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Gerry Adams TD backs Bill to protect distressed mortgage holders

30 January, 2019 - by Gerry Adams TD

On Tuesday evening Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD opened the second stage reading of his Bill – “No Consent, No Sale, Bill, 2019”.

The purpose of the legislation is to put into Law the current voluntary Code of Practice which states that distressed mortgage holders have to give their permission for their mortgage to be sold on by their bank to another lender or Vulture Fund.

Speaking in the Dáil debate Gerry Adams TD urged support for the ‘No Consent, No Sale Bill’.

Teachta Adams said:

This Bill removes any doubt or ambivalence about the responsibility of Banks to abide by the Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages.

"Before Christmas the Taoiseach expressed his faith in Vulture Funds being willing to make deals with households and write down distressed mortgages.

"I do not share the Taoiseach’s confidence and the evidence to date would dispute his claim.

"Sinn Féin is also opposed to the government’s support for three Irish mortgage lenders - which the government wholly or partly owns –selling off distressed residential mortgages to Vulture Funds.

"Last August Ulster Bank sold off a portfolio of five thousand two hundred mortgages to Cerberus. It was a deal worth €1.4 billion. The Bank gave its customers 90 days-notice of the sale of their mortgages to Cerberus.

"As the Dáil will recall the sale by NAMA of Project Eagle in the North and of Siteserv, and the role of Cerberus in all of this, is still the focus of a Commission of Investigation chaired by Justice Cooke, and of an investigation in the North by the National Crime Agency.

"The previous month Permanent TSB sold its Project Glas loan portfolio which contained ten thousand seven hundred home loans to Lone Star – another Vulture Fund.

"The voluntary Code of Practice states that 'a loan secured by the mortgage of residential property may not be transferred without the written consent of the borrower'.

"It was ignored by Ulster Bank and TSB Permanent. The Central Bank has acknowledged that no lender or credit firm has ever been punished for breach of the Code of Conduct.

"This is despite countless reports of customers being put under pressure by Banks and Vulture Funds, or the sale of mortgages to Vulture Funds without the agreement of mortgage holders.

"In the years since the economic crash the Central Bank has been more concerned with the welfare of the banks than the welfare of families at risk of losing their homes, including many in my own constituency of Louth.

"There are many households in Louth that face an uncertain future because their mortgages have been sold off to Vulture Funds or whose mortgage might be sold off in the months ahead.

"At any given time, many families in Louth, and across the state, are literally a pay check away from mortgage arrears.

"Teachta Doherty’s Bill will protect households against their mortgage being sold to a Vulture Fund without their permission by placing the Code of Practice into law. 

"If it is good enough to be in the code of practice, it is good enough to be in legislation. Instead of opposing this common sense measure to protect families from homelessness the government should support the Bill.”

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