Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (71)

Noel Grealish


71. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify apparent discrepancies in statements from both him and his Minister of State regarding debt resolution for buy-to-let properties; in his own case, the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 208 of 26 March states that the mortgage arrears resolution targets cover both proposed and concluded sustainable solutions with respect to principal dwelling houses and buy-to-lets, whereas the Minister of State at his Department, replying to a Topical Issue debate on 26 March said that the Department's perspective is that mortgage resolution only applies to persons in personal dwellings and does not involve investment properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15523/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy will be aware of the Central Bank's Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) announced last March 2013 which sets time bound and measurable targets for the main banks requiring them to systematically address their mortgages arrears book. A copy of the MART document can be accessed at The targets cover both proposed and concluded sustainable solutions with respect to the lenders principal dwelling homes (PDH) and buy-to-let (BTL) mortgagees.  Under this rolling process, quarterly performance targets have been set to the end of June 2014 to require the banks to propose and put in place durable long term solutions to address individual cases of mortgage arrears of more than 90 days in arrears.

The Central Bank has indicated that all six mortgage lenders covered by the MART process have reported that they met the 20% proposed sustainable solutions target for the second quarter of 2013 and also the 30% target for the third quarter in 2013.  In particular, with respect to the third quarter 2013 target, which is the latest available data, the lenders have reported to the Central Bank they had issued proposals to 43% of mortgage accounts in arrears (PDH and BTL) against the 30% target.  As correctly stated by the Minister of State at the Department of Finance in the House last week, the MART process refers to both PDH and BTL mortgages.  While recent media reports described an individual bank's activities relating to the resolution of PDH cases, that is an operational matter for the individual bank, subject to the overriding requirement to achieve a sustainable solution to mortgages in difficulty.  In that context, if an individual bank considers that in a particular case that it is necessary and economically sensible to apply a debt compromise to a certain mortgage as part of an overall sustainable resolution, that will be a commercial matter for the individual bank.

Regarding the particular approach taken by the individual bank mentioned, I understand that it will provide further information on this issue when it appears before the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and Public Expenditure in the coming weeks.

Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, answered with Question No. 64.