'We are not in this together': Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation hits out at banking industry

'We are not in this together': Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation hits out at banking industry

Credit: Irish Examiner

The representative body for the banking industry has stopped short of committing to reintroducing mortgage payment breaks.

The head of The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) has branded the refusal of banks to reintroduce mortgage payment breaks as “disgraceful”.

“We are not in this together, and banks and vulture funds are not to be trusted,” said the group’s CEO David Hall.

Earlier today, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said its members recognised the financial challenges that moving to level five poses for many, but it stopped short of committing to reintroducing loan repayment breaks.

The representative body for the banking industry in Ireland said banks will continue to deliver ”a range of solutions to meet customers’ individual circumstances”, adding that in excess of 150,000 payment breaks have already been delivered by the industry since March of this year.

“I fully respect ordinary bank staff working in this country, but their bosses have made a cruel and unnecessary decision that will heap further pressure on to thousands of families who’re already struggling to cope with the worst global health crisis in living memory,” said Mr Hall.

He said the stress of dealing with potential job losses as part of the latest round of restrictions will now be compounded by payment demands “from overbearing lenders”.  

“Mortgage payment breaks should continue, as long as Covid continues,” he said.

BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes said some 2,500 staff in financial support units across the five retail banks are “actively working with” mortgage customers and SMEs facing financial challenges.

“We understand that this is a hugely stressful time for many customers and that payment breaks may be part of the overall customer solution,” he said.