Eddie Hobbs - Friday, February 10, 2012
Banks are no longer being run by branch staff or local management but instead by faceless credit control tribunals through whom all credit restructuring and applications are being run. The result is a charade at branches desperate to maintain the fiction that somehow there is flexibility and agility. There is none. It has become a zombie banking machine that gives quarter to nothing outside of its narrow rules.
Instead the tyranny of MARP inquisition is being zealously applied to any borrower who dares to consider the heresy of rescheduling their home mortgage. Utter a word that you might like to explore stretching out the term or reverting to interest only loan and you'll be MARP'ed. Designed by a coterie of bankers and civil servants, the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process, lauded as a consumer protection device, has been defiled into a process designed to give banks intrusive and powerful control over Irish mortgage holders. Each applicant is treated the same, regardless of their different circumstances in an endless stream of bi- annual financial confessionals.
You are required to outline in detail what you spend throughout your life and, in particular justify your family budget, to prove that you have properly sacrificed life's luxuries in your desperate bid to pay back the banks within the existing loan contract. You are then put in a dehumanising six month revolving review process that requires you to come back to the confessional to justify the whole thing all over again and again and again and again. Originally designed to provide a standardised protocol to deal with distressed home loans, MARP has become the standard for everything. Banking these days is no longer about submitting basic financial information to the bank but has warped into a demeaning, dehumanising and humiliating microscopic examination of lifestyle spending. Medieval Dominican friar, Tomas de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor would have heartily approved, reasoning that the purifying results of such cruelty justifies them.
Bank Serfdom or a Republic?
The new insolvency laws will be another test of just who is running Ireland, a Dept of Finance determined to enforce policy in favour of banks or her citizen's elected representatives? Under the new structure, guidelines are to be issued to insolvency trustees on what constitutes reasonable family budgets. Where the line is drawn will answer that haunting question. If MARP is anything to go by, the new insolvency process is going to be made as excruciatingly painful as possible to protect banks from losses regardless of the damage caused to families. Whether time already spent in MARP and other arrangements counts towards freedom day, when you'll have earned a fresh start, is another big test of whether we are to have a genuine breakthrough on our hands or just another charade designed to protect capital and not families.
Behind the scenes of the recent Insolvency Bill powerful forces are gathering with the objective of limiting, restricting and eliminating any tilting in the existing imbalance of power between creditors and debtors. Just how well these are fought against will be the crucial yardstick to gauge whether this Government is serious about introducing a modern, balanced and humane insolvency model that treats citizens in difficulty with dignity or whether, despite everything they've inflicted upon us, the banks still hold the Irish Government captive. Which way Cabinet Ministers lean on the new legislation will define them, not just as legislators, but as republicans.
- Trackback Link
- Post has no trackbacks.