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19th March 2020 | Coronavirus, Press Releases

Minister must push banks for mortgage break commitment – Greens

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Neasa Hourigan, Green Party Finance spokesperson, has called on the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to push banks to live up to their mortgage payment breaks commitment. The Minister announced he had secured agreement from main banks to introduce a range of measures to help those affected by COVID-19 [1]. These measures were to include a payment break up to three months; however based on reports from customers, EBS (owned by AIB) appears not to be offering this payment break option, offering instead 3 months of interest only mortgage repayments.

Neasa Hourigan TD said: “The announcement of a range of measures, including mortgage payment breaks, was a welcome development in a stressful time for homeowners in Ireland.

“It appears customers are being told by their branches that EBS (a subsidiary of the majority state-owned AIB) is not in fact offering its customers a payment break; rather the option to move to 3 months of interest only mortgage repayments.

“This is materially different from the announcement and will be a struggle for some homeowners who have been laid off as a result of COVID-19. The Minister for Finance needs to use his influence to ensure that the majority state-owned banks live up to the intent of the announcement.

“The Green Party is also hearing reports of what it considers undue red tape to avail of this offer. Again the Minister for Finance needs to make it clear that the application process should be as simple as possible.

“These are difficult and uncertain times for individuals and businesses in Ireland. The banks, who were supported by the Irish tax payer in their own difficult times, need to recognise that this is not a period for a “business as usual” attitude.”

References
[1] https://www.rte.ie/news/2020/0318/1123788-banks-covid-19/
[2] https://www.ebs.ie/covid19