Michael Lowry TD condemns the chaos & heartbreak caused by Bank Repossessions

Following a review undertaken by Deputy Michael Lowry TD; he is now aware that appearing before the Court in Nenagh on Thursday last, financial institutions sought 86 applications for home repossessions, with similar figures being repeated in Clonmel and Nenagh every couple of months. The majority of these applications are causing intense anxiety, distress and disruption to Tipperary individuals and their families, who remain, firmly, the victims of a banking industry which has been permitted to run out of control.

This same banking industry was led by exorbitantly well-paid executives with all of the resources of economists, blue-chip accountancy firms, together with consultants, at their finger-tips. Despite this scenario, their corporate structure fully succeeded in detonating a massive, caustic explosion within the Irish economy, not just demoralising their customers but collapsing the very foundations of its own structures. Despite this financial catastrophe, the Irish Government and tax-payers combined to bail out these financial institutions at huge costs, thus saving them from their own avaricious negligence and wilful recklessness.

Deputy Michael Lowry now probes the question:

“What have the Irish people gained from these financial institutions, in return for their largesse and support?”

“While we are still caught in a difficult and dangerous situation and ‘on the hook’ for tens of billions, which these banks, through absolute avarice, have cost this country; we nevertheless still have these same arrogant bankers treating ordinary house-holders and their families with ruthless aggression. Do not be misled by Government propaganda; their Insolvency Service is just another quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation; a quango if you will, with banks still allowed to hold a veto over all mortgage arrangements.

“Mortgage holders presently in financial difficulty are being treated in horrendous ways; terrorised out of their homes without any proper or real engagement; designed to restructure mortgages and achieve civilised and humanitarian solutions. On top of this, we have the disgraceful situation of huge regulatory fines being imposed on the parent banks of some institutions operating and advertising here in Ireland; arising from the fraudulent manipulation of interbank benchmark rates and foreign exchange markets.

“I am almost on a daily basis, being confronted with appalling instances of financial institutions being allowed to ignore their own wrong-doings and trample on Irish borrowers. I have been consulted by one parent, in the building sector, who in addition to his family home and with a view to helping pay for his children’s education, bought just one ‘buy-to-let’ house in 2006. With the collapse of the building industry, he still managed to find occasional work, but fell into arrears. These arrears which, at their very worst, rose to just €5,500, had by 2013, been reduced to €1,600. However his financial institution still appointed a Receiver, sold his house and pursued him through the Courts to reclaim the balance.

“Yet another vulnerable family were convinced by a Broker that he could get them a Mortgage in circumstances where they should never have been approved. He took a fee of €2,500 from them for his work; got them a mortgage which realistically could never be paid and they in return are now being hounded out of their home by their financial institution, which accepts no responsibility in the matter.”

These are just two examples from numerous similar situations.

“At present, borrowers are being held to account for their behaviour, however financial institutions are permitted to sail completely free of having to take any share of the responsibility for the chaos, distress and heart-break, which has resulted from this present financial crisis. Again, I state that this recent crisis has been caused primarily by these same financial institutions, who had all the ‘top-notch’ advice and who have spent the past year before the Banking Inquiry, unable to recall their actions and refusing profusely to take any responsibility for their totally dissolute actions.

I firmly believe that borrowers, particularly distressed home-owners, should get some respite. Why should thousands of individuals and whole families be put on local authority housing lists, simply because bankers went fanatical; wildly encouraging people to borrow 100% loans, most often knowingly aware of peoples inability to repay?

“I demand a new deal for distressed home-owners under which our banks and Vulture Funds, which bought many of their Loan Books, will immediately be forced to enter into the following arrangements with borrowers. In other words, where a borrower is committed to an agreed affordable repayment situation (initially for a trial period of say 2 years), same should be permitted to keep their homes, on the condition that they abide by same pre-agreed affordable repayment. Legislation to compel these arrangements should be a priority for any incoming Government.”