Fianna Fáil has strongly criticised the delay in progressing the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Bill which is designed to give protection to families whose mortgages are sold to third parties.
The party’s Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath TD commented, “The Bill was introduced in the Dáil in February following a lengthy consultation process. Very serious concerns were raised at the time about the way in which the legislation was designed. During the debate, I pointed out that the Minister had backed away from the initial intention which was to make the ownership of credit a regulated activity, apparently under pressure from financial institutions. This would leave us with a half-baked system whereby the servicing agent for the mortgage would need to be regulated but the same requirement would not be placed on the actual owner of the mortgage.
“Under the current proposals, vulture funds who outsource the administration of loans will essentially still control key decisions such as initiating action for repossession or raising the interest rate that applies to the loan without actually being subject to regulation.
“We know from a recent parliamentary reply that 12,702 mortgages have been sold arising from the IBRC liquidation. This is in addition to the approximately 3,500 mortgages that were sold by GE Money in 2012 and the 2,000 mortgages sold by Lloyds Banking Group in December 2013. This is a major issue of concern to the families affected who have become increasingly frustrated with the way in which the situation has been allowed to drift.
“At the end of the Dáil debate the Minister promised to bring forward amendments at Committee Stage. This will give him an opportunity to address the shortcomings in the Bill. I am calling on him to end the uncertainty around this issue and to bring forward substantive amendments which address the very real concerns of up to 20,000 mortgage holders who are waiting on this legislation, as well as the thousands of other customers whose mortgages may be sold in the months ahead,” concluded Deputy McGrath.