year from 4.5 percent in 2007 as the economy shrank about 15 percent after a real-estate bubble burst. Irish lenders held 895 repossessed homes at the end of last year, according to the central bank.

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