Couple discovered ‘by accident’ they were impacted by tracker scandal

Clare couple in court over home repossession said discovery is ‘like winning the lotto’

The mother told the court  that during the course of a phone call to Bank of Ireland last Friday, she was told “we have been impacted by the tracker situation, that we are part of that”.

The mother told the court that during the course of a phone call to Bank of Ireland last Friday, she was told “we have been impacted by the tracker situation, that we are part of that”.

 

A couple, forced to go to the St Vincent de Paul to put food on the table for their children, have said being told by Bank of Ireland late last week that they were impacted by the tracker mortgage scandal is “like winning the Lotto”.

The Co Clare couple were making their first appearance at the County Registrar’s Court in Ennis on Monday concerning Bank of Ireland’s attempt to repossess their family home.

The married couple who have several children owe €320,000 to the bank which includes €56,000 in arrears on their mortgage.

The mother told county registrar, Patrick Wallace they continue to make mortgage repayments of €1,080 per month.

She told Mr Wallace that during the course of a phone call to Bank of Ireland last Friday, she was told “we have been impacted by the tracker situation, that we are part of that”.

In reply, Mr Wallace said “if you are part of that, it would be great. That is not a matter for me. That is a matter for another forum”.

Outside court, the woman said she only found out “by accident” that they are impacted by the tracker scandal. She said: “I phoned the bank on Friday to get up to date details for court today and the person told me that we were impacted by the tracker situation.”

Her husband said: “It was like winning the Lotto hearing that.”

They have yet to receive a letter from the bank confirming this and have no information yet on how much they will be owed by the bank as a result of being impacted by the tracker scandal.

As many as 30,000 homeowners have potentially been caught up in the scandal which saw banks wrongly refusing customers access to loss-making tracker mortgages in the post-crash period. Some of those who were overcharged went on to struggle to meet their repayments and some lost their homes through repossession.

Up until now, the monthly mortgage repayments have left the Co Clare family “with very little” after the €1,080 is paid over.

“We are paying the bank more than we can afford to pay, at times we have no money. I don’t know why we are paying that amount - every time we are under pressure. It is a case of waiting for the pay cheque to come in and pay for food and the bank,” the father said.

The woman works while her husband is the home maker in the family after his business collapsed which resulted in the couple falling behind in their mortgage payments.

At one stage, the couple had to get help from the St Vincent de Paul.

The man’s wife said that last year as part of an insolvency proposal, Bank of Ireland suggested that their eldest children not go to third level after completing their Leaving Cert but get jobs instead to help pay down the mortgage.

The couple rejected this.The mother said: “It was ridiculous. It is unbelievable. It didn’t make sense... they have a very good work ethic and work weekends to support themselves.”

The man said Bank of Ireland also suggested that his wife retire early and the lump sum pension payment would cover the arrears as part of an insolvency arrangement.

The man, who at one stage went on medication to deal with the stress, said: “The pressure we have been under is phenomenal.”

He said one letter received from Bank of Ireland some time back wanted them out of the house within 10 days. “We nearly had a heart attack. You get immune to those type of letters after a while but at the start…”

Mr Wallace adjourned the repossession proceedings for six months to allow both sides provide details concerning the case.

A spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland said on Monday evening it could not comment on any individual customer account.”

“Bank of Ireland is focussed on supporting customers with financial challenges, providing a comprehensive range of sustainable restructuring solutions. Legal action is a last resort. Our experience is that the vast majority of customers with debt repayment challenges can be supported,” she said.