The Central Bank has identified what it called "serious issues" at a number of moneylending firms following a series of inspections.

The regulator inspected nine of the 43 licensed moneylenders operating in the state to ensure they were complying with the terms of the Consumer Act and the Consumer Code of Protection for Licensed Moneylenders.

Bernard Sheridan, Director of Consumer Protection, at the Central Bank said the main focus of the inspections were to ensure consumers were not being charged over and above what they had agreed to pay and that customers were properly informed of the cost of the loans.

"We continue to focus on the area of costs and charges in this sector due to the high cost nature of these loans. While the majority of firms inspected were broadly compliant we discovered some serious issues in a small number of firms which we are pursuing individually with the firms," he said.

Among the errors and breaches of regulation identified during the inspections were mistakes in calculating repayment schedules. The Central Bank said it would ensure the firms involved would put controls in place and refund customers where necessary.

"We also found cases where some consumers were provided with new loans before existing loans were repaid in full which is not necessarily in the consumers' best interests," Mr. Sheridan said.

"Using short term, high cost loans for longer term needs should be avoided and I would encourage customers in such a situation to contact the Monetary Advice and Budgeting Service for help and advice," he said.