Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (114)

Finian McGrath

Question:

114. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will assist families with their efforts in acquiring a mortgage (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22657/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As Minister for Finance, it is not appropriate for me to become involved in individual cases. The decision on the approval of a mortgage for a borrower is a commercial decision for the lending institution concerned.  It is important that each lending institution is allowed to properly and independently assess the risks that it is considering when deciding whether to approve a loan.

The Central Bank of Ireland  (CBI) has advised me that Chapter 5 of its Consumer Protection Code contains provisions relating to assessing suitability and affordability of credit, including for example, a provision which obliges lenders to carry out an assessment of affordability to ascertain the personal consumer's likely ability to repay the debt over the duration of the agreement.  The affordability assessment must include, inter alia, a test on the basis of a 2% interest rate increase, at a minimum, above the interest rate offered to the personal consumer.

My Department is committed, under the 'Construction 2020' strategy, to examine the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme. The objective of any scheme would be to ensure adequate availability of mortgage finance on affordable terms for new completions, particularly for 'First Time Buyers'. In doing so I would aim to provide the certainty needed to support greater levels of investment in new housing, with the associated benefits for the construction sector and ultimately for the consumer.  Once this examination has been completed and presented to me I will consider the next steps.