Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said today’s shocking statistics on mortgage arrears show that the banks are “running rings” around the government.
Deputy Doherty said:
“This government has been in power for over two years and under its watch the mortgage crisis has got worse in every way. The numbers in arrears have increased, doubled in fact, and so have repossessions.
“The fact that one in four restructured mortgages is failing shows that the banks have failed to face the reality of the crisis. This shows unwillingness from the banks to engage in a meaningful way. Nearly three years ago the Keane Report proposed split mortgages as a possible solution yet only 309 permanent examples of these mortgages have been created. That is a pathetic response from the banks.
“The last two years have seen the banks’ wish-list being implemented step-by-step. Clearly, the banks are running rings around the government.
“The Land and Conveyancing Act's changes have allowed them move straight to repossession as an option, while the revised Code of Conduct allows them adopt a more aggressive approach to borrowers in distress, while the Personal Insolvency Act leaves them with the final say.
“Today’s terrible figures confirm that Sinn Féin’s call for an independent body to be empowered to compel banks into making sustainable and realistic deals with struggling homeowners was the right option. Even at this stage, this body needs to be established and given the power to face down belligerent banks. Severe penalties must be imposed on uncooperative banks.
“The Central Bank needs to specify immediately when its targets for the implementation of sustainable arrangements will come into force and what those targets will be. As things stand they are unable to even say if the banks have met their Quarter 2 targets of simply offering 20% of struggling homeowners a deal.
“It is clearer each quarter as these figures mount that the banks are running rings around the government on mortgages and that Minister Noonan’s and the Central Bank’s cave-in to them is not working for ordinary citizens.”