BANKS in Ireland are set to cash in on an extra €100 million in interest payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
The payments come from the pockets of struggling mortgage holders as they attempt to re-jig their lives and livelihoods to fit with new lockdown restrictions.
The banks are going to controversially continue piling on interest during payments breaks - which are designed to help customers - and add it to the total cost of the loan.
Average amounts owed would come to just under €2,000 per mortgage over the lifetime of a 20-year borrowing of €200,000.
With an estimated 50,000 expected to look for a mortgage holiday, the profits that banks are set to make will be close to €100 million, according to projections.
Sinn Fein's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has written to the Governor of the Central Bank calling on him to intervene and address the "outrageous" notion that the financial institutions are going to "profit from the misfortune of their customers."
Two weeks ago, Ireland's main banks announced that a three-month mortgage holiday is on offer to any families hit badly by the coronavirus crisis.
Since then, 28,000 applications have been lodged, and with hundreds of thousands now out of work since lockdown measures were ramped up, Mr Doherty says he expects those figures to soar.
"I think we will easily see 50,000 applying for the mortgage break, especially looking at the extra numbers that are now out of work since last Friday," he said.
But given that interest will still be piling up during the holiday, the banks are set to make a huge profit on the customers they're supposedly helping.
"The banks are intending to profit out of this cir is and this is, quite frankly, outrageous," Doherty added.
"This is usury on the part of the banks, some of whom are taking this outbreak and its impact on customers as an opportunity to make profit rather than put the interest of their customers first."