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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Snippet Contents:

As Deputy McGrath said, we support the Bill. He has been at the forefront of defending the rights of mortgage holders in this country. He introduced a Mortgage Resolution Bill, which is before the Dáil, that will go a long way towards trying to right some of the wrongs that have been done.
Deputy McGrath referred to the sale by Permanent TSB of €4.5 billion worth of loans, €3 billion of which involve mortgages for family homes. We have had enough of that. It cannot be allowed to happen again. When Deputy Noonan was Minister for Finance, he said that vulture funds picking over the carcass of a recession was the natural order of things. We are fed up with the vulture funds picking on and intimidating ordinary individuals and mortgage holders. That must stop. People must be helped to stay in their family homes either by writing off a portion of their mortgage or extending the term of their loan, as has been proposed in the Mortgage Resolution Bill. That must be done and the banks should be given no choice in the matter. People who are making a reasonable attempt to pay their mortgage must be protected and evictions and repossessions must stop.
Comments were made by the Central Bank last week to the effect that people purposely went into arrears because they saw an opportunity to stop paying their mortgage. Such comments from an official in the Central Bank were foolhardy at best and it was very sinister. It was done to try to change public opinion. The banks want to offload those loans because they do not want to be associated with further wholesale repossessions. They do not want their already tarnished image further diminished. By abandoning their customers to the vulture funds and comments such as we have heard from the Central Bank, the hope is that public opinion can be turned against mortgage holders. The banks believe they will be free in one leap from their bad loan book. When one views the entirety of the current position of mortgage arrears, it puts the comments of the Central Bank into context. The impact of what was said was to try to turn public opinion against mortgage holders who are in arrears. It would have the effect of a neighbour feeling resentment towards another neighbour if there were a perception that someone was being let off the hook with his or her mortgage arrears. The banks are not happy that they are being held to account for their role in the mortgage arrears crisis. They are not happy that public opinion is against them because their actions have been less than energetic in resolving this problem.
The scandal of tracker mortgages is further evidence of the callous attitude of the banks to their customers. As has been said, thousands of people are still not on the correct rate. Many people managed to pay their mortgages even though they were not on the correct rate, but their families suffered hardship and financial pressure. One could never put an economic value on that. I believe the banks are very happy to see the Central Bank lecture the mortgage holder and take the light away from where the real problem lies, that is, with the banks. Therefore, I believe the Central Bank should clarify its position and apportion blame where it firmly belongs, namely, with the banks.
Fianna Fáil's Mortgage Resolution Bill requires a money message from the Government to proceed. It is a fair Bill that can be a final solution to the mortgage arrears crisis. It will ensure that a fair and reasonable deal will be put in place for all parties. The banks will get their money and, most important, families will stay in their homes. The State will not have the future cost of providing housing for those thrown out of their homes. Therefore, there is an urgency in getting the Government to give a money message so that families in search of a resolution can finally have peace of mind and security of tenure in their family home. Imposing fines on the banks is not enough. We want a resolution and the family home must be protected.