Australian company takes over sub-prime lender’s repossession orders

Nine orders granted between 2006 and 2009 not yet executed by lender, court hears

Australia-based company Pepper Finance Corporation (Ireland) Ltd was given permission by the High Court yesterday to execute orders for possession previously given to sub-prime lender GE Capital Woodchester Homeloans Ltd.

The orders related to homes from all over the country originally granted to GE Capital between 2006 and 2009 but never enforced. Pepper Finance acquired GE Capital last September .

Counsel for the company said the possession orders had not been executed to give time for the borrowers to pay off the arrears they owed on their loans, but they had failed to do so.

Promises by defendant
In one case involving a home in Co Tipperary, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne was told the arrears outstanding had been reduced to €1,567 since the original order for possession was granted in February 2009 and the outstanding loan was €38,000. There were promises by the defendant to pay a lump sum at the end of March but it was not received, said counsel. The judge made the order noting the amount of debt "had reduced considerably".


Separately, three new orders for possession were granted; two to Start Mortgages Ltd for family homes in Tipperary and Meath and one to AIB for an investment property in Cork. Counsel for AIB told the court the summons for the case was served on the borrower in the car park of Woolworth's in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia.

Ms Justice Dunne refused to grant an order for possession of a Co Cork home to Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd after a solicitor for the borrower explained an offer had been made to the lender last Friday.

'That's not fair'
The borrower, a separated father whose teenage daughter lived with him three days a week, owed arrears of €14,000 on a loan of €200,000. His business was "seasonal" and he had managed to repay €8,000 last year. The solicitor said while one section of the lender's office was seeking clarification on figures provided, another section told him the offer was already refused, the solicitor said.

“That’s not fair or equitable,” he said.

Counsel for Stepstone said the case had been nine times before the court and the arrears were continuing to grow. There had been no payments since October last year and then €800 had been received days the hearing.

Ms Justice Dunne said she would adjourn the case to June. She was not sure the proposal had been “fully considered”.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist