Enhanced Role for MABS in provision of information, advice and assistance to Borrowers in Mortgage Distress


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The Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys TD today (1 September 2015) outlined the enhanced role for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) to assist distressed mortgage holders in the context of the Government measures to support mortgage holders who are in arrears.

Building on actions already taken, the measures aim to increase the supports available to people in arrears and to increase the numbers of people availing of them.

The Minister said: "I am pleased that the role of MABS is being enhanced to enable it to provide:

  • A greater role in offering information, advice and assistance to mortgage holders through all stages of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) and to borrowers who have already been through the MARP;
  • A Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS which will focus on post-MARP cases assisting mortgage holders in assessing the extent to which the option on offer from the lender is the best and most sustainable option, and where required negotiate with the lender on behalf of its client. Sixteen (16) Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS services are finalising arrangements for the provision of this service in the coming weeks, with a further eleven (11) planned to be in place by year end, providing nationwide coverage;
  • An in – house Personal Insolvency Practitioner role (PIP) for those who face an imminent risk of losing their home and who cannot afford to pay for professional advice to deal with their debt. A Public PIP is being piloted in Waterford MABS and Bankruptcy advice in Cork MABS;
  • A national network of "Court Mentors" is being established to attend with clients and offer support and advice on Court proceedings as well as direct referral back to MABS where a case is adjourned; and
  • Improvement to the MABS website and the CIB microsite www.keepingyourhome.ie.

"The combination of these measures will enable MABS to play a greater role in assisting distressed mortgage holders by targeting its resources at those most in need of assistance".

The Minister continued: "The enhancement of MABS’ role to provide a dedicated mortgage advice service will provide greater support for distressed mortgage holders in their dealings with their lenders. I want to thank MABS and the CIB for their extensive work over the summer period to ensure these services will be available as quickly as possible to borrowers in mortgage distress.

The Citizens Information Board has worked closely with MABS, a trusted, accessible and credible provider of free and impartial debt advice to develop this enhanced service which is being rolled out nationwide in the coming months.

The Minister added: "We are currently in the process of selecting and appointing dedicated mortgage arrears advisors from within MABS to provide the enhanced services. Sixteen MABS services have been identified and will commence offering the enhanced service in the coming weeks".

The pilot of the Court Mentor service at six locations (Dublin, Cavan, Wexford, Trim, Castlebar & Roscommon) has been very successful and viewed positively by the stakeholders involved. Under the pilot Court Mentor service, direct support was provided by MABS to debtors on Court proceedings, as well as direct referral back to MABS, where appropriate.

ENDS

Note for Editors

An extensive communications and publicity campaign highlighting these new services is due to be launched from mid–September.

Proposed Locations for Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS (subject to change)

It is proposed that, in the coming weeks, up to 16 MABS services will provide Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS, offering support to distressed borrowers within the catchment area and, where required, delivering support from urban centres and towns in the following areas:

  1. Dundrum, Dublin
  2. Waterford
  3. Cork (2 locations)
  4. Clonmel
  5. Thurles
  6. Tralee
  7. Limerick
  8. Ennis
  9. Galway
  10. Castlebar
  11. Roscommon
  12. Cavan
  13. Navan
  14. Newbridge
  15. Arklow
  16. Carlow
Last modified:01/09/2015