Government has 'lost patience' with banks, says Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government will beef up powers to the Central Bank to punish the banks who wrongfully took customers off their tracker mortgages, writes Daniel McConnell.

The Government has “lost patience” with banks who moved customers off their tracker mortgages and have failed to compensate them.

Agreeing with what was described as a “gross act of betrayal” by Labour leader Brendan Howlin, Mr Varadkar said Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is to meet with the banks' CEOs next week to “admonish them”.

The Taoiseach said the behaviour of the banks in relation to their customers has been scandalous, saying it is the view of the Government that the banks have dragged their feet and that Goverment has lost patience.

He was speaking after the Central Bank said around 13,000 accounts have been impacted by the tracker mortgage scandal - an increase of 3,100 compared to the financial regulator's last report in March.

Tracker mortgages are set at a fixed percentage or 'margin' above the European Central Bank rate.

Mr Varadkar said: “We do need a clear timeline for redress and compensation. Banks who have been found wanting are likely to be named by end of October. Redress must happen by end of this year or banks will face sanction,” he said.

Also at Leaders' Questions, Mr Varadkar denied he misled the Dáil in comments he made about Sinn Féin's health policies and also in comments he made in an Irish Examiner interview about Northern Ireland.

He rounded on Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams who he called the “great misleader in Irish politics”.

Mr Adams was also rounded on when he suggested that the €30 reduction in pensions for thousands of women and men would buy a bottle of wine.

Mr Varadkar sharply responded by saying: “That is some bottle of wine that costs €30”.

KEYWORDS: mortgage, tracker


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