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AIB move to raise interest rates shows need for government action: Doherty

20 February, 2013 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Responding to comments from AIB Chief Executive David Duffy that the AIB is set to increase its variable interest rates on mortgages Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said the move shows the need for government intervention in the mortgage crisis.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said;

“This week Sinn Féin used our Private Members’ time to raise the issue of the one in four mortgage holders in this state in mortgage distress.

“The same day I spoke on our motion the AIB announced it was to contact its 33,000 customers in arrears to talk to them about their situation. Yet today, they have indicated that they will soon raise their variable interest rates – a move which will affect 70,000 customers.

“The government owns nearly 100% of AIB and should intervene and let it be known unambiguously that this hike is unacceptable.

“The failure of the government to adopt a strong hand with the lenders, many owned by the State, has added to the crisis.

“The first concrete action the government must take is to revisit the Personal Insolvency Act and remove the final say from the lenders. As long as the lenders have a veto there is little reason for them to seek fair compromises.

“Sinn Féin is calling for ‘independent agreements on mortgage distress’ to be decided by ‘a mortgage restructuring panel’ appointed by the minister. This panel would be empowered to act as an arbitrator with the authorisation to impose on both parties agreements aimed at prioritising the protection of the family home. These agreements should include write-downs where necessary.

“In short, it is time for the government to get involved and get real. Today’s move by AIB shows the banks are not serious about entering into a process of finding realistic resolutions.”


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