Central Bank has been in contact with gardaí over tracker mortgage scandal

Governor Philip Lane says the financial regulator has had to "repeatedly challenge certain lenders"

Central Bank has been in contact with gardaí over tracker mortgage scandal

Philip Lane, Governor of Central Bank of Ireland. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 11.40am

The Central Bank Governor says his office has been in contact with gardaí over the tracker mortgage scandal.

Philip Lane has been updating the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the scandal this morning. 

Thousands of customers of several Irish lenders were overcharged or wrongly denied a tracker rate.

While the official number of customers affected stands at 13,000, it is now understood up to 30,000 customers may have been incorrectly taken off trackers by lenders.

Around two dozen people are estimated to have lost ownership of their homes as a result of the scandal, with the number expected to rise.

But the banks still have not compensated all those affected.

The Central Bank review has been ongoing for almost two years, and has so far found that compensation has been provided to around 3,300 affected customers.

According to the Central Bank, two enforcement cases are open and a further two in preparation.

Mr Lane told the committee: "We expect all relevant lenders to have commenced redress and compensation by the end of 2017.

"In the meantime, our work continues. We are also liaising with other state agencies, including the [Competition and Consumer Protection Commission], the [Financial Services Ombudsman], and an Garda Síochána."

He also explained: "It is clear that all lenders did not sufficiently recognise or address the scale of those unacceptable failings until Central Bank intervention.

"We have had to repeatedly challenge certain lenders and push to the limits of our powers in order to drive them to identify and remedy affected customers in an appropriate manner."

Finance Committee chair John McGuinness earlier said the financial regulator needs to take tougher action.

He said: "When the boot is on the other foot, the banks are able to put that boot firmly into individuals and small businesses and get their own money back in the most aggressive of ways.

"But yet when they owe the money, there seems to be a different set of rules for them, and the Central Bank is too weak in how it deals with these bankers."

Yesterday, the Taoiseach said the Government has 'lost patience' with lenders over the scandal.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has called for a 'clear and definitive timeline' for when customers would get their money back.

He argued: "The Central Bank has said that it wants all banks to start compensating people by the end of the year, but only three have done so to date. It is time for the banks that have failed to take any action to be named and shamed.

"This is simply unacceptable, especially when we see the level of real harm done to thousands of people who have been ripped off, and families who have lost their homes."