Acknowledging your debt situation: Why use a Regulated Debt Management Firm?
If you are in a position that you cannot repay part or all of your debts, the first step is acknowledgement. For most people, this is a difficult task due to the perceived embarrassment it may cause or the fear of accepting you have a problem. Situations change and mistakes were made in the past, but the debt still has to be paid. Not taking the situation on pro-actively can have serious personal consequences.
So acknowledging the issue and contacting your bank can be daunting. We find a lot of people tend to ignore the debt issue by carrying on as if nothing is wrong, whilst deep down hoping it may go away. It will not unless you do something about it. You may get your debt problem resolved by agreeing on an affordable solution, which may involve an element of debt forgiveness from your financial creditors. This is why expert help (provided free by MABS (www.mabs.ie) or for a fee by a regulated debt management services firm) is so important.
Take for instance your home mortgage. When you are struggling to meet your monthly mortgage repayments, the banks under MARP (mortgage arrears resolution process), must write to you and will call you. Ignoring this process can have significant repercussions for you and your family because the bank may, in time, seek an order to repossess your home for non-repayment due to you not paying to agreed terms and/or missing payments (i.e build-up of arrears) or non-cooperation. If you co-operate and pay something, the chances of repossession dramatically reduce.
The MARP process is meant to be fair and is designed to assist borrowers in keeping their home. It must be acknowledged that in some small instances, a sale of the family home may be warranted to ensure a resolution to a debt problem. There can be various options available to ensure you have a roof over your head and not be required to sell your home. At present, in certain circumstances, it may actually be cheaper to pay your mortgage than rent and this will be taken into consideration when engaging with the bank. Each case, however, is different, and this is where First Choice Financial Services DAC come in.
A breakdown of what we do for our clients is listed below and each report we complete is tailored to your personal situation:
- A strategic review of your financial position (business & personal) is completed and we will issue you with a statement of advice once complete with our findings and recommendations
- Once a strategy is agreed, we prepare a detailed financial report for your bank (or banks) incorporating some or all of the following depending on both personal and commercial debt:
- A review of all existing banking arrangements and attaching terms and conditions including security pledged
- Interest rates and repayment arrangements to confirm they are in line with the various loan agreements
- A review of all assets, attaching leases, and liabilities
- Analysis and assessment of existing and projected cash flow position
- Agreed recommendations and strategies and independent, direct mediation with the bank
- We get your authority to engage with your bank, so they call us and write to us during the negotiation process
- Nothing goes to your bank, without our prior agreement with you – we work for you, not the bank
If you engage with the bank, they have an obligation to assist you and find a resolution to your debt problem, but only if you are within the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP). More on what MARP is can be found here. This is not the case if you do not engage with the bank, as the debt will eventually be passed for legal recovery. In some instances, we find that once a debt is with a legal recovery firm, it is more difficult to find a resolution, but not impossible. However going it alone, you may not be aware of what rights you have and how to approach the bank to secure a new restructure agreement.
A person’s financial acumen may be poor when it comes to situations like this and in some cases, a bank may not offer an option that is the most optimum for you. You may also not know that there may be a better solution available. As a professional, regulated debt management firm, we know what is possible with each bank, and we know how to engage with them. Sometimes being too personally involved can cloud your judgement. We never work for banks and our regulatory duty is to our clients only. Some options that can be considered when restructuring your home mortgage are:
- Short or Long Term interest only
- Part Capital and Interest Payments
- Term extension
- Arrears Capitalisation
- Split Mortgage – where some debt is set aside to be dealt with at a later stage
- Voluntary Sale and settlement/restructure of total debt (i.e. full and final settlement)
First Choice Financial Services DAC is one of 54 regulated debt management firms as at October 2016 and we have engaged with banks on behalf of over 400 clients in varying circumstances over the past 5 years. Our team are qualified former bankers and experts in their field. They will engage with your banks to ensure the best arrangement is sought for you. Having a professional firm on your side will only be a benefit to you as the banks are obligated to engage with us and we can secure you the best possible deal that may be available. We will be frank with you up front on what we may and may not achieve. Nothing is guaranteed but we will do our utmost to ensure what we identify in our review as being the best solution, is achieved. We will also tell you if what you are looking to achieve is feasible. As our business has been built on referrals from satisfied customers, we want to add value and ensure you get a favourable outcome. Not achieving positive outcomes is bad for our business!
We do charge a fee for our services but we also understand that clients who approach us for help may be of limited means. We can arrange a fixed fee and payment plan on a case by case basis. The first consultation is on us which will give you an insight into what we may and may not be able to do for you. We must point out that there are also free services available also such as MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) – you can find them here: http://www.keepingyourhome.ie/en/ should you not be in a position to pay for a professional service such as our own.
Why not give us a call on 061-317260 or email [email protected] and take the first step in seeking a resolution to your debt situation. We are very, very good at what we do so please give us a try or refer us to someone who may need our services.
Stephen O’Driscoll LIB BBA QFA APA
First Choice Financial Services DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.