A Fianna Fáil Bill to protect the IBRC mortgage holders whose mortgages are being sold is to be pressed in the Dáil next week during private members’ time.
If enacted, the Protection of Residential Mortgage Account Holders Bill would ensure that any mortgage holder whose mortgage is sold to an unregulated vulture fund would continue to enjoy the protections of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and access to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO).
The party’s Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath commented, “On the eve of an appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee, the Special Liquidator KPMG announced last Tuesday that the bidders for the IBRC mortgage book had agreed to voluntarily comply with the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. However, it quickly emerged during the committee hearing that this was little more than a smokescreen. This ‘voluntarily compliance’ would not be written on any piece of paper, would have no legal standing whatsoever, would not be policed by the Central Bank or anyone else, would be utterly unenforceable, did not include access to the FSO and would fall entirely if the mortgage was sold on again.
“Up to 13,000 mortgage holders in IBRC have been treated disgracefully by the government. The attitude of the Minister for Finance seems to be along the lines that ‘it will be alright on the night’. The truth is that – without the statutory protection of the Code of Conduct and access to the FSO – the mortgage holder is left vulnerable and exposed to an unsympathetic, unregulated vulture fund out of maximise profit on the mortgage. If a mortgage gets into difficulty, much more rapid repossession action is a very real risk. There are also major concerns that variable rate customers could face hikes in their interest rate.
“With the March 14th deadline for bids on the IBRC mortgage book fast approaching, time is running out to address this problem. The government Bill to deal with the issue is not due to be published until 2015, providing little comfort to the IBRC mortgage holders understandably worried about the consequences of losing the vital statutory protections held by other mortgage holders.
“Speaking during Finance question time recently, Finance Minister Michael Noonan welcomed the publication of the Fianna Fáil Bill as being helpful. He and his colleagues will have an opportunity next week to support the Bill and take the first step to it being enacted.
“I look forward to a responsible and constructive debate on the Bill on Tuesday and Wednesday night next and I would call on the government to accept this Bill as a genuine attempt to solve a serious problem facing the IBRC mortgage holders now and potentially thousands of other mortgage holders down the line.”