“It is downright insulting to mortgage holders that the Taoiseach said he hadn’t heard about a State-owned bank’s sale of its Project Glas loan portfolio to a Lone Star affiliate for around €1.3bn.”

The Social Democrats have called on the government to put in place workable solutions to stave off the wholesale sale of Permanent TSB’s non-performing home loans to unregulated vulture funds.

Carly Bailey, the party’s Dáil candidate for Dublin South-West who lost her own family home after her loan was sold to a vulture fund, said:

“PTSB is a bailed-out bank that is 75 per cent owned by the State. It is downright insulting to mortgage holders that the Taoiseach said he hadn’t heard about the bank’s sale of its Project Glas loan portfolio to Start Mortgages, a Lone Star affiliate, for around €1.3bn.

“This portfolio contains 10,700 home loans – 7,400 are owner-occupier mortgages, while 3,300 are buy-to-let properties. What now happens to all the people and families affected by this sale? The chances are that their homes will be sold from underneath them and we will have at least 20,000 more people facing into housing insecurity or homelessness at a time of acute housing shortages.

“This latest transaction reduces the bank’s overall non-performing loan ratio from around 25% to 16% – that’s still very far off ECB targets. This means that these are only the first wave of home loan owners who face having their mortgages sold to vulture funds.”

Ms Bailey added:

“The government can’t stand by and allow a State-owned bank to effectively outsource repossessions of people’s homes. It needs to act to ensure that as many families can stay in their own homes as is possible. It can do this by:

  • Ensuring the creation of more ethical funds by State-backed and private investors.
  • Improving access to the mortgage to rent scheme to allow home loans to be bought by local authorities and regulated not-for-profit approved housing bodies, and rented back to their former owners. There great potential in this scheme, but the eligibility rules are too restrictive and local authorities need to be better resourced to buy home loans.
  • Obliging State-owned banks to seriously consider debt write downs for mortgage holders who are in genuine distress to allow them to put in place amended payment schemes. Why should loans be sold to vulture funds at such large discounts, when they aren’t offered to home owners on the same terms?”

ENDS

1 August 2018