From 1 February 2008, the Central Bank of Ireland is the body responsible for the authorisation and supervision of retail credit firms and home reversion firms.
A retail credit firm is a firm that provides credit (in the form of cash loans) directly to individuals, or a firm that has been prescribed as a “credit institution” under the Consumer Credit Act, 1995, as amended.
A home reversion scheme is where a consumer agrees to sell a share of their home in return for a set price. The consumer does not borrow against the value of their home but instead sells a share of their home. The home reversion company will receive the relevant share of the sale of the home when the consumer moves out of their home or dies.
A list of home reversion and/or retail credit firms currently authorised in Ireland can be accessed via the Registers section of the website.
Transitional Provisions 2015
The 1997 Act has been amended by the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act, 2015 ("the 2015 Act"), effective 8 July 2015. The 2015 Act has changed the definition of a Retail Credit Firm in the 1997 Act, removing the exemption from the requirement to be authorised as a Retail Credit Firm which previously applied to certain classes of regulated financial service providers.
As a result of the amendment, the definition of a Retail Credit Firm in Section 28 of the 1997 Act has been amended. Previously a Retail Credit Firm did not include:
a. 'A person who is a regulated financial service provider.'
This exclusion has now been replaced with the following:
a. 'A person who is a regulated financial service provider authorised by the Bank or an authority that performs functions in an EEA country that are comparable to the functions performed by the Bank, to provide credit in the State otherwise than under this Part.'
Where a firm who has previously been availing of an exemption from the requirement to be authorised as a Retail Credit Firm, is no longer in a position to meet the exemption criteria as set out in Section 28 of the 1997 Act and wishes to continue to provide retail credit, they must complete the attached declaration form (Transitional Declaration Form October 2015.pdf) in order to avail of the transitional provision contained in Section 34E of the 1997 Act prior to 8 October 2015.