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Central Bank announces consumer and investor protection priorities for 2020

The Central Bank has said that the protection of borrowers in mortgage arrears will continue to be a key priority for it during 2020.

Derville Rowland, Director General, Financial Conduct at the Central Bank, said the bank will closely monitor the treatment of borrowers in arrears and take follow-up supervisory actions as required. 

“As part of our supervisory work, we will continue to require all loan owners to put in place long-term sustainable arrangements where possible for their borrowers,” she added.

Ms Rowland made her comments as she outlined the Central Bank’s priorities for the regulation of financial conduct in Ireland during the year. 

These priorities include strengthening consumer protection, a comprehensive review of the Consumer Protection Code and enhanced anti-money laundering measures.

Noting the lack of a consumer-focused culture within the financial services sector, Ms Rowland said it will not come as a surprise to hear that the Central Bank will continue to hold boards and leaders to account for embedding effective behaviour and cultures.

She also said the Central Bank is examining the issue of price differentiation in the motor and home insurance market to understand the extent and prevalence of the practice, how insurers are using it and whether it gives rise to unfair treatment of consumers.  

The Central Bank intends to publish an interim report on its findings at the end of the year.

“At the Central Bank of Ireland we are consistently evolving and enhancing our toolkit. Some of our priority issues will have more immediate benefits, while others will bear fruit over the longer term,” Ms Rowland said.

“I hope – indeed expect – that the 2020s will be the decade when all firms and boards put conduct, culture and customers firmly at the top of the corporate agenda,” she added.

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