From 1st July the Council of Mortgage Lenders is integrated into a new trade association, UK Finance. For the time being, all UKF mortgage information will continue to be published on this website, and UKF member-only mortgage information will only be available here.

UK Finance represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services. The new organisation takes on most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association. Please go to for wider content and updates from UK Finance.

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The mortgage market in Northern Ireland


24 May 2016

Time: 9:00am – 2:05pm
Venue: Titanic Belfast, Belfast
Price: £90 members
£90 associates
£145 non-members
The mortgage market in Northern Ireland

About this event

The next 12 months will see a continuation of change and development in the mortgage market in Northern Ireland and this conference explored the latest issues and examples of best practice with the foremost experts in the industry. The event was aimed at mortgage lenders, legal firms, housing professionals and anyone else with an interest in the NI mortgage market, and the morning finished with an informal networking lunch, which allowed attendees to discuss the topics of the day together.

Key points from the event

  • The Northern Ireland Housing Strategy vision is to ensure that everyone has access good quality housing at a reasonable cost.
  • Remortgaging in Northern Ireland has always been at a lower level than in the UK. Of those remortgaging in 2007, 75% did so to raise extra funds. Many used these extra funds to finance ‘buy-to-let’ purchases.
  • A breakdown of the Northern Ireland housing market in 2015:
  1. 94% of jobs lost in the recession were recovered.
  2. Full-time employment (employee jobs) grew at a record rate.
  3. Northern Ireland recorded the largest rise in earnings of all UK regions.
  4. Personal insolvencies fell for the first time in 8 years.
  5. Estimated economic growth (GVA) was 2.0% (in real terms).

Topic covered at the event included:

  • Housing economics in Northern Ireland
  • Affordable housing initiatives
  • Property values
  • The buy-to-let market
  • Court service
  • Ensuring good consumer outcomes
  • Negative equity

Feedback from attendees

"Excellent conference, good pace, relevant & interesting."

"Highly organised and well put together. Broad selection of speakers from various sectors."

"One of the best CML events I have attended. The content, venue and presentations was excellent."

"Very informative, interesting topics discussed - some good bits to take away."

"Excellent range of speakers and subjects covering highly relevant and up-to-date information and bring together cross-sector stakeholders. Good venue, AV and well organised. Very interesting and informative".

**This event was open to press**


0900 - 0930


Registration & refreshments

0930 - 0940


Chair's welcome & introduction
Derek Wilson, Chair, CML Northern Ireland 

0940 - 1020


Economic update for Northern Ireland and the housing market
Richard Ramsey, Economist, Ulster Bank Ltd
Alan Bridle, UK Economist and Market Analyst, Bank of Ireland

1020 - 1040


Affordable housing initiatives
Dr Jennie Donald, Deputy Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA)

1040 - 1100   Property values

Chris Kenton, Director of Surveying & Professional Services CPS, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

  • Recovery in Northern Ireland & the market outside Belfast

1100 - 1130



1130 - 1150


Court service
Brian McNair, Manager- Money Judgments Team, Enforcement of Judgments Office, Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service

  • Court process and enforcement in the last 12 months
1150 - 1210    Lending and the advice sector – better together

Ursula Toner, Services Manager, Housing Rights

1210 - 1225   

Buy to let lending
Tom Papworth, Senior Policy Adviser, CML

 1225 - 1245   Indebtedness – strategies and solutions panel session

Janet Hunter, Director, Housing Rights
John McCord, Acting Head of Housing Affordability, Department for Communitites
Sara O’Sullivan, Head of Retail Financial Solutions, Allied Irish Bank (UK) plc
Tom Papworth, Senior Policy Adviser, CML 

1245 - 1305    Closing address
 Paul Smee, Director General, Council of Mortgage Lenders

1305 - 1405


Networking lunch


Chair: Derek Wilson

Chair, CML Northern Ireland

Derek Wilson is Head of Mortgage Strategy and Distribution for First Trust Bank.  He has over 35 years’ experience in financial services, principally dealing with mortgages. Derek sits on the board for Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), which is the largest public sector landlord in the UK. He currently is in his third term as Chair of CML Northern Ireland and is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast. 





Alan Bridle

UK Economist & Market Analyst, Bank of Ireland UK

Alan Bridle is the UK Economist & Market Analyst at Bank of Ireland UK, taking up his current position on incorporation of the subsidiary in 2010. After graduating from Queens University in 1986 and winning the Adam Smith prize, he joined the Investment Bank of Ireland in Belfast and has held a number of positions in Bank of Ireland’s treasury, Corporate & Business and Strategic Marketing divisions.

Alan has appeared regularly on business issues in the local media. He was co-author of the Northern Ireland quarterly house price survey and had monthly columns in both the Irish news and Ulster business for more than a decade.

Alan is a member of Confederation of British Industries (CIB) Northern Ireland’s economic affairs committee and represented CBI on the Northern Ireland statistics advisory committee.

In 2007, Alan was appointed to the independent panel of experts on housing affordability by the Department for Social Development (DSD) minister and currently sits on steering for the Northern Ireland Science Park’s knowledge economy index.

Dr Jennie Donald

Deputy Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA)

Dr Jennie Donald is Deputy Chief Executive of the NIFHA. She leads the organisation’s policy work in key areas such as development, affordable housing, finance and procurement. Previously she held policy and research positions at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), DSD and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Jennie also serves as Chair of the Interim Regulatory Committee in the Republic of Ireland, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Voluntary Regulation Code for Approved Housing Bodies and advising on the development of statutory regulation.  




