An Tánaiste Joan Burton and the Minister of State Kevin Humphreys launch MABS Dedicated Mortgage Arrears Services for Distressed Mortgage Holders
22 December 2015
The Tánaiste Joan Burton TD, together with the Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys TD, today formally launched MABS’ dedicated mortgage arrears services to assist distressed mortgage holders.
MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service), which is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board (CIB), is the State’s money advice service. MABS has been guiding people through dealing with problem debt for more than 20 years.
The dedicated mortgage arrears services launched today will increase the supports available to people in arrears, and form part of the Government’s wider range of measures to assist people with unsustainable debt.
Speaking about the new services Angela Black, Chief Executive, CIB, said: “These services will provide vital assistance to anyone experiencing mortgage arrears, but especially to people who feel they cannot see a way out of their situation.”
There will be three key strands to the dedicated mortgage arrears services:
- Firstly, the MABS Helpline (which operates from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday) will provide assessment in order to channel debtors to the most relevant source of help, based on the nature and urgency of their situation.
- Secondly, specialist advisers will assist mortgage holders in assessing the extent to which the option on offer from their lender is the best and most sustainable option for them, and where required, will negotiate with the lender. Nineteen such advisers are already in place and arrangements are being finalised to ensure nationwide coverage in the coming weeks.
- Thirdly, court mentors will be available to assist homeowners facing court proceedings. Working in close collaboration with the Insolvency Service of Ireland, a national network of court mentors is now in place. The court mentor service offers support and advice for borrowers on court proceedings, as well as direct referral back to MABS where a case is adjourned.
Commenting on the need for court mentors, Minister Humphreys said: “Increasingly, debtors with significant mortgage arrears are arriving at MABS on receipt of letters regarding legal proceedings, needing advice and support on going to court and the range of resolution options that may be available to them. There is now a MABS Court Mentor service at all court repossession hearings right across the country.”
The Tánaiste said: “While the most recent data available from the Central Bank shows that the number of homeowners in mortgage arrears has fallen significantly as the economic recovery picks up, there is still a large number of borrowers in long-term arrears and the MABS services will provide vital support and assistance to them.”
Pictured at the launch of the dedicated mortgage arrears service are: MABSndl National Development Officer Michael Culloty, MABSndl Business Manager Annmarie O’Connor, Minister of State Kevin Humphreys TD, An Tánaiste Joan Burton TD, CIB Chief Executive Angela Black, CIB Chair Ita Mangan.
An Tánaiste Joan Burton TD speaking at the launch of the new dedicated mortgage arrears services