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Government must meet with banks immediately as borrowers are being refused alternative repayment arrangements – Pearse Doherty TD

22 October, 2020 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Government to meet with the banks immediately after it has become clear that lenders are refusing to offer borrowers alternative repayment arrangements despite them having lost income as a result of Covid-19.

This comes after a Regional Manager from MABS confirmed that lenders are demanding that borrowers make full repayments despite them having lost significant levels of income as a result of public health restrictions.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“The restrictions in place from today will have an immediate impact on jobs and incomes throughout the State. It has been estimated that more than 200,000 jobs will be lost as a result of these restrictions.

“Many of these workers are mortgage-holders who will not be in a position to make full repayments on their mortgage.

“On the 28th September the Minister for Finance and Tánaiste met with the CEOs of the five retail banks together with Brian Hayes, the CEO of the banking lobby group.

“Not only did they fail to secure an extension for Covid-19 payment breaks, they didn’t even try.

“Instead, they came out of the meeting promising that banks would offer borrowers individual solutions on a case-by case basis. This is not happening.

“On Monday a Regional Manage from MABS spoke to RTÉ, confirming that banks are refusing to offer Alternative Repayment Arrangements with impacted borrowers whose payment breaks are expiring.

“I have spoken to households who have lost 50 percent of their income because of restrictions. Not only are their banks refusing to offer alternative repayment arrangements; the banks are warning them that they must either cough up or deal with the consequences.

“I raised these issues with the Governor of the Central Bank at the Finance Committee yesterday, and I will be raising it with the banks today.

“Banks are acting as if it’s business as usual in the middle of a pandemic.

“The Government must meet with the banks immediately and ensure borrowers are treated with dignity and respect.

“These borrowers are unable to make their full repayments because of Government-imposed restrictions. Many of them have already been charged additional interest on Covid-19 payment breaks, increasing their overall outstanding debt.

“Government has a duty to protect these borrowers.”

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