Moneylenders are licenced by the Central Bank of Ireland in accordance with the provisions of Part VIII of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (as amended). Moneylenders have to apply to the Central Bank each year for renewal of the licence. In addition to the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1995, a licensed moneylender must comply with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Code for Licensed Moneylenders (the Code) and with the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010.
I have been advised by the Central Bank that, as at 29 May 2013, there are 43 licensed moneylenders with in excess of 350,000 customers. Financial data provided to the Central Bank throughout 2012 as part of the robust annual licensing process, showed that outstanding customer balances were approximately €200 million. The Central Bank does not currently receive data on the level of arrears or the number of restructured payment arrangements that have been entered into. It should be noted, however, that under section 112 of the Consumer Credit Act, 1995, moneylenders are prohibited from increasing charges for credit should a consumer be in a default position. The Central Bank has also informed me that they are in the process of conducting research into the moneylending industry and intends to publish the research findings later this year. On the issue more generally, the Central Bank maintains a register of all licensed moneylenders. Enhancements have recently been made to this Moneylenders Register which is available at www.centralbank.ie Consumers can now compare loans and use the interactive search function to search for loans available from all moneylenders, with different terms, APRs and costs of credit.