Ireland Spotlight

Stanton Fisher putting the spotlight on Ireland where we will cover issues specific to Ireland and add topical insight to current affairs.

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Danske Bank Taking Irish Debtors to Court

Danske Bank 7 Times More Likely to Sue

The review of mortgages and debt write-downs has been an exhaustive process for both the lenders and the affected consumers. The introduction of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) has definitely aided the process and led to some consumers getting complete or partial debt write downs.

However, there has been plenty of discontent voiced from mortgage holders who believe that the review process is inconsistent and unfair to some homeowners. One area where there is clear inconsistency in the review process is from lender to lender. Danske Bank has recently come under a heavy amount of criticism because they are statistically seven times likelier to sue a debtor than other pillar banks such as AIB and Bank of Ireland.

They are also responsible for submitting one in five ‘summary judgements’ to the courts. A summary judgement enables the plaintiff to apply for a fast-track ruling from the judge without the requirement for a trial or witnesses. This practice has been deemed as unfair as it doesn’t give the debtor any time to arrange a defence.

Summary Applications- Time for the EU to Step In?

Edmund Honohan, the Master of the High Court, suggested that the increased use of summary applications in recent years is not “in the interests of justice.”ireland edmund

Danske Bank has maintained that it always tries to come to a conclusion that suits the interests of both parties and that pursuing any debtor with legal action was a last resort. The statistics tend to show a different story when compared to two other major lenders.

Danske Bank has issued summary proceedings against 263 borrowers, AIB has issued 237 and the Bank of Ireland has issued 245. Despite all these figures being very similar, the fact that Danske Banks domestic loan book is only €7 million in contrast to AIB’s €48 billion and Bank of Ireland’s €53 million, it would appear they are being more ruthless in their approach. 78 of AIB’s applications were made from their mortgage division which highlights that they have been chasing businesses and other debtors as opposed to those that are behind on mortgage payments.

Aside from the ongoing saga involving debtors, lenders and write-downs, will we see any changes to policies such as summary applications that are disadvantageous to the consumer and advantageous to the plaintiff? Or will the EU have to step in because actions such as summary applications violate the EU Human Rights Laws?

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