Central Bank revises mortgage arrears code of conduct

Central Bank revises mortgage arrears code of conduct

The Central Bank has published a revised code of conduct on mortgage arrears, setting out how banks and other mortgage lenders should deal with customers in arrears.

Among other changes it abolishes the previous limit of three contacts per month from banks to customers in arrears, and introduces a three month notice period before a bank moves to seek a repossession order.

The Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears is designed to protect bank customers who are in arrears.

But the Central Bank also wants the lenders to get on with the process of dealing with the huge arrears problem that has built up by offering permanent mortgage solutions to customers who are unable to meet their current mortgage terms.

Following a consultation with banks and consumer groups, the Central Bank has changed the code to allow lenders to make more than three contacts per month with customers in arrears, but they will not be allowed to harass customers.

Borrowers in arrears who are co-operating with their lender will be given a three month notice period to review their options before the bank can seek a court order to repossess. For new arrears cases, that period is eight months.

And there is more transparency in the process, including an obligation on banks to explain the process to customers, and help them to fill in forms such as the standard financial statement.

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