Minister says customers will still be protected if distressed loans sold to vulture funds

It emerged last week that Permanent TSB is to sell 20,000 distressed mortgages

Minister says customers will still be protected if distressed loans sold to vulture funds

Regina Doherty. Photo:

The Social Protection Minister says people have protection even if their mortgage is sold to a vulture fund.

Permanent TSB plans to sell 20,000 distressed loans at a value of around €4 billion.

The majority state-owned bank says they need to sell the bad loans, and that many customers have not engaged with the bank for years.

However, there has been fear those loans will be sold to vulture funds, leading to potential evictions.

Fianna Fáil has said they will try to block the sale, putting them on a collision course with the Government.

Minister Regina Doherty says the bank does not have to get approval from the Department of Finance to sell the loans.

She also stressed that it's important people know they have rights, even if their mortgage is sold.

She said: "I think anybody who thinks that their loan book is going to be moved from one bank to another institution could potentially have concerns.

"I think our job now, as the State, is to assure them that they have no need to have concerns. There is legislation [...] to make sure that, regardless of who your institution is, that the terms & conditions that you signed up to with your loan will not be changed and cannot be changed."

The Independent Alliance, meanwhile, will meet tomorrow to consider the situation.

However, Minister John Halligan sent a warning to the opposition

He argued: "Fianna Fáil should be very careful - Fianna Fáil brought us to this state if you look at what they did with the banks and so on.

"They're answerable to an awful lot - they left the Irish economy in a miserable, terrible state."

Fianna Fáil, meanwhile, is planning to introduce a bill to regulate vulture funds in the next few weeks