Pepper Advantage Ireland launches new Temporary Fixed Interest Rate Reduction ARA solution for customers in financial difficulty
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- New temporary fixed interest rate reduction solution will complement existing suite of forbearance solutions available to support customers
08 September 2023 – Pepper Advantage in Ireland has announced the launch of a new Alternative Repayment Arrangement (ARA) solution, which, when applied, will see the interest rate on a customer’s mortgage temporarily discounted and fixed at a reduced interest rate, resulting in reduced monthly repayments during the agreed period.
The Temporary Fixed Interest Rate solution will be available from Monday, September 11th, and has been developed to further assist customers that are in significant financial difficulties due to the recent rising cost of living and interest rate increases.
The discounted fixed interest rate will be fixed for a period of up to two years, meaning the interest rate and monthly repayment amount will not go up or down during this time. The new solution is an ARA, not a new mortgage product. As such, it forms part of Pepper Advantage’s Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process and is intended to complement the broad range of other temporary and longer-term forbearance tools the company currently provides to help customers.
As an ARA, customers cannot specifically apply for the new fixed rate solution and it is only available to customers if the individual assessment of their completed Standard Financial Statement demonstrates that the new solution will address their affordability issues. Where significant affordability issues are identified, limiting a customers’ ability to meet monthly repayments, the Temporary Fixed Interest Rate Reduction ARA may be seen as an appropriate solution.
Cormac Ryan, CEO of Pepper Advantage Ireland, said:
“This continues to be a very challenging time for many people and we have had extensive engagement with thousands of residential customers to offer our support in the face of rising interest rates and living costs. The team at Pepper Advantage has already put hundreds of ARA solutions in place for customers who have engaged with us. Working closely with and supported by the BPFI’s Dealing With Debt campaign, we have also been encouraging anybody concerned about their ability to meet future payments or are already in arrears to contact us immediately so we can help using the range of solutions we have available, which now include this new ARA solution. It is never too late to contact us and our team is here to help.
“This latest solution is a welcome addition for customers with affordability issues who require a higher level of support. While it cannot be specifically applied for by customers and will only be offered to customers following an individual assessment of their circumstances under the MARP process, it further improves the range of solutions we can put in place to help customers, particularly those who have seen a very large increase in their monthly mortgage repayments.”
Available to Tracker and Variable rate customers
The new Temporary Fixed Interest Rate Reduction solution is available to both Variable Rate and Tracker Rate residential mortgage customers. Its availability will depend on the customer’s individual circumstances and an assessment of individual affordability. Other temporary and long-term solutions available include interest-only payments, term extensions, arrears capitalisations, fixed reduced monthly repayments, and interest rate discounts, both for short term and extended periods.
“We are closely monitoring the impact rising interest rates are having on certain tracker mortgage customers. Some of these mortgage loans are interest-only mortgages, meaning these customers have been the most impacted by rising rates and escalating monthly payments. It is a situation we are keeping under constant review, and solutions such as this, combined with ongoing engagement between us and our customers, will help during this challenging period. We want to help customers and work closely with them to find a solution that resolves arrears or keeps them out of an arrears situation,” said Cormac Ryan.
Ongoing support for customers looking to switch:
Pepper Advantage is also working in line with an industry-wide initiative and guidelines for customers seeking to switch their mortgage. The company will continue to support borrowers wishing to avail themselves of this option and has, in recent months, helped hundreds of customers switch to a different lender.
New website and ongoing customer outreach:
Pepper Advantage has recently launched a new website, www.pepper-advantage.ie, with extensive new information for customers looking for information on solutions available to help them manage financial difficulties. The site complements the comprehensive online resource, www.Dealingwithdebt.ie, launched by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland earlier this year as part of the wider industry campaign.
In addition, Pepper Advantage has continued to promote and engage with customers via its customer support helpline for interest rate queries and those worried by the rising cost of living. If any customers need assistance or information, they can contact the helpline at 0818 828 828.