Banks – the return of the light touch?


Sir, – Could someone please tell Paschal Donohoe we already know the names of the banks involved! – Yours, etc,



Sir, – The Government seems to think that naming the banks that do not cooperate will shame them into doing so. Dream on! – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – To talk of cultures, systems and the like is to talk of the colour of the wind. A piece of legislation exists on the statute books that may suffice to bring these people to justice, namely the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001. If this is insufficient, the Government should prepare new legislation aimed at ensuring personal accountability for white collar crime. Talk of “admonishment” would be risible, were the matter not so serious. People have lost their homes. No doubt there have been break-ups, depression and anxiety as well.

Banks in this country have it far too cosy. There is not enough competition. They have among the highest margins and interest rates in the euro zone. And then there’s the so-called “regulator”, in its various guises. To say it was and is toothless is an understatement. Its false teeth have been resting in a jar by its bedside for decades.

What’s needed is a regime of personal accountability, along with more competition and proper regulation among banks.

The Government needs to be reminded that we, the people, are sovereign in this republic, not the banks or any other institution. – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

Sir, – Surely, in light of the unbelievable scam and scandal operated by our banks, the qualifying sentence for financial ads, “This financial institution is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland”, should have read, “This financial institution is facilitated by the Central Bank of Ireland”. – Yours, etc,


Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Amidst the hand-wringing about the banks and the tracker scandal, one salient fact is lost. Many of the borrowers were competent, financially literate and had relatively simple, clear contracts stating the required borrowing rate. However, the Irish judicial system appears unable to enforce contracts in a timely manner and give succour to those who are on the right side of these relatively straightforward contracts but who cannot afford to hire enormous legal firepower.

Ironically the other victims of this reluctance to enforce clearly written contracts are banks who are almost unable to do anything about borrowers who can but won’t pay their mortgages. The upshot of this is that there have been no new entrants into the Irish mortgage market, despite the enormous margins on new non-tracker loans.

While our political parties focus on supposed social and societal contracts the fact is that across the world, it has been shown that the most fair and prosperous societies across the world depend on fair and prompt enforcement of property rights and contracts.

This is not an issue that should require political interference. Our judges should be asking themselves how it has come to this, and our politicians should be wondering why our legal system is so dysfunctional. – Yours, etc,


Lucan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – It appears to me that when it comes to bankers and expressions of regret, sorry seems to be the easiest word. – Yours, etc,


Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – A team of accountants and assessors from the private sector should be contracted to assess the financial arrangement of each individual customer of the banks involved in relation to their mortgage, calculate the loss each customer was subjected to, assess the refund each customer is due, including interest, and estimate the sum they should be paid by their bank to compensate for the consequences of this illegal treatment. The banks would be liable for the expense of this contract.

Needless to say, no customer should have to pay for advice or guidance sought privately as this should also be borne by the bank. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 18.