The newly appointed Central Bank Governor Philip Lane has presented the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform with an overview of the Bank's current work programme. In his statement Governor Lane said that there had been considerable changes to the mandate and structure of the Central Bank following the financial crisis and that the Bank now has new priorities, as set out in their Strategic Plan 2016-2018 document.
Governor Lane said that the Central Bank intends to concentrate on financial stability, pointing out that small, highly-globalised economies are especially vulnerable to negative shocks and require the pro-active deployment of macro-prudential policies. The Governor also reported that the Central Bank has been actively engaged in asset purchases as part of its implementation of the ECB's expanded asset purchase programme (EAPP), which aims to help the ECB reach its inflation target.
On the micro-prudential side, Governor Lane told the Committee that the Central Bank will be proactive in protecting consumers by pushing for a more consumer-focused culture within larger credit firms, In this context, on-site consumer risk assessments will be carried out. The Governor stated that the firm-specific engagement with low-impact firms (including of intermediaries and debt management firms) will also increase. Finally, the Committee were informed that the consumer protection code requirements will be strengthened – mentioning variable rate mortgage holders in particular – and an examination will be carried out to assess the impact on consumer outcomes of commission payments to insurance intermediaries.