Ulster Bank commits £50 million for co-ownership mortgage lending

Ulster Bank commits £50 million for co-ownership mortgage lending
Ulster Bank’s Mike Bamber, Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie and Alan Crowe, of Co-Ownership Housing, at the launch of Ulster Bank’s new lending scheme.

Monday 16th February 2009: In yet another innovative move Ulster Bank has today announced that it is making a further £50 million available for mortgages to support people onto the property ladder this year. The money is being committed for lending in conjunction with the popular Co-Ownership Housing scheme, which assists intending first time buyers unable to finance a property outright.

The £50m will be made available from later this month and could provide upwards of 600 Co-Ownership mortgages in 2009.

The move follows the recent announcement that Ulster Bank is making £100m available to lend to first time buyers via its Momentum Mortgage, which could support some 1,000 first time buyers into homeownership.

Mike Bamber Chief Executive Retail Markets at Ulster Bank Group said:

“Co-Ownership is widely recognised as a very important vehicle for providing access to the housing market in Northern Ireland and, as such, is considered a necessary element of the housing mix. We are making this commitment to help ensure that the large demand for Co-Ownership can be satisfied. We expect hundreds more people to be able to avail of the scheme as a result.”

“At Ulster Bank we recognise our responsibility to play a leading role and help support our customers and the communities we serve, particularly during such unprecedented times. This £50m commitment to Co-Ownership mortgage lending, along with other innovative initiatives launched by Ulster Bank are all steps in that journey,” said Mr Bamber.

With Co-Ownership, the purchaser buys at least half of a residential property valued at £175,000 or less with the remainder being bought by Co-Ownership, which then rents its part of the property to the purchaser. The scheme has supported 20,500 property purchases since its inception in 1978.

The provision of innovative solutions to get more people into the housing market is a key element of the New Housing Agenda launched by Minister Margaret Ritchie MLA. In welcoming Ulster Bank’s £50 million commitment to Co-Ownership Margaret Ritchie said:

“It is pleasing to note that Ulster Bank has launched this initiative today. The New Housing Agenda is all about getting people on the housing ladder, so it is good news for people trying to buy their first home through the Co-Ownership Scheme, especially in these times of financial hardship. I call on other banks to follow the lead given by Ulster Bank.”

Also welcoming Ulster Bank’s £50 million commitment to Co-Ownership, Alan Crowe, Chief Executive of Co-Ownership Housing, said:

“Ulster Bank’s commitment to making mortgages more accessible is a real vote of confidence in Co-Ownership and for first time buyers coming through the scheme. Many intending Co-Ownership buyers who could manage an affordable monthly repayment have had to park their plans until now, but this initiative really opens the door for them.”

Ulster Bank has recently made a series of commitments to support consumers and businesses in the current economic climate. These include a £250m fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises, commitments regarding small business overdrafts and interest rates, £300,000 being made available to support debt advice in Northern Ireland and a commitment to greater flexibility towards customers experiencing financial difficulty. Ulster Bank is also making ‘MoneySense’ advisers available in all of its Northern Ireland branches to provide money management advice to everyone.

Anyone interested in taking up this great offer should call into any one of Ulster Bank’s 92 branches across Northern Ireland, or contact Co-Ownership Housing’s information line on 0800 333 644

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