Rabbitte: Acquiring houses not 'the top objective of the banks'

Rabbitte: Acquiring houses not 'the top objective of the banks'

The Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has said banks are not interested in repossessing houses from customers who are in arrears with their mortgages.

Mr Rabbitte was responding to comments from SIPTU's General President Jack O'Connor, who has described as "reprehensible and barbaric" renewed talk of evictions.

Minister Rabbitte said there has been no increase in the number of evictions and that we should wait to see the results of the Personal Insolvency Bill.

Yesterday the Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran, told an Oireachtas committee that he expects to see more repossessions this year.

He was speaking after the Central Bank released figures showing nearly 12% of residential mortgages are now in arrears.

Mr Rabbitte said: "Acquiring houses at this time, doesn't seem to me to be the top objective of the banks.

"What the banks are trying to do is to try and get the issue of mortgage credit under control and in most cases that will involve people coming to arrangements with the banks.

"I think evictions is an emotive term, we have a mortgage crisis, there is no doubt about that and the purpose of the Personal Insolvency Bill is to address that issue."

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