5,000 more could be caught in tracker scandal

Another 5,000 cases could be added to the tracker mortgage scandal, according to the financial expert who helped expose the scandal.

Padraic Kissane.

Padraic Kissane warned that more lives are being ruined as he predicted 5,000 new cases on top of the 33,700 officially accepted by the Central Bank, whose probe into the €1bn scandal continues.

Numbers of cases can not quantify the irreversible damage done to families throughout Ireland, he said.

“The tentacles of this octopus spread everywhere,” said Mr Kissane.

He has heard of suicides and attempted suicides as he listens to harrowing stories in his office, as well as health issues directly related to the stress.

He predicted thousands more cases to come from AIB-owned EBS, Ulster Bank’s former standalone First Active unit, KBC Ireland, and Bank of Ireland.

At the Oireachtas finance committee, Mr Kissane said:

  • One woman wrongly caught up in the scandal was in a hospital cardiac unit when she received a call from a bank arrears department;
  • Children who not only had never had holidays or toys in their formative years but also inadequate nutrition because their parents could not afford healthy food;
  • Dozens of people wrongly losing their family home, but also buy-to-let properties that were supposed to provide pension pots, children’s education funds and savings;
  • Out of four customers who appeared before the committee last October to publicly share harrowing personal stories, “three were still in the same position today”.

Mr Kissane said:

If someone comes to your wallet, your purse, your bag every month for seven years and takes €400 out of it, which is the average overcharge, at what point does it get in on you? And that is what happened. It was taking money by stealth.

Mr Kissane demanded that the scandal stay on the political agenda because there is a danger of ‘tracker fatigue’.

“There could be at least another 5,000 cases outstanding, and while tracker fatigue could become a factor, it is vitally important for all those families who as yet are deemed not impacted — by the banks, I might add,” he said,

A “large cohort” of customers even now remain on the wrong mortgage rate, he claimed. He estimates €700m was taken by the banks from affected customers during the period of the scandal.

That €700m was not only taken from customers, but also the economy — an economy that needed it at the time,said Mr Kissane.

Mortgages should never be complicated but the banks had consistently obfuscated and persuaded vague terms in their favour, causing more anguish, he said.

International ratings agency, DBRS, has estimated that the cost to banks could exceed €1bn when the final bill is settled.

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