AIB criticised for offering loans of up to €30,000 to fund fans' Euro 2016 adventures

The bank has defended its credit policies after being accused of reckless lending

BY Joseph Conroy 08:02 Thursday 17 December 2015, 8:02 17 Dec 2015

John Walton / EMPICS Sport via PA

AIB - the Irish bank which was bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of €21bn has been criticised for offering loans of up to €30,000 for fans who are traveling to France to support the Irish soccer team in June.

"You can apply, get approval and draw down the loan entirely online in three hours," the bank says on its website.

Labour TD John Lyons has questioned the wisdom of offering these loans, saying that, "A €30,000 holiday sounds more like a dream trip you would win, rather than something you would pay for yourself."

Ireland's Consumers' Association has also called on the Central Bank and the Department of Finance to become involved to stop the bank from engaging in what it believes to be reckless lending.

Michael Kilcoyne from the group told the Irish Independent that it indicated that the bank has not learned any lessons from the financial crisis.

These loans could put significant financial strain on individuals, the interest rate is close to 10% and the length of the loans vary between one and five years.

Repaying €30,000 over three years would cost almost €1,000 per month.

A spokesperson from the bank said that it is not engaging in irresponsible lending.

Credit union loans for the last tournament in Poland and Ukraine averaged at between €3,000 and €4,000. France 2016 is expected to be more expensive.

Irish fans have not been helped by the team being drawn to play in Paris, Bordeaux, and Lille meaning that significant travel will be required between matches.

"Personal loan amounts range from €1,000 up to a maximum of €30,000. We anticipate that the vast majority of Euro 2016-related loans will be at the low end of this scale," an AIB spokesperson said - adding that all loans are subject to credit assessments.

Credit unions have more than €5bn available to lend, "Credit unions have historically had a very good relationship with travelling football fans and Euro 2016 will be no exception," according to the Irish League of Credit Unions.


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