independent

Tuesday 21 October 2014

MacSharry no fan of debt forgiveness

FORMER FINANCE MINISTER'S STERN VIEW

PAUL DEERING

Published 25/12/2012 | 14:54

HARD-PRESSED homeowners hoping for debt forgiveness have received little backing from former Finance Minister Ray MacSharry

Mr MacSharry, who is a public interest director on the board of Permanent TSB insisted the bank would not forgive mortgage debt.

His comments before the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee caused some confusion.

The bank's other public interest director, senior civil servant Margaret Hayes said in some instances unsustainable loans could be written off on a case- by- case basis.

Stephen Donnelly TD said he had been left in some confusion by the different answers provided by the two directors.

One in five home loans and one in three buy-tolet investor mortgages are in arrears at Permanent TSB, said to be amongst the worst rates of any lenders.

Mr MacSharry and Ms Hayes, have been public interest directors at the bank since it needed state support to survive in 2008.

The role of public interest directors at bailedout banks has come under fire as details emerge of the high pensions and salaries still being paid to bankers.

Permanent TSB loaned just €70m to homebuyers this year, Margaret Hayes said, enough to finance fewer than 300 typical mortgages.

She said the bank did intend to increase lending in the year ahead.

Despite being public interest directors, they have no duties beyond those of other board members, and do not report back to the Minister for Finance, the Dail or the Central Bank, Mr MacSharry told the politicians.

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