Government-funded service to help borrowers in loan arrears

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has announced a new government-funded scheme to help people who are insolvent and in mortgage arrears to access independent expert financial and legal advice.

A number of government agencies will be involved, including the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs), the Legal Aid Board, the Insolvency Service, and the Citizens’ Information Board.

The scheme will be co- ordinated by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Social Protection.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “Many organisations working to help people in debt have underlined the stress and isolation experienced by people who are struggling to get out of debt, and who are at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears.

“Expert independent advice can break these problems down to manageable solutions, and help people return to solvency, often keeping them in their homes.

“I am very pleased to announce this scheme, which I believe will offer very important support and hope to people in genuine financial distress and anxiety, who can’t afford the help they need.

Government-funded service to help borrowers in loan arrears

“I would strongly encourage anyone worried about mortgage arrears on their home to contact Mabs, who are the gateway to this scheme, and who can arrange for advice and representation from a Personal Insolvency Practitioner, a specialised Mabs adviser, or a solicitor, as needed.”

Ms Fitzgerald added: “The scheme builds on, and complements, the important range of measures already put in place under the Government’s framework to strengthen support for mortgage arrears.

“Another key element in this scheme is its provision for legal aid to insolvent borrowers seeking the new court review under the Personal Insolvency Act 2015, where creditors such as a mortgage lender refuse a personal insolvency proposal which includes the borrower’s home.”

Meanwhile, the Central Bank will publish the findings of the first review of its controversial new mortgage lending rules in November, new governor Philip Lane said yesterday.

Professor Lane — who succeeded Patrick Honohan as head of the Central Bank — said earlier this month the rules would be reviewed this summer.

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