Tracker mortgage scandal has cost banks almost €1bn

Inquiry into overcharging for bank loans ‘extensive and complex’, says Philip Lane

Central Bank governor Philip Lane: considering all possible angles, including potential individual culpability. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Central Bank governor Philip Lane: considering all possible angles, including potential individual culpability. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The ongoing tracker mortgage scandal has cost banks in Ireland nearly €1 billion so far, Central Bank of Ireland governor Philip Lane told an Oireachtas committee on Thursday.

Mr Lane said provisions by lenders caught up in the overcharging controversy increased to €969 million in March. Some €626 million was attributable to redress and compensation, and €343 million to costs.

“In short, the cost to lenders is fast approaching the €1 billion mark,” he said.

To date, 37,100 customers have been identified as having been wrongly moved off tracker mortgages or overcharged on their existing accounts.

Mr Lane told the committee that the Central Bank’s investigation into the overcharging controversy was “the largest, most complex and significant consumer protection review” undertaken by the regulator.

Enforcement proceedings

“This work is extensive and complex. While we are confident that most of the affected customers have been identified, we expect that there will be some further increase in the numbers affected before the examination is concluded.”

The governor indicated that the Central Bank has initiated enforcement proceedings against six lenders: Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Allied Irish Banks and EBS.

“In these investigations, the Central Bank is considering all possible angles, including potential individual culpability,” he said.

“It is important to stress that numbers alone cannot give the full picture of the detrimental, and in some cases, devastating effects that the failures of lenders have had on tracker mortgage customers, up to and including the loss of homes and properties.”