Wednesday 21 February 2018

James Fitzsimons: It's about saving rotten banks – not helping debtors

In spite of the training and resources, the insolvency mechanism won't be fair

James Fitzsimons

THOSE in mortgage arrears are now in limbo. Pay up or submit. The banks will take your home if you don't do as they say. They are in more trouble than they'll admit, but they can't let you know. Restructuring is possible, but the options are limited. The banks made mistakes, not just over lending, their paperwork may not stand up to scrutiny. They are not exposed in every case but they are in some, and it's enough to bring the whole system down if the public really knew what was going on.

Meanwhile, it's a fee fest for professionals here and abroad who claim to have the solutions that let you walk away. It's a pity the banks wouldn't come clean and deal fairly with those in trouble. Own up to the problems and fix them. Otherwise, the speculators will get it all. Those who have the most will gain, while those in trouble will lose everything. The Government knows what's happening and the Central Bank does too. It's been about saving the rotten banks from the start and nothing has changed.

Billions of euro were sunk into insolvent banks. Bank of Ireland has nearly clawed its way back. It's on the brink of getting private equity to regain control. Then it can put a lid on it. It's by no means the worst. If it was it wouldn't be on the brink of buying its way out. They claim they are protecting taxpayers' money that was entrusted to them, but they are really just holding on to as much as they can, because they don't know how much it will take to plug the holes in their own systems.

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