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Noonan: Not all banks are using confidentiality agreements with borrowers

The controversial practice of non-disclosure deals has been highlighted in recent months and the Central Bank is currently looking for information about the practice from lenders.

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan has said that not all banks are using confidentiality agreements in their dealings with indebted borrowers following recent controversy about such arrangements.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee has raised the issue with the Central Bank in recent weeks with committee chair Ciarán Lynch writing to governor Patrick Honohan about the issue.

Confidentiality agreements are said to be a growing feature of deals between banks and distressed mortgage holders as lenders step up attempts to deal with the country’s 95,000 mortgages in arrears.

The Central Bank has asked lenders to provide information on how many such agreements are in place but Noonan said in answer to a parliamentary question this week that “it would appear not all of the covered banks are using confidentiality agreements”.

“Once the outstanding information from the lenders is received by the Central Bank the matter can be assessed further,” he said.

Noonan also insisted that the Central Bank’s advice was that such agreements “should not impede consumers’ protections under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears”.

He said that there are “strong protections” for consumers which include a requirement for lenders to furnish borrowers with an information booklet on their mortgage arrears resolution process (MARP).

“In the context of providing additional information in the MARP booklet, lenders must, if they make use of a confidentiality agreement or similar agreement, provide summary information in its MARP booklet,” he said.

Read: Doherty condemns AIB use of non-disclosure agreement for mortgage deals

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Hugh O'Connell

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