Thursday 19 July 2018

PTSB denies putting employee on panel to review tracker cases lacks fairness

PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding
PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding

PERMANENT TSB has denied it that putting one of its bankers on a panel that reviews tracker overcharging cases meant the bank’s appeals process lacks fairness.

The bank admitted that one of the three people on customer appeals panel is a bank employee, when it appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

But Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath questioned if this meant the appeals process lack objectivity.

He was querying Permanent TSB boss Jeremy Masding.

Mr McGrath said: “I guess the point I am making is that the defendant does not get to be a member of the jury.”

But Mr Masding denied there was any attempt to rig the panel in favour of the bank.

He said the chairman of the appeals panel has acknowledged that the bank staff member has been objective and helpful to the process.

He said there was only one bank staffer on the panel, which meant it was not possible for the bank to dominate its decision making.

The bank told the TDs and senators that 28pc of appeals have been upheld in favour of the customer who appealed to PTSB tracker appeals panel.

Almost 2,000 customers of the bank lost out on trackers as they opted for a fixed rate, then broke out early, but were not warned by the bank that this would mean they would lose their tracker.

Mr Masding defended himself over claims the bank’s delay in acknowledging the tracker overcharging had meant thousands of people at a large number of banks had to put their lives on home.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty claimed the actions of the bank in challenging decisions of the financial services ombudsman and the High Court had meant the 34,000 people across all banks have had to wait for refunds longer than they should have had to wait.

Mr Doherty said he was not attacking Mr Masding personally, but until senior bankers face consequences for their actions on trackers it will happen again.

In angry exchanges, Mr Masding insisted he did not work at the bank when customers were denied trackers.

He defended his actions when he took over, dismissing claims he dragged out the overcharging issue by taking four customer cases to the Supreme Court.

“I am happy that my conduct is becoming of the CEO of Permanent TSB,” Mr Masding said.

He insisted that he acted to put in place a refund scheme that has been used as a template by other banks.

And the bank denied it broke the law by denying customers trackers.

It was a regulatory and systems error, the Oireachtas Committee was told.

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