‘I trusted the banks, but they’re not on my side – they just want to make money’
HELEN Grogan had been living and working in England for 14 years when she returned to Ireland in 2005. This country was in the throes of a property boom and Helen, who was in her 40s at the time, decided to buy a house in Palmerstown, Dublin, so that she could be close to her elderly father.
‘I had a big mortgage with big repayments,’ she said.
Ms Grogan moved her mortgage from an EBS tracker to a Permanent TSB tracker in 2008 as PTSB was offering a lower rate of interest.
However, after a year she was told that her tracker would rise to 2.25%. She was given the option of a cheaper variable rate, not realising that this would very soon get more expensive.
When her father’s health worsened, she had to reduce her working week to four days in order to care for him.
She told the committee she had paid out over €40,000 in unnecessary additional payments and estimated that over the life of the mortgage this could amount to as much as €80,000. Yesterday, she spoke about her ‘rage and anger’ over what had happened and told the Finance Committee that she felt ‘ripped off and duped’ by the bank.
Ms Grogan pointed out that she was coming up to retirement and had hoped to have cleared her mortgage by that stage but was still locked into her contract.
‘I am going to have a mortgage after I retire,’ she said.
‘It’s a disgrace that we are all made feel responsible.
‘They changed the definition of what a tracker mortgage means, they changed the rules and conditions and it is not fair.’
Ms Grogan said that she had now lost all faith in the financial services industry.
‘I went there because I trusted building societies, I thought they had my interests at heart,’ she said.
Now Ms Grogan said that she does not trust the banks at all.
She added: ‘I go to them with a wary eye, knowing they’re not really on my side – they just want to make money.’
Rage and anger: Helen Grogan