Monday 23 October 2017

Comment: Jackie and Bill should stop blaming the banks for their financial problems

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

High-profile couple Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen are, for what seems like the thousandth time, talking to the media about their financial woes.

Or, to be more precise, about how they've been unfairly treated by Irish banks.

Readers will remember that the couple are in ongoing litigation over the collapse of Bill's car dealerships, which resulted in debts of about €12m to Ulster Bank, with Bill having personally guaranteed some of that.

Jackie is now suing Glencullen, the company under which Bill operated, claiming she is the legal owner of a property that the bank is trying to sell off to recoup some of the money it is owed.

Meanwhile, Danske Bank is also involved in litigation against Cullen over unpaid debts, and has been trying to force him to sell his Kildare mansion to satisfy the €8.2m he owes it.

Reasonable

When questioned last week about Bill's financial concerns, Jackie was asked the ostensibly reasonable question about whether Bill is at least partly to blame for the situation he finds himself in.

While she agreed that he is, it's not for the reason you might immediately expect.

"I feel he was too soft with the banks," said Jackie. "He didn't fight enough against them. He always had the impression 'Sure, they won't do that to me'."

The inference from this, of course, is that Bill's main problem is not the fact that he borrowed money that he couldn't afford to pay back.

Bill's problem, according to Jackie, is not fighting hard enough against the banks.

After all, banks that are owed millions expecting to get their money back? How unreasonable can you be?

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