Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has called on the Central Bank to take a tougher line with the banks on the tracker mortgage scandal and insist that the banks promptly repay overcharged customers what they are owed plus appropriate redress.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Since 2015, the Central Bank has been conducting an industry-wide examination of tracker mortgage-related issues, including where banks wrongly denied customers their contractual right to return to a tracker rate of interest following a period on a fixed rate.

“In February, the Central Bank confirmed that the total number of affected customers covered by this probe stood at a staggering 9,900. The figure has almost certainly risen since then but we do not know by exactly how much.

“As far as we are aware, the vast majority of customers who had been placed on the wrong rate of interest have now been put on the correct tracker rate. However, the delay in paying customers back the money they were overcharged and paying them appropriate compensation is completely unacceptable.

“Over the summer months, many affected customers have contacted me and have shared their own experience.

“In one example, a customer was being overcharged on their mortgage for over four years. In May 2016, they were put on the correct tracker rate by their bank. Yet, fifteen months on and they have yet to be repaid the €20,000 plus they were overcharged and the bank has yet to make any offer for redress and compensation.

“Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and the bank realised it had been undercharging a customer for years? I don’t think for a moment that it would be so shy in seeking its money back.
The tracker mortgage scandal has had life-changing consequences for many individuals and families, including the loss of the home. Incredibly, at this point, the banks have been given no deadline by which overcharged customers are to be repaid and compensated.

“If trust is ever to be restored in our financial institutions and those who oversee them, the Central Bank needs to lay down a firm marker now and insist that customers affected by this scandal are properly looked after.

He concluded, “I have written to the Governor of the Central Bank for a detailed update and I await a reply with interest.”