Comprehensive Govt plan to tackle mortgage arrears will provide much-needed relief to homeowners

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has welcomed the announcement by the Government of a comprehensive plan to tackle mortgage arrears.

“The recent announcement by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, of the Government’s plan to tackle mortgage arrears, puts unprecedented measures in place to deal with this issue. Some 94,500 homeowners are in arrears for more than 90 days and 23,500 are in arrears for over 720 days. This is an unsustainable situation which, if not dealt with, has the potential to keep on growing, resulting in more and more families falling into arrears. This issue is causing distress to families across the country, which must be avoided.

“The Government has taken action today by putting in place new legislation, structures and processes to resolve this escalating issue, which will help the people of Dublin Fingal and beyond, who are battling to meet their mortgage payments. These include targets for the six main banks, where by the end of June 2013, 20 per cent of mortgage customers in arrears of 90 days or more will have a proposed sustainable solution in place by the end of September 2013, 30 per cent and by the end of December 2013, 50 per cent of customers will have a proposed sustainable solution worked out with their lenders. The Central Bank will continuously monitor the performance of the banks against these targets and take appropriate action in the event of banks failing to meet them.

“Other elements of the Government’s plan include updating the Code of Conduct of Mortgage Arrears, to provide effective consumer protection measures to ensure that borrowers are treated in a fair and transparent manner. The establishment of the insolvency service will provide new options to people in mortgage distress by facilitating agreed arrangements to allow people to stay in their homes, and the further roll-out of mortgage-to-rent schemes and the progression of mortgage-to-lease schemes will aim to find the best means of resolving outstanding debt issues.

“This is a good day for the people of Dublin Fingal who have been living in fear of their homes being repossessed as they fall deeper into mortgage arrears. This Government inherited a country that was on the verge of bankruptcy, and while full recovery can’t happen overnight, the measures put in place since taking office two years ago have placed the country on a sounder footing.

“We have closed down Anglo and the IBRC, dealt with the promissory notes, brought the bank guarantee to an end and today we have seen how the international financial markets view Ireland with exceptional interest in our first ten year bond issuance since we entered the bailout. Dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis is the next step in allowing people to deal with their financial issues and to get back to playing their part in economic recovery, something they are prevented from doing while they are strangled by debt.”