Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the outsourcing of mortgages to unregulated third parties must end.
Deputy Doherty was commenting after, in a series of replies to parliamentary questions, Minister Michael Noonan accepted that the sale of mortgages to ‘debt factoring’ companies means some mortgage holders have been left without legal safeguards.
Deputy Doherty said:
“When a family or individual signs up for a mortgage with a regulated financial institution they expect the safeguards will last for the duration of the mortgage. The Minister’s replies confirm however that many mortgage holders now find themselves outside the protection of Central Bank regulations. The protection offered by the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears has been weakened under this government but it should be the bare minimum protection available to all mortgage holders.
“The government’s legislative programme contains a Bill entitled ‘Sale of Loan Books to Unregulated Third Parties Bill’ but the legislative programme states only that that publication is not expected until 2015. The government has recognised that this issue exist but is not prioritising it.
“The Minister accepts this practice is occurring but is unable even to list the companies involved. In the context of a serious mortgage crisis this ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach from the Minister is not good enough.
“The sale of the Royal Bank of Scotland mortgage book to an unregulated company is currently almost finalised while the mortgage holders at IBRC, who are already precluded from resort to the Financial Services Ombudsman, could find themselves at the mercy of unregulated vulture companies.
“The government must publish their legislation immediately so it can be scrutinised to see if it is fit for purpose. If it is to be of any help to mortgage holders in this situation it must be brought before the Dáil as soon as possible.”