Ulster Bank and AIB offer fresh apologies on tracker mortgage scandal

The heads of AIB and Ulster Bank have issued fresh apologies to customers of theirs caught up in the tracker mortgage scandal.

Both banks have committed to publicly setting out their progress in dealing with the scandal — AIB has already resolved most of its 3,000-plus cases.

After meeting Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at his department, Bernard Byrne said AIB is confident of making “significant progress” in bringing the scandal to an end.

He said AIB was adhering to the framework laid down by the Central Bank.

“We met with the minister, it was a very constructive meeting,” Mr Byrne said as he left the Department of Finance.

“We outlined to the minister the work we have undertaken to date and the progress we have made in addressing the customers who have issues. We have apologised several times before and I apologise again in respect of what’s happened in respect of this to tracker customers.

“We listened to what the minister had to say and we are going make a fuller statement [today] in respect of that and, for the moment, what we are able to confirm is that we are fully committed to working in line with the framework that exists and confident we will be able to make significant progress again.”

Mr Byrne’s apology was in sharp contrast to the failure of Bank of Ireland and KBC executives to make any such expression of remorse on Monday, following their meeting with Mr Donohoe.

Ulster Bank chief executive officer Gerry Mallon “unequivocally” apologised on behalf of his bank.

“I listened to what [Mr Donohoe] had to say,” he said. “We have apologised unequivocally for the mistakes the bank has made and I’d like to reiterate that apology again today. We are genuinely very sorry. Our number one focus as a bank is putting this right.”

The Government said it will name banks that do not co-operate with its attempt to resolve the tracker-mortgage scandal by committing to compensate customers.

Up to 30,000 homeowners have potentially been caught up in the scandal which saw banks wrongly refusing customers access to loss-making tracker mortgages during the recession.

Some of those who were overcharged went on to struggle to meet repayments and some lost their homes through repossession.

As of July this year, AIB was dealing with 3,200 cases of mortgage customers having been incorrectly moved from their tracker mortgage. The bank says it has handled 3,104 of the cases.

AIB has paid out €133m and has set aside €190m to resolve all the cases.

Ulster Bank is dealing with 3,500 cases, of which 40 have been dealt with so far. The bank has set aside €211m to resolve its cases.

Mr Donohoe briefed the Cabinet on the matter on Monday night. Sources said he indicated that the Government would publicly identify any banks that hold out.

Mr Donohoe will make a “strong” statement today on the scandal after he has met a number of the banks.

The Government has demanded a clear timetable for compensation for all customers, which ministers have said must be under way by Christmas.

Editorial: 10

Analysis: 11


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