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Banks cannot be left off the hook on non-performing loans - Pearse Doherty TD

10 April, 2018 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the latest Central Bank report and statistics on long term mortgage arrears make for sobering reading and that the banks cannot be left off the hook for their role in allowing the long term arrears crisis reach this point.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Today’s report from the Central Bank is deeply concerning. It’s conclusion that 'if left to their own devices, individual banks will not resolve their non-performing loans problems' is an amazing criticism of the banks after nine years of this crisis.

"Much comment has been made on the fact that a minority of those in long term arrears are not engaging.

"It is clear that the Central Bank meaning of engagement does include many who have engaged at some point. Deputy Governor Donnery stated today that these cases include families who have engaged at some point.

"From my experience most families in this situation are paralysed with fear rather than them employing any sort of tactical refusal to pay their mortgage.

"It is crucial that homeowners continue to engage with the lenders and to seek out trusted professional third parties to intermediate where necessary.

"It is striking too that the Central Bank tells us that 14% of those in long term arrears are paying their full monthly mortgage repayments.

"Attempts to lump all long term arrears cases into a basket of strategic defaulters are just plain wrong. This report and the spin that goes with it should not be used as a green light for the banks to sell to vultures.

"This is a social crisis as well as a banking one and should be approached in that way. The Central Bank states the banks are not up to the job of dealing their NPL issues.

"The question is why, and why has that situation been allowed develops by the regulatorWhy are these new boards of these apparently reformed banks failing to do their job? Why has the mortgage to rent scheme, up to very recently, been such a disaster and why are banks not offering the full suite of solutions to their customers?

"The Central Bank report finds there is a need for a combination of solutions to tackle the NPLs problem.

"Sinn Féin have proposed solutions such as a fit for purpose mortgage to rent, a NAMA type body as floated recently by the EU, write downs, insolvency arrangements and a binding debt resolution office, to name just some that could play a role in solving this crisis

"If the banks continue to fail then there is no doubt that we will see a dramatic increase in repossessions. 8,195 family homes have been lost in nine years. That is nearly three homes a day. 

"Give the Central Bank’s conclusion that the banks are not solving this problem the onus is on the Central Bank and individual banks to now outline how they plan to use the solutions that do exist to tackle this issue.”

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