A bank owned by the 26 County state has been accused of selling good mortgages on family homes to a vulture fund which could result in mass evictions.
Permanent TSB and other banks are in the process of selling off up to 42,000 mortgages to vulture funds in a move they say is intended to reduce arrears. Some of those who received notifications of the sale were up to date with their restructured loan agreements, while others had arrears of as little as a few hundred euro.
Sinn Fein Cork North-Central TD Mr O’Brien said he is “in shock” at the PTSB actions, and called on the 26 County Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to intervene.
“I have written to its chief executive Jeremy Masding to demand the end of the sale and, at the very least, the exclusion of those loans which meet the terms of the restructuring agreement,” he said.
“Sinn Fein considers this a political issue, not only a banking one. Mr Donohoe owns Permanent TSB and is supposed to use that to benefit the Irish people.”
Minister Donohoe has claimed PTSB and other lenders are being pressurised by the European Central Bank to dump mortgages that are not performing. But a letter published this week shows the ECB has issued no such order and has left it up the individual banks as to how they deal with arrears.
“We will continue to raise this at all levels. Hiding behind the bank and the ECB is not good enough,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I have already called for the Finance Committee to be recalled, but that may not be sufficient given the stories emerging.”
The loans are to be transferred by PTSB to Start Mortgages -- a vulture fund -- in 60 days, according to the Daily Mirror.
“There is no sympathy or understanding of the 1,000 people who have engaged and have had their loans restructured and are meeting full payment despite reassurances earlier in the year that those loans would not be sold,” said David Hall, who is director of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.
“It’s bad news for consumers and the government is asleep and on holidays and it’s the start of loan sales by many banks.
“The sales are going ahead and this is now a major political issue. It is beyond belief an Irish bank controlled by 75% by the minister on our behalf would allow this.”
He branded Paschal Donohoe a “liar” and “total bulls*****r” over his failure to stop the sale.
Campaigner David Hall said: “No company in the world has a 75% majority shareholder who cannot intervene.
“Let’s be honest about it, this is total bulls**t.
“It’s all lies and we are getting the documentation together to prove it.”
Among the homeowners who are included in the planned sale of loans is Donegal grandmother Marian Cahill, who is aged 63 and has recently been struck with dementia.
“I found it hard to believe a company that is virtually owned by the State can sell mortgages off to another company without consent,” she said.
“I thought it’s hardly likely they are going to put homes in jeopardy.”
Mrs Cahill also claimed politicians have washed their hands of the mortgage crisis.
She said: “A bank is a bank, it’s an entity that does not care about anything other than making money. We don’t expect any better from them.
“But we do expect more from our Government. The State is supposed to operate for the good of the people first and foremost.
“That is what a Republic is supposed to do. I look around and see there is money in this country again. It’s the same people who caused the crisis that are making money again.”