THE rush by banks to send out thousands of legal letters threatening to repossess family homes is like a doctor deciding to shoot his patients, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said.
He accused the banks of an "insufficient response" to the mortgage crisis.
Close to 100,000 residential mortgage holders are in arrears, but only 74,000 of them have been offered an arrangement by their lenders.
Banks have offered 35,000 customers what they refer to as solutions, but these mostly consist of legal letters seeking the surrender of the home or threatening repossession.
"This approach could be likened to a doctor deciding to shoot most of his patients, rather than treating their condition," Mr Shatter said.
"Disturbingly, of the 35,000 proposed resolutions offered by banks to the end of June, as required by the Central Bank, 62pc referred to surrender or repossession of the property concerned," he added.
Bankers told a recent Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting they were complying with targets set by the Central Bank on offering "sustainable solutions" to those in arrears by issuing legal threats.
The minister, responding in the Dail to a mortgage restructuring bill from independent TD Joan Collins, said just one bank had offered more real solutions than legal threats.