Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD has said there will be evidence of a change in the behaviour and culture within Irish retail banks when individuals responsible for wrongdoing are held directly accountable by their employer and the regulator.

Deputy McGrath was reacting to the publication today by the Central Bank of a report into the ‘Behaviour and Culture of the Irish Retail Banks’’.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Since there is no information specific to any individual bank in today’s report, the content comes across as quite abstract. I do welcome the Central Bank’s key recommendation that legislation be brought in to facilitate the introduction of an Individual Accountability Framework. I have consistently made the point that individuals involved in wrongdoing need to be held accountable. Fianna Fáil will support the passage of such legislation.

“The tracker mortgage scandal was the trigger for today’s report. This is a €1 billion plus scandal which has resulted in immense pain and hardship for thousands of customers. It remains to be seen whether the six enforcement investigations underway will deliver answers as to why this happened and who was ultimately responsible.

“Culture is also about treating customers fairly. Even today, the Central Bank continues to allow some lenders to treat their existing customers in a very unfair manner. I have repeatedly highlighted examples of this – such as lenders charging existing customers a higher interest rate than new customers. So a good place for the Central Bank and the banks to start would to prioritise the best interests of customers by treating them all fairly.

“The Central Bank has rightly highlighted the need for greater diversity and inclusion in the banks operating in Ireland – the banks have a very long way to travel on this issue. In particular, greater efforts must be made to have more women in key decision making roles within the institutions.

“In implementing this report, the essential focus must be on practical measures that will make a difference to how customers are viewed and treated by banks operating in the Irish market,” concluded McGrath.