The number of homes identified as having being lost as a result of the tracker mortgage scandal is likely to significantly exceed the figure of 97 already disclosed by the banks, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD.
Deputy McGrath was speaking following the conclusion of hearings by the Oireachtas Finance Committee with the five main lenders involved in the tracker scandal.
Deputy McGrath commented, “Given the fact that the number of impacted customers has increased dramatically to 33,700 in a short few months, it is now inevitable that the number of customers who have lost their home as a result of being denied a tracker mortgage will increase well beyond figure of 97 currently reported by the main lenders.
“In fact, the banks have admitted they are still working through thousands of cases to assess the impact on customers. The fact that people lost their homes because of the actions of the banks is truly shocking but the human impact on many other customers has been profound also.
“In recent weeks, the Finance Committee has met with AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and KBC, on the tracker controversy. Over two years on from the launch of this investigation by the Central Bank, many customers are still not on the correct rate. For example, only last night KBC confirmed that around 2,500 customer mortgage accounts have still not been put on the tracker rate they are entitled to.
“It became very clear over the course of the hearings that affected customers could very easily fall through the cracks. I would not be confident that banks are successfully contacting every impacted customer who had switched their mortgage or had repaid it in full. Further, it became very evident there is no consistency in the level of compensation being offered by the different banks.
“I also have great fears for the bank customers who were not impacted by this scandal because they will ultimately end up paying for it. The financial hit to the banks for their own actions will be well north of €1 billion before this is over. It is fair to assume this cost will be passed on to their other mortgage and SME customers at a time when they are already paying excessive interest rates.
“The Central Bank needs to see this investigation through to the end. The Enforcement Investigations need to be thorough and unforgiving. There must be accountability – including at an individual level – for this monumental consumer rip-off. I and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil will continue to work with affected customers until this issue is properly concluded.