Banks unable to feel pain and conscience, says Shane Ross

‘Too easy for the banks to write a cheque with somebody else’s money,’ says Minister

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: “Nobody’s personally held accountable and it’s a very easy thing to write a cheque with other people’s money.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donail

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: “Nobody’s personally held accountable and it’s a very easy thing to write a cheque with other people’s money.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donail

 

Minister for Transport Shane Ross says that Irish banks remain unable to feel pain and conscience, despite the tracker mortgage scandal.

He told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk reports that the Central Bank is likely to impose multimillion euro fines on banks for overcharging more than 38,000 customers on their mortgage will have little impact on the lenders.

It is too easy for the banks to write a cheque with somebody else’s money, he said. Under new rules, penalties of up to €10 million – or 10 per cent of turnover – could be levied on each of the financial institutions.

“The problem with fining the banks is that, of course, no one really suffers except the State – they’re State-owned banks – and it’s an inadequate fine because you don’t have any personal accountability there.

Fined

“What happens is the banks decide okay, they’re going to be fined millions and they just write a cheque and they get on with their business.

“And in fact, nobody’s personally held accountable and it’s a very easy thing to write a cheque with other people’s money.

“In this case, sometimes they’re writing a cheque for sins they’ve committed in the past and the taxpayer’s actually paying for it, so it’s somewhat ridiculous.

“I think the banks are totally unable to feel pain and unable to feel conscience. And I think in effect what they’re going to do is say ‘Yes, we’ll be fined’ and get on with the business.

“And the same people are in charge of some of the banks that were there in the time of the crash and in similar positions.

“We haven’t actually sorted this problem out – it’s not a satisfactory solution – a fine should be imposed and there’ll be no personal pain or accountability.”