By Jimmy Rhatigan
AS IF our hard-working people don’t have enough pressure on them already with the Covid-19 pandemic and the losses of a record number of jobs, vultures are already circling to pick at the bones of Irish home owners, including those who may have been hit by or gripped in fear by the virus.
As if to rub salt into any infected wounds, the portfolio buyer CarVal, a US vulture fund, has commissioned its service work here to a business that under the circumstances, is aptly named.
It is called Pepper and is based in Shannon.
The first bank to lash into our people who may have troubled mortgages is the Ulster Bank which has offloaded thousands of loans.
The sale, according to the excellent people’s economical journalist, Charlie Weston of the Independent.ie includes 2,800 home mortgages and 375 buy-to-let loans.
Ulster Bank has insisted that mortgage holders were given every chance to strike a deal to avoid having their loans sold, but this is hotly disputed by many who have had their mortgages sold to the vulture.
Ulster’s dubious distinction is that it is arguably the first bank to court a vulture at the height of a pandemic that has swiped the lives of so many of our people.
But, you can bet your bottom dollar, US of course, that it won’t be the last.
Like ducks in a row the banks will line up to inflict punishment regardless of how much pressure families are under.
Ruthlessness at the height of the prominence of a killer virus has to be despicable.
What is truly galling too is that banks churn our smarmy advertisements that suggest they are our financial guardian angels at all times.
Banks make up a trinity of terror with Uncle Nick and the Grim Reaper and the financial institutions may just be the leaders of the pack.