The Minister for Finance has said he will be asking the chief executives of the main banks here to demonstrate sensitivity and understanding to those whose loan and mortgage breaks are coming to an end.

Paschal Donohoe is due to meet the bank CEOs on Monday. 

Mr Donohoe said he would be asking the lenders to work hard to deal with customers on a case by case basis and to give them a chance to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

After the end of September, banks will no longer be offering any more payment breaks which were put in place back in March as the coronavirus restrictions took effect. 

Pressure has been building on the main banks here to extend the breaks beyond the six months originally promised, particularly given that restrictions are now being increased again in some parts of the country.

Minister Donohoe said he has had continued engagement with the banks since the virus hit Ireland and that will continue during the meeting on Monday. 

However, speaking to the media in Dublin, he gave no indication that he would be pressing the banks to extend the breaks further.  

"I will be asking them to demonstrate sensitivity and understanding to the circumstances of all who are effected by this," he said.

"And while they have to of course be guided by what the regulation is in this area, and it is very important we have clear regulation in this area, that they work hard to deal with this on a case by case basis and give all an opportunity to recover from this pandemic, get their businesses back up and running, get a job back, get their income back to normal, " Paschal Donohoe stated.

Mr Donohoe said that from the engagement he has had with the banks, he knows they understand the issue and there has been a lot of engagement on it. 

However, he added that the banks have to follow the regulation set at a European and national level in relation to the breaks. 

"But within that I will be continuing to emphasise to them they do all they can to be aware of individual circumstances and to put arrangements in place that are as flexible as possible to give people time to recover from this pandemic and to be able to pay their loan back as per normal in the future," he said.

"I know the banks will be outlining soon how they plan to deal with that issue," the Minister said. 

"If I was running a bank I would be looking to treat everybody who is in this situation sensitively and as fairly as possible. The way in which I think this needs to be done is to recognise the very different individual circumstances for the many who are repaying their loans at the moment and to try to treat everybody carefully," he added.

Earlier this week, the European Banking Authority said the break will be phased out from the end of this month as planned. 

The EBA said the breaks had proven effective, but it does not consider adequate at this state the further extension of such an exceptional measure. 

"It is opportune to return to the practice that any rescheduling of loans should follow a case-by-case approach," it added.