'Back brave' and cancel loan sell-off, farmers urge AIB

Message: John Coughlan and Ann Baker join the Irish Farmers' Association's protest at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin, where AIB's AGM was being held. Photo: Collins
Message: John Coughlan and Ann Baker join the Irish Farmers' Association's protest at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin, where AIB's AGM was being held. Photo: Collins
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Farmers have urged AIB to "really back brave" and halt its decision to sell non-performing loans to vulture funds.

At a protest at the AIB annual general meeting (AGM) at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) railed against the bank's plans to sell certain farmer loans.

IFA farm business chairman Martin Stapleton said it was time AIB followed through on its advertising slogan of "backing brave" and halted its sale of farmer loans.

"Selling the loans to a fund that has no other way to work than to haul in the money as fast as it can is not the way to go for genuine Irish people doing their best to pay back the money they owe when often enduring considerable hardship in the process," he said. "AIB need to get back to 'backing brave', and backing the brave who are willing to back themselves."

AIB recently confirmed the controversial €1bn sale of bad loans, including mortgages, to US fund Cerberus.

The sale will see the portfolio acquired by Everyday Finance as part of a consortium with Everyday and affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management.

The bank said the collateral was mainly buy-to-let and investment properties, but included some farm land.

The portfolio consists of 2,200 non-performing customer loans, around 95pc of which have been non-performing for over two years.

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Speaking at its AGM, Catherine Woods, deputy chairwoman of AIB, hailed the bank's 2018 performance.

She pledged the bank was "continuing to rebuild trust".

Irish Independent


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