The Central Bank has banned the former managing director of the now-defunct European Mortgage Call Centre in Dundalk from carrying out a senior role in a financial firm, after investigating complaints about him taking home-loan deposits from clients even though his business was not authorised to provide mortgage services.
The Central Bank found that between January 2018 and August 2018 James Cumiskey, former managing director of European Mortgage Call Centre, "induced persons to give him deposits they had saved for a mortgage" on the basis that he required the money to process mortgage applications on their behalf.
“Although neither Mr Cumiskey nor his firm (European Mortgage Call Centre Limited) were authorised as a mortgage intermediary, the firm’s website prominently advertised mortgage services,” it said.
The Central Bank’s investigation also found that Mr Cumiskey had outstanding debts and “was not managing his own financial affairs in a sound and prudent manner as required by the fitness and probity standards, which all controlled function holders must adhere to”, it said.
The Central Bank said it was alerted to issues in January 2019 and immediately took steps to suspend Mr Cumiskey from performing any key roles in a regulated financial firm.
The High Court heard on May 13th, 2019, as the Central Bank sought an order extending the suspension notice, that the regulator had taken action after two complainants alleged that money paid for mortgage deposits had not been repaid in full at that stage, even though the clients had not secured mortgage approval.
The Central Bank told the court at the time that the two clients had contacted An Garda Síochaná in October 2018 in relation to the matter. It added that there was a “history of extended regulatory engagement” with European Mortgages since 2013, particularly concerning the late submission of annual returns.
The Central Bank said on Tuesday that it could not provide additional comment beyond its official statement, citing a “current Garda Síochaná investigation”. A spokesman for An Garda Síochaná said that it “does not comment on named individuals”.
European Mortgage’s licence to act as mortgage intermediary expired in 2012 but the company continued to be authorised as both an investments and insurance intermediary.
The office phone number of European Mortgages was not working on Tuesday, while filings by the company's former auditor with the Companies Registration Office in May 2019 noted that the firm's directors had decided to cease trading.
A representative for the law firm that represented Mr Cumiskey in the Central Bank court case, Aaron Kelly & Co solicitors, was not available for comment when contacted on Tuesday morning.
Seána Cunningham, director of enforcement and anti-money laundering at the regulator, said: “The Central Bank’s fitness and probity regime works to ensure that persons holding key and customer-facing positions in financial services are committed to high standards of competence, integrity and honesty. The regime sets out the fitness and probity standards that people holding these positions must comply with.”