NAMA Operations

Questions (70)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

70. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Finance the safeguards in place within his Department to prevent the prospect of persons who moved properties into the National Asset Management Agency buying them back; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15490/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy may be aware, Section 172 of the NAMA Act precludes NAMA from selling loans or property to a defaulting debtor or to parties connected to a defaulting debtor.  In accordance with Section 172 of the Act, purchasers of NAMA loans or secured property are required to sign a statutory declaration that they are not connected to the debtor or other obligors.  In addition, NAMA Board guidelines require that sales agents prepare a final report and recommendation, which includes, inter alia, confirmation that the sales agent has reviewed the purchaser s declaration relating to connected party sales and a statement disclosing any commercial relationship between the agent, debtor, purchaser or purchaser s ultimate beneficial owners in the past five years.

Mortgage Arrears Proposals

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

Questions (71)

Noel Grealish

Question:

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 http://www.centralbank.ie/press-area/press-releases/documents/approach%20to%20mortage%20arrears%20resolution%20-.pdf. 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.

Financial Services Regulation

Questions (75)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

75. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend section 57BX of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004 in order that persons can make complaints about financial products beyond the current six-year limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15619/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As I stated previously in a reply to a question regarding this issue on 12th March, I, as Minister for Finance, do not have the primary role in relation to amending the law in relation to the "Statute of Limitations".  This is a matter which has broad legal application and, as such, would fall for consideration, in the first instance by, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.

As the Deputy is aware, a consumer is not entitled to make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman if the conduct complained of occurred more than six years before the complaint is made. A complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman may be made within three years of the complainant first becoming aware of the act giving rise to the complaint, even if this is longer than six years. Whether both windows of complaint should be similar when both offices are amalgamated in line with the Government decision is a policy matter which will be decided when the legislation is being developed. Providing the necessary protection to the consumer over the longer term is of paramount importance. Therefore, the design of the appropriate mechanisms to achieve this is complex, as it involves a range of considerations, including the interface with the Statute of Limitations, existing consumer protection laws, complaints mechanisms and availability of records.