Firms offering debt management services to consumers subject to new rules
COMMERCIAL firms that want to offer debt management services to consumers will have to meet new Central Bank criteria.
Dunne & Maxwell, Home Payments Ltd and Cornerstone are among the debt management firms that have closed, costing consumers.
The closure of some debt manager firms have created huge controversy as people have been left out of pocket.
There has been no regulation of debt management firms up to now.
It is more than five years since the Law Reform Commission recommended the regulation of debt management firms. The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) legal rights body has been campaigning for rules to apply to debt management for even longer.
Now the regulator has set out a list of rules and told debt management firms they will have to seek authorisation to operate from the Central Bank by the end of October.
It will now be a criminal offense to operate without Central Bank authorisation.
Firms that want to offer advice to those deeply in debt will have to ensure staff meet minimum educational qualifications in financial matters.
Companies will also have to meet strict rules on how they operate their accounts, have adequate staff, and meet criteria on computer systems.