I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 62, 89, 90, 97, 98 and 104 together.
The Central Bank's latest 'Residential Mortgage Arrears and Repossessions Statistics' publication for the end of Q4 2013, shows that the number of mortgage accounts for principal dwelling houses (PDH) in arrears, fell for the second consecutive quarter. A total of 136,564 of accounts were in arrears at end December 2013, a decline of 3.3 per cent relative to end Q3 and that, for primary dwelling mortgage accounts of more than 90 days in arrears, there was a decline of 2.3% over the quarter. The publication states that the size of the decline was impacted by asset sales over the quarter but the Central Bank has also advised that this does not change the overall arrears trends.
The Central Bank accepts that some mortgages are sold to unregulated entities and it has informed me that it is taking steps to address the impact of these loans on its mortgage statistics. However the Central Bank has also advised that for confidentiality reasons, it is precluded from giving more information on the issue of loan transfers. It is aware of the impact of asset transfers on overall trends and it is putting measures in place to address this, while safeguarding confidentiality.
Regarding the issue of securitised mortgages, the Central Bank has informed me that mortgage loans that have been securitised are included in its published mortgage arrears statistics published by the Central Bank. While it does not publish information on the number of mortgage accounts that have been securitised, the Central Bank has informed me that the outstanding balance on securitised mortgages is available on the Central Bank website in Table A.18.2 at the following location: http://www.centralbank.ie/polstats/stats/cmab/Pages/HouseholdCredit.aspx.
The Central Bank has also advised that while it issued a voluntary code of practice in 1991 on the transfer of mortgages, there is no Central Bank requirement, or legislative obligation with respect to which the Central Bank has a role in supervising compliance on a lender to provide notice on the assignment of a loan. In respect of a mortgage account for which a receiver has been appointed, these are included in the quarterly Central Bank mortgage statistics publication. In this regard, it should be noted that the latest data published by my Department for the 6 banks covered by the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) shows that at the end of December 2013 those lenders had over 3,100 rent receivers in place. Regarding letters issued by mortgage lenders demanding surrender or sale, data on this particular aspect are not specifically included in the quarterly statistics published by the Central Bank or by my Department. However, information on this general area is put into the public domain when the Central Bank reports on progress regarding its MART targets.
Overall, the Central Bank is committed to the quality criteria outlined in the ECB Public Commitment on European Statistics for all statistics published, including the Residential Mortgage Arrears and Repossessions Statistics. The Mortgage Arrears return was developed following individual and collective discussions with reporting institutions, and agreement on definitions and coverage. While the data is not audited independently, the Central Bank undertakes extensive validation and consistency checks. While this is an area that can always be kept under review, I am satisfied that the mortgage data as published is robust and of good quality.