EAST Antrim firms have gone bust because banks have foreclosed on loans, hiked up interest or forced the sale of assets, MP Sammy Wilson has told Parliament.
Speaking against sanctioning bonuses for RBS chiefs, Mr Wilson claimed the “dysfunctional” UK banking system was failing to lend to businesses despite a number of Government initiatives which had “thrown money at them”.
He added: “They are still using businesses as a cash source to fix their own balance sheets and the bonus culture which led to the excesses of the past is creeping back in.”
Mr Wilson told MPs: “I have many constituents who have been put into difficulties by banks which changed the terms of loans, called loans in early, increased interest rates, and demanded sale of assets at a time when the market was so low that losses were made.
“In the case of Ulster Bank, some customers have been forced to sell assets, earning good money to Ulster Bank at knock-down prices, leaving them without the means to pay off the remaining loan and putting them into bankruptcy.”
The former Stormont Finance Minister said: “RBS and Ulster Bank executives are now earning bonuses of millions of pounds, some getting paid bonuses of five times their salary. Yet the Government refuses to impose a cap on these excessive payments, which it could do as the major shareholder: even worse at a time when public sector workers earning the minimum wage have their pay increases capped at one per cent.”