Thursday 17 January 2019

Vulture funds can be regulated before PTSB sale 'if political will is there' - Fianna Fáil

Photo: Collins
Photo: Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE regulation of vulture funds can be brought in before Permanent TSB’s (PTSB) planned sale of thousands of non-performing mortgages “if the political will is there”, Fianna Fáil has insisted.

The Dáil is this week debating the party’s Bill that would see the Central Bank given responsibility for regulating vulture funds.

It comes amid fears that such a fund will purchase thousands of non-performing loans from PTSB in the coming months.

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath said he believes vulture funds can be regulated before the sale “if the political will is there on all sides of the Oireachtas”.

He added that it is “imperative that this legislation is enacted as a matter of priority and certainly in advance of any suggested loan sales.”

Mr McGrath said it’s an “absolutely necessary step” to bring vulture funds under Central Bank regulation.

He said this is because a fund that buys up distressed loans “calls all the shots, makes all the big decisions around the future of the loan, whether it be to initiate enforcement proceedings, to restructure a loan or indeed to change the interest rate.”

He added: “The borrower whose loan is owned by an unregulated fund is at a very significant disadvantage in our view and is far more likely to have aggressive action taken against them by the fund.”

Mr McGrath said it’s “important that people are fully protected” and he said that the indications from government are that they will work with Fianna Fáil on the issue.

He said: “This Bill or an equivalent government Bill – we’re not precious about it - must become law and become law as a matter of priority”.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe last night said the government has a “robust legal and policy framework” in relation to non-performing loans.

Asked if he will bring vulture funds under the remit of the Central Bank he replied: “I will ensure through any changes that we need to make that we have the strongest regulation possible in place… and I will be working on deputy McGrath’s bill to see how we can integrate his ideas into that.”

Fianna Fáil’s proposed Bill was discussed at Cabinet today.

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