Tag Archives: Loans

From top: Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised a report by Louise Byrne on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Rebuilding Ireland’s Home Loan Scheme this morning.

Ms Byrne reported that, according to documents she obtained under Freedom Of Information, the Department of Housing – in a briefing note dated January 31, 2019, to its press office – said further approvals are not currently being issued for these particular loans.

Specifically, the note said the department “has been advised that no further approvals should issue for now”.

These loans allow first-time buyers to borrow up to 90 per cent of a property’s value from their local authority.

Those wishing to secure one of these loans have to show they’ve been turned down for mortgage approval by two banks.

Gross earnings cannot exceed €50,000 for a single person or €75,000 for a couple.

In light of Ms Byrne’s report, Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea was told in December 2018 by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy that “he was progressing reforms to ensure the loan can work for more people and more quickly”.

Mr Martin said:

I don’t know what planet the minister is on? But the question I would ask Taoiseach is: Why wasn’t the scheme extended? Why hasn’t it been extended? Why was there no public announcement to the effect, in other words, if you tell your press office, surely deserve the public deserve to know?

“And why wasn’t the Dáil told: upfront and in an honest way?

“Why this kind of continuing lack of respect for the House? In terms of being open, upfront and honest in terms of what is going on? In terms of schemes of this kind?

“People are still applying but nobody has been approved, nobody has been told that no further approvals will issue except your press office according to a Freedom of Information on RTÉ this morning?”

“Why can’t the Minister and the Government just be honest with the people in terms of these issues? And could the Taoiseach bring clarity to this? When will this scheme be extended and to what degree will the scheme be extended?”

“The original limit was €200million; 1,000 houses were to be, allegedly by the minister, accommodated. We’ve had about 1,550, if not more, applications accepted. So will those people, who’ve been approved, will they be in a position to draw down their loans?”

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil 575 people have secured loans under the scheme to date while a further 1,000 applications have been approved but the money has yet to be withdrawn in respect of those.

He said the scheme was initially limited at €200m and that figure has been allocated.

He added:

“But as loans are not drawn down and loans do expire after six months, if they’re not drawn down, more finance does become available.

What we have to consider now is two things: is to whether we should increase the cap above €200m, and that’s currently under consideration of Government, and we also have to consult with the Central Bank as well because this is a mortgage, it is a loan, it’s a loan being offered to people being turned down by banks, building societies and it is a loan at a reduced interest rate.”

In response, Mr Martin asked Mr Varadkar when he discovered that the Department of Housing had to do these two things.

He said:

“Cause the minister said back, last year, that we’re not going to wait for the fund to run out, before we build up a second fund to allow a continuation of the scheme with whatever changes we might deem necessary. The minister said there was going to be no issue here.”

Mr Martin added:

It’s low-income people again being let down. Hopes raised and then dashed with fanfare by the Government in terms of raising the hope. The dashing of the hope is done silently, quietly. Why wasn’t this, what you just said to the House, said by the minister in parliamentary replies?”

“…Why all the secrecy? And the silence around it. Why can’t you guys just be up front with people?

Mr Varadkar told Mr Martin – after Mr Martin accused him of prancing about the place – “while you’re prancing about the place and wagging the finger and telling us off, we’re actually doing things, doing things in the real world that help people”.

He said the Government has helped 10,000 people buy their first home.

Watch Dáil proceedings live here


Tread carefully.

Atticus writes:

Heard an ad on the radio this morning (Today FM) for a company that was doing cash loans. Even though they said that “Provident Personal Credit Limited (trading as “Provident”) is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland” it all sounded a bit suspect so I did a quick check on their website.

You can borrow anything from €100 to €500 and you have a choice of two repayment lengths, 26 or 52 weeks.

26 weeks is at a rate of 187.2% APR or 52 week is 157.3% APR

That is some mark up! How is the Central Bank approving those rates? I’d say it’s also no coincidence that the ads are starting to appear just before the kids go back to school…


Provident Personal Credit


Former CEO of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, Mike Aynsley with the Anglo sign on Stephen’s Green

RTE reports:

“New data shows that a total of 166 Irish Bank Resolution Corporation commercial loans accounts were charged an interest rate of less than 1%. In a written reply to Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath, the Finance Minister said IBRC’s Special Liquidators confirmed that accounts with a rate of less than 1% were mainly related to distressed loans.”

“This was where the loan was restructured or where the borrower was in the liquidation or administration and the prospect of any future recovery was “remote”. Today’s data from the Finance Minister also shows that 920 accounts at the bank were charged a rate of between 1-1.99% on their loans. These loans amounted to €399m.”


166 IBRC loan accounts charged rate of less than 1% (RTÉ)

Photocall Ireland



Who you gonna call?

Last night on Tonight with Vincent Browne, the host disclosed to his panel – co-authors of Fingers (Gill & MacMillan),Tom Lyons and Richard Curran and Elaine Byrne, of the Sunday Independent – that he had got a loan from the Irish Nationwide.

And he wasn’t alone.

Vincent Browne: “One of the interesting things about the Fingleton saga, I think Elaine, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this is the degree to which he co-opted journalists into his practices and  his orbit. And it meant that, not only was there no accountability exercised on Irish Nationwide, or little accountability regarding Michael Fingleton through the regulator and other supervisory bodies but the media played dead, again, on this.”

