Most appeals of PTSB offers of compensation dismissed
Some customers who weren't returned to trackers lost their homes
Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30
The majority of Permanent TSB customers who contested offers of compensation in a row over tracker mortgages have been unsuccessful.
The people making the appeals were offered compensation by the lender after it emerged that thousands of Permanent TSB mortgage customers had lost out on tracker rates which they were entitled to.
A bank decision several years ago prevented them switching from a fixed-rate mortgage to a tracker rate, despite being contractually entitled to do so.
At least 22 families lost their home as a result of PTSB's policy.
The Central Bank eventually took enforcement action against the bank over the issue and the lender began writing to affected customers last year with compensation offers.
Those unhappy with their offer had the right to appeal. Two separate panels were set up to hear appeals.
For more serious cases - including people who lost their homes - the appeals panel includes former deputy Financial Services Ombudsman Caroline Gill, solicitor and former president of the Law Society James McCourt and accountant Cyril Maybury.
A total of 96 compensation offers have been appealed so far between the two panels, a spokesperson for PTSB told the Sunday Independent last week.
Of these, 69 have been decided, the spokesperson said - with many more appeals dismissed than upheld.
Fourteen were wholly upheld or partly upheld, while the majority, 55, were not upheld.
A total of €140m has been set aside by PTSB to compensate customers but only €40m has been handed out so far, the lender said in March at the release of its 2015 results.
A tracker has an interest rate set at the prevailing European Central Bank rate, which is zero at the moment, plus a margin which is usually 1pc.
As interest rates fell during the recession, trackers became loss-making for Irish banks, though they have since become profitable once again for PTSB.
PTSB was the first but not the only Irish bank to face an enforcement action by regulators over the issue of customers losing tracker mortgages.
Ulster Bank has also been slapped on the wrist by the Central Bank for this, it emerged last month.
The enforcement action against Ulster is thought to involve people who took out tracker mortgages with First Active, which was taken over by Ulster Bank in 2009.
Financial expert Padraic Kissane, who specialises in tracker restoration cases, has estimated that 2,000 Ulster Bank customers may have lost trackers, and are now in line to have them restored and get compensation.
The regulator is also conducting an industry-wide review of tracker-loss cases at all lenders.
Thousands of people who had trackers wrongly taken from them are now in line to have them restored, have overpayments refunded, and get compensation once that review of all banks is finished.
The final number of families affected across all banks could be as high as 10,000.
But it will be as late as 2017 before the industry- wide probe is completed, the Central Bank has said.
Sunday Indo Business