The Workers’ Party has condemned AIB’s plans to escalate the sale of its bad loan books, in order to entice investors to buy shares in the state-owned bank.

Workers’ Party representative for Dublin Northwest, Gavin Mendel-Gleason, was responding to comments made yesterday (Wednesday) by AIB Chief Executive Bernard Byrne that AIB intended to clear its bad loan books within three years.

Mendel-Gleason said:

“It is astounding that a state-owned back would be actively selling off bad debts ahead of a planned privatisation. Effectively what this means is that it is government policy for taxpayers to absorb all AIB-related losses, before greedy investors swoop in to absorb the profits.”

The Workers’ Party have called for the bank to remain in public ownership, and be used as a strategic investment bank focused on tackling the housing crisis. Mendel-Gleason said:

“The depressing thing is that, not only will the losses of this firesale of bad loans be absorbed by the average taxpayer, it will also fuel an escalation of the housing crisis. AIB – a government-owned company – has all but admitted that, by selling bad loan books to overseas speculators, the rate of home repossessions – and, therefore, evictions – will increase.”

Mendel-Gleason concluded by calling for the state to halt its planned privatisation of AIB, saying:

“Instead of a bad loans firesale, the government has the opportunity to institute a massive, publicly-led, mortgage-to-rent scheme, which would safeguard people’s homes, whilst also increasing our public housing stock.”