NAMA can’t ‘opt in’ to regulation

Something that has been circulating of late is that if NAMA buy the Irish Nationwide (subsumed into IBRC) loan book that they will follow best practise and no borrower will be ‘less well off’ due to it in terms of regulatory protection.

This is not true because an important aspect of regulatory protection is that of recourse to the office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO). This recourse is covered in section 51 of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and also in the Consumer Protection Code of 2012 10.9(d).

Simply stating that you will follow or mimic the existing codes and regulation isn’t the same as actually being covered by them, it doesn’t grant jurisdiction. The FSO cannot structurally cover a complaint made against an unregulated entity. It really isn’t far different than going to them with a complaint about a restaurant you ate at, if they don’t cover the institution they can’t deal with the complaint.

The oft overlooked point is that the granting of regulation gives recourse to the FSO as that is how they obtain their oversight powers, the absence of same means that even with both consent and the best of intentions by the unregulated entity and the FSO that they can’t deal with any complaints – which is why even NAMA buying the IBRC loans could turn out badly for former Nationwide borrowers.

 

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