Friday 20 April 2018

PTSB to deny 'deliberate' strategy on trackers

PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding
PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

There is no evidence that senior bank staff in Permanent TSB set out to deliberately deny customers a tracker mortgage, the bank is set to insist.

But the bank admits it failed to warn customers they could lose the low-cost home loan if they moved to a fixed rate, it is to tell an Oireachtas committee today. Documents submitted to the Finance Committee show the bank will blame turmoil in the financial markets over its decision to stop offering trackers, a move that saw close to 2,000 customers lose out.

Most of those who lost out were not warned moving off a tracker rate for a period would mean they would not get a tracker back, while others were not offered the choice of a tracker when they should have been.

Bank chief executive Jeremy Masding is set to tell the TDs and senators "the bank has no evidence that the failure to provide this disclosure was planned or deliberate".

Mr Masding is due to deny bank staff were set any targets for reducing the number of tracker mortgages on its books.

It got rid of trackers because wholesale funding became expensive in 2008 and 2009 due to turmoil in the international and Irish financial market.

Asked whether an internal probe had been conducted, the bank said it was limited in what it can say as it was subjected to enforcement action from the Central Bank. Its former subsidiary Springboard Mortgages has already been fined €4.5m for tracker overcharging.

In response to the questionnaire submitted to the bank ahead of its appearance at the committee, it says: "The bank has found evidence of a significant level of operational issues which should not have occurred."

This led it to put in place a mortgage redress programme, ahead of the other banks being prompted to do so by the Central Bank.

Irish Independent

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