The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) welcomes the publication today of the Law Reform Commission’s (LRC) report on personal debt management and debt enforcement and supports key recommendations in that report.
While the detail of all of the LRC’s recommendations will need to be closely examined and their implications carefully considered, the IBF supports the broad thrust of reform as follows:
- Reform of the judicial bankruptcy system
The IBF believes that the current system is outdated and, as a result, has become ineffective. IBF has long supported the case for an effective alternative to imprisonment for those who are unable to pay fines and civil debt.
- Development of non-judicial debt settlement arrangements to complement current practices
The IBF/MABS Protocol on Debt Management has been very effective in enabling IBF creditors and MABS money advisers to work together effectively to help personal customers/clients to address and manage debt problems and, using an agreed steps procedure, wherever possible, to formulate a mutually-acceptable, affordable and sustainable repayment plan. A copy of the IBF/MABS Operational Protocol: Working Together to Manage Debt is available here.
Use of a Standardised Financial Statement
IBF supports the concept of a Standardised Financial Statement (SFS) and recognises the importance to effective debt management of clear, reliable customer information (including assets). IBF is currently working with MABS, the Central Bank and other parties to agree the most appropriate elements of an SFS.
Regulation of debt collection agencies and of commercial debt advice agencies
The IBF believes that it is in the interests of both creditors and debtors to have sound practices ensured through effective regulation.
IBF’s Chief Executive, Pat Farrell, states: “These recommendations will need to be considered hand-in-hand with the recent recommendations of the Expert Review Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt, with the revised Central Bank Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and with the ongoing consultation on a revised Consumer Protection Code. Notwithstanding the significant challenge that all of this presents, our sector remains fully committed to working with and supporting customers under pressure with their repayments.”
The IBF and member institutions are currently working constructively with the Central Bank, MABS and other stakeholders to address the wide and important range of matters raised in the LRC’s recommendations.
Note: The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) is the leading representative body for the banking and financial services sector in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.
Further Information: Felix O’Regan, Head of PR and Public Affairs, IBF, tel. 6715311