Written answers

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Department of Finance

Financial Services

Photo of Patricia RyanPatricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

84. To ask the Minister for Finance the assessments that have been undertaken and will be undertaken with regards to the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, including the suite of alternative repayment arrangements; his plans to give the code full legal effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3743/23]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Central Bank Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) is the key consumer protection measure for borrowers who are experiencing difficulty in relation to a mortgage which is secured on a primary residence.

This statutory based Code, which is issued by the Central Bank under section 117 of the Central Bank Act 1989, sets out how regulated mortgage creditors must treat borrowers in or facing mortgage arrears. Regulated entities are required to comply with all aspects of the CCMA as a matter of law, and as such it has full legal effect.

The objective of the CCMA is to ensure that regulated entities have fair and transparent processes in place to deal with their borrowers who or in facing mortgage arrears. Due regard must be given to the fact that each mortgage case is unique and needs to be considered on its own merits. All cases must be handled sympathetically and positively by the regulated entity, with the objective at all times of assisting the borrower to meet his or her mortgage obligations.

In particular the CCMA provides that, in order to determine which options for alternative repayment arrangements are viable for each particular case, the regulated mortgage creditor must explore all the options for alternative repayment arrangements offered by that creditor.

Furthermore, if a borrower is not satisfied with the decision of the regulated entity in relation to this matter, such as if he or she is not happy with the particular alternative repayment arrangement offered by the mortgage creditor to address the particular mortgage repayment difficulty or if the mortgage creditor declines to offer an alternative repayment arrangement, the CCMA provides that an appeals process must be in place to allow for the matter to be reconsidered. That appeals procedure must also inform the borrower of his or her right to refer the matter to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.

The Central Bank carried out a review of the CCMA in 2018 to ensure it remains as effective as possible. The review found at that time that, for borrowers who engage with the process, the CCMA was working effectively and as intended.

The Central Bank does keep its consumer protection framework under review and, as the Deputy will be aware, the Central Bank is currently reviewing its Consumer Protection Code and a discussion paper on this is now open for public consultation.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.