Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to

Bank Codes of Conduct (Continued)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty We are now approaching the mid-point of this Government's term in office. I assume that when the Minister took office he did not expect to be approaching the mid-point with the mortgage crisis getting worse. The latest figures show there is an increase in mortgage arrears. Under the Minister's stewardship, we have seen a doubling of the number of those in mortgage distress. There was also a doubling of the number in mortgage distress in the last 18 months of the Fianna Fáil-led Government.

The more we delve into the code of conduct on mortgage arrears, it becomes clear it was written for the banks at the behest of the troika by a compliant Central Bank and, ultimately, supervised by this Government. There are many in this Chamber who believe MABS is the organisation with the most experience of working with those in mortgage arrears. In its submission, MABS stated very clearly that no change should be made to the existing code in regard to permissible unsolicited contact between lender and borrower. The code has removed the three unsolicited calls and has left it at an unlimited number. It also facilitates home calls. The Minister must look at this in conjunction with the Dunne judgment, the personnel insolvency veto and the fact the Government is coming down on the banks all the time, which sends a very negative signal to those in mortgage distress.

The Minister mentioned the 25,000 people who have been offered sustainable solutions, which is welcome. However, we need the details. I know the details of a family who had arrears for the first time ever of €450. The bank scrutinised their position and said there was no other solution but to voluntarily surrender the house. There are serious questions to be asked. I hope that is a one-off case but I would say there are many more like it.

When will the next targets be issued, which are acceptance of sustainable agreements? They were supposed to be announced before July but we still have not got them. When will the Government announce the second round of targets, which is the agreed sustainable agreements and not just the offers from the banks?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I agree with much of the Deputy's analysis. It has been a very difficult time for a group of people who borrowed to acquire family homes at the height of the Celtic tiger and who, for one reason or another, have found it very difficult to pay their mortgages. On top of that, they have found that the collateral underpinning the mortgage is not worth what it was when they borrowed. It is a very difficult situation for people and we are trying to work our way through it.

The people most adversely affected are those who lost their jobs - where one partner in a household lost a job or where there is no one at work in the household anymore. These are the people in most difficulty.

There is a whole variety of circumstances. We tried with the Keane report to design solutions which would accord with the differing circumstances. We are at a stage now where we think the Central Bank has taken a very strong interest in this and is driving the solutions forward. The revised code, which it has published and to which lenders and borrowers will hopefully adhere, hits the right note and hits the average. I hope the situation will be resolved but there will still be difficulties. It is very easy to pick out the most difficult case which goes to one's advice clinic. We all have such cases and we tend to get the more difficult ones but the solution must work on the averages as well. To have 25,000 proposals for solutions in the first quarter is pretty good and I will continue to drive it in so far as I have an influence over it to meet the targets. There is an answer on the data on solutions but I cannot find it in my brief. I will write to the Deputy about that.

Last Updated: 08/05/2020 10:41:55 First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page