Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Tracker scandal continues as 1,250 complaints are lodged with Financial Ombudsman – Pearse Doherty TD

26 February, 2019 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said figures provided to him show that 1,250 complaints have been made to the Financial Services and Pension Ombudsman (FSPO) related to the tracker scandal.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said:

“Despite the banks telling us that there is a return to normality and that the scandal is over the fact is that there are over a thousand people who have made a complaint to the FSPO. Of these, 645 are under investigation, while the other half are presumably still under consideration by the banks’ own appeals processes or the Central Bank has not concluded its work on their issues.

“Sinn Féin has always been of the view that the banks are doing their best to minimise the amount of compensation they have to pay out and these figures confirm this.

“These complaints, in the main, relate to two issues. The first is that many of the complainants are being treated as if they have not been impacted by this scandal and the second is that those who have been through the process are not happy with the level of compensation.

“The fact that so many people are still in the process of seeking compensation, and have had to resort to complaining to the Ombudsman is a scandal in itself, particularly after all the years of campaigning on this issue.

“However, this is not surprising given the failure of this government to hold these banks to account.”

ENDS

Relevant PQs and reply from Minister for Finance follows:

 For Written Answer on : 21/02/2019
Question Number(s)70,76 Question Reference(s): 8788/19, 8872/19
Department: Finance
Asked by: Pearse Doherty T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION



* To ask the Minister for Finance the number of requests for oral hearings received by each independent appeals panel in relation to the tracker mortgage scandal; the number granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Pearse Doherty T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 21 February, 2019.

* To ask the Minister for Finance if the Financial Services and Pension Ombudsman is now investigating all tracker complaints received by him; the number he has received; the number under investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Pearse Doherty T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 21 February, 2019.

REPLY

The Central Bank of Ireland Tracker Mortgage Examination requires mortgage lenders to conduct an examination of all tracker mortgage related issues and to provide appropriate redress and compensation to customers which were impacted by contractual or consumer protection failings by their lender.  A key objective of the Examination is to ensure the fair treatment of all tracker mortgage customers and as part of this, under the Examination Framework, lenders were required to provide for an appeals process and to set up appeals panels to adjudicate on complaints made by impacted customers regarding all elements of the redress and compensation offers made to them by the lenders.  

The Central Bank guidelines for the establishment and operation of the tracker examination appeals process in relation to oral hearings provides that:- 

-          oral hearings will be held where warranted in the circumstances of an appeal and that an oral hearing can be requested by any party to an appeal; 

-          appeals panels have the sole discretion to decide whether to hold an oral hearing and may decide to hold an oral hearing on their own motion where warranted;

-          where a request for an oral hearing is refused, the Independent Secretariat to the appeals panel must communicate the reasons for the refusal to the customers making an appeal;  

-          oral hearings should be limited to hearing evidence from relevant witnesses and that requests to admit evidence from other witnesses will be considered on a case by case basis; 

-          oral hearings will be held in private and conducted in an informal manner and the appeals panels shall have regard to the legal principles which a Court would apply when conducting oral hearings. 

The composition and other requirements for the appeals panels are also set out in the Central Bank examination framework requirements and the appeals panels operate independently of the Central Bank.  The Central Bank advises that it does not have data regarding requests for oral hearings submitted to the appeals panels as part of the tracker examination appeals process.  However, in its most recent update on the progress of the tracker examination which was published on 4 February, the Bank noted that that the independent appeals panels are operational in all relevant lenders and that it is monitoring the progress and outcomes from the appeals.  The Central Bank also indicated that it would provide further details on appeals progress and outcomes when it publishes the final report as the appeals process will then be further advanced in all lenders.    

Regarding the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO), the FSPO considered that the most effective and efficient way to provide redress and compensation to borrowers who have been wrongly denied tracker mortgages or the correct interest rate was for the lenders to co-operate fully with the Central Bank Tracker Examination. Therefore, whilst the Central Bank Examination was underway individual tracker mortgage-related complaints were placed "on hold" by the FSPO pending confirmation that the Examination had concluded in respect of those complainants.  

In July 2018, a decision was taken by the FSPO to begin to take and advance complaints that could be progressed.  Tracker complaints which have completed the financial provider’s internal dispute resolution process and where they have availed of the tracker framework independent appeals process if open to them are now being progressed, as are complaints which have been confirmed by the provider as not being impacted by the tracker examination. However, those tracker related complaints which have not yet reached these stages remain "on hold" by the FSPO.  

As at 20 February 2019, the FSPO advised that there are 1,250 complaints on hand that are linked to the tracker mortgage issue, of which 645 are under active investigation.

Connect with Sinn Féin