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Statement by David Hall CEO Irish Mortgage Holders Organization and i-Care on the MABS/Banking Federation Agreement on Mortgage Arrears

Monday 4th November 2019

I welcome anything which brings the possibility of hope, closure and certainty to the lives of those trapped in Mortgage Arrears. Anything which acts as a constraint on the un-trammelled exploitation by vulture funds of vulnerable people is also to be welcomed.

Vultures are being hit hard by insolvency arrangements being approved by the courts and it would be deeply worrying if MAB’s accidentally became a party to replacing a legal framework with an unenforceable code.

This morning’s ‘Agreement’ however raises more questions than answers and appears to favour vultures rather than customers, not least whether this informal scheme help vultures bypass the current insolvency process with its checks and balances. Already people are asking is this ‘code’ an attempt by vultures to block people availing of ever improving insolvency Arrangements.

The last protocol destroyed the lives of many who ended up living in purgatory with no long-term certainty.  It allowed banks to do what they wanted during a defined time frame without any guarantee of a long-term solution. Vultures don’t like some of the insolvency arrangements where, despite some recent high-profile cases, many ordinary families have gotten good insolvency arrangements approved.

I welcome the recognition by the Banking Federation and MAB’s that more than 40,000 citizens are in crisis … a potential tsunami in anyone’s language.

Today’s ‘agreement’ raises other key concerns, namely

  • Debtors need independent advocates.
  • MAB’s, however under the Citizens Information Board increasingly resemble an extension of the Department of Finance.
  • The timing of this is curious given that the Central Bank is examining restructuring arrangements vultures are doing.
  • One hopes it does not distract attention from how few they have done.

There is an old saying about the need to be wary of Greeks bearing gifts.

Given that a previous MABs banking protocol disadvantaged debtors by placing them in short term arrangements where they had no certainty that is equally applicable today.

Mr. Hall would welcome a debate with a banker or a vulture who can engage on the facts and not their mouthpiece.


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