Thursday 8 December 2016

Probe into all banks' trackers to last into next year

Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30

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A probe into banks taking tracker mortgages off people who should not have lost them will not be completed until next year, it has emerged.

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Thousands of people had trackers wrongly taken off them and are now in line to have them restored, have overpayments refunded to them and get compensation once the bank-wide review is finished.

The final number of families affected could be as high as 10,000.

But it will be 2017 before the industry-wide probe is completed, the Central Bank said.

In an update, that was posted on the Central Bank's website but not issued to the media, it emerged that banks have set out their plans for dealing with the investigation.

The banks' plans for dealing with the tracker loss are now being reviewed by regulators.

"The scale and complexity of this examination means that this work will be ongoing through 2016 and will conclude in 2017," the statement said.

Banks have been told by regulators to now move to the next phase of the investigation and identify any customers impacted by their failure to restore them to trackers.

Last summer Permanent TSB conceded that it has to restore almost 1,400 people to trackers and to compensate them.

These people lost trackers when they opted for a fixed rate when European Central Bank rates began to rise in 2007 and 2008. They expected to revert back to the tracker when the fixed-rate period was up, but were denied this option by their bank.

Financial expert Padraic Kissane estimates that up to 10,000 families across all banks may have wrongly lost trackers.

"The number could be up to 10,000, which is a huge amount of families being overcharged."

AIB is estimated to have around 3,000 cases. He called on the Central Bank to speed up its investigation.

"Families have been in the waiting room too long. Some are four to five years being overcharged and they should not be facing another summer of overcharging," he said.

Irish Independent

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