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EBS denies own failures in relation to loan figures supplied by Gerald Kean law firm


Gerald Kean

Gerald Kean

Gerald Kean

A SENIOR employee has denied the Educational Building Society’s own “systemic failures” in handling requests for loan redemption figures by solicitor Gerald Kean’s law firm are the only reason it is now suing Mr Kean.

Richard Kean SC, for Gerald Kean, put to Sarah Hanratty, of EBS/AIB, there was no impropriety or breach of undertaking by Mr Kean in this matter and the sole reason for its case is its own systemic failures in not dealing with loan redemption requests on a property by property basis and failing to have a co-ordinated approach to such requests involving human beings.

Ms Hanratty denied that was the case.

She was being cross-examined in the continuing action by EBS against Gerald Kean alleging, in accordance with his signed undertaking, he was required but failed to return to EBS title deeds of two properties of Dolores Corcoran in Co Waterford.

EBS also alleges those deeds should not have been passed by Mr Kean to another institution, Permanent TSB, after Ms Corcoran entered an arrangement with PTSB to refinance three of her four loans with EBS, taken out between 2004 and 2006.

EBS claims a debt of some €600,000 is outstanding to it by Ms Corcoran -  a former girlfriend of Mr Kean -  but, because it does not have the relevant title deeds, it is unable to enforce its security on two properties – at Portnahully, Carrigeen and Hunter’s Way, Williamstown.

Mr Kean denies the claims against him.

On Thursday, Ms Hanratty said the debt due to EBS from Ms Corcoran had not been called in.

Richard Kean put to Ms Hanratty the Law Society had, from 1979, raised concerns about the nature of the loan redemption processes operated by building societies, including EBS.

Ms Hanratty said she was not aware of that. The EBS dealt with loan redemption requests on an individual loan account basis, rather than on an individual property basis, she said.

She agreed she could not identify one particular human being who dealt with requests from the Kean firm in 2008 concerning redemption of loans made by EBS some years earlier to Dolores Corcoran relating to three properties in Waterford.

She also agreed various relevant documents concerning transmission documents related to the firm’s request had, in line with the particular system operated by EBS, been shredded. 

When counsel put to her the EBS process was unco-ordinated with no individual human dealing with the redemption requests, she said that was “unfair”.

She said there is a process, and human beings are involved in the loan administration team.  While the relevant redemption letters would be generated by the IT system, an employee would check  them, she said.

In this case, the redemption figures were checked and redemption figures were issued in separate letters for all four loans of Ms Corcoran’s, she said.

When Mr Kean asked what individual in the EBS ignored four requests from the Kean firm to address all the Corcoran loans on a property by property basis, Ms Hanratty said there was no specific person she was aware of, there was a loan redemption team which followed the society’s process and issued the standard letters generated by the system in relation to the loan accounts.

Mr Kean put to her it was because of the EBS systems failures that letters sent by EBS did not alert the Kean firm that certain loans were cross-secured or exactly what sums were due on each of the properties.

Ms Hanratty said the process checks the relevant redemption figures are issued for the relevant accounts and does not include all relevant figures in one document.

An expert witness for EBS, consultant solicitor Michael Carrigan said it was not his experience lenders would provide clear redemption figures and the Law Society had warned solicitors to be very careful in this regard.

The case continues before Mr Justice Michael Twomey.

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