Sunday 23 October 2016

Heated exchanges as PTSB apologises to its shareholders

Published 21/04/2016 | 02:30

Alan Cook. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Alan Cook. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Permanent TSB has issued a "full and frank" apology to shareholders for its management of over 1,300 mortgages at the bank's annual general meeting.

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There were heated exchanges with shareholders saying they felt "cheated" and that the company tried to defraud its customers.

One mortgage holder at the bank received a rousing response from fellow shareholders after saying the bank's apology rang hollow.

"You apologise for mistakes. They weren't mistakes; they were deliberate attempts to defraud the customer. It's as simple and as straightforward as that," the shareholder said.

The bank, which is 75pc owned by the State, implemented a mortgage redress programme to deal with "the consequences of serious failures" over issues associated with mortgages.

Between 2006 and 2011, PTSB failed to let certain customers know the consequences if they broke early from a fixed-rate or tracker mortgage.

Speaking to shareholders in the Ballsbridge Hotel yesterday, group chairman Alan Cook apologised on behalf of the board.

"I want to make a very full and frank apology on behalf of the board and the management of the group for those failures, and for the very serious, detrimental impact which they had on customers," Mr Cook said.

The chairman went on to say the bank let down its customers and that it is making "good progress" in its redress programme.

"So far, 90pc of the customers who were identified in the mortgage redress programme have made their decision to move to a tracker rate or to stay as they are," Mr Cook said.

The bank set aside €140m to meet the cost of compensating thousands of its customers.

PTSB told reporters that it is close to appointing a new chief financial officer (CFO). The bank appointed Patricia Carroll as interim CFO to replace Glen Lucken whose departure was announced in August.

PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding refused to give a timeframe on the appointment.

"It's in the system, we went through a very diligent process. We had a preferred candidate and the preferred candidate has gone into the approval process and the regulatory system," Mr Masding said.

Mr Cook highlighted the progress the bank has made over the year and pointed to approval of the bank's restructuring plan by the EU Commission as well as the strengthening of the balance sheet and a return to underlying profitability for the first time since the financial crash.

Prior to yesterday's meeting, PTSB appointed Stephen Groarke as chief risk officer, a role he has held on an interim basis since September.

One shareholder said the bank didn't need a risk officer, but rather an ethics one.

"Your problem isn't a risk management problem; your problem is an ethics problem.

"It's an ethics manager you need not a risk manager . . . there are no ethics in the way in which you run this business."

Irish Independent

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