Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said the government policy of encouraging the negative behaviour of vulture funds is rolling out the red carpet for the same funds. Deputy Crowe said: “Last year, Ulster Bank sold a portfolio of loans known as Project Scariff – worth €1.6 billion – to a vulture fund called Promontoria Scariff. “Another company called ‘Cabot Financial Ireland’ is now administering these loans and has written to all buy-to-let mortgage holders who are behind in their payments, demanding that all arrears are cleared within 30 days. “It is telling borrowers to clear their arrears within 30 days or a fixed asset receiver will be appointed. “That means they plan to take the asset whether there is negative or positive equity. “For those in positive equity, they will quickly see this disappear as receiver and legal fees clock up.
“This is a direct consequence of government policy and Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe’s approach of rolling out of the red carpet to vulture funds.“It is precisely because of the actions of firms like Cabot that people understandably fear vulture funds and increasingly are afraid of losing their homes. Last summer the Permanent TSB which is 75% owned by the State announced it was selling 7,400 to Start Mortgages a subsidiary of another vulture Lone Star. This sale happened with the agreement of government and this support has emboldened other banks to do the same. Another Irish based bank, Ulster Bank agreed to sell 2,300 owner occupied home loans as well as 2900 buy to let mortgages to the vulture fund called Cereberus. “Moving to the final option without any genuine engagement with borrowers is absolutely unacceptable and wrong in so many ways. “People live in these properties. They are people’s homes, not just financial numbers on a spreadsheet. These are not just financial packages that are being sold on but they are the biggest financial commitment of most people’s lives. Increasingly it is also this cohort of working people who are becoming homeless and turning up in desperation for other housing options that are not there. Vulture funds and their owners are given a free run to attack and strip owners of their homes. It needs to be stopped. “Surely it is now long past the time that government changed its policy and agreed to clip the wings of these vultures once and for all.”