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Collins, Michael

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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Senator


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Deputy Michael Collins

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Michael Collins

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Snippet Contents:

I am happy to speak to this Bill and I thank my colleagues in Sinn Féin for bringing it forward. This Bill is necessary as it provides to the Central Bank of Ireland powers to conduct inquiries into suspected provision of false or misleading information and it creates an offence when such information is provided. White collar crime is something that must be addressed as a matter of urgency. It is high time we see the bankers who played a part in the economic crash prosecuted and it is necessary that we see more accountability in the area. Most recently, we have seen the tracker mortgage scandal but there are many cases of misinformation and injustice served on the normal and hard-working Irish people by banks.
As some of my colleagues noted earlier, it is important we do not just fine banks, as these fines are paid through the normal variable mortgage customers and small business owners through their loans. I meet such people in my clinics each week and they are most affected by this lack of accountability in banks. Young couples are constantly falling through the cracks when they are trying to get on the property ladder. They go to a local bank to try to take out a mortgage but are refused if their income is too low. If they go to a local authority to try to get a house, they are refused if their income is too high. What are these people supposed to do? It is totally unfair. Families have been affected by the tracker mortgage scandal, as it has caused stress and upset, and in some awful cases, even lives are lost due to the stress. It is high time we see more accountability from our banks. We must have a trail of who authorised what and why instead of continuing the game of passing the buck to somebody else. The consequences of these problems are far too high.
I give credit to our local credit unions and such financial institutions need more support from the Government. They are the only avenues of support for normal people living their daily lives. They are community-oriented and know how to deal with people. They have a clear understanding of customer needs. They need further support from the Government to allow them compete with larger banks and financial institutions. I am happy to see this Bill being brought forward and I support it.