Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tracker mortgage customers that wrongfully lost homes to be paid "to the measure of the hurt" - Central Bank

The Central Bank
The Central Bank
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

At least 30 mortgage customers from banks including AIB and Ulster Bank that lost their homes as a result of being denied lower tracker rates will be paid compensation "to the measure of the hurt" caused to them, the Central Bank has said.

Speaking before the joint finance committee today the Central Bank's consumer protection director Bernard Sheridan said the actions carried out by the country's banks that led to the evictions were "disgraceful".

"This is one of the big fall outs from this tracker examination that people have actually lost their homes because of what the banks have done.

"We will insist that their will be full compensation paid to reflect the hurt that’s been caused for those people," he said.

The Central Bank is overseeing the framework that the affected institutions will operate their redress programmes in, meaning the onus is on banks to come up with a level of compensation that the regulator agrees is fair.

Mr Sheridan also said that an appeals process will be built into the framework for unhappy parties.

Earlier in the month Ulster Bank revealed at the finance committee that some 14 or 15 customers had lost their homes as a result of being denied a lower tracker mortgage interest rate.

Similarly AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne told the committee in November that up to 14 customers may have lost their homes from not having the correct tracker rate applied.

The committee met to discuss the details of Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath's variable mortgage rates bill.

The bill, which proposes to tackle high variable mortgage rates, was passed in the Dáil without a vote in May.

Mr McGrath argued that variable mortgage rate customers had been treated unfairly and were being "discriminated against" as mortgage rates here remain higher than that of the State's European counterparts.

However, the Central Bank's director of credit institutions supervision Ed Sibley argued that the Irish mortgage market is different other EU member states due to the "very high" default rates here.

Mr Sibley also argued that credit risk, which is an important factor in determining the price of mortgages, had not been taken into account.

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