Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (457)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

457. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Finance the actions he has taken regarding the decision by a bank (details supplied) to sell loans to a fund despite the fact that agreements had been entered into under the mortgage-to-rent scheme with a social housing body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14540/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, as Minister for Finance I have no role in the day to day operations of any bank operating within the State including banks in which the State has a shareholding. I'm precluded from intervening on behalf of any individual customer in any particular bank. Decisions in relation to commercial matters are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The independence of banks in which the state has a shareholding is protected by Relationship Frameworks which are legally binding documents that cannot be changed unilaterally. These frameworks, which are publicly available, were insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market 

Non-performing exposures (NPE's) remain at an elevated level across the European banking system and addressing this issue is one of the key priorities for the European banking supervisor. In Ireland significant progress has been made across the banking sector in reducing the level of NPEs since the financial crisis mainly through loan by loan restructuring in addition to a number of loan disposals.

Despite this progress, the level of NPEs in the Irish system remains well above the European average and some time ago the supervisory authority tasked the management and board of each institution with developing and implementing a strategy to address this challenge. The banks have no choice but to respond.

You will recall that in 2018 my Department brought forward legislation to ensure that the contractual rights and obligations of a customer are not altered by the sale of a loan and customers will continue to benefit from, and fall under the scope of applicable regulations, whether with their bank or a 3rd party servicing entity. In this regard, the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act ensures that relevant borrowers whose loans are sold are afforded the regulatory protections they had prior to the sale. All of the customer's rights under their existing terms and conditions will remain in place post transfer.