David Hall: We want to restore hope for borrowers in 'purgatory'
A groundbreaking initiative between an advocacy group and AIB aims to help those in distress, writes David Hall
For the past five years, tens of thousands of mortgage holders have struggled with debt. This burden has mapped out their entire lives and its resolution will dictate their future.
This week, the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) and AIB, EBS, and Haven announced a ground-breaking joint initiative to help distressed customers. The AIB group has given IMHO an unconditional initial grant of €150,000 to establish a standalone independent office. This office will be staffed by experienced and qualified advisers to act on behalf of the borrower to seek to agree long-term solutions to their mortgage difficulties. No AIB staff member will be based in our office. This service will open on November 18 and is free to AIB/EBS/Haven customers.
My views on the abysmal failure of all banks, including the Central Bank, and governments in dealing with this mortgage crisis are well documented. Banks have adopted a "wait-and-see" approach, hoping that property prices would increase and that they would not have to face the crystallisation of any losses. This has left borrowers in debtor's purgatory. This has added to borrowers' fear and scepticism about the banks. This crisis has dragged on without light, without hope. I and others seek to have hope and light restored. We are confident that this week's announcement might be a turning point.