70% increase in permanent Insolvency Service solutionsWednesday 20 January 2016 23.12
There was a 70% increase in the number of permanent solutions agreed through the Insolvency Service of Ireland last year.
The ISI said the recent removal of the banks' veto over proposed arrangements involving debtors' homes has already resulted in financial institutions reversing some of their own rejection decisions.
Lenders overturned four out of 12 rejection decisions which were appealed last month.
There were 1,700 permanent solutions for debtors agreed last year, a 70% increase on 2014.
This included 479 bankruptcies and 641 Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIA), which can include mortgage debt and aims to keep debtors in their homes.
In the final quarter of last year, the service received 527 applications, an increase of 18% on the previous three months.
324 applicants sought PIAs and 200 others were seeking less complex solutions in an attempt to return to solvency.
Almost 3,000 people, with a combined debt of €4bn, have used the service since its establishment three years ago.
ISI Director Lorcan O'Connor predicts strong demand in the coming months because of the recent removal of the banks' veto and the reduction of the bankruptcy term from three years to one.
The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation said the figures show the failure of legislation to deal seriously with mortgage arrears.
It said the 641 PIAs concluded last year represented "just 0.66% of the total number of accounts in arrears and just 1.2% of accounts in arrears for two years or more".
"Against a backdrop of over €4bn in arrears outstanding across family homes and investment properties the cheerleaders of the Insolvency Service cannot continue to rely on spin to mask what is now a critical repossession and housing crisis," the IMHO said in a statement.
The news has also been welcomed by New Beginning, an independent debt management service.
In a statement, New Beginning said they believe tthe ISI provides a hugely powerful mechanism by which people can deal with over indebtedness and protect their family homes.
They said the introduction of Court oversight on any deal involving a family homes means anybody who can pay a mortgage based on the current value of their home should not face repossession.
They also said the biggest challenge to the system is that people do not understand it and how it works.
Mr O'Connor encouraged anyone with serious debt issues to consult a personal insolvency practitioner or an approved intermediary, details of which are available on www.backontrack.ie or by calling 076 106 4200.
Fianna Fáil's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath welcomed the increase in the number of people availing of the service but added it was a great shame the Government had not listened sooner and removed the bank veto earlier.
The delay in removing the veto resulted in many families losing their home unnecessarily, he added