Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O Cuiv hit out at Permanent TSB in the Dáil this morning for their 5.19% variable rate on mortgages, which he described as “the highest in Europe.”
The Galway deputy pointed out that the rate was the highest in Ireland and was way above AIB’s variable interest rate of 3%, Bank of Ireland’s rate of 3.5% and Ulster Bank’s 4.9%.
O Cuiv described the Permanent TSB rate as one of “subprime and usury” levels.
The Fianna Fáil deputy praised Minister for Finance Michael Noonan for persuading other lenders, most notably AIB, to lower their rates but said his work was far from finished as long as a “99% State-owned institution” could charge such a high rate to struggling mortgage holders.
Responding to Deputy O Cuiv, Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that “the government very much shares the concern” about interest rates. He said, however, that the Financial Regulator was going to be “engaging intensively” with banks to ensure no particular segment of their customer base was being “unfairly” targeted.
Mr Gilmore also outlined a number of areas the government were examining in to try and help people with mortgage problems.
They included a pilot scheme to be rolled out by local authorities so that those who can’t pay their mortgages can remain in their homes. He also noted that mortgage debt would be taken into account in the new personal insolvency bill and said that trade-own mortgages, split mortgages and mortgage-to-rent schemes were also being examined.