TAKE BANK CONTROL; TRACKER MORTGAGE ROW: INVESTIGATION WRAPS UP; TD Calls for Banks to Be Held to Account; Finance Chairman: Customers Robbed; McGuinness Says Families 'Persecuted' a to to Are

The Mirror (London, England), July 18, 2019 | Go to article overview

TAKE BANK CONTROL; TRACKER MORTGAGE ROW: INVESTIGATION WRAPS UP; TD Calls for Banks to Be Held to Account; Finance Chairman: Customers Robbed; McGuinness Says Families 'Persecuted' a to to Are


Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

A TOP TD yesterday called for banks to be "controlled" over the tracker mortgage scandal that saw 99 families lose their homes.

Finance Committee Chairman John McGuinness also claimed banks robbed their customers and refused to change.

This week the Central Bank announced it was finishing its investigation into the scandal that affected more than 40,000 customers and forced financial institutions to repay [euro]683million - with the final bill estimated at [euro]1.1billion.

But Deputy McGuinness said at least 10,000 account holders were effectively abandoned by the Central Bank.

He also demanded the institutions and those involved in what was fraud on an industrial scale be held to account.

He added: "The banks must own up to their wrongdoing. This is not a case of people getting money from the banks for nothing. They're getting their own money back from the bank - money that has been robbed from them over the years.

"When we look at the devastation that has been caused - 99 homes lost, 216 buy-to-lets, they're 216 homes, that's 315 families or individuals and we have to ask ourselves as a government, as an oireachtas, do we allow the banks to dictate to the Central Bank and to continue on the wrongdoing that has gone on since the banking collapse or do we stamp our authority on the banks and insist that they put the country and the customer first and foremost and deal with all of the outstanding issues?"

Mr McGuinness told RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke that many of the unresolved cases families have been persecuted by the banks for over a decade and are now being abandoned.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD added: "In those cases, and I know some of them, there are families that have been deprived of 10 years of their lives dealing with the Irish banks.

"The banks must be controlled." He called for more powers for the Central Bank to ensure it can sanction the banks.

The veteran Fianna Fail TD also contradicted claims by former Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes - now chief executive of the Banking and Payments Federation - that "bank bashing" is the new "groupthink" in this country.

He said: "It's not groupthink, it's an expression of the frustration that ordinary people have in this country.

"If anything, all of the bank bashing if you want to call it that that has gone on, has not resulted in the type of transparency and accountability that is required from the banking sector.

"Brian Hayes and others should remember that the main shareholder in those banks is the Irish taxpayer. We have to ask what type of banking system do we want? …

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