Saturday 7 December 2019

More than 1,000 complain to ombudsman about tracker mortgages

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Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

MORE than 1,000 mortgage holders have taken their cases to have a tracker mortgage and get compensation to the ombudsman.

Financial services and pensions ombudsman Ger Deering is due to tell TDs and senators that most have complained that their bank never offered them a tracker, which they feel they should have received.

Mr Deering is expected to tell the chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee John McGuinness that his office is now dealing with 1,174 complaints relating to tracker mortgage interest rates.

This is in addition to the 40,500 cases that have been owned up to by the banks, with pay outs of €690m.

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Banks have ended up with a final bill of over €1bn because of other costs associated with the massive tracker overcharging scandal.

Mr Deering is set to tell the politicians many of the complainants did not receive a tracker rate and believe they are entitled to one.

Banks have been forced to concede another 400 tracker rip-off cases since the summer. The total number of customers impacted by the tracker scandal has jumped to 40,500, the Central Bank told the Oireachtas Committee earlier this month.

But thousands of disputed tracker cases at AIB, Permanent TSB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and EBS have not been included in the Central Bank's probe.

Ombudsman: Complaints are assessed, says Ger Deering. Photo: Patrick Browne
Ombudsman: Complaints are assessed, says Ger Deering. Photo: Patrick Browne

Many of these people have now taken their dispute to Mr Deering’s office.

Others complaining include those who received a tracker rate but argue that the wrong rate has been applied.

And others maintain that they got a tracker rate but from the wrong date.

Complaints about low levels of compensation for not getting a tracker back have also been made to the ombudsman.

Some 347 complaints have been made between January and September this year.

The work of Mr Deering was held up this summer when banks, including KBC, resisted having cases dealt with through his office, arguing they were out of time to do so.

Mr Deering is to tell the committee: “Now that the time limit issue has largely been resolved for tracker mortgage complaints, I expect we will progress the vast majority of complaints.”

He said he expects to issue legally-binding decisions in the coming months.

Earlier this year, Permanent TSB was fined €21m by the Central Bank for “serious failings” which affected 2,007 of its tracker mortgage customer accounts. It was the largest ever fine for a regulated firm.

AIB and its EBS subsidiary, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland and KBC Bank remain under enforcement investigations.

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