Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins called on the Minister for Finance to come into the Seanad to discuss the issue of moneylending to people without checking their personal finances and what steps he will take to deal with type of reckless lending in Ireland.
Senator Higgins was reacting to news that recently in the UK one moneylender firm was ordered by the financial regulator there to refund £220million in debts to 330,000 customers who took out loans they quite clearly could not afford to repay.
Speaking in the Seanad Senator Higgins said “While the scale may be somewhat lower in Ireland comparatively speaking the issues remain the same and that is there are unscrupulous moneylenders operating in Ireland who lend money to people without the companies knowing or caring whether or not they they could pay it back. This issue is quite prevalent in recession time Ireland.
“Many of these type of lenders give money out without:
- asking about people’s personal finances
- to multiple applicants in one household
- and the same loans are far from affordable lending. Therefore, there is a need to tighten the lending criteria to the customers of moneylenders because a lack of restrictions by lenders is setting a debt trap for borrowers,” she told the Leitrim Observer.
“Checking whether someone can actually afford to repay a loan should be at the heart of any application. And if a moneylender has failed to satisfy this basic responsibility the central bank should take action. We need to clean up the moneylender market and do so now” Senator Higgins concluded.