Minister to meet banks on tracker mortgage scandal as new figures show Ireland has highest interest rates in EU

Update 12.15pm: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is to meet with top bankers tomorrow to discuss a redress scheme for the tracker mortgage scandal.

Mortgage lenders stand accused of defrauding up to 30,000 customers who were wrongly taken off trackers.

The Government wants to see those affected compensated by the banks before Christmas.

Financial adviser with Irish Mortgage Brokers and Advisors Karl Deeter says it may not be that straightforward.

Karl Deeter

"Where it becomes contentious is where you have people who would have had big impacts on their lives. So they would have lost homes, had mental health issues ... How you come to a figure to give them restitiution is quite tricky and not only that, the central bank aren't the ones who do that.

Some banks are being threatened with legal action to prevent them selling homes seized from victims of the tracker mortgage scandal.

The Sunday Independent reports the threats have been made by the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation after AIB offered to sell back the home they had repossessed from one tracker customer at market value.

Meanwhile, new figures suggest Irish customers are being charged the highest interest rates by banks in the eurozone.

According to the Sunday Independent the figures, from the European Central Bank, show that Irish banks are up to three times more profitable than their Eurozone counterparts.

The figures show that home borrowers here are charged an average interest rate of 3.2% compared to the eurozone average of 1.9%, while businesses are charged a 5.1% rate compared to the average of 2.3% elsewhere.

Earlier: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he expects to see the people who were wrongly taken off tracker mortgages compensated by the banks before Christmas.

Leo Varadkar was speaking ahead of Minister Paschal Donohoe calling in the top bankers next Monday and Wednesday.

Up to 30,000 people may have been defrauded and the Taoiseach said that new taxes will be put on the banks if they fail to deal with the issue.

"Well I think we need to see what happens next week," he said.

"As you know, Mr Donohoe is going to meet with the heads of the banks during the week, and he's going to speak to them and demand from them further action

"98% of people who wrongfully had their trackers taken off them have had them restored, but less than half of people have been compensated, and that's not good enough."

KEYWORDS: tracker, mortgage


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