Banks and the rule of law

 

A chara , – Further to “State defers action against banks over tracker scandal” (October 26th), the banks can say to their customers, “I know I took your money but I will give it back to you when I am ready”.

Such an appalling lack of understanding of the consequences of their actions on real people and no sense of remorse.

It is almost impossible to rehabilitate offenders who have no insight into their actions. – Yours, etc,

CARMEL WALLACE,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – It will all be over by Christmas. No, wait, by next summer.

Isn’t this what the banks call “extend and pretend”? – Yours, etc,

M MOONEY,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – In an article on bank culture in this paper three years ago (“The banking bonus culture is on the way back”, Opinion & Analysis, November 21st, 2014), I argued that the only way to end the banks’ culture of corporate greed is to “interfere in bank bosses’ remuneration”.

At that time six major banks had been fined for cheating the public.

I argued that it was “inevitable that Irish banks would soon be back to business as usual”.

I argued that if banks are fined by regulators, then “the fine should first be levied, not on the bank, but on the bonuses, share option and excessive salaries of the top executives”.

This was not done, and until it is done, banks will continue to cheat the public, the State and society.

I also proposed that “bank executives should be paid a salary for the job. Bonuses should only be paid in exceptional circumstances and should never exceed salary, as the European Parliament had then proposed. Share options should be greatly reduced or capped at a proportion of salary and cumulatively should not exceed one year’s salary over time. The payment of any additional remuneration should be deferred for five years so that the real impact of the executive stewardship can be assessed.”

“Finally”, I argued, “the pay of the CEO should never exceed, say, 20 times that of the lowest-paid employee. That has the double effect of keeping down the top pay and encouraging the CEO to maintain an interest in the lowest-paid workers.”

Do governments still believe, in spite of the evidence, that markets should continue to dominate politics? – Yours, etc,

PAUL SWEENEY,

Milltown,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – As I hear the statements from the five banks and the Minister for Finance regarding the tracker mortgage scandal, I am seething.

Miriam Lord’s column rings true to my ears (“Banks will hardly fear Paschal’s Hulk impression”, Dáil Sketch, October 26th).

I am reminded of the adage “Whoever has the gold makes the rules”. Ain’t that the truth. – Yours, etc,

NIAMH BYRNE,

Fairview, Dublin 3.

Sir, – In 2014, the Fine Gael-led government sold off over 13,000 Irish Nationwide residential mortgages to various vulture funds. Many of the mortgage owners requested that they be offered first refusal on the purchase of their own mortgage at the discounted rate that would be offered to the vulture funds. This request was rejected by the minister for finance at the time, who said that it would take too long to deal with the actual property owners.

Hence, the super-rich, foreign vulture funds got those mortgages at huge discounts, and are then allowed to go after the mortgage holder for 100 per cent of the original loan value.

This action has caused far more grief and chaos than the tracker-rate scandal.

So, the banks took their cue from the attitude that the government displayed to its citizens and moved customers to mortgages with higher rates, and we have what can only be mock outrage from the current Government. – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS LENNON,

Salthill,

Galway.

Sir, – It must seem to many that the authority of the Central Bank over the banks it regulates could be described in the same words that one could use for all that blingy golden metal that adorns its new building – purely decorative. – Yours, etc,

TERRY PATTISON,

Glenageary,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.