More than 1,200 tracker-mortgage complaints await ombudsman ruling
Tracker-mortgage and inaccurate credit reports exercise ombudsman
More than 1,200 tracker-mortgage complaints are still awaiting a decision from the financial services and pensions ombudsman
More than 1,200 tracker mortgage complaints are still awaiting a decision from the financial services and pensions ombudsman.
The ombudsman, Ger Deering, said mortgages continue to account for a major element of his office’s workload as he published his fourth digest of legally binding decisions – covering the first five months of 2020.
He also highlighted an ongoing concern about how banks and other financial service providers handle complaints about inaccurate customer credit ratings.
The report contains details of some of the 199 legally binding decisions made by the ombudsman’s office in the first part of the year. Of these, 180 have been published, with72 of the complaints upheld in full or in part.
Some decisions are not published because they deal with pensions or because they would identify the parties. Four are under appeal, including one tracker-mortgage case where the lender is appealing an order to restore a tracker rate to a mortgage loan.
“It is also evident from the complaints dealt with by the ombudsman that incorrect reporting of credit indicators does occur,” Mr Deering said, adding that this can have very serious consequences for the people concerned, “in some cases without their knowledge”.
“What can be even more worrying is the unwillingness of some financial services providers to accept when they have made mistakes and their refusal or neglect to correct the record,” he said.
He urged lenders to be careful in their reporting of customers’ credit history to the Irish Credit Bureau or the Central Bank’s Central Credit Register “and to correct any errors quickly, fairly and comprehensively. Incorrect reporting to these agencies can have profoundly negative impacts on both individuals and businesses”, the ombudsman said.
On tracker mortgages, the ombudsman said some of the complaints upheld have had “profound and positive implications” for the complainants and for other home loan customers of the lenders concerned.
But he noted that lenders were increasingly applying decisions made by his office to customers in similar circumstances to those who had complained to the ombudsman.
“This is particularly evident from decisions I have made in a number of complaints relating to tracker mortgage complaints,” Mr Deering said. “It is my understanding that almost 7,000 customers across a number of banks will benefit from the directions I have made in a small number of decisions.”
The vast majority of these 7,000 are understood to be AIB customers.
However, the ombudsman added that it was evident “that we have received a considerable number of complaints from people who would like to have received tracker mortgages, but who have no contractual or other entitlement to a tracker mortgage”.
Looking at other areas, Mr Deering said his office had identified other areas of concern. These include the way some banks have denied customers access to online banking, failed to process certain transactions, or frozen or closed bank accounts in an unreasonable manner.
“I have also called on insurance companies to exercise caution and prudence when considering cancelling an insurance policy and not to take steps which might reasonably be considered disproportionate,” he said.
“The key message is that providers should ensure that their conduct is fair, reasonable and proportionate.”