The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has met with the Financial Ombudsman to explore the options available to farmers who feel they are getting a raw deal from banks and other financial entities.
ICSA president Patrick Kent said that ICSA was increasingly concerned at the pressure faced by farmers in financial difficulty. “ICSA is available to provide support to its members who are stressed as a result of financial difficulty. We welcome this positive engagement by the Financial Ombudsman whose role is to find resolutions to complaints by customers against financial providers.”
It is important to note that the Financial Ombudsman is not just for homeowners. The service also caters for farmers and businesses, including limited companies whose turnover does not exceed €3 million. The Ombudsman is also available to look at complaints regarding insurance terms and conditions.
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said that the amount of farmers under pressure from lending institutions was very high. “ICSA wants to ensure that every possible option for farmers under pressure is on the table. We cannot allow farmers to be left on their own and ICSA is intent on exploring every avenue to help people in difficulty.”
ICSA also discussed the threat of loans being sold to so-called vulture funds. The Financial Ombudsman made it clear that the regulations provided that vulture funds would have the same obligations as the original lender and would be accountable to the Financial Ombudsman to the exact same extent as the original lender.