Friday 22 November 2019

Bankers 'not held to account' for tracker scandal in which 38,000 customers were affected

  • The Oireachtas Finance Committee was told that some 38,400 affected tracker customers have been identified
  • Banks paid €580m in redress and compensation
  • Some 3,200 account holders have yet to get compensation and be returned to a low tracker rate
House stock image Photo: Deposit
House stock image Photo: Deposit
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

THE Central Bank has been accused of being “behind the curve” in making sure individual bankers are held responsible for the tracker scandal.

Governor Philip Lane defended a situation where it is only now that rules are being put in place to hold bankers to account.

Central Bank Governor Philip Lane
Central Bank Governor Philip Lane

He said there was a risk of scaring off banks and their directors from this country if a new regime holding bankers individually responsible for rip-offs was introduced.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee was told that as of August 31 a total 38,400 affected tracker customers have been identified and paid €580m in redress and compensation.

But almost three years after the banks were told by the Central Bank to examine their mortgage books in depth to identify people who were cheated, it emerged that some 3,200 account holders have yet to get compensation and be returned to a low tracker rate.

Deputy Governor Ed Sibley said the total cost to the banks will be “in and around” €1bn. This is the cost for redress, compensation and making provisions on their balance sheets.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty asked why a regime to hold bankers individually responsible for overcharging and other misconduct was introduced in the UK two years ago yet it has still to be brought in here.

Governor Lane said there now are plans for what he called an “individual accountability framework” to be put in place here.

But it will require consideration by the Oireachtas.

Mr Doherty told the regulatory executives:  “I think the Central Bank is behind the curve on this. You are very slow in coming to this.”

“Some half a billion euro was taken from 38,000 people wrongly.”

Governor Lane responded that if the Central Bank had failed to hold people to account it will look at that.

Six banks were the subject of enforcement investigations, he said.

“We can’t guarantee that every bank is going to conduct itself properly at all times.”

The Governor said there was a risk of “scaring away people”, indicating that banks might leave the country and new ones would be less inclined to locate here.

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