My submission to the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the No Consent, No Sale Bill

Brendan Burgess

I have today sent in this submission and asked for an opportunity to discuss it with them.


Submission to the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the No Consent, No Sale Bill

From Brendan Burgess – Founder of the Consumer Forum –

27th March 2019

· Irish mortgage holders are the best protected in the world

· Irish mortgage holders pay the highest rates in the eurozone

· This is not a coincidence – the first leads inexorably to the second

· We need to reduce mortgage rates, not increase them

· We need to reduce protections for mortgage defaulters, not increase them.

Irish borrowers are the best protected in the World and don’t need any more protection

The protections for Irish defaulters are extensive already:

· A Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears which ties the hands of the banks

· An effective ban on repossessions which allows borrowers to stay in their homes for up to 10 years without making any payment

· A unique Personal Insolvency process which allows the court to write down the mortgage amount and reduce the interest rate

· And, after all that, a Mortgage to Rent Scheme, which allows the borrower to stay in their home at enormous expense to the lenders and to the Irish taxpayer

These protections are excessive. They discourage borrowers from addressing their problems at an early stage, because the borrowers know that the lenders can’t take any effective action. It would be better for borrowers if they knew that they faced a real risk of losing their home, because they would then prioritise their mortgage.

And now this Bill proposes to tie the hands of the lenders even further.

This bill is yet another message to potential entrants to the Irish mortgage market: Keep Out

This bill says to any lender considering entering the market – once you enter the Irish market, you must stay here forever. You can stop writing business but you can’t sell the existing mortgage book.

Any new business venture is risky. Lending money is particularly risky. Lending money in Ireland even more risky. No company would set up a business if they are obliged to stay in that market forever irrespective of how the business is going and irrespective of the company’s own financial position. But that is what this bill is telling them – if you set up in Ireland, you will be stuck here forever, irrespective of how badly it goes.

We need to persuade new lenders to enter the Irish market not dissuade them.

If you want to proceed with this bill, it should not apply to new lenders coming into the market

I am totally opposed to this bill. But if the Oireachtas decides to approve it, it should be amended to apply to mortgages in existence at the time the bill is passed. The No Veto PIA legislation applies only to mortgages which were in arrears on or before the 1 January 2015.

This would let potential entrants to the market know that they would not be affected by the bill and could leave Ireland if it does not work out for them.

This bill could be the nail that breaks the camel’s back for some existing lenders

Ulster Bank and KBC review their operations in Ireland from time to time. Fortunately, so far, they have decided to stay. They are the only two lenders who don’t engage in cash-back trickery. They have some of the cheapest fixed rates in the market.

At the next review, this Bill if passed, would be a negative towards staying in the Irish market.

It would not be enough on its own, but when added to all the other difficulties in the Irish market, it might just push one of them out.

Are the customers of vulture funds treated any worse than the customers of active Irish lenders?

This bill is based on the premise that Irish lenders are paragons of virtue in their treatment of defaulting borrowers and vulture funds just want to repossess everyone’s home.

The Central Bank has found that there is no difference in outcomes. I understand that MABS says that the Vulture Funds are very difficult to deal with.

The truth lies somewhere in between, but much closer to the Central Bank position.

In my experience, you cannot say: Existing banks are always good and vulture funds are always bad.

By and large, the Irish banks will restructure a mortgage wherever it is possible. But occasionally, they will act unreasonably and seek an order for possession but the courts will protect those borrowers.

And it’s the same for the vulture funds. By and large they will restructure a mortgage wherever possible and from time to time, they will act unreasonably. And in those cases, the courts will protect the borrower.

Tanager is a good example of unacceptable behaviour by a vulture fund. They used to tell customers that they did not offer arrears capitalisation as one of their solutions. Arrears capitalisation is the most basic of all solutions. Without it, a loan can’t be properly restructured. So they may as well have said that they didn’t restructure mortgages. But they got nowhere with that policy as the courts protected these borrowers. They are now restructuring mortgages in the same way that other lenders do.

Some customers have got deals from vulture funds which they would not have got from active banks.

Tanager gave substantial discounts to customers who could switch their mortgage to another lender. An effective ban on Bank of Scotland selling their mortgages to Tanager would have prevented these customers from benefitting from these deals.

Borrowers with unsustainable mortgages can do much better deals with vulture funds. The vulture funds are prepared to write off mortgage shortfalls where borrowers are in negative equity. In cases of positive equity, they will sometimes give discounts to borrowers who sell up.

The vulture funds have done proportionately more Mortgage to Rents than the mainstream banks


Vulture funds are much more effective in getting MTRs over the line. The banks have 67% of the PDH’s over 2 years in arrears, but have done only 43% of the Mortgage to Rents.

