Monday 17 June 2019

Bank of Ireland 'resists calls to give 200 staff tracker rates it promised'

Stock photo: Getty Images
Stock photo: Getty Images
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Bank of Ireland is denying trackers to a large number of its own staff, despite evidence that they were promised they would be put on the low-cost mortgage rate.

A number of internal staff emails show the bank staff had been told they would be given trackers once their fixed rates ended.

Some of the cases date back 10 years, which would mean a large payout for the staff and ex-staff if the bank concedes.

Around 200 bank staff and former staff have now formed into a group to fight for trackers and to be refunded overcharged interest.

The group wrote an 18-page letter to Central Bank Governor Philip Lane in December, but has yet to get a reply.

The bank, run by Francesca McDonagh, is holding out, despite already restoring some 1,800 other staff and former staff on trackers, refunding them overpaid interest and paying compensation.

The difference with this group, it is understood the bank argues, is that they were never on a tracker rate when they took out their mortgages.

Most staff started out on two-year fixed rates, but internal communications seen by this publication show the bank promised them they would get a tracker. Press releases issued by the bank also promised that fixed-rate customers would roll to a tracker rate.

A press release issued by the bank in 2006, announcing a cut in its then two-year fixed rates, states: "As mentioned previously, this product (as with all our new fixed rates) will roll to ECB +1.25pc (APR 3.6pc) on expiry of the fixed rate term."

An internal communication told staff before they opted for a fixed rate that "if you switched to the two-year fixed rate mortgage, you would have the option to roll to a staff tracker at the end of the fixed-rate period".

The bank has now told the staff and former employees that their cases had been deemed "out of scope" in its tracker review.

Bank of Ireland said the tracker mortgage examination was continuing at the bank. "To date, impacted customers have been identified and remediated where a right to a tracker or the right to be offered a tracker existed.

"This is the central tenet of the Central Bank of Ireland's 'Framework for Conducting the Tracker Mortgage Examination' and applies equally to all customers, including colleagues," the bank said.

The Central Bank said it had received the letter from the Bank of Ireland staff group, and the issues raised were being considered by it.

Irish Independent

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