The Director General of Financial Conduct at the Central Bank has warned lenders that they must engage constructively with borrowers coming off loan repayment breaks over the coming months.

Derville Rowland said the full-suite of existing consumer protections remain in place and lenders have clear guidance on how they must treat borrowers in difficulty.

"Some borrowers may continue to experience difficulties in returning to loan repayments and require individually tailored supports," Ms Rowland told the Autumn Seminar of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

"In those cases, the Central Bank expects lenders to engage constructively with their customers to ensure appropriate solutions - which can include further forbearance if appropriate to the borrower circumstance - are available."

"Our existing arrears handling frameworks, including the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA), will apply in the normal manner."

Today is the last day that borrowers in financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic can apply to their lender or credit servicing firm for a payment break of up to six months under the scheme announced by the Government in March.

The banks have said that from now on they will handle individual borrowers still experiencing financial challenges due to the coronavirus on a case by case basis.

On Monday the CEOs of the five main banks met the Tánaiste, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure, who underscored the importance of protecting borrowers and offering solutions.

The Central Bank has said there is no regulatory impediment to further payment breaks being offered once they are suitable for the borrowers circumstances. 

"For some borrowers temporary additional supports may be the answer initially, while for others the more appropriate and sustainable option will be deeper restructuring," said Ms Rowland today.

"Any restructuring arrangements offered must be appropriate and sustainable for the borrower's individual circumstances."

"We are assertively supervising this process to ensure our expectations are being met."

Her comments came as musicians, entertainers and others in the music industry said they could lose their homes because of the failure of Government to guarantee an extension of blanket payment breaks from the banks.

The Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) claimed the decision by the banks not to extend the scheme compounds an already financially crippled sector whose members find they must sell equipment vital to their work in order to pay household bills.

"Payment breaks have been one of the top priorities for the association in order to offer members more protection over the winter," it said.

"Musicians and entertainers have had their livelihoods closed down since March the 12th and with no roadmap or reopening date in sight, the Payment Breaks were safeguarding many people's homes," MEAI said.