BANK OF IRELAND and Ulster Bank bosses came under pressure at the Oireachtas Finance Committee today over their approaches to Priory Hall.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó’Ríordán grilled both Richie Boucher and Jim Brown on the issue. The Dublin Bay North deputy said he was “disappointed with the vagueness” of Bank of Ireland’s plans, and he appealed to the Ulster Bank chief not to give a “straight-laced banker’s answer” as to how they were dealing with the issue.
Boucher was up first, telling Committee members that seven of the eight former residents who had mortgages with the bank had expressed a wish to be represented by a third party.
In response, Ó’Ríordán alluded to the “generosity” shown by AIB chief David Duffy, who yesterday said that his bank was “serious in its desire” to engage with the displaced residents of the complex.
He added that if Bank of Ireland were to speak in the same tone to customers, mortgage holders might be more amenable to approaches from the bank.
I get no sense that you have any solution, positive or negative, in your mind. You’re just talking about a process, we all know there’s a process.
“I’d like to know what you consider to be a reasonable outcome for these families?”
Boucher said that the bank was open to “a range of solutions” but was unaware of what AIB had offered. He said the bank will look at what other people are offering and that it was an “unusual situation”.
Ulster Bank CEO Jim Brown
This afternoon, Brown said that 12 of the former residents had mortgages with Ulster Bank, and that their problems were being worked through “on a case by case basis”
Ó’Ríordán told the CEO that the residents would be listening to the proceedings and “clinging on every word” being said, before appealing to him on whether any “imaginative solutions” were being considered.
“I’ve made my comments Deputy,” Brown responded. “We are working with customers in Priory Hall and we are working with them on a case by case basis”.
Pressed by Committee Chairman Ciarán Lynch on whether Ulster Bank had given itself a deadline to have a solution reached, Brown said he hadn’t, adding that the “circumstances for each individual are different”.
- Additional reporting by Daragh Brophy