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Financial services watchdog received over 900 complaints about tracker mortgages

All of the complaints are on hold until the Central Bank finishes its review.

Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo

THE FINANCIAL SERVICES Ombudsman has received over 900 complaints about the ongoing tracker mortgage scandal.

The process of responding to them, however, was put on hold by the financial services watchdog pending the completion of the Central Bank’s review of the lenders and the mortgages-holders affected.

The Central Bank of Ireland is in the middle of a tracker mortgage examination, which is assessing all banks that ever offered tracker products in Ireland and ensuring that they meet their commitments to pay redress and compensation for their unacceptable failings on tracker mortgage-related issues.

As of mid-March, 37,100 customers had been identified as having been affected by the scandal, an increase of 3,400 from the same figure seen at end December 2017.

So far, €459 million in redress and compensation has been paid out by Irish lenders, an increase of €162 million from December.

The FSPO called it the “largest, most complex and significant consumer protection review undertaken by the Central Bank to date”.

Despite the fact that the banks and the Central Bank are still in the middle of their review of the situation, some people have also complained to the FSPO.

Bank of Ireland's new Dublin headquarters Source: Niall Carson

As previously reported, people who complained to the Financial Ombudsman include those who felt they were entitled to a tracker mortgage but were told by the bank that they weren’t, and those who were affected by the scandal but were unhappy with the redress offered.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the FSPO said that it “holds the view that the most effective and efficient way to provide redress and compensation to borrowers who have been wrongly denied tracker mortgages is for the banks to cooperate fully with the Central Bank examination”.

“Therefore, whilst the examination was ongoing the FSPO placed tracker mortgage-related complaints on hold pending confirmation that the Central Bank Examination has been concluded in respect of complainants.”

Because of the legal obligations on the Financial Ombudsman, it couldn’t specify what banks the complaints were about, or how many of them were resolved or unresolved.

It said that as the examination process draws to a conclusion, the FSPO has commenced progressing these complaints.

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“The first step in this process is to establish the outcome of the tracker mortgage examination as it relates to each individual complaint,” it said.

It is not possible at this stage to say how many complaints relate to those who are unhappy with any offer they have received as part of the examination or those who have not received an offer as this is an evolving process.

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