Protection of Residential Mortgage Account Holders Bill 2014

Normally I expect a better outing from Fianna Fail – in particular where Michael McGrath is concerned. Their new bill for protecting mortgage account holders (aimed mainly at IBRC former Nationwide loan holders) is a banger.

It gets down to details in section 3 onwards. In section 4 it calls any buyer to ‘be bound by such Codes of Practice that govern residential mortgages that are in force at the time of the sale and/or transfer or are subsequently introduced by the Central Bank’. This is misinformation.

You can’t ‘opt in’ to regulation, something we already covered here, you are either regulated or not and mimicking best practice doesn’t mean anything as there is no binding force behind it.

In section 4.2 it states that ‘It shall be a precondition to the sale or transfer of residential mortgage loans by persons or entities who acquire, either by purchase or transfer, residential mortgage loans from financial institutions regulated by the Central Bank to other persons or entities …

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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 …

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If you didn’t like 100% mortgages you’ll loathe negative equity mortgages

I was interested in the front page of today’s Independent in which Charlie Weston broke a really big story about Irish banks being in advanced stages of designing ‘Negative Equity Mortgages’ (this is vastly different than the Negative Equity Loan/Short Sale Loan we have discussed previously). Essentially the bank will allow an individual to carry negative equity out of one property and move that onto another one within certain parameters.

This practice has already existed in the UK and is offered by Nationwide, Coventry and RBS, the schemes have not proved to be very popular, in part because of the stringent underwriting required. It is one thing for a client to fall into negative equity but another to actually facilitate them in compounding that fact and taking a further bet on their ability to repay. What do I mean by that?

First Loan: €200,000 Value: €150,000 Neg/Eq: €50,000

Then the €50,000 shortfall is passed into a second loan of (for example) €200,000 …

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