Saturday 24 June 2017

'More customers could be due refunds over losing tracker loans'

Ulster Bank chief Gerry Mallon apologised to customers. Photo: Tom Burke
Ulster Bank chief Gerry Mallon apologised to customers. Photo: Tom Burke

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

The number of Ulster Bank customers due to get refunds and compensation for being overcharged when they lost tracker mortgages may rise, the bank said.

It is estimated that about 2,000 Ulster Bank mortgage customers are due to be restored to low-cost tracker rates and be refunded overcharged interest, but the bank said this number may rise.

In a statement on its website, Ulster Bank boss Gerry Mallon apologised for taking trackers off thousands of customers.

"The review will take some time to complete and other customers may be identified as impacted as we progress through this work," he said.

About 2,000 Ulster Bank borrowers were wrongly blocked from returning to cheap tracker interest rates, and as many as 15 may have lost their homes due to the tracker debacle.

Ulster Bank is facing enforcement action from the Central Bank over its handling of the tracker issue. In the past few weeks Permanent TSB's subprime subsidiary, Springboard, was fined for the wrongful removal of trackers.

People on tracker rates pay on average €4,000 less a year on a €200,000 mortgage than those on a variable rates.

Meanwhile, AIB has denied it is changing the terms and conditions of the contracts for those it is restoring to trackers.

Financial adviser Padraic Kissane accused the bank of dictating terms to those people it had wrongly taken trackers off, and was now restoring.

Mr Kissane, who specialises in tracker-restoration cases, said it was unfair of the State-owned bank to put people back on trackers but tell them they could no longer opt for a fixed rate for a short period now that they were back on trackers.

AIB said it was being transparent by clearly outlining the future impact of switching from a tracker rate.

Mr Kissane is organising a meeting on the tracker issue on January 19 next at the Clayton Hotel Sandyford, Dublin, at 8pm.

Irish Independent

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