Greater role for MABS as Government announces new supports for Mortgage Holders in Arrears

May 2015

The Government has agreed a number of new measures to support mortgage holders who are in arrears, including a greater role for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). Building on policy actions already in place, the measures aim to increase the supports available to people in arrears and to increase the numbers of people availing of them.

In a major reform of the Personal Insolvency framework, the Government has agreed to give Courts the power to review and, where appropriate, to approve insolvency deals that have been rejected by banks. This is expected to see more cases processed to a successful outcome through the Personal Insolvency framework. The process seeks to ensure that fair and sustainable deals are upheld for struggling borrowers willing to work their way out of difficulties with a view to keeping their family home.

The Government has also agreed that the MABS will play a greater role in offering information, advice and assistance to borrowers in arrears. Additional services to provide assistance in identifying the best options, completing financial statements and considering proposed solutions will be rolled out by MABS offices on a phased basis, following a process of engagement with the Citizens Information Board (CIB) and MABS. This will ensure that borrowers have access to information on the range of supports and options available, advice on the ones most suited to their needs, and assistance in pursuing such options, where necessary. MABS will be working closely with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). Welcoming the announcement, Angela Black, Chief Executive, CIB said: "This is a positive development which acknowledges the role of MABS at the heart of the State's new initiative to help citizens who are in mortgage arrears."

The Mortgage to Rent scheme will also be expanded. In particular, by increasing the property value thresholds that apply. A number of other flexibilities will also be introduced, making the scheme more accessible.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly at the announcement of new measures to support Mortgage holders in arrears.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly at the announcement of new measures to support Mortgage holders in arrears.