Business Personal Finance

Tuesday 24 April 2018

How banks could repair some of damage they have done - and are doing

Irish people have taken enough from the banks. Selling home mortgages to vultures is a step too far. Stock picture
Irish people have taken enough from the banks. Selling home mortgages to vultures is a step too far. Stock picture
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A recent survey found that a third of people say they are still paying for the financial mistakes made in the past.

What is surprising about this is that the numbers are not higher given that everyone is paying more in income tax, levies and other charges a decade after the bank-induced financial collapse.

The survey, commissioned by Aviva Life Insurance, found that 33pc of people say they are still not the better of financial decisions they made before the economy went belly up. The survey was carried out among 1,051 adults by Empathy Research.

Aviva believes the findings, showing that so many of us have yet to recover financially from the boom and bust, means there is a strong argument to be made for personal finance to be taught in secondary schools.

This would equip young people with the knowledge and tools they need to make the best financial decisions in their later lives.

But most people know enough about personal finance to realise that they have been treated like mugs to save a banking system that shows no signs of ever realising the damage its antics have imposed on ordinary people.

The banks were battered by the collapse a decade ago, but continue to treat their rescuers with utter contempt.

How else do you explain the €1bn tracker scandal? Most lenders have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the point where they are now owning up to the scale of the problem.

And banks continue to punish homeowners with some of the highest variable rate mortgages in the eurozone, while paying little or nothing to savers.

They are continuing to resist dealing with State's personal insolvency regime. This is evidenced from the fact that there has been a fall in the number of people applying for official debt deals.

The banks are back in profit again, but are due to avoid paying corporate tax for the next 20 years. This strikes many as outrageous preferential treatment.

The bad grace of the banks helps explain why there has been an outpouring of revulsion at the prospect of vulture funds buying up 14,000 distressed mortgages being sold by Permanent TSB, where the State has a majority shareholding, and up to 7,000 home mortgages being sold by Ulster Bank.

Irish people have taken enough from the banks. Selling home mortgages to vultures is a step too far.

Yes, we could do with more financial education - and that should be paid for by the banks.

Maybe then the banks could start the long process of repairing some of the damage they did, and are, doing.

Sunday Indo Business

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