Friday 21 September 2018

Ulster Bank seeking to delay its appearance at probe into the tracker scandal

Oireachtas Finance Committee chairman John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
Oireachtas Finance Committee chairman John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Ulster Bank is seeking to delay appearing before the Oireachtas Finance Committee over the tracker scandal.

The bank has come under sustained criticism for its tardiness in refunding customers.

It comes as AIB boss Bernard Byrne was accused by a member of the committee of talking "guff" when explaining why people had trackers taken off them.

Some 15 banks have identified around 34,000 accounts which had the wrong interest rate applied to their loans, or were not offered tracker mortgages, which are fixed to the European Central Bank's key rate.

Ulster Bank came in for strong criticism from politicians for missing deadlines to compensate 3,500 customers who lost the low-cost mortgages when Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Central Bank Governor Philip Lane appeared before the committee separately last week. Ulster Bank was due to appear before the committee on February 1.

Committee chairman John McGuinness said the bank had sought to move its appearance to the end of next month because it was due to release its annual financial results on February 23, which would restrict what it could say to the committee.

Meanwhile, close to 10,000 customers of AIB lost out in the tracker mortgage scandal.

The bank told the committee 9,348 AIB customers were affected by the tracker scandal in some form.

Chief executive Mr Byrne said there was "no consideration" of the potential consequences of removing their tracker mortgage product from the market in 2008. It was a series of process and diligence failures, he told the politicians.

Pearse Doherty, of Sinn Féin, said he did not believe the bank's excuses, and accused it of talking "guff".

"I don't believe you because customers went to you and told you about it. But you pulled down the shutters, told them to take the high road and told them they were wrong," he said.

Irish Independent

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