The Central Bank – are we being served?


Sir, –Your report “Too early to say if there was collusion between banks, says Taoiseach” (October 24th) mentions a handful of banks that have repeatedly apologised for their failings. KBC Bank Ireland is not one of them.

Noting that KBC is lagging behind its peers, it is reported that a “sticking point with KBC has been the status of some customers and whether they would be eligible for inclusion in compensation schemes” (“Tracker scandal – banks to be named if they fail to act”, October 24th).

A more significant sticking point for this particular bank has been a total unwillingness to apologise or to explain or to cease doing harm.

Twelve months ago, KBC identified a number of impacted customers. It contacted this small proportion of customers in January and conceded that they had been overcharged for many years.

To date it has failed to provide redress or compensation to these customers and it has not amended their loan balances or confirmed their proper repayments.

Not only that, but even after confirming its errors, KBC continued to contact these customers and to insist on payments based on the original wildly overstated loan balances and monthly repayments.

Despite widespread media coverage, I don’t think that the true mendacity and unscrupulousness of the banks is yet fully appreciated. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – You quote the Taoiseach as saying, “it’s a little bit premature to say whether or not there was collusion. There is an investigation under way by the Central Bank and I don’t want to pre-judge the outcome of that” (News, October 24th).

If I were a banker, I wouldn’t be too worried.

The Central Bank’s website states, in relation to complaints against financial institutions, “due to confidentiality requirements, we are unable to disclose any case details including the findings of our investigations”.

A watchdog that doesn’t know how to bite. Or bark. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Why has the Minister for Finance been meeting bank representatives? Surely that’s a Central Bank function.

Unfortunately the governor of the Central Bank appears to see little role for the bank in regulating the appalling behaviour of Irish bankers; his only solution, insofar as he offers any, seems to be financial penalties against “the banks”.

The only people affected by this would be shareholders who (a) have surely suffered enough at the hands of bank management, and (b) with the possible exception of institutional shareholders, are innocent parties in this mess.

The governor generally seems to have a very relaxed view of the Central Bank’s regulatory and enforcement responsibilities. He must carry a large part of the blame for the fact that its enforcement record is so feeble.

That the Central Bank is clearly not trusted by the public to regulate the nefarious activities of bankers, and make them face the consequences of their actions, is even more damning.

He should resign his position. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – “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”, notes a letter-writer (October 25th).

Has it not yet dawned on him that such terms as “fraud” are strictly reserved in the Taoiseach’s traditional Fine Gael vocabulary for those criminal types subsisting on the State’s largesse who might do a nixer in order to pay the escalating rents and mortgages of our revered absentee landlord class in the untouchable foreign direct investor bracket? – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.

Sir, – In view of the arrogance and long-standing maltreatment of their clients, surely it is now time for the banks in Ireland to be nationalised?

That the financially marginalised and disadvantaged make no impact on the consciences of either the banks or successive governments of this country has now been clearly demonstrated.

Weighed down by the all but impossible conditions of mortgages and loans, stripped of their humanity and Christian dignity, the weak are ignominiously cast aside to fend for themselves on the waste heaps of society.

Why should this be the lot of so many decent people, young and old, in the new Ireland? – Yours, etc,




Dublin 24.

Sir, – We are in the midst of one of the major scandals of modern times in this country where many have lost their homes through the actions of our banks.

Apart from the fact that no individuals have been or may be held accountable for this shameful episode, we see insult added to injury when images of a Dáil debate on television shows a chamber inhabited at best by half a dozen TDs. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – A word in defence of the banks. None. – Yours, etc,



Co Louth.

Sir, – Is it possible in Ireland to get an account with an ethical bank?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have new entrants to this market to allow competition, and perhaps some basic level of ethics. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 11.