If you want to discourage the banks from selling loans to vulture, make it easier for lenders to repossess houses where the borrowers are paying nothing

It’s disgraceful that someone can pay nothing for 10 years and remain in their home. Everybody should be paying something towards their accommodation costs. A person in receipt of social welfare who lives in social housing is required to pay around 15% of their income in rent. But we have no such requirement for a mortgage holder.

Where someone is paying nothing, they should lose the protection of the CCMA and the courts.

If this were to happen, then the lenders would probably not need to sell mortgages to vulture funds.

The potential big losers from the sale of their mortgages to vultures, are the non-tracker mortgage holders who could face arbitrary interest rate increases

Performing tracker mortgage holders don’t have anything to worry about.

But non-tracker mortgage holders who can’t switch to another lender should be very nervous. Irish borrowers are already paying about €200 a month more than they should be in mortgage interest. There is nothing at all to stop the purchaser of a loan from hiking up the mortgage rate to 10%. And there is nothing at all that the borrower or the Minister for Finance or the Central Bank can do about it.

The Department of Finance and Central Bank know about this and yet oppose all efforts to control mortgage rates.

This would be an area worth pursuing for the Oireachtas: - legislation to allow some independent authority to set the mortgage rates for lenders who are no longer active in the Irish market.

ptsb split mortgages should not have been sold

It was a disgrace that the Central Bank forced ptsb to sell their performing split mortgages.

But this horse has well and truly bolted. There is nothing that can be done for the ptsb borrowers now that they have been sold.

The ptsb situation was unique and no other lender will be forced to sell performing split mortgages.

Some suggested priorities for our legislators

Do everything possible to bring down mortgage rates for the 300,000 non-tracker borrowers

o Abolish the cash-back and other confusing incentives

o Force the banks to offer existing customers the same deals as new customers

o Lobby the Central Bank to change the capital rules to make it easier for new lenders to enter the market

Provide support to borrowers who are in genuine distress through a Mortgage Assistance Payment

o We give huge help to renters who can’t afford their rent but no help at all to borrowers who are struggling with their mortgages

o Do what they do in the UK – pay the mortgage interest but provide it as a loan secured on the property which will be repaid when the home is sold.

Make it easier for lenders to take early action where borrowers are paying nothing

o This will help bring down mortgage rates for all customers

o It will also help some struggling borrowers as it will force them to face up their problems earlier


Registered User
It was a disgrace that the Central Bank forced ptsb to sell their performing split mortgages.

But this horse has well and truly bolted. There is nothing that can be done for the ptsb borrowers now that they have been so.

The ptsb situation was unique and no other lender will be forced to sell performing split mortgages.

The people that were sold like myself will we be ok if we continue to meet restructure etc... you read so much negativity around all of this.


Frequent Poster
There are far too many people not making any effort to pay their mortgage and those who do pay are subsiding them. This proposed bill is a load of nonsense.


Frequent Poster
This Bill will never come into play. It will be stopped before it's passed. Fine Gael cannot openly oppose it due to the fact that it's purely populist in nature. It will be prevented by the ECB and FG know it.

If you want to really do something about interest rates, I believe that a multifaceted approach is warranted. First, you tax the vulture funds so that they do not pay 1% effective tax or whatever it is. This will make it less attractive for them to operate here. They will still operate but will have to offer less for a loan sale, making it less attractive to a Bank to get into the loan sale.

Next you have to make it easier for a bank to enforce its' security so you have to facilitate home repossessions somewhat. When it gets to a point where the time and expense of a possession order is more attractive than a loan sale, then you may have a balance that will allow interest rates to come down. Of course, then you will have less repossessions, so a good thing.

Too often, you see people say that they lost their job in the recession and they cannot pay their mortgage. Unfortunately, the recession was ten years ago and if you have not obtained employment by now or if your salary has not caught up so you can afford to pay the mortgage off by the time you retire, then you should lose the house. It's harsh but I fail to see why your mortgage provider should subsidise your failed investment.

Brendan Burgess

I watched the early part of today's Oireachtas Finance hearing into the Bill. As usual, it was very repetitive, but here are the bits I learned from watching it.

The Government will be opposing the bill at the next stage in the Dáil.

The AG has advised that as the response is not proportionate, it is likely to be found to be unconstitutional.

The government thinks that a money message is required. This is some Oireachtas procedure which would slow the bill down.

Secured bonds get a higher rate for the seller than unsecured bonds, so this bill will increase the cost of funding to the banks.

MABS says that in 75% of cases, the sale of a mortgage to a fund slowed progress in resolving it and limited the options which were available.

