Ireland central bank sets lenders tougher debt targets
* One in five homeowners unable to repay loans
* Banks must reach agreements with more distressed borrowers
DUBLIN, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Ireland's central bank and bailout lenders set the country's lenders tougher targets on Tuesday to solve a mortgage arrears crisis that has left one in five of all Irish homeowners unable to repay their loans.
Ireland took an 85 billion euro ($114 billion) bailout in 2010 after rescuing its banks, whose easy lending had fuelled a credit bubble, and the central bank has been pressing lenders to get to grips with mortgage arrears.
It has agreed with Ireland's "troika" of international lenders - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - to require banks to conclude agreements with 15 percent of customers with mortgage arrears over 90 days by the end of this year.
That compares with a previous target of only offering solutions to 50 percent of distressed borrowers by the end of 2013.
"Furthermore, the central bank is now setting expectations for end-March 2014 for sustainable solutions offered to customers to reach 70 percent of over 90-day arrears and for concluded solutions to reach 25 percent," the central bank said in a statement. ()
The central bank says mortgage arrears is the main domestic policy issue, with home loans worth 25 billion euros not being fully repaid.
Lawmakers said this month that the largest banks have relied too heavily on threatening legal action against mortgage borrowers rather than agreeing debt restructurings.