Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Interest rate swap agreements

Sinn Fein tabled a motion on interest rate swap agreements, on 11 December 2012.

It noted with concern that local banks may have mis-sold these agreements to local small and medium sized businesses.

Proposing the motion, North Antrim MLA Daithi McKay said people had been "taken advantage of".

He said some banks had targeted small and medium sized businesses, telling them that business rates may go up and that they should fix their borrowing.

Following the dramatic falls in interest rates since the onset of the recession, some borrowers have been left paying more on their loans than they would otherwise have done.

The motion asked Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to engage with banks and called on them to adequately compensate local businesses that have suffered.

East Belfast Alliance MLA Judith Cochrane said measured analysis of mis-selling in Northern Ireland was needed, and once it was known which, if any, banks were guilty of mis-selling they must be made to compensate customers.

Mr Wilson said it was an important issue and he recognised the importance of a healthy banking industry that people could put their trust in.

The minister also said banking was not a devolved matter and responsibility to monitor issues like this lay with the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

However, he said that in the meetings he regularly had with local banks he would "press on them that they have an obligation to make sure they don't drag their heels" on the issue.

Mr Wilson also said he would make the FSA aware that this debate was had in the assembly and of the concerns made by members.

The motion was passed uncontested.


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