I got my mortgage through a broker 12 years ago (just after prices had started to drop...but not enough in hindsight). The broker has now closed, and I can’t find (and don’t recall) ever receiving a copy of the mortgage contract but I was also going travelling at the time so my mind was elsewhere.
Because of the tracker scandal, I’ve wanted to check whether it had also affected me, but to do so I’d (obviously) prefer not to have to ask the bank for a copy of our contract. But I guess that’s my only option?
From memory, I wasn’t able to get a tracker (contract closed January, 2009), but I would still like to make sure.
Mr S.W., email
It’s certainly worth your while checking to see what your position is as the sheer scale of the tracker mortgage scandal means that no mortgageholder should rest easy on the assumption that their lender treated them fairly.
It’s a reputational hit that will take all of Ireland’s banks many years to overcome and provides an opportunity for the new generation of fintech operators to get a significant foot in the door should they learn some of the fairly obvious lessons in ethics, governance and customer service. If that happens, the legacy banks will have no-one but themselves to blame.
But in your case it’s not as easy as it might be, given the demise of your broker. So where does that leave you?
Certainly the easiest avenue would be to approach the bank who will certainly have the document on file. It says something about how they are currently viewed that you have little faith in them cooperating with a straightforward request in circumstance where it might lead to an adverse outcome for them.
I spoke to Brokers Ireland which represents the sector. They tell me that brokers are obliged to keep records for six years after the relationship with the client ends.
In the case of a mortgage, they say, this would be after the mortgage has been drawn down.
But that presumes it is still in business. If the Broker has gone out of business, I am told that the only requirement is that they would have disposed of the files securely.
Now, if the closing down involved selling the business on to another broker, the paperwork would follow the sale but I am assured you should have received notification of such an event and would have had the opportunity to opt out.
Of course, you say you were travelling a lot around that time, so it may be that any such notification missed you en route. It could be worth checking with other brokers in the area just in case.
However, easiest of all, I imagine, would be to contact the solicitor you used at the time. They should have kept a copy of the loan offer on file as it is a legal agreement. I'm grateful to Brokers Ireland for the very sensible guidance.
It is very likely that there is nothing in it: your own memory is that you had missed the boat on tracker mortgages but it is certainly worth pursuing for peace of mind.
Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email email@example.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice. No personal correspondence will be entered into.