Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Debt collectors creating 'misery' for farmers

Joe Healy of the IFA
Joe Healy of the IFA
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A debt resolution advisor has warned that farmers around the country are facing difficulties after their debts were sold on by the banks to multinational property asset companies.

Matt Carey, who represents many farmers, warned that asset companies often seek payment of the amounts owed as soon as they take charge of the loans.

"The most difficult part of all is the lack of engagement," said Mr Carey, a former bank manager who now has a debt management services firm in Co Galway.

"It is certainly very difficult if you are trying to deal with the banks at the moment."

He said once the farmer falls behind on loan repayments they are transferred out of the local branch to the bank's headquarters, which makes it more difficult to bring a payment proposal.

Mr Carey said many farmers he dealt with were "very scared" at that point as they were being told to sell the land they had put up as security.

Joe Healy, an IFA presidential candidate, said banks and other creditors were heaping misery on vulnerable farming families struggling to repay unsustainable debts.

"I have received numerous complaints over the last fortnight from farmers, and those representing them, about the manner in which they are being treated by the banks and other creditors," said Mr Healy.

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"These cases often move quickly to a point where a judgement is being sought against the landowner."

Mr Healy said that farmers are even more exposed when the debts are sold on as asset firms are only "interested in short-term solutions".

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