A couple was turned down for a mortgage when the bank they made the application to discovered that they had been to a hospital for a baby scan. This shocking information emerged after an investigation by the Irish Independent.
The newspaper reports that questionable new criteria is being used by banks in order to process mortgage applications. Apparently bankers are looking into minute financial transactions and turning down dozens of applications for loans, despite the fact that they have said they are committed to lending customers a total of €3.5billion this year alone.
Personal financial information of potential home buyers is now being combed through by banks in order to discern if an applicant will be capable of repaying the money that they owe.
According to one mortgage expert, a couple were actually turned down after the bank spotted in their financial records that they had a baby scan carried out. The bank apparently insisted that this meant the couple were going to have a baby which would have an impact on their ability to keep up their mortgage repayments.
Experts have warned that banks have become very cautious about lending money
Experts have said that banks have become even more cautious about lending money and are now looking at current accounts to check on an applicant’s spending habits and looking up the companies they work for in order to see if losses are being made.
“Banks have money to lend but it is very difficult to get them to lend it. The level of scrutiny and checking of documents has been stepped up,” said Michael Dowling, from the Independent Mortgage Advisers Federation.
Mr Dowling said that banks have now started to do background checks on the finances of applicant’s employers and if these employers were in debt or sustaining losses, the applicants were being turned down for mortgages.
An increase in the cost of renting has prompted many couples and singletons to consider buying their own home. However these strict new guidelines make it harder for people to get on the property market.
Felix O’Regan from the Irish Banking Federation admitted that while there is a demand for mortgages, lenders have to ensure that applicants can afford to pay back what they borrow.
“It is in everyone’s interest that lenders are more prudent. It had been relatively easy to get a mortgage. But lenders now need to be robust and challenge people,” said Mr O’Regan.