Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Department of Finance
Tracker Mortgage Examination
179. To ask the Minister for Finance the engagement he has had with a bank (details supplied) regarding 6,000 customers who were denied a tracker mortgage despite a contractual right to one; if he will intervene and extend and-or abolish an imposed deadline for appeals in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12813/19]
In its capacity as independent regulator of regulated financial service providers and in line with its mandate to ensure that the best interests of consumers are protected, the Central Bank of Ireland launched an industry wide examination of tracker mortgage related issues. Under this Tracker Examination, lenders were required to conduct a complete review of their mortgage loan books to assess compliance with both contractual and regulatory requirements relating to tracker mortgages and to provide appropriate redress and compensation to customers which were negatively impacted by failings of their lender. The Government fully supports the Central Bank Tracker Examination and it is a matter for all banks to engage with and carry out their individual examinations in accordance with the requirements of the independent regulator.
The Central Bank's Tracker Mortgage Examination Framework also requires lenders to set up an independent appeals process to deal with affected customers who are dissatisfied with any aspect of the redress and compensation offer they receive from lenders. The Central Bank advises that the group of customers referred to by the Deputy have the right if they so wish to avail of this appeals process. The Tracker Framework also provides that affected customers can accept the offer of redress and compensation from their lender and that if they are unhappy with any aspect of their redress and compensation offer they can still appeal. The Tracker Examination framework documentation indicates that that the Central Bank expects that impacted customers will be afforded a reasonable period of time (eg a minimum of twelve months) following receipt of the redress and compensation offer to bring any such appeal and it also indicates that individual Appeals Panels have the power to extend the time for the bringing of appeals where the individual circumstances of appeals warrant such an extension.
It is also the position that any customer who is still unhappy with the position following the outcome of the Tracker Examination appeals process still retains the right to bring a complaint to the statutory Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) and/or to initiate Court proceedings within a reasonable period of time from the date of the communication of the determination of the Tracker Examination Appeals Panel. The FSPO has advised that complaints which have availed of the Tracker Framework independent appeals process, or where the lender has confirmed that the customer is not deemed to be impacted by the Examination, are now being progressed by that Office.