Bank of Ireland CEO Says Home Loan Arrears to Peak in 2012

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Officer Richie Boucher said he expects the lender’s home loan arrears, which rose to 5.6 percent in December from 3.76 percent a year earlier, to peak in 2012.

“We don’t anticipate they’ve peaked yet,” Boucher told reporters after the company reported full-year figures. Still, the bank expects “the ratio of increase will start to ease in 2012 and will peak in 2012.”

The bank has about 1 billion euros of provisions set aside to cover bad home loans. Bank of Ireland is “highly likely” to participate in the European Central Bank’s second offering of three-year loans at the end of February, Boucher said. While Bank of Ireland tapped the ECB for 7.5 billion euros of funds in the Frankfurt-based bank’s first offering of long-term loans in December, this reflected the Irish bank switching short-term ECB loans for three-year facilities, he said.

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