Vulture funds must engage with customers – Conway-Walsh
Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has said that if vulture funds claim to be a necessary part of the Irish financial system, they should have no problem in facing the Finance Committee to answer questions about their operations in Ireland.
Senator Conway-Walsh was speaking at the Finance Committee where the issue of non-performing loans was discussed with financial experts.
Senator Conway-Walsh said:
“The Finance Committee has sent scores of invites to these vulture funds asking them to appear before us. The vast majority have refused. The Central Bank has previously urged the vulture funds to attend the committee. Today, it was suggested to me that they were not inclined to accept as they did not want to listen to ‘grandstanding’. I put it very clearly that giving voice to the misery and fear experienced by those who find their mortgages sold to these companies is not grandstanding but it is our duty to convey.
“An expert in the area claimed that up to 10,000 people with mortgages were in arrears of over 5 years. However, after further queries, it was accepted that this did not mean that no payments at all had been made over the last 5 years or that there was no engagement on the part of the customer. While we all agree that those who can afford to service a mortgage should do so, those who cannot afford to do so should be engaged with and flexibility and understanding shown to them.
“Vulture funds have a social responsibility to engage with customers whether they like it or not. The banking debt was socialised whenever the taxpayer bailed out the banks. Those vulture funds who are now profiting from the result of the crisis must be compelled to listen to and engage with mortgage holders.”