Customer focus vow by Padraic Kissane on banking culture board

The official launch of the Irish Banking Culture Board in Dublin. Photo: Naoise Culhane.

The financial adviser credited as one of the architects in exposing the €1bn tracker mortgage scandal has insisted he “will not become a member of the club” when joining the newly established banking culture board.

Padraic Kissane was named on the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB), which is funded by the five main retail banks and aims to “promote an environment in which ethical behaviour is made inevitable; fair customer outcomes are achieved; and reputation for competence is rediscovered”.

The board was set up in the wake of the tracker scandal, which happened when almost 40,000 customers were wrongly put on more expensive loans by more than a dozen lenders.

Years after the scandal, there are still customers who have not yet received their redress and compensation, which has led to vociferous criticism from politicians and consumer advocates such as Mr Kissane.

More than 25,000 bank employees from AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB, and Ulster Bank were invited to participate in the employee culture survey, conducted by the UK Banking Standards Board on behalf of the new entity.

Critics have voiced concern that the board, which is chaired by retired judge John Hedigan, will not be independent as it is funded by the banks and includes a number of senior banking figures on the board, such as Ulster Bank chief executive Jane Howard.

However, Mr Kissane said he would not have joined if he felt the board could not have an impact in improving customer trust.

“If it’s an Irish banking culture board, consumers are central to it. I want to represent them to reflect what has happened (with the tracker mortgage scandal) because what I have seen in my office has been a disgrace.

“I was very impressed with the board’s chairman, who I feel is in it for all the right reasons.

“Of course there will be knockers, but it would have been easy to sit on the fence and criticise from there.

I’ve been challenging these matters for so long I literally see it as continuing that journey. Hopefully, we can assist in restoring some trust because at least customers will be better informed.

Mr Kissane said he would not be afraid to voice his disapproval if he felt the board was not working, and would “never be a member of the club”.

“If I was to go that route, I would have given up a lot earlier. Of course, there are concerns about the banks funding it, but the way I see it is that it is customers’ money that is actually paying for it. I’m certainly not all of a sudden in the club and intend to represent customers, not banks.”

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