Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Questions (95, 97)

Gerald Nash


95. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Finance if he will request the banking industry to offer an extension of time to those who have received mortgage approval in principle but where as a result of the current Covid-19 related restrictions, the offers are not being progressed or withdrawn; his views on whether an extension of the standard mortgage approval period of six months is required given the notable delays in the construction of new homes and limited market supply of affordable housing for prospective homebuyers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33644/21]

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Cian O'Callaghan


97. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance if he will engage with lenders to ensure flexibility in order that mortgage approvals can be extended until 2022 for first-time buyers due to delays in delivery caused by the restrictions on the construction sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33828/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 97 together.

There are certain legal and regulatory requirements which govern the provision of mortgage credit to consumers.  For example, the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 (CMCAR) provide that, before concluding a mortgage credit agreement, a lender must make a thorough assessment of the consumer’s creditworthiness with a view to verifying the prospect of the consumer being able to meet his or her obligations under the credit agreement.  The CMCAR further provide that a lender should only make credit available to a consumer where the result of the creditworthiness assessment indicates that the consumer’s obligations resulting from the credit agreement are likely to be met in the manner required under that agreement. 

In addition, the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 imposes ‘Knowing the Consumer and Suitability’ requirements on lenders to assess affordability of credit and the suitability of a product or service based on the individual circumstances of each borrower.  Furthermore, the Code also provides that, where a regulated entity offers a mortgage to a consumer, the lender must include certain information in the offer document including the length of time for which the mortgage offer is valid.  Within this overall regulatory framework, decisions on mortgage applications, including the duration period of a mortgage approval (either an 'approval in principle' or a mortgage offer) or any extension to the duration period of an existing mortgage offer, are commercial and business matters for individual lenders. 

However, if a mortgage applicant is not satisfied with how a regulated firm is dealing with them in relation to an application for credit or the drawn down of credit, or they believe that the regulated firm is not following the requirements of the Central Bank’s codes and regulations or other financial services law, they should make a complaint directly to the regulated firm. Furthermore, if the mortgage applicant is still not satisfied with the response from the regulated firm, he or she can refer the complaint to the statutory Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.