By Geoff Percival
Financial services firms have returned €164m in erroneous charges — excluding the tracker mortgage redress schemes — to Irish consumers over the past four years, the Central Bank said.
The regulator’s director general for financial conduct, Derville Rowland, said €75m of that total had been identified by the firms themselves, but the majority, €89m, had been uncovered by the Central Bank’s own supervisory activity.
She said the €164m is not part of the tracker mortgage scandal, which has seen the main lenders pay €316m to date in redress and compensation to nearly 34,000 wrongly charged/tracker denied customers.
Since 2006, the Central Bank has concluded 117 enforcement cases and imposed over €61.6m in fines.
Ms Rowland was delivering a speech at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, in which she said regulators’ main focus, worldwide, is now on “the culture underlying the behaviour of financial services firms”.
“The apparent regularity with which misconduct issues have surfaced in the years since the crisis means that public trust in financial institutions remains very low,” she said.
Ms Rowland’s speech coincided with the Central Bank issuing its latest warning on an unauthorised financial services firm illegally practising in Ireland. The publication of the name Prive Global Management Services/PGMS (Ireland) — a non-regulated investment firm, which has cloned the name of an existing authorised and regulated firm — brings to 311 the number of firms it has named since obtaining the necessary rights in 1998. The Central Bank has begun — with help from its Dutch counterpart — its cultural and behavioural inspection of the main banks.