“Leading financial consultant David McCarthy of McCarthy & Associates in Galway told the Connacht Tribune: “The banks see this is as a good time for them to move, because equity is building up in properties. No doubt they’re looking at the recovering property market”.
He also pointed out that foreign ‘vulture funds’ – which have bought up banks’ loan books, containing thousands of Irish properties, are not regulated in Ireland. Therefore, these homeowners are not currently offered the same protection as those with a mortgage from a domestic bank. He said Ireland’s insolvency structure – where either the bank or individual can ‘opt out’ of negotiations – is not working, and banks appear to have a policy not to engage and to force homeowners into bankruptcy.
“Bankruptcy can cause long term damage, not just to your credit rating, but to your reputation. There is a very real stigma attached to it; ‘normal’ people can’t just go to the UK for a year like the high-fliers”.
“Banks are playing on that threat (bankruptcy), but they should not be able to just walk away (from the negotiations). Somebody needs to be able to adjudicate on a third party basis”, said Mr. McCarthy.
He said based on current repossession application figures, he could not accept that this level of people were refusing to engage with the banks, resulting in court action.”