A PROMISE by bidders for the mortgages of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to observe rules on how banks deal with those in mortgage arrears has received a lukewarm response.
The firms hoping to buy out the 13,246 mortgages said they would voluntarily observe the Central Bank's code of conduct on mortgage arrears.
This is a rulebook setting out how people are to be treated when they genuinely can't repay their mortgage.
IBRC, which was formally Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, is being liquidated and the mortgages and other loans sold off.
At the moment, the IBRC mortgage holders have full Central Bank consumer protections on their mortgages. But they will lose these protections if the mortgage book is sold to an unregulated fund from outside the State.
Half of the mortgages are in arrears.
So-called vulture funds, groups that buy distressed assets, are understood to have bid for the mortgage book.
The bank's special liquidators said that an agreement reached with Phase Two bidders would see successful firms service the mortgages they acquire in accordance with the Central Bank's code on mortgage arrears.
The liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG, said they had been "aware of the anxieties of mortgage holders", and had noted concern expressed by politicians in recent weeks.
"We are pleased that the bidders have voluntarily indicated that if successful, they would direct that the mortgage loans were serviced in accordance with the terms of the CCMA," they said in a statement.
"We are satisfied that the voluntary nature of this arrangement strikes a fair balance between the interests of mortgage holders, as well as interests of the creditors of IBRC."
But Denise McCormack of the IBRC Mortgage Holders' Group said the move was "too little, too late".
"This is just voluntary. It should be compulsory. It could be broken after a week," she said.
Ms McCormack's group is due to protest outside the Dail today, when the IBRC special liquidators are due to appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee.
David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders' Organisation said the 13,000 mortgages holders, who originally took out their loans with Irish Nationwide, were seeking to be treated the same as anyone else with a mortgage.
"This should have been done at the outside. A voluntary agreement is no use."
The agreement does not cover the operations of the Financial Services Ombud- sman.
This means that mortgage holders with a complaint will not be able to use the free Ombudsman service.