Banks must face consequences for actions

28 March 2020

Reacting to multiple reports of banks unfairly withholding support from mortgage customers, the leader of the Labour Party said that any bank or financial company that acts against the public interest during this emergency should face stiff consequences.

Brendan Howlin said:

“Ireland is facing an extraordinary national emergency, with the coronavirus affecting people’s jobs and livelihoods as well as threatening their health. We need all sectors of society and the economy to pull together to overcome this crisis and to restore the economy afterwards.

“The people bailed out the banks after 2008, and now we expect no less than the banks playing their part by giving mortgage customers a three-month payment holiday, as they told the Government they would.

“Yet Labour representatives across the country are receiving reports of banks unfairly denying customers access to this mortgage holiday because they missed their last payment. In most cases, this was due to unemployment caused by the coronavirus crisis! This is against the spirit and letter of what was agreed, and it is certainly not in the public interest at this time for any lender to be withholding support from vulnerable customers.

“Labour calls on the Government to make a clear statement about the consequences financial houses will face if they act against the public interest during this emergency, including the imposition of major additional levies. Last week lenders denied requiring savings to avail of a mortgage holiday, but this was revealed to be happening. Their behaviour is nothing short of disgraceful, and they will be brought to account after this crisis is over.”

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