Fianna Fáil TD says banks taking 'easy way out' by selling distressed loans

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

Fianna Fáil TD says banks taking 'easy way out' by selling distressed loans

Michael McGrath. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Permanent TSB has been accused of 'outsourcing its dirty work' over the planned sale of 20,000 distressed mortgages.

Fianna Fáil's finance spokesperson says the bank is taking the easy way out.

The opposition party has called for the sale to be blocked, to stop mortgage holders from having their loans potentially sold to so-called vulture funds.

The distressed loans are worth around €4 billion.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said the bank should deal with customers in a more considered way.

He said: "The banks are taking the easy option here. It's the easy way out, instead of putting in the work and doing what banks should be doing - working through their loan book; dealing with customers; restructuring loans; giving a write-off, if necessary, to the borrower as opposed to the vulture fund; and taking enforcement action as an absolute last resort.

"They're outsourcing their dirty work - that's exactly what this is about, and it worries me."

Yesterday, the Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said people have protections even if their mortgage is sold to a vulture fund.

Deputy McGrath, however, suggested that there are some cases were loans have restructuring agreements that can come up for review - and he says there's no obligation on new loan holders to renew or extend such arrangements.

He argued: "We know that the Central Bank actually advocated the Government, back in 2015, that the vulture funds should be regulated. The Central Bank confirmed that to me.

"We know the nature of these funds. They're not here for the long-term - they've no interest in working out a mortgage book over 15-20 years."

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Stephen McNeice