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'An admission of failure': Criticism of Central Bank as report shows 8,200 denied tracker mortgage

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said it showed the regulator was still trying to get to grips with the scale of the controversy.

Image: Shutterstock/UTBP

THE LATEST FIGURES from the Central Bank show that around 8,200 Irish mortgage customers were denied a right to, or the option of, a tracker interest rate.

The financial regulator issued an update of its Tracker Mortgage Examination this afternoon. The Central Bank has been looking into the issue since 2010, and wrote to fifteen lenders last year setting out the framework for its industry-wide probe.

“When groups of impacted customers are identified, in the first instance, the lender must stop charging the incorrect rate of interest on the customer’s account,” a statement from the Central Bank said today.

The lender must then communicate this to the customer, to ensure that any further customer detriment is stopped as early as possible.

The regulator’s director of consumer protection, Bernard Sheridan, said the figures showed an increase in the pace at which customers were being identified “with more customers starting to be moved to the correct interest rate, and redress and compensation commencing”.

Each lender is a different stage in the process of dealing with the issue, Sheridan said.

Based on current progress, he said that lenders should have identified and started engagement with customers by the middle of next year “with payment of redress and compensation, processing and consideration of any appeals” continuing beyond that point for some.

Responding to the Central Bank’s update, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty described it as an “admission of failure”.

The regulator was still trying to get to grips with the scale and gravity of the controversy, six years after the issue was first raised, he said.

Today’s update is a huge disappointment with a date for mid-2017 being given simply as a date by which victims must be contacted.

The bank’s update failed to mention accountability, Doherty said.

The whole industry continues to insist there was a systems error or a misunderstanding. The scale of the scandal and its occurrence throughout the sector makes it a policy not a mistake.

Read: Arlene Foster survives no confidence vote – but Sinn Féin plan another for New Year >

Read: 49 dead in Russian city after drinking toxic bath essence >

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Daragh Brophy

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