Vulture fund cloud over famous Donegal golf club


THE future of one of Donegal’s top golf courses remains uncertain this week amid reports that its loans have been sold to US ‘vulture fund’ Cerberus.
Narin and Portnoo Golf Club is one of a number of local businesses whose loans have been transferred by Ulster Bank.
A well-placed source within the club said that its members faced at uncertain future.
“Quite a lot of money was borrowed in recent years for developments, both on and off the course, and while the course is in great condition at present, we’re not certain what the future holds,” the source said.
“All we do know at this stage is that Cerberus has bought the loan from Ulster Bank. We were told that Ulster Bank would be back in contact with us by December 16, and as of today we’re still waiting for them to come back. Once we know more, the club officers and council will be told and, in turn, members will be fully briefed.”
The news comes in the same week as Narin and Portnoo Golf Club was included at number 29 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses in Ireland.
“I’m led to believe that Narin is one of three local businesses whose loans have been sold, as part of a much larger disposal of distressed borrowings countrywide,” the source added. 
Last autumn, Ulster Bank announced that it had sold 900 owner-occupier mortgages, which are on the brink of repossession, to US investment firm Cerberus.
A total of 95 per cent of the mortgages are two years or more in arrears, while all of the loans are the subject of legal action by the lender. 
Ulster Bank said the sale of the portfolio, known as Project Oyster, would enable it “to strengthen its balance sheet for the benefit of its customers and provide much needed competition in the Irish banking market”.
Typically mortgages of this kind are bought by foreign funds at substantial discounts. How the homeowners will be dealt with will be up to Cerberus.
The amount paid by the US firm to acquire the loans was not disclosed.
The loans are part of a larger portfolio, which had a face value of €2.5 billion. 
€2.15 billion of the loans are based in the Republic of Ireland, with the remainder (about €300m) based in Northern Ireland.

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