Banks are profiting from the Covid-19 pandemic. That's according to Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty and others who have raised concerns about extra payment demands from struggling mortgage holders.
While the main banks have agreed to a three-month payment break for mortgage owners, Mr Doherty said lenders were throwing the extra interest for the delayed loans back onto borrowers.
He and other Opposition TDs raised the problems with the mortgage payment breaks during debates today about emergency laws which are being fast-tracked through the Dáil.
Speaking in the chamber, Mr Doherty said: “The banks came out with great fanfare and said a moratorium or three-month break would take place. The reality is that these banks will profit on the back of the pandemic and that is not acceptable.
"Let us consider Bank of Ireland - its website shows this clearly. Someone with a 30-year mortgage of €200,000 will pay €1,804 extra to the bank because of this three-month break.
“A vulture fund - let us name it - Pepper - is telling customers that it will give them the three-month break but it will increase the repayment from €1,500 to €1,600 each month until the amount of money the customer should have paid, including the interest, is paid off. The fund is not extending it over the full duration of the loan.
“Not only are the banks not waiving interest, they are charging interest on the interest they are rolling up. It is absolutely scandalous.”
Independent Sligo Leitrim Marian Harkin raised the same concerns and said it was high time for banks to show “solidarity” with people in a time of crisis.
She appealed to ministers to act, saying: “Using whatever further pressure they can exert, they must ensure that we do not see the interest on interest of which some of my colleagues have spoken.
"It must not be the case that payments deferred now still have to be paid within a specified time. People are outraged at the idea of interest on interest.
"I know the Minister of State does not have complete flexibility, but these are extraordinary times and we require real and meaningful solidarity from our banks and financial institutions."