Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has called on Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to declare what position he will adopt on the sale by Permanent TSB of 7,400 family home mortgages to Start Mortgages, owned by US vulture fund Lone Star, when he is formally consulted as the main shareholder in the bank.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Under the Relationship Framework Agreement in place governing the State’s 75% shareholding in Permanent TSB, Minister Donohoe will be consulted on this proposed loan sale. He will have the opportunity to express a view on the part of government and to suggest changes to the loan sale. The bank will then make the final decision.

“The Minister presents himself as a bystander in this whole process and conveniently doesn’t point out that the bank either has already or will formally ask him for his opinion. The silence from the Minister and the government is no longer sustainable. We know for a fact that 1,050 fully performing family home mortgages are in the portfolio lined up for sale.

“In the past 11 days, I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from worried Permanent TSB customers. Many of them have shared their own personal story with me. In addition to the 1,050 fully performing loans where no payments have been missed, it is clear that the portfolio also contains a very large number of restructured loans where the borrower is honouring the agreement.

“These loans are well on the road to being deemed as performing under regulatory rules. I have also been given the details of many examples where the bank was responsible for major delays in putting restructure solutions in place. These delays have resulted in some loans being unnecessarily included in the sale.

“We need to hear from Minister Donohoe. We need to know whether he has or intends to meet Permanent TSB about this loan sale. We need to know what views he will convey when he is formally consulted. We need to know whether he will be asking for the removal of performing loans and loans well on the road to being classified as performing. We need to know whether he has sought or received any assurances that Start Mortgages/Lone Star are willing to enter into new restructuring agreements with customers and if they will make themselves accountable to the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

“These are some of the basic questions those affected by this proposed sale deserve to have answered by their government which is after all the largest shareholder in the bank and which will be asked for its view on the sale”.