Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Finance
Mortgage Resolution Processes
292. To ask the Minister for Finance the planning being conducted by his Department to deal with the potential housing consequences vis-a-vis 30-year mortgages payable by persons in their late 60s and 70s when salary levels and job opportunities might decrease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44493/20]
The consumer protection regulatory framework provides a significant number of protections and supports for borrowers of all ages who are in or facing mortgage arrears. In particular, the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) provides a strong consumer protection framework, aimed specifically at ensuring borrowers in arrears or pre-arrears in respect of a mortgage loan secured on a primary residence are treated in a timely, transparent and fair manner. Banks, retail credit firms and credit servicing firms are all required to comply with the CCMA. The overriding objective of the CCMA is to ensure the fair and transparent treatment of consumers in mortgage arrears or pre-arrears, and that due regard is had to the fact that each case of mortgage arrears is unique and needs to be considered on its own merits. The CCMA recognises that it is in the interests of borrowers and regulated firms to address financial difficulties as speedily, effectively and sympathetically as circumstances allow. It sets out the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP), a four-step process that regulated entities must follow:
Step 1: Communicate with borrower;
Step 2: Gather financial information;
Step 3: Assess the borrower’s circumstances; and
Step 4: Propose a resolution
There are also a number public initiatives to assist people who are in mortgage or other debt difficulty. For example, the Abhaile service which is made up of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI), the Legal Aid Board, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the Citizens Information Board provides free financial, and where appropriate also legal, advice to people experiencing difficulty in meeting their loan commitments.
More generally, as the Deputy will be aware, overall housing policy including the provision of necessary housing supports is a matter for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.