The Central Bank of Ireland has issued a letter to all lenders to clarify provisions in the Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the 2012 Code) and the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (the CCMA) in relation to contacting consumers.
The principle message from the Central Bank to lenders is that early proactive engagement with consumers is paramount in finding a workable solution to payment arrears and that all communications with consumers must be proportionate and not excessive.
The guidance provided by the Central Bank focuses on the following areas:
- Initial communication with consumers – “communication” is referred to as successful contact with a consumer and initial communication should be made promptly;
- Unsolicited personal visits – unsolicited personal visits should only be made when all other communication attempts have failed and the consumer should be provided with advance notice in writing of a lender’s intention to make an unsolicited visit within a specified timeframe.
- Limit of three unsolicited contacts – this limit applies to successful communication (e.g. letter issued, text message or conversation held) and contact should be proportionate and not excessive.
The Central Bank confirms that this guidance does not amend the provisions of the 2012 Code or the CCMA and that it intends to review provisions of the CCMA later this year.
To read the guidance, please click here.