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We need to see personal accountability from banks - Howlin

26 October 2017

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD, has said we need to see personal accountability from the banks in light of the tracker mortgage scandal.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Just a few short years ago the banks brought our country to its knees with reckless lending. Now we have yet another scandal. The banks are now in a place where they are posting billions of euro in profits, yet they have systematically defrauded tens of thousands of customers.

“More than two years have passed since the Central Bank began its investigation into the tracker mortgage scandal. Since then 20,000 customers have definitely been impacted with 23 families having their homes repossessed and a further 79 families dragged through the courts for repossession of buy-to-let properties.

“What perhaps is the most shocking is that after hearing from the Taoiseach and other members of Government that the Minister for Finance was going to go tough on the banks, we still have not heard from the Minister what sanctions these banks might face. Instead the Minister has commissioned the Central Bank to go off and write another report. This simply is not good enough.

“Under the 2013 Act, the Central Bank has the power to direct banks to pay redress.  Therefore, it should be doing so now for all post-2013 cases.  The Central Bank also must set out a speedy system of external oversight to identify any customer not yet to have been defrauded.  

“It seems clear to anyone watching that this was cartel-like behaviour, with each of the banks perpetrating the same fraud.  It is simply not good enough to be told that the Central Bank is liaising with or had meetings with the Garda.  We have to see some personal accountability.  In this country, individuals - real people - as well as systems and culture must be held to account.  

“It will not be good enough to reach the end of this latest banking scandal and say that everyone has received compensation so business should return to normal.  The people have endured too much for this case to close in that manner.”