The IFA has committed to a sustained campaign against AIB’s proposal to include certain farmer loans as part of its recently announced loan sale.
Speaking as part of a group of IFA members outside the AIB AGM in Dublin, IFA’s Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said, “It is wrong that AIB would sell these loans to a vulture fund, that is not interested in resolving issues by entering into long-term arrangements with farmers.”
Martin Stapleton continued, “This decision flies in the face of AIB’s marketing campaign which is built around ‘backing brave’. We want AIB to remove loans from the sale that have been restructured, or where the farmer is making a genuine attempt to pay or negotiate with the bank".
“Irish taxpayers retain a 71% stake in AIB. We bailed out this bank when it was on its knees, but there is no such mechanism is place for people who are genuinely doing their best to meet their repayments. The sale of farm loans occurs without any clear selection criteria being provided to the borrower. There is no transparency in how AIB approach these sales. The Minister for Finance needs to intervene to ensure that AIB is not allowed to abandon the Irish people. Farmers contributed significantly to keeping those very bank's afloat during the crisis,” he said.
AIB engaged with many of these individual cases in the pursuit of a resolution, but they then continued with the sales. This gave false hope to farmers who are under serious pressure,” said IFA’s Farm Business Chairman.
“Over the next few weeks IFA will be bringing our campaign around Ireland. We intend to have a rolling presence outside branches around the country reminding customers about how these farmers have been treated by AIB and insisting that such loans are removed from the sale portfolio,” he said.