Banks to pay for mortgage advice

Thu, Sep 6, 2012, 01:00

Banks will pay for independent financial advice for distressed borrowers under a new advisory service announced by the Minister for Social Protection today.

Under the service, borrowers offered long-term mortgage forbearance, including a split mortgage where part of the debt is frozen for a time and a trade-down mortgage, get the financial advice from an accountant free of charge.

The Department of Social Protection has arranged for the banks to pay the €250 cost of a consultation meeting with a practising accountant and, in exceptional circumstance, two meetings to assess mortgage deals offered by lenders.

Borrowers can choose an accountant from an approved panel listed on, which is run by consumer groups the Citizens Information Board and Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Three accountancy professional bodies have signed up to the service: the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland, the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the Government wanted to help people in mortgage difficulty to stay in their own homes, and to help them work out a viable plan for them and their family in dealing with the lender.

The new scheme would give people some extra professional expertise to help them arrive at “what’s an important and difficult decision”, she said.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Ms Burton said people needed to know what they could afford to pay, what they would be paying under the new arrangements and what the implications were for interest rate costs.

A dedicated helpline for borrowers has also been established. It may be contacted at 0761 074050.