Wednesday 26 June 2019

Donohoe knew about PTSB sale of mortgages to vultures

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe knew about the potential sale of thousands of Permanent TSB mortgages to a vulture fund almost a month before it came into the public domain.

Bank officials will today reveal they alerted Mr Donohoe to the dumping of non-performing loans (NPLs) on January 19.

Three weeks later, he briefed Cabinet colleagues that a major news report relating to a sell-off of loans was likely to break at some stage.

While he did not identify the bank, ministers were led to believe the move was likely to be politically problematic. The Irish Independent subsequently broke the story on February 14.

The timeline is revealed in a document supplied by PTSB to the Oireachtas Finance Committee ahead of a hearing today.

In a move that could heap further political pressure on the Government, the bank says it would give consideration to stalling the loan sale if asked by the minister or the Dáil.

This could well lead Opposition parties to place a motion before the Oireachtas seeking to stall the sell-off.

In its submission, PTSB confirms the Glas Portfolio contains loans worth a total of €3.7bn. It includes around 10,000 private dwellings and 4,000 buy-to-let prosperities.

The State-backed bank intends to sell the non-performing mortgages to private investors, sparking fears that vulture funds could swoop and force people from their homes.

Asked about the impact of a Dáil vote calling for the sale to be halted, PTSB replied: "Any such recommendation would be considered in the context of ongoing discussions with the bank's regulators and the requirement to reduce the NPL ratio to single digit figures,"

Despite owning 75pc of PTSB, Mr Donohoe has insisted he cannot intervene.

AIB will also appear today to discuss its handling of NPLs.

Irish Independent

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