Permanent TSB sees home loan gain despite tracker scandal

Permanent TSB has seen a rise in new mortgage applications since the turn of the year, saying its well-documented home loan overcharging scandal has not damaged its business.

Speaking after the bank’s AGM in Dublin, yesterday, group chairman Alan Cook said that the company has improved its offering to homeloan customers and has seen applications spike “quite markedly” in the first few months of the year.

PTSB grew mortgage lending by just 2% last year while its big rivals, Bank of Ireland and AIB, saw growth of around 30%.

PTSB currently has a 9.5% share of the Irish mortgage market and is targeting a 13%-15% share by the end of 2018.

Chief executive Jeremy Masding yesterday said that management “would be pleased” with a low double-digit percentage share by the end of this year.

He also said new long-term investors, who came on board at the time of last year’s partial flotation, are still supportive of the bank’s “value case” and its management.

Yesterday saw PTSB’s share price hit a low since its re-float, of around €2.60. It had been as high as €6.52 last April.

Mr Cook told reporters the mortgage redress programme has to have damaged PTSB’s reptuation as a mortgage lender “to a certain degree” but added reputation ultimately depends on what measures are taken to solve such problems.

PTSB last year started compensating customers who tried to switch from a fixed rate homeloan to a tracker mortgage but did so without being told they couldn’t if they had first changed to a variable rate product.

To date, 90% of the 1,372 cases identified have been compensated a combined €40m, with that figure likely to increase to €45m-€50m when the further 10% of instances are dealt with. There are 100 cases currently at appeals stage.

At the AGM, mortgage rights campaigner Brendan Burgess accused the PTSB board of “fleecing” and “tricking” customers and “destroying” the bank’s brand in the process.

In response, Mr Masding said: “I’m not about fleecing or trickery; I’m only about building a bank that works for Ireland and if it works for Ireland it will work for our customers.”

He added discussions with the European Commission regarding getting an extension to its end of June deadline to sell the remaining element of its non-core UK mortgage business, Capital Home Loans (CHL) have started.

PTSB hopes to sell the asset in the second half of 2016 after the dust has settled on the June Brexit vote.


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