Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the lengthy delay in banks not settling with customers wrongly charged on their tracker mortgages as :totally unacceptable” and “amounting to a theft of customers.”
The Sinn Féin TD believes the banks involved need to face steep financial penalties in order to apply greater pressure on them to put in place a redress scheme, involving the full and fair compensation of wronged customers.
With Ireland’s main mortgage lenders due to issue detailed statements later today on how they will address the tracker mortgage controversy, Deputy Crowe believes the number of customers wrongly charged is set to rise.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“All the main banks, and some smaller ones, have now been caught out with their dishonest and sharp practices in denying or removing tracker mortgages from people who are entitled to them.
“The banks were clearly under no pressure from the government or the Central Bank to pay up, and thousands of innocent customers have been the victims.
“This is latest in a series of banking scandals that only came to light when a number of customers took a legal case against Permanent TSB over wrongly losing their tracker mortgage.
“In 2015 the Central Bank then launched their own supposed ‘examination’ across nearly every bank in the country and so far it has only identified 13,000 affected mortgage holders, plus 7,000 from historic scandals that have been sorted out to some extent.
“The earlier figures appear to be only skimming the surface of the problem which again highlights the light touch regulations and abysmal failure of the Central Bank who has a statutory, regulatory, and oversight role. They are now predicting more cases will be unearthed. 23 people have already lost their family home as a result and 70 others are in a buy to-let situation.”
Crowe said his party Sinn Fein has already won Dáil support for a motion expressing solidarity with the victims and in calling for tougher action but the Government are “still dragging their feet.”
“Two banks have already missed the Central Bank’s own deadline for their Phase 2 report which is indicative at how seriously they are addressing this problem.
“The Central Bank has also identified two other ‘populations’ that should be in the review and these are two groups of people that might not be even aware they have had thousands of euro stolen from them.
“My party colleague, Pearse Doherty TD, has called for the Minister for Finance Pascal Donoghue to call in the State owned banks ten months ago and now belatedly they are finally doing just that.
“As usual the Government is behind the curve when it comes to regulating banks and their dodgy dealings.
“Steep financial penalties on banks in order to apply greater pressure on them would appear to be the only approach that will work. We urgently need to get to the bottom of who actually authorised and who facilitated this theft.
“Who made the decision to refuse the tracker, who has put people out of their homes, and to identify who needs to be financially penalised and ultimately punished.”