Serious sanctions must be imposed on banks and banking executives found to be responsible for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance policies to thousands of customers over the past five years, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath stated, “Following a Central Bank investigation, it now seems certain that thousands of the 340,000 payment protection insurance policies sold to customers by financial institutions since August 2007 were essentially mis-sold and did not comply with Central Bank rules. In other words, the policies were sold to customers who were never eligible to benefit from them. The bottom line here is that the banks concerned wrongly took millions of euro from the customers involved. I do not believe for a moment that such a policy was unintentional.

“Once this investigation has been fully completed and the Central Bank has got a handle on the scale of the mis-selling, it is essential that banks and the executives involved are held to account for taking millions of euro from customers on a false basis. Will those banking executives responsible for flouting the Central Bank rules and selling payment protection insurance policies be held to account in any way? In my view, the culture within the banks will never change until there are consequences for malpractice.

“The banks and those responsible for devising the payment protection sales strategy of the banks must be subject to sanctions including financial penalties for the banks and the dismissal of those responsible for the policy. While some of the banks concerned are State-owned and others will find ways to pass on any fines to customers, I still believe that financial penalties should be imposed on the banks for this scandal.

“Customers who feel they may have been mis-sold one of these policies should take the advice of the Central Bank and wait for a period of time until they hear directly from the bank involved. Customers will be reimbursed or compensated without any delay.”