Couple receive surprise €36,000 tracker compensation

The mortgage-holders were unaware they had been affected by overcharging scandal

The couple took out a mortgage with Bank of Ireland in 2003 but it was only when a letter arrived in early January 2018 that they realised they were in line for a windfall. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris/Bloomberg

The couple took out a mortgage with Bank of Ireland in 2003 but it was only when a letter arrived in early January 2018 that they realised they were in line for a windfall. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris/Bloomberg

 

While thousands of Irish homeowners were robbed of tracker mortgages and forced to fight for justice from unscrupulous banks for years, one couple have just received €36,000 in compensation despite being unaware they were impacted by the scandal.

The couple took out a mortgage with Bank of Ireland in 2003 and spent several years on a fixed rate before switching to a variable one.

They paid their monthly mortgage without question and it was only when a letter arrived in early January informing them that they should have been put on a tracker rate after their fixed rate period had ended more than a decade previously, that they realised they were in line for a windfall.

“I had heard about the tracker scandal, obviously I had, but I had no idea we were in any way caught up in it because we had never been on a tracker so it never even crossed our minds we could have been forced off one,” the mortgage holder said.

“The amount we were offered took our breath away. It was €36,000, it was like a mini Lotto win when we got the letter asking us what we wanted to do with the money. The bank wanted to know if we wanted it set against our mortgage or paid into our account.”

Unexpected windfalls

“I know there are a lot of people who have suffered terribly as a result of the scandal and there are those who lost their homes. Yet here we are in a position where we are not relying on the money or chasing it or even aware it was a possibility.”

When asked if such unexpected windfalls were likely to be commonplace as the bank works its way through its impacted loan book, a Bank of Ireland spokesman said that while some customers had been in contact with account queries “others may not have been aware that they were in scope until the bank contacted them”.

He said that under the terms of the examination, Bank of Ireland was required to review all potentially impacted mortgage accounts. “Almost nine out of 10 Bank of Ireland customers who were in scope have now been contacted with an offer of compensation and just under two thirds have requested and received payment of their compensation to date.”

Just over two years ago, the Central Bank ordered the State’s lenders to examine their books for customers denied low-cost tracker mortgages. A total of 33,700 borrowers have so far been identified.