Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation Hopes to Mirror U.S. Credit Counseling?

A recent article in in the Irish publication Kiklenny People talked about a new Republic of Ireland charity, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.

The group, founded by David Hall, a man with a long line of charitable endeavors, including an ambulance service and Make-A-Wish group, aims to provide better assistance for Irish consumers facing mortgage problems.

The landscape in the ROI is certainly different than in other parts of the world. While you might assume there is a good process in place there for dealing with problem debt, you’d be wrong. Hopefully one will come soon and it will include realistic solutions for people to seek bankruptcy protection, which has not really existed for consumers previously.

Halls advice to current consumers facing mortgage troubles is for consumers to avoid dealing with their mortgage holders.

Unfortunately I’m afraid that Hall’s goal of bringing U.S. style credit counseling to Ireland is deeply flawed.

Perhaps the most radical step towards a final and just debt resolution process, he says, will be the adoption of an Irish version of the successful, state supported online credit counselling services that exist in the UK and US and a more realistic attitude by the banks to what debtors will need to live on during their insolvency.

The independent, impartial advice provided by the new credit service is paid by the lenders, says Hall, and negotiations are under way with the Irish banks to convince them to go this route rather than the piecemeal, disjointed and “totally inadequate debt process that we have now.”

What Hall might not realize is that U.S. credit counseling groups do not operate independently of the banks that fund them. They remain handcuffed under their funding.

Hall recommends that people in mortgage distress only engage with the banks “within the MARP process, and no further.” (The Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process involves putting a financial statement in place, securing some form of payment restructuring with the bank unable to take any legal action against the homeowner for at least one year.)

If the distressed homeowner engages any further – “even in taking up this offer to €250 meeting with an accountant to discuss a forbearance offer, then they’ve got you,” he says. – Source


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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