Fianna Fáil’s MEP candidate for Midlands North West, Senator Thomas Byrne, will tomorrow (Wednesday) ask the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee to bring in and question representatives of Permanent TSB following today’s announcement of an increase in their standard variable rate for mortgage customers to 4.5%, from 9 June.  The increase will also apply to buy-to-let mortgages.

Senator Byrne said, “Permanent TSB have serious questions to answer. This rate increase has come completely out of the blue.  They claim that it is reflective of their lending costs but, for example, there has been no recent  increase in the European Central Bank base rate. I want to see how they explain and justify this particular increase, adding to the financial burden of thousands of already hard pressed mortgage borrowers. They are effectively a State-owned financial institution and, therefore, must be accountable for their actions to the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

“This is a financial institution that has already told us that they expect to repossess between 2,000 and 4,000 homes as a result of the mortgage crisis. They have initiated legal proceedings against 1,500 customers in the past three months.  Today’s interest rate ‘hike’ will simply add more people to those numbers.’