Ul­ster Bank to re­fund track­ers over €100k

The Irish Times - Business - - Front Page - JOE BREN­NAN

Ul­ster Bank said it will have to pay more than €100,000 in re­dress and com­pen­sa­tion to some of its 3,500 cus­tomers caught up in an in­dus­try-wide tracker mort­gage over­charg­ing scan­dal, though it could be “well into 2018” be­fore all cases are ad­dressed.

It is un­der­stood that this level of re­me­di­a­tion largely, if not ex­clu­sively, re­lates to cus­tomers who lost their homes in the past decade as a re­sult of be­ing wrongly de­nied a Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank tracker mort­gage, typ­i­cally after a pe­riod of be­ing on a fixed rate.

Speak­ing to the Oireach­tas fi­nance com­mit­tee yes­ter­day, Ul­ster Bank’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Gerry Mal­lon, said the num­ber of cus­tomers who lost their homes as a di­rect re­sult of over­charg­ing is likely to be be­low the 14-15 cases in­di­cated last De­cem­ber.

That is in spite of the fact that the num­ber of its cus­tomers im­pacted by the is­sue has risen from 2,000 to 3,500 over the pe­riod.

Re­me­di­ated

Mr Mal­lon said that fewer than 40 cus­tomers have been re­me­di­ated to date, while the Oireach­tas com­mit­tee’s chair­man, John McGuin­ness TD, crit­i­cised the bank for the lack of in­for­ma­tion it has been of­fer­ing bor­row­ers.

Cor­re­spon­dence from the pub­lic to the com­mit­tee “is telling us that your helpline is a farce, that it doesn’t give an­swers or any com­fort on any time­frame in deal­ing with the is­sue, or whether they are in scope or not,” Mr McManus said.

The bank’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Paul Stan­ley, told the com­mit­tee that the bank plans to pay an ini­tial €50,000 to cus­tomers who lost their homes as a re­sult of over­charg­ing, be­fore cal­cu­lat­ing fi­nal pay­ments due.

Ul­ster Bank also re­vealed that up to 1,000 of the af­fected bor­row­ers have since moved banks or re­deemed their loans. Of those that have switched lenders, it plans to make up the dif­fer­ence be­tween the former cus­tomers’ cur­rent mort­gage costs and what they would have paid had they been given their con­trac­tual right to a tracker rate with Ul­ster Bank, Mr Stan­ley said.

Ul­ster Bank set aside €206 mil­lion last year to cover costs as­so­ci­ated with the mort­gage re­dress scheme for cus­tomers who were wrongly de­nied a tracker in­ter­est rate on their home loans over the past decade.

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