Sunday 20 January 2019

Thousands more tracker mortgage cases 'to be resolved and owned up to by the main banks' - expert

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Thousands more tracker denial cases have yet to be resolved and owned up to by the main banks, a leading expert in the area has told the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

Padraic Kissane revealed that up to 5,000 more cases have still to be sorted out.

He said AIB/EBS, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have more cases that have yet to be admitted.

And other banks where tracker loss cases are still not being dealt with include Danske Bank, KBC Bank, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank, he told the TDs and senators.

Lenders have already owned up to close to 34,000 cases, at a total cost of around €1bn after the Central Bank persuaded 15 lenders to go through their books to find over-charging cases.

It is one of the biggest over-charging scandals to hit the country.

The tracker expert claimed AIB and its subsidiary EBS have another 3,000 tracker rate cases that have not been admitted to by former building society, EBS.

Mr Kissane said Bank of Ireland, which recently owned up to an additional 6,000 cases, has another 800 cases that it is denying.

And Danske Bank, which has since left the retail banking market here but first introduced low tracker rates linked to home values, has a number of outstanding cases, Mr Kissane said.

Banks denied good-value trackers to borrowers after they opted to fix their rate for a period, or put them on the wrong tracker margin when they got a tracker back. Many people were not warned that opting for a fixed rate would mean they could not return to a tracker rate.

Tracker interest rates are a fraction of variable ones, saving up to €300 in repayments a month on a typical mortgage.

A specialist in tracker restoration cases who has been campaigning on the issue for nine years, Mr Kissane said banks were still insisting that large numbers of homeowners denied trackers are not impacted.

“There are large cohorts in each bank that are not as yet addressed. It raises the question, are the relevant lenders sorry for these customers or apologetic for their actions?”

And he accused lenders of denying mortgage holders documents held by the banks when they are seeking to have a tracker restored and get a refund.

He said pertinent documents were being withdrawn by the lenders when consumers make a data access request. This was making it more difficult to resolve the tracker scandal.

“There could be at least another 5,000 cases outstanding, and while ‘tracker fatigue’ could become a factor it is vitally important for all those families who as yet are deemed not impacted by the banks, I might add,” he told the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

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