Written answers

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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282. To ask the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the recent practice by a bank (details supplied) of selling customers’ overdraft facilities as debt to a company; the rationale for doing this given that such facilities are not debt but an essential requirement for small business people; his opinion of such practice; if he will take steps to ensure that the bank ceases this practice in light of the severe constraints which this would put on the ability to conduct business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39031/22]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I wish to highlight, as Minister for Finance, I am precluded from intervening in commercial and operational decisions in any particular bank, even one in which the State has a shareholding. Decisions in this regard are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The bank's independence is protected by a Relationship Framework which is a legally binding document that cannot be changed unilaterally. This framework, which is publicly available, was insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market.  

Notwithstanding the above, Department of Finance officials contacted AIB in relation to this matter and received the following response:

"AIB has been offering customers a comprehensive range of solutions over an extended number of years, including the completion of a series of proactive customer contact and engagement programmes. Customers are afforded an opportunity to avail of a solution and resolve their position through consensual engagement before their loan is sold. All solutions are assessed to ensure that they are appropriate to a customer’s individual circumstances.

As is standard for a portfolio sales process, it is a requirement to withdraw overdraft facilities and convert these facilities into term loans. Customers can continue using their overdrafts during the 65-day notice period, after which any outstanding balance will transfer along with their other AIB loans included in the portfolio.  AIB continues to support customers, with more than 145,000 forbearance solutions implemented since 2016."


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