Banks seek more time to implement Regulator's arrears rules
BANKS and building societies are seeking more time before they have to put in place new rules for dealing with householders in arrears on their mortgages.
Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield has suggested major changes to the way lenders deal with homeowners in arrears.
The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) has not objected to the changes in the revised code of conduct on mortgage arrears, but has questioned the deadlines set to implement the amendments.
In a submission made on the proposed changes to the code, the IBF has also sought clarification on how some of the new rules would work in practice.
The Regulator published a document proposing changes to the code and sought submission up to last Friday.
If implemented, the planned changes would make it more difficult for mortgage-holders to end up having their homes repossessed.
The new rules would allow those in arrears to stay in their homes longer than allowed by the current 12-month moratorium on repossessions.
Lenders would have to explore all viable options with borrowers in arrears and examine all alternative repayment measures.
Where borrowers are behaving reasonably, banks and building societies would have to wait at least a year before applying to the courts to repossess a home.
Each lender would have to set up an arrears support unit, and put in place a mortgage arrears resolution process. They would also have to have a dedicated person dealing with arrears in each branch.
The regulator had been seeking to have these changes in place by November, an IBF spokesman said.
In a submission to the regulator, the IBF has questioned the deadline for implementing the new processes.
Bankers have also sought clarification on some of the other proposals. For instance, they want to know if designated branch officers dealing with arrears could carry out other functions within the branch.