Janet Hunter

Director, Housing Rights

Janet Hunter is the Director of Housing Rights.  The charity is the leading provider of independent housing advice, advocacy & representation services in Northern Ireland.

Janet has been a member of various government advisory groups in relation to housing and homelessness issues in NI, including the Housing Repossession Taskforce which investigated the impact of arrears, repossession and negative equity in Northern Ireland. 


Chris Kenton

Director of Surveying & Professional Services CPS, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS),

Chris Kenton was elected a Fellow of both the RICS and the ISVA in 1991and has been working in Northern Ireland since the early 1990’s moving to Northern Ireland full time in 2005 to take up a post a Regional Director for Valunation covering the North of Ireland.

Now Head of Professional Services for CPS, Chris has direct responsibility for all valuation and professional work undertaken by CPS throughout its six offices throughout Northern Ireland and the North of the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to the above, Chris also sits on the Regional Board of the RICS in Northern Ireland; the Partnership Board of the RICS and University of Ulster; the Law Society of Northern Ireland Home Charter Committee; and holds the post of Valuation Member of the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal

Brian McNair

Manager- Money Judgment Team, Enforcement of Judgment Office, Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service

Brian McNair has worked in the Enforcement of Judgments Office for 25 years.  He is the Senior Manager of the Money Judgments Team, soon to become the Senior Enforcement Officer, with responsibility for 13 Enforcement Officers who complete all repossessions of property.  He reports to the Chief Enforcement Officer and her Deputy.

John McCord

Acting Head of housing Affordability, Department for Social Development

John has been in Housing Group within the new Department for Communities for just over 6 years and since 2014 has been the Acting Head of Housing Affordability.  His specific areas of responsibility include: developing policy and strategy on affordable housing, examining the barriers to housing supply in NI and advancing shared housing under the Northern Ireland Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy.

Sara O’Sullivan

Head of Retail Financial Solutions, Allied Irish Bank (UK) plc

Sara O’Sullivan is Head of Retail Financial Solutions for AIB (UK) plc (trading as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland and Allied Irish Bank in GB) and is responsible for mortgage arrears both in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain.  She is also responsible for the management of retail arrears cases for the UK Company. Sara has previously held a number of roles in First Trust Bank including Senior Manager of the Product Strategy and Development Team.   Sara is a member of the CML Arrears and Possession Panel and holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Ulster in Jordanstown.




Tom Papworth

Senior Policy Adviser, CML

Tom Papworth joined the Council of Mortgage Lenders in 2016 having previously worked in government, trade associations and think tanks. He is the Senior Policy Adviser responsible for buy-to-let and arrears & possessions. Tom holds degrees from the Royal Holloway (University of London), the University of Kent (Canterbury) and King’s College (London). 


Richard Ramsey

Chief Economist, Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank Ltd

Richard Ramsey is Chief Economist, Northern Ireland, at Ulster Bank. He is a member of the Northern Ireland Finance Minister’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Sector Reform, and is a member of the Department of Finance & Personnel’s Statistics Advisory Council.

Before joining Ulster Bank, Richard spent 10 years in the public sector – including spells as Principal Economist at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and with Invest NI. He also held a number of economist posts within the Department of Finance & Personnel. Richard is a graduate of Loughborough University with a BSc in Economics & Human Geography and an MSc in European Economics and Finance.

Paul Smee

Director General, CML

Paul Smee became Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders on 1 August 2011. Previously, he was Chief Executive of UK Payments, a post which he held for six years.

Paul set up, and was the first Chief Executive of the UK Payments Council, which sets strategy for collaborative payments in the UK. He was very involved with the introduction of the Faster Payments Service in 2008, the first new payment system in the UK for 25 years; and in the production of the UK’s National Payments Plan.

Before payments, Paul was the first Director General of the Association of IFAs, the representative body for the community of independent advisors which was formed in 1999. He also was instrumental in the formation of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries. 

During his earlier career, Paul worked for the London Stock Exchange, the Association of British insurers and the Independent Television Commission. He started his working life at the Department of Trade and Industry. 

Ursula Toner

Advice Services Manager, Housing Rights

Ursula Toner held several posts in the advice sector before joining Housing Rights as a Specialist Housing Adviser in 1998. She has extensive experience of representing clients on issues pertaining to homelessness, renting privately housing debt and the social housing sector. Ursula currently manages the Legal Advice Team within Housing Rights Service and was a key player in liaising with the Northern Ireland Court Service to establish the first court based help desk in NI for clients facing debt related possession action. She is a member of the Enforcement of Judgements Users Forum and has considerable experience of raising awareness of the housing issues facing disadvantaged people at policy level and via local media.

Headline sponsor: 

Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland operates a partnership strategy within the UK. With a long history in the mortgage market, we lend through our intermediary partners, Post Office Money and our Northern Ireland branch network. Through our branch network, we offer a wide range of mortgage products for customers moving house, refinancing, buying their own home or an investment property.

Conference supporter:

Housing Rights

Housing Rights was established as a charity in 1964.  They provide advice, advocacy and representation services to people who are homeless or in housing need throughout Northern Ireland.


Titanic Belfast

1 Olympic Way
County Antrim


Contact us

Laura Marshall

Telephone: 0845 373 6771