The blunt assessment of the approach adopted by banks to the mortgage arrears crisis given today by Central Bank Director Fiona Muldoon is refreshing and must now be followed up on with meaningful action by the banks to tackle the growing arrears problem, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath stated, “To hear the Central Bank Director responsible the prudential supervision of Irish banks give a devastating critique of the banks’ approach to the mortgage arrears crisis is a welcome departure from the weak, submissive regulation of the past.

“In calling for ‘an urgency of purpose’ and in telling the banks ‘to get busy fixing’, the Central Bank is acknowledging in a very straightforward way that the banks have not responded adequately to the mortgage arrears problem. I sincerely hope that today’s speech by Fiona Muldoon will mark a watershed in the way that banks are dealing with this problem.

“I am delighted the Central Bank is calling it as it is and is putting it up to the banks to solve a problem they were central to the creation of. It is high time that the banks demonstrated the courage and leadership required to deal with a problem that is only going to get bigger.

“No one is suggesting that there is a silver bullet solution to the mortgage arrears crisis because there is not. However, the problem will not solve itself. It has to be tackled with imagination and determination. Meeting the lending needs of the economy and working through the mortgage arrears crisis have to be the top two priorities for our banks. The resolution of the mortgage arrears problem is not just critically important for the distressed borrowers involved, it is essential if the economy is to return to health again.”