Major lenders reveal scale of tracker mortgage scandal

The banks hope to have a majority of impacted customers compensated by the end of the year

Major lenders reveal scale of tracker mortgage scandal

Photo. Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

Updated 17.45

A number of Irish lenders have said they expect to have a majority of customers affected by the tracker mortgage scandal compensated by the end of the year.

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

AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and KBC all released statements this afternoon, giving an update on the number of customers affected.

It comes after representatives of the five lenders met with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe in recent days.

Minister Donohoe has warned the banks could face tougher regulation if they do not make 'sufficient progress' over the scandal in the coming weeks & months.

Customers affected

AIB says it has identified around 4,600 affected customers - including 3,586 customers who were incorrectly removed from their trackers.

12 of those lost their home as a result of the mistake.

The remaining 1,016 customers were found to have been on a higher tracker rate.

Bank of Ireland has identified 4,300 affected accounts, while Permanent TSB says it has 1,971 customers affected

KBC says to date it had identified 1,061 customers affected, but it now accepts there could be as many as 600 more.

Ulster Bank, meanwhile, says 3,500 customers are currently identified as having been impacted. 

That bank says 1,000 of its customers will be compensated by the end of the year, with 1,500 others compensated early next year and the remainder by mid-2018.

Ulster Bank is offering an initial €50,000 to those who lost their homes. 

The other banks say a majority of customers have received redress or compensation, or will do by the end of the year.

KBC says 'more complex cases' could continue into 2018.  

"This is a scandal"

Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Commenting on the situation, Paschal Donohoe said: "The Government believes that the behaviour of the banking sector in relation to tracker mortgages was disgraceful.

"This is a scandal. It should never have happened, and the Government is determined to ensure that it should be resolved."

In a statement, Minister Donohoe said the Central Bank will receive an update from lenders in December.

He explained: "If the Central Bank deems that the progress made on this issue has not been sufficient or acceptable, there are a range of possible policy measures available to me."

Possible measures include extra taxes on the banks, or additional legislation requiring stricter reporting for all retail banks.

Minister Donohoe added: "It is clear to me, from the meetings over the last number of days, that significant cultural issues and challenges in some of the retail banks still exist.

"Customer interests have not been sufficiently protected or prioritised. This is unacceptable."

He also announced that he has ordered the Central Bank to prepare a report on "the current cultures and behaviours and the associated risks" at Irish retail banks - which the Government will then consider to see if any further legislation or regulation is required.

"Continued and concerted pressure"

Governor of the Central Bank, Philip R Lane, explained: “While we note the commitment of the banks to meet the requirements of the Central Bank and Government, given some lenders’ past behaviour, the Central Bank is under no illusion that this will require continued and concerted pressure to ensure all affected customers receive redress and compensation.

“It is now incumbent on the heads of the banks to ensure that all affected customers are identified, and to ensure that redress and compensation are delivered swiftly to those to whom so much distress has been caused.”

Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland, said she is personally committed to ensuring the situation is resolved for every affected customer. 

She said: “I unreservedly apologise to all impacted customers for the financial loss and anxiety this has caused them and their families. I am fully committed to fixing this as quickly as possible, and I made this commitment to the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, at our meeting on Monday.

“We have already returned impacted customers to their correct tracker rates. Our focus now is on commencing the compensation process to all impacted customers from 10 November."