AIB chief agrees to meet IFA over loan concerns

The CEO of AIB has agreed to meet with representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) to discuss concerns over farmer loans being sold off.

A spokesperson for the IFA confirmed to AgriLand that the meeting will take place on Friday, May 3. It is yet to be decided who will represent the association at the meeting.

Separately, a spokesperson for the bank also confirmed to AgriLand that the meeting would happen, and said that CEO Colin Hunt “is happy to discuss farmer concerns with the IFA at any time and any place”.

The announcement comes after members of the IFA gained entry to the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin yesterday, Wednesday, April 24 – where AIB was holding its annual general meeting (AGM) – to protest the inclusion of farm loans in the sale portfolio.

The AIB spokesperson added that dialogue on this issue had been going on between both sides “for months”.

‘No transparency’

At the IFA protest yesterday, the association’s farm business chairman claimed that there “is no transparency in how AIB approaches these sales”.

Martin Stapleton said: “It is wrong that AIB would sell these loans to a vulture fund. . .we want AIB to remove loans from the sale that have been restructured, or where the farmer is making a genuine attempt to pay or negotiate with the bank.”

He also called on the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to intervene on the issue.

Non-Performing Loans

Earlier this month, the bank announced the sale of the non-performing loan portfolio – worth €1 billion – which includes “limited agriculture exposure”.

AIB agreed to sell the non-performing loan portfolio to Everyday Finance, as part of a consortium arrangement with Everyday and affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management.