Thursday, April 10, 2014

Legal letters from banks cannot be considered a ‘sustainable solution’

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) called on the Central Bank to clearly redefine what it considers a ‘sustainable solution’ in terms of mortgage arrears. Deputy Doherty was speaking after representatives from Bank of Ireland appeared before the Finance Committee this morning.

“I have been less than impressed with the presentations given to the Finance Committee by the main banks in recent days, but comments from Bank of Ireland this morning were particularly disappointing. Serious flaws in how the banks are dealing with their customers in mortgage arrears have been revealed.

“It is not acceptable for banks to issue a legal letter to a distressed mortgage holder, and for that to be considered a ‘sustainable solution’. The banks are using these letters – which are being issued in their thousands – to claim that they are meeting the mortgage restructuring targets as set down by the Central Bank.

“The Central Bank needs to push the banks much harder on this issue. It must clearly redefine what it considers a ‘sustainable solution’. Otherwise the banks will continue to try to hoodwink us with claims that they are doing their best to accommodate homeowners in mortgage arrears.

“To put it plainly, none of the banks would be able to claim that they are meeting the Central Bank targets were it not for these legal letters, which do nothing to help those in arrears find a long term solution for their mortgage.

“I was appalled by the approach of Bank of Ireland at the Committee earlier, when its executives stated that the bank will not consider writing off any debt if there is security behind the loan. They claim they are engaging with the Personal Insolvency Service, yet they will veto every case involved a Bank of Ireland loan.

“The Bank of Ireland representatives not only showed contempt for the Committee, but also for its customers, for whom they are doing very little to help.

“The Governor of the Central Bank is due before the Committee this week, and I look forward to speaking with him about how the banks need to be tackled on how they are dealing with mortgage arrears.”

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