‘Nobody is safe from being swallowed up by vulture funds’

Nobody – it would appear – is safe from being swallowed up by vulture funds, according to the rural development chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Seamus Sherlock.

Sherlock was reacting to revelations made by Permanent TSB and AIB before the Oireachtas Finance Committee this week.

These revelations will serve only to “deepen the fears” of many farm families whose loans have been sold or may be sold to vulture funds, Sherlock added.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “Nobody, it would appear, is safe from being swallowed up by vulture funds and once you’re in their grip it’s very difficult to get out in one piece. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for farm families.

“We know that farms have been – and will continue to be – included in portfolio sales of loans by these banks.

We also know that these loans are usually secured by land deeds exceeding the value of the loan, making the prospect of a quick sale by vulture funds more attractive than negotiating a reasonable solution with borrowers.

The rural development chairman explained that the ICSA has been assisting many farmers who have found themselves in such a position.

He claimed that there is “no compassion” shown on the part of the vulture funds, only a reluctance to engage.

Continuing, Sherlock said: “With this reluctance to engage, options become very limited – leaving farming families in a very ominous position.

“The ICSA believes that a reasonable negotiated settlement should always be considered the best option for everyone involved. We will continue to press for more regulation of the processes by which these loans are sold off in the first place and managed thereafter.

“We cannot stand by while decent banking customers are being treated in such a dubious manner,” he concluded.