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The Reality of Debt Mediation

I have a very vivid recollection of a conversation I had in 2011 with a senior banker from Ulster Bank.

For the purposes of this piece, the detail surrounding the meeting is irrelevant, but it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that the Ulster bank did not do debt forgiveness on client’s facilities.  

It was a stark statement and one, which puzzles me as much now as it did then – why take such an aggressive position?

This was fours years into the property crash and at this stage Ulster Bank were in a very bad position, having lost billions. 

That adversarial mindset didn't do much to help Ulster Bank recover their position in the local market though thankfully not long after that meeting, the bank changed their policy, and not only would they allow debt forgiveness but they would sell billions of pounds worth of property loans to USA funds at pence in the pound. 

An extraordinary development and very much unchartered waters for everyone concerned.

I got into the mediation business to help people.

Back then, I felt here was a space in the market for a group of professional people who didn’t work for banks but could present creative forward thinking proposals on behalf of borrowers in the hope of achieving a win-win solution.

We launched Equity Experts to the predictable fanfare of begrudgery and ridicule.

According to everyone else, our business model wouldn't work.

They say that sometimes the obstacle is the way and not to be put off, we stayed true to our strategy and now we sit proudly over £100,000,000 worth of debt forgiveness deals.   

People still to this day ask me the same question “Are the bank really doing deals?”

Perhaps the reason that our company continues to thrive as market leader in the mediation space is that we refuse to believe in the impossible.

A lot of what we do at GDP Equity Experts evolves around education – of processes, options, solutions and outcomes.

I’ve always had the view that if you explain something to people, very clearly, then most will be able to digest the information and decide the best course of action for them, their family and or their businesses.  

Our team in Belfast is currently hard at work with a burgeoning case load, with typically one case settled every day, Sometimes more. 

What follows is a typical deal that our team got across the line in the last month.  It's a fairly typical example of the kind of position our clients present to us when they meet us:

Creditor: NI Bank owed £355,000

Proposed Solution: Mediate full and final settlement, which involved consensual sale of two houses netting £155,000.  £200,000 shortfall created

GDP Mediated Settlement: Bank accepted £20,000 in full and final settlement (10p in the £)

Settled: June 2016

We negotiated this deal with the bank on behalf of our client, the result being that the bank got what they want and the client was thrilled with the outcome and could move on with their life.

Going back to that memorable meeting in 2011 with our friend from the Ulster Bank, I also remember suggesting to him that if you are in the money lending game, debt forgiveness comes with the territory.

Today debt forgiveness very much does come with the territory and if you or someone you know is going through a similar situation regarding negative equity then give us a call today on 028 9244 2555

Conor DevineComment