Thursday 20 June 2019

KBC has 'learned lessons' from tracker scandal - CEO

KBC CEO Peter Roebben
KBC CEO Peter Roebben

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

KBC Bank has apologised for tracker-loss cases and committed to learning the lessons from the scandal.

More than 3,700 customer accounts have been impacted.

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The bank told members of the Oireachtas Finance Committee the tracker probe is a top priority for it.

New CEO Peter Roebben said KBC was determined to right the wrongs experienced by its customers.

He said he did not expect the numbers of customers impacted by the tracker scandal at KBC to rise.

The €1bn tracker scandal blew up at 15 lenders as banks did not allow people who originally had a tracker to return to the attractive rate after being on a fixed rate for a period, or did not make it clear to customers what they would lose by signing off on a tracker.

Mr Roebben told the committee: "We would like to again acknowledge our errors in relation to the administration of tracker mortgages and can I, as a newly appointed CEO, add my sincerest apologies, to that of my predecessors, to those affected.

"Can I also publicly commit us to taking on board the lessons learned on behalf of our customers."

KBC said 96pc of its customers impacted by the tracker issue have now received redress and compensation.

Paying refunds and compensation has cost the bank €120m. This is way up from the €4.4m it had set aside in 2016 to cover the cost of tracker redress. At the start of the year the bank identified 661 extra cases wrongly denied tracker mortgages.

There are no further customers affected, the bank told the committee, which is chaired by Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness. KBC is one of six banks that are expected to be fined by the Central Bank due to their denial of trackers to customers.

Mr Roebben added that the bank is not planning sales of non-performing home loans, with the remainder of arrears cases to be dealt with internally.

Last August, the bank sold a €1.9bn portfolio of non-performing loans to Goldman Sachs.

"When it comes to the issue of non-performing loans and arrears, I believe that we should continue to tread carefully. We must remain conscious of the vulnerability of those who find themselves in difficulty and behave accordingly," he said.

The KBC boss said that around 90pc of its arrears cases borrowers have agreed a resolution with the bank.

In December, the bank hit headlines when it moved to repossess a farm in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, in a high-profile case that attracted controversy.

Irish Independent

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