Tracker mortgages: Banks’ ‘despicable actions have caused misery’

FF criticises Central Bank for showing ‘no urgency whatsoever’ to reinstate proper rate

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said “the despicable, deliberate actions of our banks have caused misery for an additional 15,000 mortgage-holders and their families across the country”.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said “the despicable, deliberate actions of our banks have caused misery for an additional 15,000 mortgage-holders and their families across the country”.

 

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said he would support any victim of the tracker mortgage scandal who went to the local Garda station to lodge a complaint.

“I urge people who feel they have been robbed to do that,’’ he said.

“It is their right - the same as it is when you are mugged walking down the street.’’

He added that the action taken by banks “was deliberate and calculated”.

Mr Doherty said theft was theft and the 15,000 people affected should be given a date for repayment.

He was moving a Sinn Féin motion in the Dáil on Tuesday night calling for a full redress scheme for victims within a strict deadline.

He also called for an overhaul of white-collar crime measures so that those bankers responsible could be held to account.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said “the despicable, deliberate actions of our banks have caused misery for an additional 15,000 mortgage-holders and their families across the country”.

Mr Ó Caoláin said the crux of the scandal boiled down to thousands of fixed-rate mortgage holders being deliberately kept in the dark by their banks relating to their entitlement to move, or move back, to the cheaper tracker mortgage rate.

‘Huge detriment’

“This was all to the huge detriment of those who believed there was no escape from their prohibitively expensive fixed rate mortgage and, of course, to the advantage of the banks,’’ he added.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the vast majority of people who were denied a tracker mortgage rate “are still tonight in January 2017 not being charged the correct rate”.

He said the tracker rate they were contractually entitled to had still not been reinstated by their bank under the supervision of the Central Bank - and that was a scandal.

He criticised the Central Bank for showing “no urgency whatsoever” in its handling of this issue and investigation.

No timeline had been provided by the Central Bank to the banks in terms of the aspects that really mattered to people, the proper rate they were entitled to.

He said the priority had to be to put people on the rate to which they were entitled, without any delay.

Appealing to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to take action, he said “at least intervene and talk to the Central Bank about that issue”.

Giving an example, he said: “If you have a family with a mortgage of €200,000 and they are paying a variable rate wrongly of 4 per cent and should be paying a tracker rate of 1 per cent, they are paying about €500 extra every single month in interest than they should be paying.”

‘Fully aware of seriousness’

Mr Noonan assured the Dáil the Government “is fully aware of the seriousness of this matter and it wishes to have adequate redress and compensation provided to impacted consumers as quickly as possible”.

The Minister said the Government “does not dissent from the broad thrust and objective” of the motion.

“At this point the Government wishes to support and encourage the Central Bank to complete its tracker mortgage investigation as quickly as possible,” Mr Noonan said.

AAA-PBP TD Mick Reilly described the treatment by banks of tracker mortgage holders as “corporate theft”.

He said: “the bosses who masterminded the crime should do the time”.