independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Eamon Gilmore criticises banks for failing to help people in mortgage distress

Eamon Gilmore

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has criticised the banks for failing to help struggling mortgage holders.

He said the Government had passed personal insolvency legislation and set up an insolvency agency – with the aim of helping people who could not afford to pay their mortgages.

“I have to say we are not happy with the response of the banks,” he said.

Mr Gilmore noted the recent criticism of the banks by Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan, who said his institution was tearing its hair out due to the banks’ slow response to dealing with mortgage arrears.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said there were currently 180,000 people in mortgage distress but only eight had got approval for the the “mortgage to rent” scheme – which is designed to help people stay in their homes.

He said that Mr Gilmore should call in the management of state-owned bank AIB to get them to halt a planned interest hike on variable rate mortgages.

But Mr Gilmore accused Sinn Fein of only being interested in scoring “political hits” rather than caring about the people who were struggling with mortgages.

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