Promontoria don't do Mortgage to Rent.

Brendan Burgess

Pearse Doherty: Borrowers will not give their consent, so this bill will stop sales to vulture funds.

Rose Conway Walsh - Will this bill not force the banks to give the discounts directly to the borrow rather than to the vulture fund?


Frequent Poster
I listened to some of this today. It was rubbish.

Why isn't there a banking committee that actually understands banking. Based on the questions asked this committee didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

Brendan Burgess

Based on the questions asked this committee didn't have a clue what they were talking about.
The funniest bit was when Kieran O'Donnell said to the guy from the Dept. of Finance "Eh, what is the difference between and the Central Bank...'s opinions?"

And the guy from Finance said

"For a moment, I thought you were asking me what was the difference between the Central Bank and the Department of Finance"


Frequent Poster

Why isn't there a banking committee that actually understands banking. ....
Probably for the same reason that we have school teachers responsible for various ministerial duties in sectors where they have no experience or expertise.

Ultimately, the blame must rest, at least in part, with ourselves :(
Last edited:

Brendan Burgess

Thursday, 18 Apr

09.30 Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach CR2, LH 2000

(13.30) Detailed Scrutiny of the No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019 (PMB) (resumed)
Representatives from Irish Mortgage Holders Association, Mr. David Hall
Representatives from Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), Ms. Eilis Barry, Chief Executive

I asked to make a presentation but they have decided against it apparently.


Brendan Burgess

Hi Mr Earl - here is the correspondence

From me:

I sent you a submission with a request to make a
presentation to the Committee.

I didn't get any acknowledgement or response.

Could you acknowledge receipt please and let me know if the Committee
has considered my request.

From them:

Thank you for this.

Your submission was brought to the attention of the Committee, along with other correspondence, at its meeting of 2 April, and was noted by the Committee.



Frequent Poster
Thank you Mr. Burgess.

It might be interesting to ask them when you can present (and assuming that you get told that you cannot, to then ask them what would qualify you to present etc.)

Brendan Burgess

I sent around this press release this morning

Vulture Funds – Let the facts speak for themselves

From Brendan Burgess – Founder of the Consumer Forum –

18th April 2019

The funds have done proportionately more Mortgage to Rents than the mainstream banks
Completed Mortgage to Rents as of 31 March 2019

Source Housing Agency

If you are a candidate for Mortgage to Rent, you have a much better chance with a non-bank than a bank. Of course, there will be cases where vulture funds refuse to sell a mortgage at a discount to iCare and to the other Mortgage to Rent providers. There are also cases of banks selling mortgages to other MTR providers instead of to iCare.

What the Central Bank found
The average of the number of types of arrangements actually put in place


On average, Banks had 7 different solutions for borrowers in difficulty. RCFs had the same number and ULOs had just two fewer. This is not a material difference.


Brendan Burgess

David Hall has issued a press release

From: Aoife Ni Mhaolain <>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2019 at 07:00
Subject: Bureaucratic corruption impacting on mortgage arrears solution says Hall

The CEO of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organistion (IMHO) David Hall will today at 1.30pm tell the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and the Taoiseach that serious failings in government and the Central Bank are having a serious negative impact on resolving our Mortgage Arrears crisis.

Mr Hall is appearing as a contributor to the Committee analysis of Sinn Féin TD Pearse Dohery's No Consent No Sale Bill.

The Bill, which will compel banks to seek the consent of those in Mortgage Arrears before their home can be possessed, has been sharply criticized by the Central Bank and the Finance Minister. Mr Hall however will tell the Committee today that under the current regime families are being fed to vulture funds.

He will accuse the Central Bank and the Department of Finance of being engaged in "bureaucratic corruption". This he will say is most visible in unevidenced statements issued to scaremonger.

Mr Hall will also warn that Mortgage Arrears is a historic issue that has no impact on interest rates and that the Central Bank cannot accurately report repossessions under their current flawed system.

He believes the No Consent No Sale Bill is an essential to help families in Mortgage Arrears.

Brendan Burgess

Charlie Weston covered it here

Mortgage holders here are offered the best protection in the world - consumer champion

Mortgage borrowers in this country are the best protected in the world and offering them more protections from vulture funds will force banks to leave the market, a consumer champion claimed.

Brendan Burgess, founder of consumer website, opposes legislation which would give homeowners a veto on their loans being sold to vulture funds.

"We need to reduce protections for mortgage defaulters, not increase them," he said.

Mr Burgess asked to address the Oireachtas Finance Committee which is discussing 'No Consent, No Sale' on the sale of loans to vultures. But he says his request to address the committee was turned down.