Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has welcomed a commitment from the Minister for Finance today to ask the Governor of the Central Bank “to consider what influence the Central Bank (can) bring to bear to bring variable mortgage rates closer to the cost of funds”. The Minister also stated that he “will speak to the Governor of the Central Bank again and express the views expressed by Deputy McGrath and will indicate that those views are held generally in the House.” The Minister was speaking in response to Michael McGrath during Finance Questions in the Dáil this morning.
Deputy McGrath commented “Clearly the Minister and his government colleagues are feeling the heat on this issue in response to the pressure we have brought to bear in the Dáil and the work of consumer advocacy groups. He has made this climb-down from his previous hands off approach directly as a result of the motion Fianna Fáil moved in the Dáil during its private members time last evening.
“It is important to state that this is only the start of a process to ensure fair and transparent pricing of mortgage products in the Irish market. For too long the banks have been able to use their dominance to the detriment of customer interest. We need a competitive banking structure that works for families and individuals.
“The Minister cannot pass responsibility for this entirely to the Central Bank. He must play a direct role himself as Minister for Finance and as a member of the Economic Management Council to ensure action is taken by the banks. As the Minister with responsibility for the state’s shareholding in the banks, he has considerable powers of persuasion over the state owned institutions and also over the wider banking sector,” concluded Deputy McGrath.