Saturday 24 August 2019

PTSB claims that trackers restored to all are 'baloney'

Expert says up to 600 customers are still not back on the proper rate

Permanent TSB boss Jeremy Masding
Permanent TSB boss Jeremy Masding

Charlie Weston and Gretchen Friemann

Claims by Permanent TSB that everyone who was due to have a tracker mortgage restored has been sorted out are being disputed by a leading campaigner.

Tracker case expert Padraic Kissane said the bank's claim was "baloney".

Up to 600 cases had still to be resolved, he said.

The partially State-owned bank, run by Jeremy Masding, said in a statement that all its customers had been returned to the correct tracker mortgage rate.

It also pledged to pay compensation to affected customers by the end of the year.

The lender is seeking to draw a line under a scandal that has engulfed the industry.

Public outrage at the tracker mortgage scandal continues to mount amid fresh revelations in recent weeks at the true scale of the crisis.

While Permanent TSB (PTSB) was among the first of the lenders to identify the problem, as well as offer redress and compensation, it emerged in September that despite many years spent tackling the problem, it still had a number of borrowers on the incorrect rate.

The bank has now returned some 125 tracker mortgage holders to the correct rate.

In total, PTSB has identified 1,971 affected customers. In its update it said 1,448 had received full redress and compensation, with the remaining cases to be dealt with by December 31.

It said in its statement: "The bank continues to make progress on the Central Bank's industry-wide tracker mortgage review - 1,971 customer accounts have been identified as impacted under the tracker issue. All are now on the correct interest rate. 1,448 of these impacted customers have now been fully redressed and compensated and the remaining customers will receive redress and compensation before the end of next month."

But tracker case specialist Mr Kissane said it was factually incorrect of the bank to state that it had restored all those who should have a tracker rate.

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Trackers are the cheapest mortgages.

They are usually set 1pc to 1.2 percentage points above the European Central Bank rate.

But Mr Kissane said up to 600 Permanent TSB customers had been put back on what the bank claims is a tracker, but is set at a margin of 3.35pc over the ECB rate. Mr Kissane said this could not be reasonably regarded as a tracker rate.

"In no way could it be said that Permanent TSB has restored everyone who was due one to a tracker mortgage. The claim is baloney."

People who are due a tracker should be paying a margin over the ECB of between 0.6pc and 1.35pc.

Instead, residential and buy-to-let mortgage holders were being charged a margin of between 2.25pc and 3.35pc, he said.

Up to 30,000 have been denied good-value trackers, or put on the wrong tracker margin. The Central Bank has told 15 lenders to review their mortgage books.

People who lost a tracker are due to be restored to the lower rate, be paid a refund for being overcharged interest and get compensation.

Irish Independent

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