“My own experience of dealing with a vulture fund was very difficult. Ulster Bank customers affected by this sale will be frightened and extremely anxious to know what their rights, protections and obligations are – and there’s not even a basic helpline for them to turn to for information.

The Social Democrats have criticised today’s announced sale by Ulster Bank of mortgages to US vulture fund Cerberus as yet another example of ordinary people paying a heavy price for the government’s policy failures.

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:

“It’s neither surprising nor shocking to see Ulster Bank offload mortgages which have fallen into arrears to a vulture fund. This is once more a case of many ordinary people paying the price for the government’s failure to put in place proper supports that would have helped borrowers when they first began to struggle with repayments.

“According to news reports today, 70 per cent of the 2,300 affected home mortgage holders entered into arrears seven years ago. At that time, there were few policy protections in place for people, such as restructuring options like split mortgages or mortgage to rent schemes. Around 2,900 buy-to-let mortgages are also included in this sale. Sitting tenants are at serious risk of eviction if their rented home is put up for sale.

“What we are seeing with today’s announcement by Ulster Bank is just the latest outworking of the snail’s pace of reforms to protect bank customers struggling with home mortgages – it’s a case of too little, too late.”

Ms Bailey added:

“My own experience of dealing with a vulture fund was very difficult. Ulster Bank customers affected by this sale will be frightened and extremely anxious to know what their rights, protections and obligations are – and there’s not even a basic helpline for them to turn to for information.

“It’s time to reconsider the definition of a non-cooperating borrower. We also need to extend protections for borrowers who find themselves outside of the current protections of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process as a result of a bank’s refusal to engage meaningfully or due to delayed policy and legislative protections that could have prevented the build-up of non-performing loans on banks’ books.”

ENDS

13th August 2018