Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Banking sector must play a more effective role to help us all through economic downturn.

14 January, 2009

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson and chair of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has today stated that the banking sector must play a more active and targeted role in helping people through the current economic crisis. This follows a meeting between the Finance and Personnel Committee and the sector in Stormont today.

Speaking earlier Mr McLaughlin said:

"Today's meeting was both interesting and robust. The point was quite directly made to the banks that they are the root cause of the present financial crisis, both from a global and local perspective and it was wholly regrettable that is has taken two months for the banks to come and talk to the Assembly.

"The banks were challenged strongly on the assistance they are giving to home owners finding themselves in arrears and businesses, especially in the small and medium enterprise sector, who are experiencing credit limits and cash flow problems.

"With the banks not taking a hands on approach to these issues the result has been repossessions, lay offs and the collapse of many businesses.

"When asked was the banking sector now regularly sampling their client base to establish what the priorities and concerns are, in order to strategically and effectively assist those most in need, the answer was no

"The question is, how then do the banks profile and target their economic response?"

"There is a clear onus on the banking sector to help take us all through the economic downturn. They must pass on any benefits bestowed upon them by interest rate cuts and allow for some flexibility to borrowers and customers."

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