Farm leaders demand action on vulture funds
Thousands of landowners under threat from potential AIB 'bad loans' sale
The potential sell-off by AIB of €1.8bn in bad loans has triggered fears among thousands of indebted farmers that their loans could be offloaded to a vulture fund.
Although the State-owned bank - bailed out with €21bn in taxpayer funding since 2008 - would not confirm or deny reports of a sell-off, farm organisations are preparing for the worst-case scenario.
A spokesperson for AIB said: "We keep all options under consideration. Our primary objective is to work with borrowers under stress to return their borrowings to a satisfactory position."
However, the IFA says it will be ramping up its campaign on the issue as pressure builds on the Government to regulate vulture funds which buy distressed or bad loans at knockdown prices from the banks.
"We are really concerned about the lack of regulation around vulture funds and the way they deal with the borrowers," said Martin Stapleton, IFA farm business committee chairman.
"When you fall behind, the lender is entitled to call in the loan immediately, and that's what is happening at vulture fund level where they are looking for a quick buck."
He said the IFA is "busier than ever" on the issue.
"We are discussing our options at the highest possible level. We really have to strengthen our hand here, strategies are not working."