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Mortgage Arrears Proposals

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 March 2017

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ceisteanna (498)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

498. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection the number and percentage of bank refusals of proposals put forward by mortgage advisers within the Abhaile, PIPs and ISI schemes. [13091/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Abhaile service for borrowers in home mortgage arrears was officially launched in October 2016. An information campaign to raise awareness of the range of valuable supports now in place for borrowers in home mortgage arrears commenced last month.

A key component of the service is a new voucher based scheme for which MABS is the gateway. This provides access for people who are insolvent and in home mortgage arrears, to defined levels of independent expert financial and/or legal advice and assistance, free of charge. Qualification for help under the scheme is based on the applicant being (a) in mortgage arrears on their home; (b) insolvent; (c) at risk of losing their home because of their mortgage arrears; and (d) reasonably accommodated. The primary focus is to help borrowers to put sustainable solutions in place with their lenders and wherever possible to keep them in their homes.

To date, 5,182 vouchers have been issued in respect of 3,229 Principal Private Residences. Of these, 4,029 were issued to borrowers to avail of the services of a Personal Insolvency Practitioner; 1,027 to borrowers to obtain legal advice and assistance from the panel of solicitors; and 126 vouchers in respect of borrowers wishing to avail of the Personal Insolvency Court Review Service.

In addition to the specialised services which can be accessed through the voucher system, advice and assistance is available to borrowers in home mortgage arrears through the MABS Dedicated Mortgage Arrears service. To date, 3,234 people have availed of the MABS DMA service.

Home mortgage arrears cases, due to their nature, are dealt with on an individual case basis. Degrees of complexity will obviously vary as will the approach of the lenders involved. Some home mortgage arrears cases are more easily resolved, while others require more than one professional intervention, and involve more protracted and sometimes multiple engagements with lenders in an effort to put sustainable solutions in place and where possible keep individuals and families in their own homes. Under the Abhaile scheme, those providing financial and legal advice and assistance to distressed borrowers can use a range of approaches in response to the individual needs of each case. While lenders in some cases may refuse initial proposals, they may later agree to subsequent resolution proposals as the case evolves.

At this time, outcome data of the type necessary to determine the number and percentage of refusals by lenders of proposals put forward by advisors providing financial and/or legal service to borrowers is not available. Cases of this nature are, as expected, taking time to process, from assessment of the financial or legal difficulties to finding, where possible, sustainable solutions for borrowers in serious debt. Data gathering arrangements are already underway and as cases progress, the general nature of resolutions, where achieved, will be captured. I expect more comprehensive statistical data to be available in relation to the outcomes achieved for borrowers who availed of the various Abhaile services later this year.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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