Banks ‘complying with lending code’

BANKS are showing a willingness to engage with borrowers who are having difficulty paying their mortgages, according to the Central Bank and Financial Regulator.

The financial bodies came to this conclusion following an inspection it carried out on the back of the introduction of the code of conduct on mortgage arrears.

The code provides a more structured process for borrowers if they are in difficulty with mortgages on their family homes.

Ireland’s Central Bank said an inspection it carried out found a “good” level of compliance by lenders with the code.

Assistant director general with the consumer protection division, Bernard Sheridan, said the inspection showed that lenders are willing to work with borrowers facing mortgage difficulties.

“However, it is important that consumers engage with their lenders at an early stage if they are concerned about meeting their mortgage repayments,” he said.

The inspection examined the issuance of formal demand letters, applications to the courts to commence enforcement of legal action on repossession and entering alternative repayment arrangements.

The inspection was carried out in 2010 across five mortgage lenders including credit institutions and other types of mortgage lenders.

The inspection confirmed the mortgage lenders inspected did not take court action within the six month and 12-month time-frames, as required by the CCMA.

Lenders were also found to be willing to enter into alternative mortgage repayment arrangements with consumers over various time periods.

The inspection did find, however, some shortcomings regarding the records maintained by mortgage lenders about advising consumers to take independent advice on arrangements and referrals to MABS, where appropriate.

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