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Our View: Loan defaulters have had reprieves from foreclosures for years

In an announcement issued on Thursday, Edek lashed out against Akel and Disy for voting against the establishment of a special court to which borrowers could apply if they were in dispute with a bank over foreclosures.

“In a period of hardship for good-faith borrowers and the need to protect them from the mass foreclosure of their properties, the deputies of Akel and Disy have deprived them of the right to appeal to justice,” said Edek’s announcement, and added: “They voted against, at a time of economic crisis and in view of mass foreclosures, the joint proposal of Edek and Diko for the creation of special courts for appeals of borrowers who disagree with the excessive charges and the foreclosures procedure.”

The superficiality of the assumptions of this proposal is truly staggering. How many ‘good faith borrowers,’ for example, was Edek referring to? Has it conducted a survey and found out the actual number and decided that there are so many that this would justify the expense of setting up special courts for them to appeal to? Or are we supposed to set up special courts for a couple of hundred people refusing to repay their loans so that the populists of Edek and Diko can pose as protectors of debt defaulters?

Even the term ‘good faith borrowers’ sounds more like a joke. The banks have been after customers who were not repaying their loans for close to 10 years now, since the banking crisis arrived in 2012. A borrower that has managed to dodge his loan repayments for 10 years and is faced with the foreclosure of his property can hardly be said to be showing good faith. On the contrary, he has been exploiting the extremely slow administration of justice, the restrictions placed by parties on foreclosures and the agencies set up by the government to examine grievances against banks.

Why does Edek want special court for the debt defaulters? Are the normal courts not charitable enough to them? If anything, the courts take so long to administer justice that defaulters have earned reprieves from foreclosures for years. It is absurd to think that these people, after managing for years not to reach an agreement with the bank over the repayment of their loan – hence the alleged threat of ‘mass foreclosures’ Edek is talking about – would do so if a special court is set up for them to appeal to.

All that the shameless populists of Edek and Diko are achieving with their law proposal, is the perpetuation of the myth that borrowers who refuse to repay their loans are victims of evil banks and in need of protection. And they will carry on refusing reaching any agreement with their lenders for as long as parties like Edek and Diko want to protect them.