Central Bank fines Ulster Bank €4.6m over mortgage arrears

Central Bank fines Ulster Bank €4.6m over mortgage arrears
It is the fourth time the lender has faced an enforcement issue with the regulator.

The Central Bank has slapped a €4.6m fine on Ulster Bank over its failure to compile and submit statistics under a former mortgage arrears agreement.

It is the fourth time the lender has faced an enforcement issue with the regulator, with previous governance issues including failings to follow money laundering and terrorist financing rules, IT governance failures, and breaches of liquidity and capital requirements, the Central Bank said. Separately, Ulster Bank is waiting for a decision over a potential fine relating to the tracker mortgage scandal.

The latest settlement — which was reduced from an initial assessment for over €6.57m — related to the bank falling “far short of the governance standards” for filing returns under the former Mart, or Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets, system after the regulator first alerted it in 2013.

“However, it was not until 2015 that the firm acted to address the issues,” the Central Bank said.

This inaction and delay by the firm is unacceptable and the Central Bank is treating such failure by the firm as an aggravating factor in this case. A further aggravating factor is the firm’s previous enforcement record, which has repeatedly identified poor governance practices at the firm.

“Accurate and reliable data is vital to the Central Bank’s ability to monitor risk and supervise firms effectively, and to ensure the ongoing stability of the financial system,” said Seána Cunningham, who is director of enforcement and anti-money laundering, at the regulator. “If we cannot trust the data supplied by firms, we cannot do our job,” it said.

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