Tuesday 24 April 2018

Ulster Bank admits 15 families lost homes over tracker snub

Ulster boss Gerry Mallon at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Ulster boss Gerry Mallon at Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

Donal O'Donovan and Charlie Weston

Ulster Bank has admitted that up to 15 families lost their homes because it wrongly denied them a low-cost tracker mortgage.

It brings to 51 the total number of families that had their homes repossessed by banks because they were refused tracker mortgages after opting for fixed rates for a period.

Last week, AIB admitted that 14 customers lost their homes because it would not give them back a tracker, while Permanent TSB said its refusal to allow customers to have cheap trackers led directly to 22 home repossessions.

Ulster Bank boss Gerry Mallon admitted at an Oireachtas Committee that about 2,000 borrowers were wrongly blocked from returning to cheaper tracker interest rates. The issue is the subject of a Central Bank investigation.

Mr Mallon told the Finance Committee that his bank was still working to identify all of the customers affected. He apologised to customers, saying: "We can't have this kind of issue in the future. It's not something we're proud of."

It is thought that 14 or 15 Ulster Bank customers ended up losing their home, either as a direct result of the overcharging of interest or other factors.

Customers would be written to before Christmas, Mr Mallon said, and moved to lower rates.

Bank of Ireland restored around 2,000 mortgage holders to tracker rates in 2011, but there are understood to be another 1,600 staff members who are due to be given back trackers, refunded overpaid interest and compensated.

David Hall, of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, said: "The banks have shafted their customers."

Irish Independent

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