Longford Leader's Mattie Fox: Tracker mortgages scandal - banks shouldn’t be allowed to delay payments

Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

Paschal Donohoe is probably a very decent man, with genuine good intentions with the various banks, which he “admonished” and “made very clear” and “left them in no doubt” as to his intentions in respect of their behaviour.

I fear Paschal, like many in government and particularly the cabinet, is much too rich, independent, and self supporting to have any real idea of the realities of the behaviour of the same banks.

Only those who have been affected by the tracker mortgages scandal, could truly know what it feels like to be dreading the next call from the bank manager, or staff member, or indeed some who are even known as “exterminators”, within their own ranks.

The banks practise very psychological tricks....early calls in the morning, notes to advise the customer of the state of their finances, calling customers to meetings......the list is long and very inventive.

I doubt very much if anyone in banking land is exactly fearful.

As I write this, many banks are discussing their options, and preparing to gear up and lawyer up, to find ways to diminish their payouts.

One banking man (not local) told me he feels very bad for customers, but he, like others who are placed down the food chain, are afraid to speak out. Silence is golden, if you work in the Bank. Any bank. Indeed it could be said that silence is critical.

I recall once having a meeting in The Ulster Bank Building on the Quays, where we had lunch. It was a very civil meeting and had nothing to do with any funding issue, but one can see first hand how the banks deal with certain customers who might increase their income.

Lunch was, let’s say, quite lavish.

As the saying goes, “no expense spared”.

Anyway, I wonder what will happen if banks decide to charge the customers the cost of the payout?

By levying extra charges, the banks will recoup the cost of the cheating quite easily. Will Paschal stop that happening?

And what’s going to be done with those families (plural) who suffered suicide because of the banks behaviour? Many people were driven to the final option, by the incessant behaviour of the banks.

Are these people going to be allowed walk free?

No bank must be allowed recoup the cost of their overcharging, back to customers.

Nor should banks be allowed delay their payments. They’ve only repeated what we all knew when speaking to Paschal.

The Ulster Bank had already indicated that it wouldn’t be “able” to start dealing with tracker mortgages until mid 2018 .

Paschal came out of his meeting repeating what we already knew.

What he didn’t say, was that many banks are still obstructing, and openly reluctant, to pay anything to those removed from tracker mortgages.

Meanwhile the Central Bank behaves like a little lapdog.

Sheepish, cautious, in awe of the bankers, and meek beyond belief.

These are the people who are supposed to watch the banking system.

If this is watching, then they should all be sacked immediately.

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