Money Advice and Budgeting Service
If you’re behind in your mortgage payments, you may be worried about losing your home.
Talk to your lender. If you can’t - talk to MABS.
MABS now has a dedicated confidential, free, and independent mortgage arrears service.
MABS is a one-stop-shop for mortgage debt advice and referral.
No matter what your situation is, MABS will help you work out the next steps.
Take control of what happens next.
Call MABS today on 0761 07 2000 for independent information, advice and referral.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free and confidential service for people who are having problems with money management and debt. MABS money advisers provide advice and practical help to people to review their debts, deal with their creditors and work out solutions.
Enhancement of MABS role
A series of measures to support people in mortgage arrears has enhanced the role of MABS, to include a Dedicated Mortgage Arrears service and a court mentor service – see below.
In addition, MABS is centrally involved in a new aid and advice scheme for people in serious mortgage arrears, as part of Abhaile, the national Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service. This service was launched in October 2016.
Services provided by MABS
MABS offers a range of services, as follows:
Dealing with debt
Your debts may become a problem for many reasons, such as job loss, illness, extra expenses, or loans that you can’t pay. A MABS money adviser can:
- Help you deal with your debts and make out a budget
- Review your income to make sure that you are not missing any entitlements
- Contact your creditors for you, with offers of payment that you can afford
- Help you decide on the best way to make the payments
MABS has agreed a protocol (pdf) with a the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) to help people to manage their debt repayments in an affordable way. The lenders involved have committed to work with MABS to help customers to address their debt problems and agree a sustainable repayment plan. The protocol allows for write-off of some debt, at the lender’s discretion. It does not apply to mortgage debt.
MABS can also help you to agree a sustainable repayment plan with other creditors (who are not part of the protocol).
If you cannot pay your debts
Most MABS services are registered as Approved Intermediaries with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) and can assess whether a Debt Relief Notice is an appropriate solution for you and bring you through the application process. MABS can also advise you on how to access other personal insolvency options.
Addressing mortgage arrears
If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage, MABS can advise you on your options. The Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears requires mortgage lenders to operate a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) for people in mortgage difficulty. The lender must refer you to sources of information and advice, such as MABS and keepingyourhome.ie. MABS publishes a series of guides and leaflets on dealing with mortgage debt.
As part of the MARP, you must assemble all of your financial details and fill out a standard financial statement (SFS) (pdf) for your lender, so that they can assess your financial position and work out the best solution. MABS can help you to complete this statement. It has worked with the Central Bank to develop a consumer guide (pdf) to completing an SFS.
Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) service
In addition to the standard services that MABS provides, over 20 MABS offices now have specialist mortgage arrears advisers, who can help mortgage holders to assess an offer made by their mortgage lender and can negotiate with the lender if required.
Court mentor service
For homeowners who are facing court proceedings to repossess their homes, a national network of court mentors is now in place. This service offers support and advice on court proceedings, as well as direct referral back to MABS where a case is adjourned. MABS works in close collaboration with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) to deliver the court mentor service.
Scheme of aid and advice
MABS is also centrally involved in a new aid and advice scheme for people in serious mortgage arrears, as part of Abhaile, the national Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service. This service was launched in October 2016.
What you can do yourself
The most important step you can take is to contact your creditors immediately to let them know that you are having difficulties. Then you will be able to work with them to deal with the situation. Otherwise the problems and the pressure from creditors will just get worse.
You can use the MABS self-help tool to work through the following steps:
1. Assess your situation. Make a list of all your debts. Check that each debt is in your name. Identify the debts needing immediate attention (for example, mortgage arrears). Get in touch with the lenders immediately - preferably in writing – to tell them that you are assessing your situation and ask them to put a temporary hold on your repayments. There is a sample letter on the MABS website.
2. Make out a budget. List how much money is coming into your household each week (or month) and how much is going out. You can get useful documents like a blank budget sheet and spending diary (pdf) from the MABS website or ask for them through the MABS helpline.
3. Deal with the debt. Write to the lender, making an offer of the amount you can afford to pay and explaining your financial situation. The MABS website has a sample letter of offer and blank financial statements.
4. Organise a method of paying the agreed amount. You can do this in various ways, such as direct debit or through internet banking.
How MABS can help you
MABS provides a confidential service and will not discuss your situation with anyone without your signed agreement. MABS will give you information and support you in making decisions, but will not tell you what to do about your debts and payments. You are the person who decides.
If you contact the MABS Helpline - see ' Where to apply' below - an adviser will talk you through your money concerns and give you some advice. They can send you some information and materials to help you to address your money problems. You may be able to deal with the issues yourself at this stage, or you may need to see a money adviser face-to-face in a MABS office. The face-to-face service is by appointment only.
When you contact MABS, it is important to tell them about anything very urgent, for example, if you are being taken to court or your electricity is to be disconnected. In cases like these, you may be able to get an emergency appointment.
To be able to help you, the MABS adviser will need as much information as possible about your financial situation. You will need to collect any bills, statements, account books, payslips, or social welfare receipts that you have, as well as any letters that your creditors have sent, even if you haven’t opened them.
The adviser will:
- Look at all your income and ensure that you are getting all your entitlements
- Check through all your debts and ensure that you are the person who is liable for them
- Help you to work out how much you need to cover your everyday needs
- Give you advice on budgeting
- Draw up a financial statement for use when dealing with your creditors
- Help you to decide which of your debts have the highest priority
- Help you to work out a payment plan – how much you can afford to pay each week off each debt
- Negotiate with your creditors on your behalf, if you wish
- Provide support while you deal with your debts
- Refer you to other services and contact them on your behalf, if you wish
- Help to arrange to pay regular amount off your debts, as agreed with your creditors
- Refer you to someone who can help with a personal insolvency option if appropriate
The services that MABS provides are free. You do not have to pay for any advice, assistance or information.