A company which provides services to distressed borrowers has been directed to cease part of its activities by the Central Bank.

Dublin-based Money Village deals with the creditors of consumers, including utility companies and financial institutions.

The clients paid money to the firm and the company negotiated and paid customers' lenders.

Today the Central Bank said the debt management firm was "not authorised or regulated" by the bank but has been providing some payment services which require authorisation.

The Central Bank stressed that clients' funds were not at risk.

The bank said its "immediate priority" was to ensure the company contacted its customers to advise them of the current situation. It also has told clients to cease all payments to Money Village.

Customers are also advised to contact their lenders and other creditors to confirm payments have been made on their behalf by Money Village.

However, in a statement Money Village said the Central Bank's statement was "very disappointing." It added there was an absence of legislation for debt management firms in Ireland.

It said it had been in "private negotiations" with the Central Bank since 2010 about ensuring there was regulation for the sector.

Money Village said it had worked closely with the bank and had "co-operated" in every way in an effort to reach agreement.

The company's chief executive Eugene McDarby said that in the absence of regulation it had worked within British guidelines.

"The Central Bank statement only refers to one aspect of our services and we intend to resolve this issue se we can continue to offer people who are in personal debt in Ireland a service that is needed,'' he added.

''Money Village Limited is fully viable and can meet all its financial obligations as proven to the Central Bank. Our legal team is now trying to resolve the matter with the Central Bank as swiftly as possible and we are confident that they will do so,'' Mr McDarby added.