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Concern at reports that banks are placing additional pressures on debtors in difficulty

19 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has expressed his extreme concern at reports that Banks are pressuring customers that have had financial difficulties to take out expensive loans in order to ease their debts.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"I find extremely worrying, claims in the media over the weekend that some banks and financial institutions are pressurising customers who are experiencing financial difficulties to take out expensive loans on top of existing debts. This practice is apparently taking place after CAB and other advice agencies have managed to construct a repayment schedule that allows for existing debts to be repaid while at the same time relieving the pressure on the debtor. If claims that increasingly aggressive sales tactics are being used by the lenders are true then this is totally unacceptable.

"When people fall into financial difficulties their lives can be turned upside down putting tremendous pressure on individuals and families. Often the only option open to people is the excellent advice provided by CAB and other community advice services. It's crucial therefore, that if someone has fallen into debt and a restructured payment schedule is agreed between the debtor and the lender through the good offices of CAB or other community services that those agreements are honoured.

"It is unacceptable that despite these arrangements being made in good faith by the advice services and the debtor that lending institutions then apply pressure on those trying to repay their debt in a managed way. This unacceptable practice should be investigated by the Financial Services Regulator." ENDS

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