I have been advised by the Central Bank that confidentiality agreements should not impede consumers’ protections under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA). Strong protections are included in the Code to protect indebted borrowers when dealing with their lenders.
In addition to these protections, provision 14 of the revised CCMA, which came into effect from 1 July, provides that a lender must prepare and make available to borrowers an information booklet providing details of its MARP. In the context of providing additional information in the MARP booklet, lenders must, if they make use of a confidentiality agreement or similar agreement, provide summary information in its MARP booklet.
The Central Bank is currently considering the issue of confidentiality agreements by lenders and has asked lenders to furnish information on their use.
From information received from lenders to date following contact by the Central Bank, it would appear that not all of the covered banks are using confidentiality agreements. Once the outstanding information from the lenders is received by the Central Bank the matter can be assessed further.