The Financial Regulator has published a consultation paper on the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA), outlining proposed new regulations for dealing with those in mortgage arrears. The Interim Report of the Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Expert Group, published in July, set out a recommended process for dealing with mortgage arrears and makes specific recommendations in relation to the CCMA. The consultation paper has taken the recommendations into account, along with other issues that have arisen since its implementation, to assist

borrowers with arrears on the mortgage on their home.

The Consultation also seeks views on specific issues including an appeals process, limiting the level of unsolicited communication with those in arrears; establishing an appropriate definition of what constitutes arrears; and defining a primary residence or describing what type of property should be protected under the CCMA.

The CCMA was first introduced on 27 February 2009 to provide additional protections to consumers who are in mortgage arrears and to help ensure that all genuine cases are handled positively and sympathetically by lenders. An amendment was introduced to the CCMA in February 2010 which extended the time lenders must wait before repossessing a property from six months to twelve months. The CCMA applies to all regulated mortgage lenders, except credit unions.

The Financial Regulator is seeking views on proposed amendments to the CCMA. Submissions on the proposed changes from interested parties should be made by 3 September 2010 with a view to publishing the revised CCMA by November 2010.