Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described assurances given by the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donoghue, following Permanent TSB’s shock sale of 10,700 of non-performing loans to a vulture fund, as meaningless and cold comfort to those faced with the very real possibility of now losing their home.
The Sinn Féin TD said that Lone Star and other parent companies of vulture funds remain outside the regulatory framework in this State, despite efforts by Sinn Féin to legislate for this.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Families and homeowners have been treated with contempt by this Government which owns a 75% share of a Permanent TDB but allows that bank to sell their homes out from under them to the US vulture fund Lone Star.
“The assurances given by the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donoghue, following this shock sale are meaningless and will be cold comfort to the affected borrowers who now face into the very real possibility of now losing their home.
“The dumping of non-performing loans by PTSB creates an alarming precedent for others and may well be seen as the easier option for others banks, the same banks that Irish tax payers were wrongly forced to bailed out due to their own mismanagement and bad financial planning.
“PTSB could have adopted a different and more sympathetic approach by making case by case decisions, like restructuring the original loans, by writing off some of their client’s debt, or by taking as a last resort the court enforcement approach if there was no attempt at engagement. Instead PTSB in its haste chose to abandon clients the vast majority who are clearly in financial difficulties and sell off the loans to a US vulture fund.
“We in Sinn Féin have consistently put on record our opposition to these sales, especially the sale of family homes to vultures. However, there is much that the Government and all political parties could be doing on behalf of homeowners affected by this. In May of this year, PTSB removed 4,000 split mortgages from the sale process. This is proof that political pressure on banks does work.”
“We still do not know how much of a write down the vulture fund backed by Lone Star received. Lone Star has been asked several times to appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee where members could ask detailed questions on behalf of the thousands of customers who have received letters in the past few days. The disconnect between the Government and the actions of banks such as PTSB, which is 75% State owned was summed up by the Taoiseach when he said that he only found out about the sale through the media.
“We also know that the legislation covering this whole area was cobbled together following the banking collapse but simply is not robust enough. Lone Star and other parent companies of vulture funds remain outside the regulatory framework in this State. Sinn Féin has tried to legislate for this but we have been blocked by Fine Gael Governments with the support of Fianna Fáil.
“I would encourage all those who have received this notification from PTSB and who are concerned about their situation to get in contact with organisations such as MABS and Abhaile in order to inform themselves of their rights under current legislation.
“Sinn Féin will continue to apply pressure to have these questions addressed and to put homeowners at the front and centre of any further actions by the retail banks that were bailed out by these same tax payers not too long ago.”