Irish

Wednesday 20 August 2014

55pc believe that banks should write off some mortgage debt, poll reveals

Millward Brown

Published 26/01/2014 | 02:30

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Minister Michael Noonan asserts that the banks will not need any more capital
Minister Michael Noonan asserts that the banks will not need any more capital

There has been a noticeable uplift in support of writing off some of the money owed to the banks, according to a poll conducted for today's Sunday Independent.

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The poll shows that 55 per cent of respondents believed that the banks should write off some money owed to them by distressed mortgage holders. This compares with a figure of 49 per cent in both April and June 2013. The number of people who disagreed with write-offs fell sharply from 34 per cent in June 2013 to 23 per cent this month.

Support for partial write-offs was strongest among 55-64 years olds, ABC1s and males. The highest percentage of those opposing write- offs was 35 per cent for Sinn Fein voters, with female voters also slightly ahead of the average.

Despite Finance Minister Michael Noonan's assertions that the banks will not need any more capital following the upcoming stress tests, some 41 per cent of respondents believe that the banks will need another bailout. Males were more pessimistic about the prospects for the banks with 45 per cent thinking they'd need more funding for their balance sheets. Just 20 per cent feel banks will not need any more money. This figure is higher in Dublin, where 36 per cent thought the banks would be alright.

A banking inquiry should be an urgent Government priority, according to two-thirds of respondents.

The prospect of retrospective recapitalisation of the banks is not viewed with any great likelihood by the public. The Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll found that 48 per cent thought Ireland would not receive compensation from Europe for bailing out the banks. Just 14 per cent believed that Europe would step in with a big cheque.

The vast majority of respondents in the Sunday Independent/ Millward Brown poll felt that banks are still not acting fairly toward distressed homeowners. However, this number has fallen to 65 per cent in January, down from 72 per cent last June. This sentiment was higher among Munster people, with 70 per cent believing the banks were being unfair. Those believing that the banks were acting fairly has remained unchanged at 12 per cent, although this is highest among Dublin people at 15 per cent.

The euphoria that surrounded the departure of the troika and the exit from the bailout has dissipated, with just one in seven, or 15 per cent, feeling better off as result. This finding was slightly higher among Dublin people, Fine Gael voters, 25-34 years olds and ABC1s.

The poll found that 32 per cent of respondents felt worse off after the bailout ended. This number was much higher among Sinn Fein supporters at 49 per cent. The elderly and less well off had similar sentiments. The remaining 40 per cent were numbed by the process and felt the same or expressed no difference in their circumstances. The poll also found that 48 per cent believed that the Government will continue with the troika plan of reducing the deficit, with 24 per cent feeling that deficit targets will be relaxed.

One-in-three people – 33 per cent – believed that Ireland's exit from the bailout will be successful and that we will not have to seek a second rescue. This figure was marginally ahead of the 31 per cent who felt that the Government would need to return to the troika for another bailout. Half of Sinn Fein voters felt that this would happen, while 54 per cent of the wealthy AB class and 52 per cent of Fine Gael supporters felt that it was the last we'll see of the Troika.

Nick Webb

Irish Independent

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