Elaine Byrne: “Yeah, I was struck at the launch tonight in Hodges and Figges in town, as we were waiting around, talking and listening to the various speeches was the number of journalists who said to me ‘Oh, I got a loan in Irish Nationwide’..but often at high interest rates and often because journalists then didn’t have secure positions and weren’t very good prospects for mortgages in other institutions. So he may have given them very large mortgages or given them mortgages where the interests were a lot higher…”

Browne: “I should own up. I got a mortgage from Irish Nationwide Building Society.”

Byrne: “See?”

Browne: “But anyway, go on, yeah. And I didn’t know what interest rate it was, like many other journalists.”

Byrne: “Did you pay it all off?”

Browne: “Oh, eventually yeah. But by getting a mortgage from somewhere else. I fell out with the building society because I launched a magazine on the basis of not paying the mortgage for a number of months.”

Byrne: “OK. But did it..did it colour your views of Michael Fingleton?”

Browne: “Em. I can’t remember to be quite frank. It coloured my views of the person I was dealing with in Irish Nationwide”

Bryne: “You’re a little bit older than me but..

Browne: “What?”

Byrne: “A small bit. But..so I’m not in the position of having met with Michael Fingleton or mortgage, so it’s more your generation, being very polite but, I mean, was it something that you thought was very prevalent in your time? That people of your generation, journalists, getting mortgages that perhaps, they were a little less difficult to make scrutiny of him or analyse his activities.”

Browne: “Since I myself never engaged at all hardly, virtually in examining financial issues, it didn’t impinge on what I was doing. But I was struck by the fact that, in one newspaper, a Sunday newspaper, during the 70s and early 80s, Michael Fingleton’s picture appeared every Sunday, which I thought was odd at the time.”

Byrne: “On social occasions?”

Browne: “Usually giving a prize to somebody for something or other.”

Byrne: “Well one of the things, one of the journalists said to me this evening actually,  an old hack was saying that he was a great guy for going for quotes and that’s how a lot of journalists got to know because often, within the banking, financial world it was a very closed shop, a closed society and that he was actually very publicity aware and that’s how a lot of journalists got to know him. So I guess maybe he was the Fr Brian D’Arcy of the financial world.”

Richard Curran: “I think one of the things Vincent aswell about the journalists and the mortgages with Irish Nationwide, it seems to have been, with all due respect, among a certain generation. I kind of started in business journalism in 1992/93 and I never would have thought of or dreamt of particularly going to Irish Nationwide if I wanted to get a mortgage or anything else. But I kind of discovered that quite a lot of people, who were older than me and might have got their first mortgage in the 70s, or in the 80s even, had gone to Irish Nationwide. And if you get into the issue then or whether or not the media performed its role adequately in relation to Irish Nationwide, over a long period of time. Journalists are consumers, the same as everyone else. So the question is so if I have a mobile phone, and I’m a customer of one mobile phone company, does that compromise me? No. The question is whether I feel I owe them something, whether I feel beholden to them for something in some way. So I think in Irish Nationwide’s case, because of the way mortgages were given out at the time, because of the way journalists earn their income, a lot of journalists felt that they wouldn’t get a mortgage anywhere else.”

Browne: “Yes, that was certainly the case.”

Curran: “So they felt they owed him.”

Byrne: ” A loyalty, deference.”

Curran: “Yeah, so the question is whether that would have coloured how they wrote about the society or how they wrote about him.”

Browne: “Building societies coloured journalists as a bad risk, not just because they didn’t have secure jobs, many of us did have secure jobs at the time, but we weren’t good at managing the finances we did have, or whatever those finances were. And therefore the word would spread around that it was possible to get a mortgage from Irish Nationwide whereas it was not possible to get it elsewhere. And I’m sure that was a compromising factor.”

Curran: “And you also have to remember then that during those years Irish Nationwide was incredible profitable. So if you were a business journalist, writing about it, what were you going to say? ‘He’s making loads of money for the members, everything seems to be going fantastically’. He was paying himself a lot of money, that was known. But then, in around, you know, the early 2000s is when we saw some journalistic campaigning, particularly done by Bill Tyson, as personal finance editor of the Sunday Independent, where he challenged Irish Nationwide and the way he treated small borrowers and he went on to win two national media awards on foot of his Irish Nationwide coverage so clearly any sense that people might have had that Irish Nationwide was not being heavily criticised, or not being acknowledged if it did anything wrong, that it clearly was gone because many of the judges would have been peers of journalists at the time and they would have felt this is really, really good word that you’re doing. So I think that there’s a generational element to that.”

Watch here

Previously: Brought To Book

IRISH BANKS reject more business loan applications than any other state in the euro zone except Greece, with small and medium businesses in Ireland twice as likely to have a loan application turned down as the average across the bloc.

The new figures are contained in a study published this morning by the Central Bank of Ireland.

While some teetering businesses which seek credit have little chance of repaying loans – and thus have to be refused them – the new study says that “high rejection rates in Ireland cannot be explained by the quality of the pool of potential borrowers”.

More than one in four businesses seeking a loan or an overdraft were rejected in the six months to March.


Irish banks second only to Greece for refusing loans to firms (Dan O’Brien, Irish Times)


Nama chairman Frank Daly (left) and chief executive Brendan McDonagh.

The National Asset Management Agency overpaid for the loans it acquired from five Irish banks and will struggle to recover the €32 billion it paid to the lenders and its costs, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said. The latest report from the State’s budgetary watchdog said that even after writing down loans by 57 per cent on their original value, the price paid by the agency represents “State aid” of more than a fifth of this to the banks, or a subsidy of €6 billion.

Comptroller Says Nama Overpaid For Bank Loans (Simon Carswell, Irish Times)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)