Thursday 23 November 2017

Number of homes lost in tracker loans scandal rises

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KBC Ireland CEO Wim Verbraeken

Ellie Donnelly and Charlie Weston

KBC Bank Ireland said it is unlikely to meet a Central Bank deadline for reporting on the number of customers affected by over charging on tracker mortgages.

The CBI had set a deadline of September 30 for banks to have identifed all customers affected by the overcharging.

KBC Ireland CEO Wim Verbraeken said it's also likely that some KBC customers had lost their homes as a consequence of the overcharging,

"Ultimately we believe there will be cases of loss of ownership," he told the Oireachtas Finance Committee yesterday.

Asked why he had not provided more detailed numbers, Mr Verbraeken said that it was not the bank's intention to be evasive, but added that the process was very complex.

The CEO of the Irish arm of the Belgian-owned bank said it would redress all affected customers, but the bank considered it premature to be more specific about the current examination.

Once the review was concluded the bank would provide further information on the review, Mr Verbraeken told the committee.

Despite Mr Verbraeken stressing to the committee that KBC wanted to be able to conclude its investigation into the matter once and for all, and stand over all of its information, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath, said that he found it "extraordinary" that the bank still did not have a handle on the matter. Mr Verbraeken confirmed that not all of the customers whom the bank knows are affected have been issued with redress letters. The bank hoped to start issuing letters very soon and start making payments to these customers, he said.

Ultimately Mr Verbraeken said he believed that there would be cases where KBC customers had lost their homes as a consequence of the over charging.

Meanwhile, Permanent TSB confirmed at the same event that it won't be liable for corporation tax for 21 years, thanks to historic losses carried forward. Earlier this week AIB said it won't have to pay tax for 20 years.

Permanent TSB also said up to 32 of its customers have lost homes due to losing a tracker mortgage. The bank had originally said 22 homes were lost as a result of tracker overcharging.

Politicians were told €50,000 in compensation was given to people who lost homes, and €25,000 given to those that lost investment properties.

The bank said its investigation into the tracker overcharging was still ongoing.

Permanent TSB also told the Oireachtas Committee that up to 2,000 mortgage-holders in deep arrears are likely to avail of a mortgage-to-rent scheme that it is working on with a "preferred partner".

Irish Independent

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