Saturday 1 October 2016

Banks keep displaying utter contempt for the customers who rescued them

Published 04/04/2015 | 02:30

AIB gave no tax relief in March to mortgage holders whose payments were due to go through at the end of February.
AIB gave no tax relief in March to mortgage holders whose payments were due to go through at the end of February.

IT is hard not to be a cynic when you consider any aspect of banking in this country, especially when it comes to the banks' treatment of their customers.

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The bankers have remained impassive all week as controversy has raged about their discriminatory treatment of the more than 300,000 poor sods on variable-rate mortgages.

High variable rates are likely to come down - but certainly not because Taoiseach Enda Kenny has asked banks nicely to pass on the rock-bottom European Central Bank rate they are benefiting from.

Competition and an impending court case involving Danske Bank are more likely to force rate reductions.

Banks have been cocking a snoot at consumers for a while now.

And why should it be otherwise, when the Central Bank is weak at forcing them to be fair to consumers.

But it is not just when it comes to the dumping on variable-rate customers, and the reluctance to grapple with the thorny problem of mortgage arrears, that we see the true colours of banks.

When banks make mistakes that cost consumers what is exposed is the contemptuous disregard they have for their customers.

These are the same customers who as taxpayers rescued the banks.

The thanks we get comes in the form of being fleeced with high current account charges, high lending rates and branch closures.

Given that, it is little wonder that when AIB blunders it does not feel it needs to make good the losses it has imposed on its customers immediately.

AIB gave no tax relief in March to mortgage holders whose payments were due to go through at the end of February.

Instead of immediately refunding the money this month, the bank has decided to pay the refund in instalments over the course of the year.

If the situation was reversed it is debatable if the bank would accept having payment terms imposed on it.

It appears the needs of banks come first, with consumers/taxpayers expected to take the punishment.

Irish Independent

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