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Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe and Business Minister Heather Humphreys. PA
mortgage payments

Paschal Donohoe to meet with five main banks about coronavirus plans

AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank will meet Department of Finance officials at 4pm.

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Paschal Donohoe is meeting the five main banks today to discuss measures about how banks can ease pressure on people during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

With 150,000 people out of work this week alone, it’s expected that that figure will increase by the end of the month, meaning a significant number of people will be under financial pressure. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said people’s mortgage payments would be one issue that would be discussed today at the meeting with the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

When asked about the measures taken in the UK to give people a three-month break from paying their mortgage, Doherty said: 

I think we will expect an announcement of what the banks are going to do not just for their personal customers but also for all of their business customers after that meeting today.

“I think they’re very aware of the response needed,” she said.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson Michael McGrath said that banks needed to opt for a freeze on mortgages for a certain time period, but that this should be rolled on, if needed.

On those paying rent, Doherty said that landlords shouldn’t be “scraping people for money they don’t have”, and that people need to pull together.

“I think you can imagine there are an awful lot of bases being touched at the moment, she said, adding that the State offered to pay for calls to GPs.

Earlier this week, BPFI began discussions with the Department of Finance on behalf of the five retail banks: AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank.

The Department of Finance and banking representatives had discussed a State sponsored short-term unemployment refund scheme earlier in the week.

Earlier this month, before the Covid-19 crisis escalated, the BPFI group said that it was looking at how it could continue ‘core payment services’ such as cash distribution, paper clearing, card payments, electronic payments such as credit transfers and direct debits.

This was announced as the Central Bank announced that the firms it regulates need to have the appropriate contingency measures in case prolonged Covid-19 measures were taken. 

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