House visits will form part of the mortgage arrears resolution process

The Central Bank will allow banks to visit the homes of those in arrears as part of the resolution process in dealing with distressed mortgages


The Central Bank of Ireland is to allow banks to make unannounced visits to the homes of its mortgage holders in arrears. The Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) which all banks must abide by when dealing with customers in arrears is very strict. The rules set out by MARP protect customers from being constantly bombarded with notice letters and phone calls from financial institutions, limiting how often banks can contact households behind on their monthly repayments.

As it currently stands, mortgage lenders are limited to three unsolicited communications per month via letter, phone or e-mail. However, bank officials will soon have the option of going out to people’s homes on top of being able to contact them three times each month. But the Central Bank has made it clear that visits should only be used in instances ‘where attempts at contact have failed’ and visits should ‘represent a positive experience for the borrower’.

The rule change comes in light of a complaint made by Stephen Donnelly, an Independent TD from the Wicklow/East Carlow constituency, on the behalf of a constituent. The constituent, an unemployed female claimed she was receiving six phone calls a day from Permanent TSB – even though she has arranged an appointment to meet the bank this week. On one day, she complained getting eighteen calls from an automated calling system.

PTSB have responded to the complaint saying the last time the woman was in contact with them was last summer and efforts to contact her since have been unsuccessful. It did, however, admit that a meeting between the bank and the complainant had been scheduled but this fact was not communicated to its main office where its automated calls are made.