Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says a Bill introduced by his party earlier this year, which will see vulture funds properly regulated is needed more than ever, following unprecedented loan sales to foreign owned private equity funds.

The Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will be debated at report stage in the Dáil today.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “Over the past number of months we have seen several banks sell off their loans to vulture funds.  PTSB are proceeding with the sale of their book of loans known as Project Glás, Ulster Bank agreed a sale of mortgages to US vulture fund Cerberus while AIB’s Project Redwood portfolio sell off is also underway.

“Fianna Fáil has been consistently opposed to such sales.  While I accept that pressure is being applied from the European Banking Authority and the European Central Bank, it is unacceptable that banks are simply outsourcing their dirty work to foreign funds.

“We have consistently maintained that banks should be working through their loan books in the same way as they have always done.

“Fianna Fáil believes that serious reforms are needed to tackle the tens of thousands of legacy mortgage arrears cases.  The current process sees nearly half of all personal insolvency arrangements failing.  As a result, it has been judges who have prevented large scale repossessions rather than the government.  The bank veto needs to be removed and fair and sustainable loan solutions need to be put in place

“Earlier this year, my party brought forward legislation that would regulate the owners of these loans rather than the intermediary.  When passed, this will represent a significant step forward.  In practice the loan owners make all the major decisions such as when to enforce a loan or what loan options are to be provided to those in arrears.  They continue to make these decisions while being completely beyond the reach of Central Bank regulation.

“I welcome the cross-party support that this legislation has received.  We must now ensure that it passes all stages of the Dáil and Seanad without delay so that it can be enacted as soon as possible”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.