‘Official swaggered into the room with a cup of coffee, and told me to stop writing to them’
NIAMH Byrne told the Finance Committee that she was wrongly forced off a tracker by Ulster Bank, and that her fight to get justice has gone on for ‘nine years, two months and 28 days’.
She took out a tracker with Ulster Bank in April 2006, but in July of that year she decided to fix her mortgage as she was a non-permanent teacher at the time.
In 2008, when the fixed period ended, she contacted the bank and asked when she would be put onto her tracker, but was told they were going to put her on a variable rate.
She said she argued for nine months until May 2009, when she was on a variable rate of 3.85% with Ulster Bank. AIB had a rate of 2.5%. Ulster Bank would not allow her to move back to the tracker.
In 2012, she realised Ulster Bank was allowing people to move with their tracker, so she ended up in a lengthy dispute with the bank through the Financial Services Ombudsman.
It took more than two years for the Ombudsman to make a ruling, and the bank was ordered to pay her compensation.
Ms Byrne described the unacceptable attitude shown toward her during a meeting with a representative from the bank in December.
‘It was like talking to this [a table],’ she said.
‘He swaggered into the meeting with a cup of coffee in his hand and it wasn’t the proper kind of decorum you could expect in a meeting such as that.
‘They spent an hour basically telling me to stop writing to them,’ she added.
Ms Byrne said that she had written more than 40 times to the bank last year demanding it give her back her tracker.
In January, she was identified as one of the bank’s affected customers.
Shoddy treatment: Niamh Byrne