Update 5.06pm Just 40 out of 3,500 Ulster Bank customers have been compensated after being caught up in the tracker mortgage scandal while more people have lost their homes than previously thought, the bank's leadership have admitted.
Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon and other top officials appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee yesterday, where they were grilled by TDs and Senators over the failure to address the tracker customer redress in a more timely manner.
Mr Mallon said since Ulster Bank had last appeared at the committee in December, its estimation of 2,000 affected customers had risen to 3,500. Some 2,500 have been restored while 1,000 have redeemed or switched lenders.
Mr Mallon admitted it was a "slow start" towards redress and compensation but said it was a very complicated process. It will be long into 2018 before customers will be compensated, he added.
Earlier: Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has called on the Central Bank to increase efforts following the tracker mortgage scandal.
Just 40 of the 3,500 affected Ulster Bank customers have had the money they were overcharged returned to them.
Ulster Bank executives confirmed the number of customers affected has increased from 2,000 to 3,500.
“While Ulster Bank has put affected existing customers back on the correct rate, it is simply not good enough that two-years after the Central Bank launched the Tracker mortgage probe, only 40 of the bank’s 3,500 affected customers have been repaid the money they were overcharged,” Deputy McGrath commented.
“It was confirmed this morning that in some cases customers are owed over €100,000.
“The bank also confirmed that some 1,000 of the 3,500 customers identified no longer have their mortgage with the bank as the mortgage has either been fully repaid or the customer switched to another bank," he said.
“These customers have not been put on the correct rate as they are no longer with the bank. However, the bank has confirmed that the differential between the interest rate the customers are paying with another bank now and the tracker rate they should be on with Ulster Bank will be repaid to them," he added.
He said he has heard personal accounts from customers who have had their lives affected in "quite a devastating way".
“They deserve better treatment from Ulster Bank and they should be protected by the statutory regulator, the Central Bank.
“The Central Bank also needs to answer the simple question; how is it that all the main banks made the same mistake and overcharged thousands of mortgage customers by wrongly denying them their contractual rights?
“If this question is not answered then no one will be held accountable and nothing will have been learned from this systemic practice across the banking system," he added.