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Senator Conway-Walsh to challenge ECB over mortgage sales to vultures and high interest rates

7 September, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has indicated that she will be asking tough questions of the European Central Bank when she meets officials in Germany as part of a visit by the Oireachtas Finance Committee next week. 

Commenting before the delegation leaves for Germany, the Mayo Senator said: 

"The Finance Committee has recently examined issues such as the sale of loans to vulture funds and the high rates of interest paid by Irish lenders compared to the rest of Europe. 

"The Government has on many occasions referred to the ECB when seeking to distance itself from recent policy decisions by the pillar banks. I intend to ask officials from the ECB exactly what direction they gave both the Government and the banks to sell off loans to vulture funds. 

"I will also be meeting with officials from Sparkassen, the German model of public banking. In Ireland the SME sector has very limited choices of lenders and the interest rates they pay are among the highest in Europe.

"I am looking forward to hearing how the German model has successfully supported indigenous companies and offered real choice to personal customers. 

"At a time when rural Ireland is seeing a reduction in services such as the closure of post offices, a new model for banking that prioritises the customer and not the shareholders would be welcomed by many people. 

"As we approach the Budget there are clear choices to be made by this Government. It is vital that there is clarity around the role of the ECB in this process. 

"The public must know what decisions are taken based on the Government’s own policy. People are tired of this Government using the ECB as a get out clause to avoid tackling the behaviour of the banks."

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