Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has said that the Central Bank needs to step up its involvement in the tracker mortgage scandal after it emerged that just 40 of the 3,500 affected Ulster Bank customers have had the money they were overcharged returned to them.
Deputy McGrath was speaking following this morning’s Oireachtas Finance Committee where it was confirmed by Ulster Bank executives present that the number of bank customers affected by the tracker scandal has increased from 2,000 to 3,500.
“While Ulster Bank has put affected existing customers back on the correct rate, it is simply not good enough that two-years after the Central Bank launched the Tracker mortgage probe, only 40 of the bank’s 3,500 affected customers have been repaid the money they were overcharged,” Deputy McGrath commented.
“It was confirmed this morning that in some cases customers are owed over €100,000.
“The bank also confirmed that some 1,000 of the 3,500 customers identified no longer have their mortgage with the bank as the mortgage has either been fully repaid or the customer switched to another bank.
“These customers have not been put on the correct rate as they are no longer with the bank. However, the bank has confirmed that the differential between the interest rate the customers are paying with another bank now and the tracker rate they should be on with Ulster Bank will be repaid to them.
“In recent weeks, many Ulster Bank customers affected by this tracker issue have been in touch with colleagues and I. They have told us very personal stories of how this issue has affected their lives and often in quite a devastating way. They deserve better treatment from Ulster Bank and they should be protected by the statutory regulator, the Central Bank.
“It is high time that the Central Bank took a more proactive role in this process. They need to set out a clear deadline for the repayment to customers of overcharged interest and the payment of compensation.
“The Central Bank also needs to answer the simple question; how is it that all the main banks made the same mistake and overcharged thousands of mortgage customers by wrongly denying them their contractual rights?
He concluded, “If this question is not answered then no one will be held accountable and nothing will have been learned from this systemic practice across the banking system.”