Monday September 4, 2011 : Click the mouse and lose your house?
 
Those false cliche “click the mouse and lose your house" beloved of uninformed US politicians may have some application in Ireland, according to the newspaper The Irish Examiner in an article on mortgages over the weekend.
 
The article claims that internet gambling is being used as a reason for declining mortgage applications or restructuring house loans by Irish banks. Other items being scrutinised include tuition fees, digital television subscriptions and mobile-phone bills.
 
Trevor Grant, the chief executive of mortgage debt advisory firm Negotiate, told the newspaper that gambling transactions on bank statements are often used as a reason to decline a mortgage or restructure application, regardless of any other financial information submitted and its strength.
 
"When a lender assesses an application for reduced mortgage repayments due to financial difficulty, the customer is required to submit a detailed application, often including current account and credit-card statements," said Grant.
 
"Lenders will form a view that if the customer is struggling to pay their mortgage they should be tightening their belts, and they consider gambling, for example, as a non-essential activity and therefore should be one of the first social indulgences to be cut," he said.
 
Frank Conway, the director of the Irish Mortgage Corporation, said he has seen cases where lenders have questioned mobile phones, school tuition costs and Sky television bills.
 
A spokesman from the Irish Banking Federation made a general statement that it is important that borrowers seeking to restructure their mortgage repayments carefully review all of their income and expenditure as part of discussions with their lenders.