Following responses to a number of Parliamentary Questions, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has said that “a serious flaw in the regulations surrounding unregulated loan owners leaves certain mortgage holders in arrears in a very precarious position.
“These funds have purchased home loans – some of which are distressed – from the banks and are unregulated by the Central Bank. Before the sale of these loan books to vulture funds, Fianna Fáil continually highlighted the fact that if the fund was unregulated they would be free to do what they wanted with the loan.
“We know that many of these funds are here for a quick profit and have no long term objectives in Ireland. Sadly, in many cases, this profit comes at the expense of families and individuals who are in arrears.
“In 2015 the Government enacted legislation that would only regulate an intermediary leaving the loan owner completely free to make the major decisions that affect people’s lives. Once again, Fianna Fáil was clear that this law was inadequate and was only a half-baked solution.
“In recent weeks, it has emerged that certain Retail Credit Firms, who are regulated by the Central Bank, miscalculated the amount people were in arrears by. In some cases the figure was out by as much as 500 per cent.
“Based on the Dáil responses I have received, it appears that if an unregulated loan owner miscalculates the arrears the Central Bank is powerless to do anything about it. This revelation calls into question the entire regulatory system surrounding Vulture Funds. You would have to ask what other key decisions are beyond the Central Bank’s powers.
“It is clear to me that these funds must be regulated like any other bank or non-bank lender operating in Ireland. There are currently nearly 12,000 family home mortgages owned by unregulated loan owners and it is simply unacceptable they should be beyond the reach of Central Bank’s regulatory powers,” concluded McGrath.