The bank’s mistake continued for six years before two eagle-eyed customers alerted the bank.
If a customer misses a repayment it is red-flagged by the bank to the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB). However, in thousands of cases the bank was miscalculating the volume of missed payments by up to four times.
The ICB requires that missed payments be submitted to them on a monthly basis, but AIB had been mistakenly submitting customers who missed weekly or fortnightly payments.
Credit ratings are used by lending institutions when judging whether an individual qualifies for a loan. Credit ratings are used to determine how likely you are to repay the money. A negative credit rating might result in a loan refusal.
Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Micheal McGrath said that due to AIB’s mistakes people may have been refused loans.
“The bottom line here is that, because of a serious mistake by AIB, the ICB has been holding incorrect information on file for up to 12,000 bank customers since 2006.
“This could potentially have affected credit decisions made by financial institutions relying on the accuracy of the information held by the ICB. In some cases, people may have been denied credit based on the details held on file by the ICB.
“In addition, people may well have paid for the details on their credit report and have been given incorrect information.”
A spokesperson for AIB admitted the mistakes should not have happened.
“This is an error which should not have occurred and AIB wishes to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers as a result.
“AIB has written to the estimated 12,000 impacted customers to apologise, make them aware of the issue, and inform them of the immediate steps taken to rectify the matter. The bank has also provided details in the letter of a helpline to customers affected and has offered to request a new copy of any affected customer’s ICB statement, if requested, at AIB’s expense.”
Despite the efforts of AIB to rectify the problem, the Financial Services Ombudsman office said that people may have grounds to complain.