Ex-PTSB chief seeks delay to tracker inquiry amid change of solicitors

David Guinane alleged to have participated in bank offering a low, original tracker rate to eligible customers only after they requested it or complained about it

Former Permanent TSB (PTSB) chief executive David Guinane is looking for an inquiry hearings into his alleged role in the industrywide tracker mortgage scandal to be delayed from October to early next year, to allow new solicitors acting for him to get up to speed with the case, according to his senior counsel.

A case management meeting on Monday on the inquiry heard that new solicitors had come on board to represent Mr Guinane, but are waiting access to 2,200 documents relating to the inquiry.

Meanwhile, Paul McGarry, SC, for Mr Guinane, also raised the prospect of the former senior banker seeking for the inquiry not to proceed at all, subject to certain evidence being presented – given the passage of time between his alleged regulatory breaches between 2009 and 2010 and the Central Bank’s decision in late 2021 to proceed with an inquiry.

When the chair of the inquiry, UK barrister Peter Hinchliffe, pointed out that a three- to four-month postponement of hearings would only increase delays, Mr McGarry said this was “relatively minor in the context of the much greater period”.


The Central Bank said in November 2021 that it was setting up an inquiry into a then-unnamed former PTSB manager as it had “reasonable grounds to suspect” the individual had “participated in the commission of a suspected prescribed contravention” of part of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 by the bank. The Irish Times reported at the time that Mr Guinane was at the centre of the investigation, a fact the Central Bank confirmed only earlier this month.

The case was linked to the regulator’s previous enforcement action against PTSB that led to the bank being fined €21 million in May 2019 for the “unacceptable harm” it caused certain tracker mortgage customers, including some who lost their homes, when it wrongly denied them their discounted rate.

The case management meeting on Monday, the first to be held in public, heard that Mr Guinane is suspected of participating between January 2009 and April 2010 in the bank offering a low, original tracker rate to customers coming off a period of fixed rates only after they specifically requested it or complained about it.

By failing to extend the more favourable rates to similar customers who did not complain, PTSB is alleged to have failed in its obligations to act in its customers’ best interests.

Mr Guinane plans to argue that PTSB – and, by extension, he – did not participate in the alleged contravention, said Mr McGarry.

Mr Hinchliffe held off on Monday on making orders in relation a potential delay to the evidence hearings.

Mr Guinane worked for PTSB for more than 25 years and served as chief executive of the lender between November 2007 and February 2012.

The period subject to the inquiry precedes a change in Central Bank sanctions rules in August 2013 that saw the maximum fine that can be imposed on an individual double to €1 million.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times