Irish Life growth hit by rise in mortgage arrears

IRISH banking and insurance group Irish Life said a rising number of its mortgage holders were in arrears, pulling its performance down despite steady growth in its saving and investment products yesterday.

Its Permanent TSB mortgage bank, which is loss-making and was found to need an extra €4bn (£3.5bn) of capital in recent stress tests, said mortgage arrears were up 17 per cent to 13,500 by the end of April.

More customers were leaving its retail life insurance products, it said, with lapsed policies up ten percentage points in the first-quarter compared with the same period in 2010.

However, it said life and saving product sales grew 20 per cent in the quarter compared with last year.

Irish Life and Permanent was the only Irish lender to avoid tapping the state for a bailout until this year, but its acute funding position and exposure to Irish mortgages proved its undoing.