ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock has said the association is committed to helping farmers whose loans have been sold off to vulture fund operations.
AGRILAND – 12 NOVEMBER 2016
We believe that the last tranche of loans sold off by Ulster Bank affected 200 farmers, he said.
“For the most part, these were sold off to the capital management company Cerberus. And it, in turn, is working with other similar businesses. So the picture is quite complicated.
“I have already spoken to the Financial Ombudsman on this matter and we have asked for a meeting with the head of the Cerberus operation in Ireland. If this is not granted within the week, I will bring a delegation from ICSA to the company’s front door.”
Sherlock said that the last thing he wanted was a fire sale of the loans now in the hands of Cerberus and the other finance companies involved.
We are getting no end of phone calls from farmers on this matter. In fact, the very use of the term vulture funds sends a shiver down the backs of the farmers involved.
“I would like to assure farmers that ICSA will support each and every member in their quest to find a reasonable solution to their financial problems.
“It is important that every angle is explored to find a satisfactory compromise for both sides which will enable the farm to be retained by the farm family. Fire sales and quick fixes will not be tolerated while other avenues need to be considered.”
Sherlock said that every farmer’s position is different and must be handled on a case by case basis.
“In certain cases selling part of the asset might be the preferred option, particularly for older farmers, who may have little or no interest in a long term restructuring plan.
“For others who wish to remain in the industry every effort must be made to find solutions in order to facilitate the farm family remaining on the land. This will require fresh thinking and in certain cases a long term repayment plan,” he said.