IMF praises Central Bank over mortgage lending rules

IMF praises Central Bank over mortgage lending rules

The International Monetary Fund has praised the Central Bank for its regulatory and supervisory role in Ireland in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

It noted the loan-to-income and loan-to-value mortgage lending rules introduced here last year were “well justified” and recommended the measures be maintained and regularly reviewed.

The IMF also said, once the Central Credit Register is in operation, the Central Bank should consider using a debt-to-income limit ratio to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage.

The current LTI and LTV rules are designed to make the financial system safer, and prevent consumers overloading themselves with debt.

However, they have been criticised by property industry groups for depressing the growth of house prices, and ultimately holding back the construction of more houses.

In its first such review since the crisis, the IMF also said Irish “authorities have been effective and vigorous in strengthening prudential regulation and supervision, implementing the lessons of the crisis, and keeping up with developments in European and international good practice”.

Though the report also warned that vulnerabilities remain in the financial system here, notably the number of highly indebted households and companies, as well as the impact on the Irish economy of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Central Bank Deputy Governor Cyril Roux said the report “highlights the transformation of the regulatory landscape and supervisory approach that has taken place in recent years”.

He added that the Central Bank welcomed “the recognition by the IMF of the progress made since the financial crisis, note the further recommendations made and will consider them”.

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