Donohoe: Disgraceful that lenders have not compensated their tracker customers

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has told the banks their neglect and failure to properly pay back and compensate tracker mortgage customers is “disgraceful” and should have been resolved by now.

Donohoe: Disgraceful that lenders have not compensated their tracker customers

His remarks came as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also said that lenders involved in the rip-off scandal should apologise to customers.

Estimates now put the amount owed to wronged customers as more than €1bn.

Mr Donohoe, during questions in the Dáil, confirmed he had finished meetings with bank CEOs.

All lenders need to bring the Central Bank’s examination to a conclusion to the satisfaction of impacted customers, he added.

He also reiterated that the regulator is taking enforcement actions with some lenders, referring to a previous €4.5m fine slapped on Springboard Mortgages, a sub-prime lender under Permanent TSB.

The “time has arrived” to finally act in the best interests of impacted customers, it was added, with the minister committing to outlining government actions this evening during a Fianna Fáil motion on the scandal.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath told the Dáil that up to 10,000 customers have not got any money back from lenders. Banks are unlawfully holding onto money, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty also declared.

Referring to enforcement proceedings under way by the Central Bank over the tracker mortgage scandal, Mr Donohoe said he is “confident” the regulator will be able to stand over the conclusions of its examination into the overcharging of customers when its probe is finished.

Fines alone though are not an answer, warned Mr McGrath, as this does not involve any accountability. Fines will simply be passed onto customers, he warned.

Mr Donohoe replied that the “hurt and harm” caused by the banks was not acceptable as a minister and as a shareholder in the banks.

He told the Dáil during his meetings with CEOs this week that he had made it clear to them it is a “disgrace” and should have been resolved by now.

Speaking in Paris, the Taoiseach said lenders should “absolutely” apologise to affected borrowers.

Asked whether banks had also colluded on overcharging borrowers, Mr Varadkar said: “I think it’s a little bit premature to say whether or not there was collusion, there is an investigation underway by the Central Bank and I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of that.”

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said comprehensive statements from the five main banks — AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB, KBC and Ulster Bank — on resolving the issue are expected today.

He reiterated that if the Government is not satisfied with the responses, that there will be options. These would be considered at another Cabinet meeting, Mr Coveney told the Dáil.

Mortgage campaigner Padraic Kissane estimates banks owe over €1bn to wronged customers.

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