Following two landmark cases, FPM Debt Recovery Director and Personal Insolvency Practitioner, Gary Digney, has focused his time and efforts into helping indebted farm families avoid having their farms forcibly sold by vulture funds.
On Countrywide RTE Radio 1, Damien O’Reilly interviews Gary Digney on how to deal with farm debt, manage your farm finances and how he is helping farmer’s navigate personal insolvency issues.
Through a protective certificate, approved by the courts, FPM’s Debt Recovery Team, gains the farmer 70 days protection from a forced sale, a chance to breathe, which allows time for a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) – a revised payment plan – to be drawn up by FPM’s Personal Insolvency Practitioners and put to the farmer’s creditors.
Recent farms at stake include, a 65 acre farm in Wicklow, farms of 110 acres and 120 acres in Tipperary, a 65 acre farm in Longford and a 110 acre farm in Meath.
Personal Insolvency Arrangements can:
- Restructure a borrower’s debt;
- Address arrears;
- Write off debt;
- Restructure the farm loan over a 20- or 30-year period;
allowing the farmer time to repay their debt without the threat of losing a farm.
These farmers sought the protective certiﬁcates with the help of registered personal insolvency practitioner and farm debt expert Gary Digney of FPM Accountants, who is himself from a farming family.
PIAs were introduced in 2012 and are now starting to be used in farm debt cases. The pillar banks oﬄoaded numbers of non-performing farm loans in 2017/18 and the vulture funds are now looking to ﬁnalise these cases.
Digney said some farmers ignore their debt, try to raise ﬁnance elsewhere or try to negotiate with the vulture fund.
“Historically, the Irish banks were reluctant to forcibly sell a farmer’s land and would instead restructure a debt. However, so-called vulture funds will issue bankruptcy proceedings to try and recover the debt and will appoint receivers to sell the land. The only way to stop a land sale, and get time to put forward a proposal, is by obtaining a protective certiﬁcate at court.”