Loans for life: Spry Finance gets €100m to expand its franchise in Ireland after product controversy during recession

Ireland’s sole provider of lifetime loans has raised €100m to fund its franchise expansion in a move that could more than double its scale in the market.

Pry Finance, the retail brand of capital-released mortgage provider Seniors Money, has entered into a long-term financing agreement with Canada Life Reinsurance to refinance its existing loan portfolio and provide money for future loans.

The transaction marks a major signal of the lender’s intention to expand into what is largely uncharted territory for lifetime loans, after controversy during the financial crisis all but killed the product in Ireland.

“Our agreement with Canada Life Reinsurance supports our ambition to grow Spry Finance’s business in Ireland and develop the Irish life loan market, inspired by the growth of other markets such as the UK,” said the director. Spry’s financier, John Moriarty.

The news follows Seniors Money’s acquisition of a €90m portfolio of equity release loans from another Irish issuer that no longer sells the product.

Bank of Ireland and Finance Ireland were the only other brands in the market. The Bank of Ireland last sold equity release mortgages in 2010. Finance Ireland would no longer actively market the product.

The deal added significant scale to Spry’s portfolio of 750 loans averaging between €50,000 and €80,000. The new financing agreement with Canada Life would finance up to 2,000 loans of this value.

Lifetime loans are a form of mortgage marketed to those over 60 who have already paid off their homes. The loan is secured by a percentage of the equity in the home. .

Borrowers are not required to make any payments and the balance plus interest is compensated after death from the proceeds of the estate. However, the loans are considered controversial by some because estates can end up owing double the value of the original loan, although high property prices make them financially attractive.

The product is popular in the UK, where many providers compete to underwrite the business, marketing the product in response to longer life expectancy and poor pension protection.

Seniors Money has been operating in Ireland since 2006. Spry Finance was launched in 2021.

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