Proposals on non-performing loans launched by Commissioner Mairéad McGuinness put the interests of banks and vulture funds before those of people, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has claimed.

Commenting on the matter, the Midlands North West MEP said such proposals amount to “a punishment for people who have lost their livelihood as a result of a global pandemic”.

MacManus, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “The proposals launched today by Commissioner McGuinness amount to a punishment for working people and businesses who have suffered as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Rather than act in these people’s interests, the EU has decided to put the banks first and to let the vulture funds off the leash.

Claiming that the commission is unambiguous in its aim “to help banks offload non-performing loans”, the MEP added:

“No consideration is given to the context of why we are looking at a potential large increase on non-performing loans.

“This is an initiative designed only to justify banks selling off loans to meet regulatory targets without enough thought to further social or economic impacts,” he said.

“The proposals also impinge on due legal process by making it easier to move to repossession outside the courts system,” MacManus claimed.

This is a key demand of banks and vultures and would be a major disempowerment for struggling businesses.

“The real meat of what the commission is doing is unleashing the vultures.”

MacManus concluded by vowing to reject the proposals. “The power balance between a struggling borrower and a bank, or worse a vulture fund, is incredibly weighted towards the bank.

“The EU is saying today that it thinks banks must be further empowered. Sinn Féin disagrees. I will be working with progressive MEPs to make sure these proposals are binned.”