Over 3,000 await redress over tracker mortgage scandal
Paschal Donohoe unable to give exact time when all affected will receive compensation
The tracker scandal emerged after customers on a mortgage that tracked the European Central Bank rates with no more than 1% in the difference were moved off that rate.
More than 3,000 people identified in the examination of the tracker mortgage scandal have still not got their money back or received compensation.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told the Dáil he could not give an exact time when everybody would be refunded and compensated, but he wanted it as soon as possible.
He also said he would continue to engage with the Central Bank “to see if I need to give it any further support to make that happen”.
Mr Donohoe was responding to the Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin finance spokesmen who expressed frustration at delays and the way appeals were being handled.
Fianna Fáil spokesman Michael McGrath said 10 per cent of the 31,300 affected customers had still not got their money back.
“There is no deadline or end date for all of this,” he said, which had been going on for three years.
“This scandal must be brought to an end,” he said. “It is bad enough that this happened in the first place, but the way it has been handled and the fact it has been allowed drag on while people continue to be out of pocket is not acceptable.”
Mr Donohoe said that up to the end of August lenders had identified 38,400 affected customers and paid €580 million in redress and compensation.
A further 1,300 customers were identified after March this year.
Mr Donohoe said he would see if he needed to give further support to ensure people are refunded and compensated. But they are getting to cases that were “even more difficult and demanding”.
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty claimed the Ulster Bank independent appeals process was “a complete and utter joke”.
He said a woman who contacted him discovered that the only document related to her case the appeal board received from the bank was one about the compensation ordered, “when you could fill your boot with the paperwork”, according to the account holder.
The Donegal TD said the appeals board did not have the mortgage file or any other documents provided to it.
“This raises serious questions about the whole point of the independent appeals process within Ulster Bank and possibly other banks,” he said.
Mr Doherty said the bank had identified 3,490 customers affected by the scandal. Twenty appeals had been heard, of which only one-quarter had been upheld.
The Minister told the Sinn Féin TD he too had seen “the scale of correspondence that some people have had the trauma of having to process. I am fully committed to ensuring this matter is dealt with as effectively as possible”.
The tracker scandal emerged after customers on a mortgage that tracked the European Central Bank rates with no more than 1 per cent in the difference were moved off that rate. They were put on fixed rate mortgages and subsequently to variable mortgages rates and paid hundreds of euro extra a month. In a number of cases homes were repossessed as a result.