Shining a light on Mortgage Arrears in South Mayo MABS
A follow up report looking at Mortgage Arrears among South Mayo MABS clients was launched last week in Castlebar, Co Mayo. The report Mortgage Arrears Among South Mayo MABS’ Clients: April 2016 V September 2017 follows the original report which looked in detail at the personal situations of those at the centre of the mortgage arrears crisis last year. South Mayo MABS conducted both reports in association with Dr. Stuart Stamp, Maynooth University and Paul Joyce BL, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC).
Although some progress has been made in addressing the mortgage arrears crisis, the number of accounts in arrears for over two years remains high in the sample group (50 households). The original research showed that such rural households had encountered payment difficulties in the early years of the loan. Most borrowers in the study had been offered loans based on ‘precarious’ income related to construction or services industry work. The research also showed that although lenders were willing to restructure the mortgage, this only applied where they expected to recoup the full amount of capital and interest, and in no case was a write-off of debt proposed.
The current report shines a light into how these households have fared some 18 months later. Recent initiatives such as Abhaile- the free mortgage arrears support service have helped keep some people in their homes. However in addition to the households who had lost their homes in the earlier study, loss of family home is identified as imminent or likely outcome for 20% of cases, in the foreseeable future. Those at greatest risk are those on low income, unemployed, or have an illness or disability.
Angela Black, Chief Executive, CIB added: “Although the number of repossessions by court order is relatively low comparatively, the numbers of voluntary surrenders or sale is much higher.” She added that MABS which is funded and supported by CIB continue to provide the Court Mentor service which is aimed at supporting those who have been issued with proceedings.
CIB has responsibility for Abhaile - the free mortgage arrears support service. The objective of this Government backed service is to ensure that a person in serious mortgage arrears can access free, independent expert financial and legal advice and support. Priority is given to finding solutions which will allow the person to remain in their home, wherever that is a sustainable option.
Speaking at the launch Dr Padraic Kenna, Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy, NUI Galway said: “It shows that the most destructive effects of the banking crisis are, in fact, still being exacted on ordinary households. This study makes a very valuable contribution to the public interest in addressing this ongoing challenge”.
One of the difficulties in relation to the mortgage arrears crisis is the lack of data on the borrowers concerned. It was stated at the launch that it would be useful to conduct research that had a much wider base to get a true picture of the current national situation.
Pictured at the launch (L- R):Vivienne Molloy, Dedicated Mortgage Arrears Advisor & Court Mentor Co Mayo, Dr Padraic Kenna, Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy NUI Galway, Angela Black, CEO, Monica Joyce, Coordinator South Mayo MABS, Roisin Byrne Money Advisor South Mayo MABS, Dr. Stuart Stamp, Independent Social Researcher and Research Associate, Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University.