Ferris calls for legislation on subprime mortgage lenders
Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called for a tightening up of the legislation and regulations governing sub-prime mortgage lenders. The Kerry North/Limerick West deputy was speaking during a debate on a Sinn Féin private members’ motion on housing and mortgages.
Deputy Ferris said: “I have previously raised the fact that some of those involved in subprime lending and who are aggressively pursuing repossessions have, to say the least, dubious backgrounds.
“I have referred before to Mr Ronald Weisz of Wyse Mortgages and other companies who is not only a declared bankrupt in the United States but who also has a conviction here for illegally soliciting deposits.
“His companies operate in a legal limbo. Prior to February 2008, there was no authorisation or supervision of retail credit companies and consequently Wise Finances is neither licensed nor supervised by the Central Bank. There is clearly need to bring all such operators under legislation.
“There is also an insidious practise among Weisz and others, including legal representatives, of selling on subprime mortgages to other characters. Weisz sold on mortgages to the Home Funding Corporation which is owned by Ian Andrews, or Andrew Leaf as he was when he was convicted of corporate tax fraud of £76 million in 2005 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, later reduced on appeal.
“It is a travesty that people like Andrews and Weisz, currently co-defendants in repossession cases, should be allowed to operate in this jurisdiction.
“That is why it is important that there is new legislation to cover these people, and to regulate the whole area. With so many people falling into arrears and with the high proportion of repossession cases being taken by subprime lenders, they need to be properly licensed and regulated and proper scrutiny applied to their lending practises, and to ensuring that people who have been convicted of financial fraud are not allowed operate.”