One good tracker tale doesn’t wipe out torment of thousands
Mortgage customers stonewalled at every turn by banks operating in ‘culture of greed’
Bank of Ireland deserves some credit for how it has started dealing with the cases of customers in recent months. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
We read with interest the story about the couple who opened their post one January morning to find they had – entirely unbeknownst to themselves – been caught up in the tracker mortgage scandal and were owed €36,000 by Bank of Ireland.
This couple had taken out their mortgage in 2003, initially on a fixed rate which then became a variable rate. At no point were they on a tracker and at no point did they think they should have been on a tracker.
The letter telling them of their good news came after the bank’s review of all potentially impacted mortgage accounts on its books.
While only the most curmudgeonly of souls would wish this couple anything but well, it was still hard not to think of all the others who knew all too well that they were caught up in the scandal and who fought for years for justice.
Couples – just like the ones in our story – were stonewalled at every turn by banks operating in a “culture of greed”. Some were hauled through the courts. Some even made it as far as the steps of the Supreme Court before justice was done.
Most were made to feel small and stupid by the banks who were supposed to be there to serve them.
The stress of it all ruined the health of some, relationships came under tremendous strain and some people lost their homes as a result of the banks’ wilful mishandling of their accounts.
Those people will be forgiven feelings of weary bitterness when they read of the redress that the banks now appear to be falling over themselves to give to affected customers.
Bank of Ireland deserves some credit for how it has started dealing with the cases of customers caught up in the scandal in recent months, although its handling of the issue prior to that point left something to be desired.
But there are thousands of borrowers – across all mortgage lenders in the State – who are still waiting to be compensated. And there are thousands whose lives have been blighted so badly that no amount of compensation will be ever be enough.
It is important we don’t forget them.