James Fitzsimons: 'Debt-collecting banks' need to soften their approach
Lenders must realise the €2.8bn personal debt crisis cannot be solved by playing hardball.
THE vast majority of people who are in mortgage arrears face repossession because lenders are not doing their jobs. But they are not entirely to blame.
The Government and the Central Bank sat on the fence for far too long while the crisis developed. The Central Bank's Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) is the barrier that most people cannot face. Was MARP set up to save jobs in banks, or is it there to get those in arrears back on track? If the latter, the solution is simple. Capitalise the arrears and guarantee term extensions for those who are ready to get back on track. It won't solve all problems, but it will take care of most. First, they need to cut out the red tape.
When things got bad it was easy to slip into arrears. If you are not insolvent, you must have been uncooperative to have let things get out of control. If any more time passes before you turn things around you could be unfortunate enough to end up out on the street. At best you will get a bill from the bank for the legal costs it incurs in asking you to do the impossible.