Business Personal Finance

Sunday 16 December 2018

Bank of Ireland admits 14 properties were lost in tracker overcharging

Francesca McDonagh: CEO said lessons must be learned Picture by Fergal Phillips
Francesca McDonagh: CEO said lessons must be learned Picture by Fergal Phillips

Charlie Weston and Ryan Nugent

Bank of Ireland has admitted that 14 properties were lost because of tracker mortgage overcharging, eight of which were family homes.

Six of the lost properties ended up being sold 'voluntarily' by their owners. The bank said it pays a minimum of €50,000 for loss of ownership, with one former owner getting €250,000.

It also writes off any residual debt and pays an amount for any gain in the value of the property.

Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh, speaking before the Oireachtas Finance Committee, apologised for the tracker losses.

"I do not underestimate the impact from loss of ownership," she said.

Senator Rose Conway Walsh, of Sinn Féin, said the bank should have stepped back before tracker customers lost properties.

She asked: "Did nobody within the bank say, 'Hold on and let's have a look here'?"

Ms McDonagh denied that Bank of Ireland was paying off tracker-mortgage victims and stripping them of their humanity.

She said the bank was prepared to look at difficult tracker overcharging customer experiences on a case-by-case basis.

The bank was clear that any award of compensation and refunds could be appealed and customers could also go to court if they were not satisfied with an offer.

Bank of Ireland recently conceded that it had 6,000 more cases than it had originally admitted to, taking its total to 9,400 customers. Some tracker-hit customers had life-threatening illness. Others lost their homes, Ms McDonagh admitted.

But Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty accused the bank of being heartless by making low financial offers to those with serious illness or those who lost homes.

He said it was not good enough to say that affected customers could appeal any award or go to court.

But Ms McDonagh responded: "I am not stripping the emotion and humanity from this in our approach."

Meanwhile, a new housing agency will provide competitive loans to builders.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) would have a €750m fund for builders who were unable to secure affordable finance.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business