Mortgage arrears issue to top agenda in new Dáil term
on 18/09/2013 10:37:28
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes said progress by banks so far in dealing with customers in mortgage distress has been too slow.
However he said he is hopeful that targets set out by the Central Ban, which call for banks to have dealt with at leaet 50% of overdrawn mortgages by the end of December, will be achieved.
And he said a tougher approach will be taken with the banks.
"The case of the 100,000 people in distressed mortgages are the priority for the Government," Minister Hayes said.
"I've said in the past...we have been disappointed by the progress thus far, because it's taken a long while to get the insolvency legislation through - you have to have a carrot and stick approach to this.
"If the banks want to take this approach with people that they're not going to write-down debt, they're not going to resolve the issue - they ultimately will go before the courts and the court will determine," he added.
However Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald has accused the government of washing its hands of the mortgage crisis.
Deputy McDonald said she is not hopeful that lenders will reach the tragets set out by the Central Bank:
"The difficulty that we have had is that the government resolutely takes a hands-off approach in respect of the banks," she said.
"They say, no, it's a matter for the regulators, it's a matter for the Central Bank; it's always a matter for someone else.
"It was a mistake and is a mistake to give a veto and to stack all of the cards in favour of the banks."