Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said the decision of AIB and EBS to increase variable mortgages rates is another hammer blow for distressed mortgage holders which will damage the economy and push more families into mortgage arrears.
Deputy McGrath stated, “Today’s news that AIB and EBS are both increasing their variable mortgage rates is deeply depressing news for thousands of people already struggling to pay their mortgage. This decision will undoubtedly further damage the domestic economy and push more borrowers into the spiral of mortgage arrears.
“I stated last month that I was becoming increasingly concerned at the government’s complete indifference to speculation that the banks are planning another round of variable rate mortgage hikes potentially affecting up to 300,000 customers. There will now be concern that other banks will follow AIB’s lead and increase their rates. Variable rate mortgage customers have become the sacrificial lambs as the banks seek to make up for losses elsewhere in their books.
“While the final decision on rates does rest with the banks at present, it is remarkable that the government is unwilling to even express a view on the matter given the impact of rate increases on mortgage arrears and the wider economy. Just two years ago – fresh in office – the government took a much more hands on approach on at least one occasion when the banks were dragging their feet on passing on an ECB rate reduction.
“The growing difference between tracker and variable rates is completely unsustainable and is an issue government cannot continue to ignore. It is about time the government stood up for variable rate mortgage customers and made called the banks to task for targeting these customers for more and more rate increases.”