‘Vultures circling’ as Permanent TSB looks to sell €4 billion loan book

The decision by Permanent TSB to place €4 billion of its loans on the market has sparked heavy criticism from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

The bank intends selling €4 billion worth of non-performing loans, according to various media reports yesterday (Wednesday, February 14).

In a statement released on Tuesday, Permanent TSB said: “In respect of loan sales, the bank confirms that it has instructed EY [accountants] to begin the formal sales process for Project Glas, the project name for the sale of NPLs [non-performing loans].

EY will manage the market engagement for this project on behalf of the bank.

The bank explained the reasoning behind this, stating: “The Irish and European banking regulators are very clear that all banks in the Eurozone need to reduce significantly the percentage of Non-Performing Loans on their balance sheets.”

‘Appalled’

ICSA Rural Development chairman Seamus Sherlock said he is “appalled” at the move. He added: “Selling off these loans at a fraction of their value means the vultures will be circling around in no time, looking to make big money at the expense of hard-pressed families.”

“The volume of the loans being offloaded is extremely alarming,” the chairman warned. “The outlook for those who find themselves in the position of having their loans sold off can only be described as grim.

“Any protection they had will be grossly undermined by being forced to deal with new loan masters whose only interest is to profit from them.

Continuing Sherlock warned of a real danger that other banks would follow suit. He said: “I would implore upon any of the other banks who may be thinking of doing the same to reconsider.

We cannot allow countless homes and family farms to be put up for grabs in a free-for-all.

Negotiating a reasonable solution with private equity firms is notoriously difficult, the ICSA chairman said, when all they are interested in are “quick sales with people who find themselves in precarious situations”.

“ICSA has been assisting farming families whose loans have been sold on, but the numbers look likely to skyrocket unless we can call time on throwing people under the bus like this.”

Concluding, Sherlock said: “I am calling on Minister Paschal Donohue to intervene as a matter of urgency.”