Tracker mortgage scandal payouts rise to €120m (and counting)

17,000 accounts were dealt with incorrectly by financial institutions

Central Bank, annual report, profit, Ireland, exchequer, mortgage lending, Philip Lane,

Image: Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank says it has opened "a dialogue" with Gardaí over the tracker mortgage scandal.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee has heard 17,000 accounts have been impacted by banks removing tracker rates.

The Central Bank's head of enforcement, Derville Rowland, confirmed that the bank met with gardaí to discuss the issue in "general terms."

To date, no criminal action has been taken.

Governor Philip Lane has admitted the issue was system wide and called on banks to do more than just apologise, saying they must compensate customers.

Addressing the committee, Mr Lane said, "It is clear that lenders have failed their customers."

Payouts

His statement revealed that the scandal has already cost Irish institutions €120m.

€78m related to this probe has been provided in redress and compensation to some 2,600 impacted customers.

A further €42m was previously paid by Permanent TSB and its now defunct mortgage subsidiary Springboard Mortgages in 2015.

15 lenders are involved in the industry-wide probe into cases when customers were moved off of tracker rates.

Tracker mortgages are set at a fixed percentage or 'margin' above the ECB rate. As its rates plummeted during the financial crisis Irish customers' rates should have dropped to close to 1%.

Affected customers are expected to get compensation of close to 15% of the savings that they missed out on by being denied these rates.

Consequences

"I am acutely aware of the unacceptable impact that these failures have had on tracker mortgage customers, from the burden of paying more than they should, up to instances involving loss of ownership of mortgaged properties," Mr Lane continued.

The Governor added, "I note that several lenders have recently apologised to the customers whom they failed. Let me be very clear on the Central Bank’s position: a lender’s apology is meaningless unless the lender both stops the harm to all impacted customers and provides appropriate redress and compensation for the suffering caused.

"Lenders now need to demonstrate that they are doing everything possible to ensure this happens."