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We don’t need a Central Bank report to tell us banks don’t put customers first – Doherty

18 July, 2018 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the leaked details of the Central Bank’s Report on the culture in Irish banking contain some positive points, but that the Irish people don’t need a report from the Central Bank to tell them that the banks have failed to put the interests of customers first and that the suggestions have already been publicly made by the Central Bank.

The Donegal TD added the report only strengthens the need for the government to actively support his Central Bank (Amendment) Bill which would impose penalties on bankers who lie to the Central Bank.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The details about the report contain some positive elements but these suggestions are already known to government because they formed the basis of the Central Bank’s submission to the Law Reform Commission on this issue. Central to this submission was the call for individuals to be held accountable for their actions. This is something I have long called for and have legislation awaiting a money message from government to progress. They should now release this message and allow the Bill to progress and pass. The Bill would impose jail time on bankers who lie to the Central Bank.

“I have consistently called for measures to bring individual accountability to the banking sector. Before the Dáil recess I again called on the government to bring forward a suite of measures such as setting up a dedicated unit within an existing criminal agency for investigation and prosecution to deal with white-collar crime and holding individuals responsible for actions by the bank under their watch even after they retire. These recommendations must be progressed on the back of this report.

“I believe for the thousands of families caught up in the tracker mortgages or in dispute with the banks over arrears or other issues the report’s finding that the banks have failed to put the consumer first will hardly be news. The cultural problems go deeper than any report can solve.  The tracker issue itself was a symptom of the poisonous culture but so too was the reaction and the still ongoing efforts of the banks to minimise the numbers affected and to adopt a combative approach to some groups of impacted families.

“I await the full report with interest but more importantly I await concrete legislative proposals that make individual accountability central in Irish law. This will challenge the government to overcome its ‘banks first’ policy and for once to adopt a ‘consumer first’ attitude.” 

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