Monday 19 February 2018

Stephen Donnelly: Don't fear bankruptcy, it's a potent weapon to make banks do a deal

Insolvency Bill gives more options for restructuring debt and will allow people to get on with their lives, writes Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

The new insolvency legislation is about to go live. Whilst imperfect, it means that borrowers are going to have new, meaningful options available to them by September – to restructure debts that are suffocating them, and to get on with their lives.

Last Saturday, I ran a 'Debt Expo' in Bray – a public forum to help people get back in control of their mortgages, and to explain the new insolvency options. To my surprise, I emerged that evening into glorious Wicklow sunshine with a renewed sense of optimism.

Several themes emerged from the experts. First, don't wait any longer. If you know you've got a problem, get advice and act. Second, know the rules of the game. Read up on the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) and the insolvency options. When dealing with your bank, get everything in writing. Third, don't be afraid of bankruptcy. It's going to become common place, and is the most important threat available to force your bank to deal. If it's required, just remember you'll be debt-free in three years.

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