#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020
Advertisement

Tracker mortgage motion which will ban bonuses for bankers to be backed by government

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said the minister should give no approval for salary increases until redress is given.

Allied Irish Bank Chief Executive Bernard Byrne arriving the Department of Finance.
Allied Irish Bank Chief Executive Bernard Byrne arriving the Department of Finance.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Updated 3.30pm

THE GOVERNMENT IS to support a Fianna Fáil motion on the tracker mortgage scandal which will reaffirm the pay cap in place for bankers and ban bonuses.

The motion, with a few amendments put down by government, will be allowed to proceed in the Dáil tomorrow, allowing for the voting against the reappointment of bank’s board where the State is a shareholder.

The government is a shareholder in Bank of Ireland, PTSB and AIB.

It also calls for a halt to all repossession actions where a mortgage is involved in the tracker mortgage examination.

Fianna Fáil is also calling on the banks to provide a firm deadline for all affected accounts to be identified, corrected, and for all redress and compensation to be paid.

The party’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the total number of customers affected had yet to be revealed, but in his opinion, he estimates the total cost to the banks could come in at €1 billion.

The scandal has seen thousands of customers in a number of financial institutions in Ireland charged higher rates of interest than they should have been or being refused the option of a tracker mortgage.

Bonuses

McGrath said there should be no approval of salary increases or bonuses at the next AGM of any bank the State has shares in if the bank has not provided redress by Christmas.

“That is one very obvious power the minister has and it is not one we should be afraid to use,” McGrath told reporters today.

“We have to bring this back to the people affected at all times. There was a lady in my office in Cork yesterday and she was so upset.

“This has been going on for her for nine years and it has destroyed her life over that period of time. The motivation we have is not political, we want this issue to be brought to an end,” he added.

24/10/2017 Bankers Called To Minister For Finance over Tracker Mortgage Controversies Ulster Bank Chief Executive Gerry Mallon arriving at the the Department of Finance. Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

He said it was important that bank customers who believe they could be impacted get in touch with their bank. McGrath said he did not trust the banks to get in touch with all customers involved.

“It is important to send out a message to other customers who feel they may have been impacted by this but have heard nothing from their bank.

“They should make a written complaint to their bank, the bank will be obliged to respond to them and that will kick-start the formal process. It is inevitable that the 13,000 or so that are in this investigation will grow,” said McGrath.

The Fianna Fáil TD said the investigation into the scandal must be thorough, adding:

I don’t think it is reasonable that they all made the same mistake.

He did not say he believed there was collusion between the banks.

McGrath said his party would support the government’s efforts to strengthen the powers of the Central Bank through legislation, if they choose to do so.

‘Down and dirty’

“We need the Central Bank to get down and dirty and get down to the nitty-gritty of examining board minutes, management committee minutes, looking at telephone transcripts, and interviewing the people involved, because ultimately I do not agree this was all about systems and culture … people made decisions that cost their customers tens of thousands,” he added.

He called on the gardaí to get involved, stating that his party is in favour of criminal sanctions. “Whatever is necessary,” said McGrath, adding:

“If people are deceived [out] of their own money that is a criminal offence in existing law.”

“I think we need to have open dialogue with the Central Bank and I think the gardaí should be directly involved,” he said.

How is it that eleven banks in the State made the same mistake? They took their money off [customers] and they were very slow at paying them back.

At the end of the day, people make decisions and people made the decision to take these contractual rights off people.

McGrath said the banks had been dragged “kicking and screaming” to deal with the issue.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Financial sanctions

In terms of what sanctions are available, Fianna Fáil appeared to agree with the government’s assessment that any financial sanctions or levies imposed on the banks would only be passed on to the customer.

Yesterday, the Governor of the Central Bank said that the “vast majority” of customers affected by the tracker mortgage scandal would be repaid what they’re owed by Christmas.

Philip Lane said that the Central Bank would continue to press the banks to ensure that all of those affected by the scandal are included in redress schemes.

The CEOs of Bank of Ireland and KBC were at the Department of Finance yesterday for meetings with Minister Paschal Donohoe. Today, Ulster Bank and AIB had meetings with the minister.

A spokesperson for the minister said that “the banks have been dragging their feet in solving the problem, at real human cost”.

‘Unacceptable’

Minister Donohoe told the Dáil today that the way the banks have treated their customers is “disgraceful”. He said it was now time for the banks to act in the best interests of their customer.

I have made it clear to them that this is a disgrace… I will use my influence as Minister for Finance to bring clarity to this issue.

“They should have done this in the beginning,” he said.

He said the behaviour of the banks and the way they have not returned money to people is unacceptable, both to him as to me as Minister for Finance and as shareholder in three of the pillar banks.

He said he made that perfectly clear during his meetings with the banks over the past couple of days.

“Too much confusion still exists, too many people have not got their money back,” he said, adding that it should have been sorted out by now.

Donohoe is due to make a lengthy statement on the matter tomorrow evening during Private Members time when the Fianna Fáil motion will be discussed. The banks are also due to release statements on the action they plan to take.

So far, only PTSB, AIB, and Ulster Bank have offered an apology to customers.

Tracker scandal: Repayments by Christmas as Donohoe bemoans ‘cultural issue’ with banks>

From ‘I don’t know what a tracker mortgage is’ to the biggest financial scandal of our time>

Read next:

COMMENTS (57)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel