25 May 2016
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said he is deeply concerned about the selling off of €100m of agricultural loans by Ulster Bank, “ICSA believes that banks should have a long-term view about their business with key customers such as farmers so this is bad news for those who wished to resolve their business dealings with Ulster Bank over time”, he said.
However, Mr. Sherlock was keen to stress that “Following our recent meeting with the Financial Ombudsman, ICSA was able to clarify that whatever rights of complaints customers have with Ulster Bank would be carried over and must be recognised by the new owner of the loan. This is not ideal but may go some way to reassure agricultural borrowers in distress.”
Continuing, Mr Sherlock said “Many of the loans that are included in the sale will belong to private individuals trying to hold onto their family home or farm. ICSA believes that anybody who is keen to find a resolution to their financial difficulties be given every opportunity to negotiate a realistic outcome over the long-term. We would also have concerns that this move by Ulster Bank will set a precedent and be replicated by the major Irish banks.”