Hundreds of AIB customers awoke to a welcome surprise yesterday after discovering thousands of euros had been suddenly wiped from their mortgage debts.
AIB announced in April an extra cohort of 5,900 tracker mortgage holders were to receive redress and compensation, after a ruling from the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) that they should have had the option to switch to a prevailing tracker rate after the end of their fixed rates.
The bank had said publicly in April the affected customers would be informed by letter in July and August as to what was to happen to their mortgage accounts.
Instead, mortgage holders began to flock to consumer advocacy website Askaboutmoney.com to express surprise that money from AIB was put into their accounts, but little idea as to why
Few if any had received the letter promised by AIB before 12% off their mortgage debt was reduced, the website users said and would have been baffled without seeing Askaboutmoney.com.
Askaboutmoney founder Brendan Burgess, who for years argued on behalf of the affected AIB customers, said it was yet another example of banks not caring about its customers.
“It is outrageous. Think about those who didn’t see the Askaboutmoney online forum thread - how confused and shocked they must be, wondering if yet another mistake has been made.
"It’s farcical. It really annoys me that banks haven’t learned lessons from the tracker scandal. You can talk about banking culture boards all you want, and sit around tables arguing how culture should be, when all people are asking is to be treated with respect as customers.”
In a statement, AIB said the bank has previously communicated that customers who are in the FSPO grouping will receive a balance adjustment, a cheque for the interest refund and a letter in July or August.
“This follows work on a case by case basis by the bank. The bank has begun applying the balance adjustments, and they will continue to be applied across this month and next.
"Once these actions are completed these customers will receive written confirmation of the balance adjustment made on their account and a cheque for the interest refund due."