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Explainer: What is the tracker mortgage scandal and who is affected?


 (Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

The tracker mortgage scandal has been making headlines again in recent days as the issue is being examined by an Oireachtas committee. Here is everything you need to know about tracker mortgages and what went wrong for many who had them.

What are tracker mortgage rates?

Tracker mortgage rates are set at a percentage over the European Central Bank, and tend to be far cheaper than variable or fixed rates.

Why are they in the news?

At the end of 2015 it emerged that thousands of mortgage customers were denied a tracker interest rate on their mortgage which they were entitled to, resulting in the Central Bank ordering 15 lenders to trawl through their mortgage books to seek out all those who had been overcharged.

How many people have been affected?

The eventual number of mortgage accounts where the holders were wrongly denied a cheap tracker could be 30,000 - double the current estimate, financial adviser Padraic Kissane yesterday told TDs and senators.

Have people been compensated?

While most customers have now been restored to the correct tracker rate, the majority of banks have yet to refund homeowners the overcharged interest and compensate them.

What have been the consequences of the overcharging?

The consequences of overcharging are far reaching, with at least 100 families having lost their homes due to the tracker overcharging scandal, it has been estimated.

Yesterday the Dáil heard from customers who had been impacted by the overcharging, among them was homeowner Thomas Ryan who told the Oireachtas Finance Committee he suffered a stroke at the age of 47. His wife had a nervous breakdown.

When did the scandal become known?

Despite some people reporting the issue to the Financial Ombudsman back in 2008, it was a further seven years before the Central Bank conducted a serious in depth-investigation and forced the banks into a redress programme.

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