Hammer must fall on culture of impunity in banking

Ged Nash TD
25 March 2021
  • 12 years on and not a single individual have been made accountable their role in the Tracker Mortgage Scandal
  • Unacceptable three year delay by Minister for Finance in introducing Senior Executive Accountability Regime for bankers
  • €38 million fine for Ulster Bank will not undo damage to countless lives

In response to the imposition of a €38 million fine imposed on Ulster Bank by the Central Bank of Ireland arising from the tracker mortgage investigation, Ged Nash TD, Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said:

It is now twelve years since the tracker mortgage scandal first came to public attention, which has now cost the banks close to €1.5 billion.

“However, it is impossible to calculate the harm done to the lives, family relationships and finances of the 40,000 bank customers who were deceived by their lenders and moved off the tracker rates they were entitled to be on.  We must never forget the victims of this scandal, and especially the 100 families who had their homes wrongly repossessed because of the actions of the banks.

“This damning Central Bank investigation found that Ulster Bank devised and implemented a “deliberate strategy not to provide certain customers with their correct tracker mortgage entitlement unless they complained”. This speaks volumes about the culture of impunity and misconduct which was at play here. And even after they were caught, Ulster Bank dragged its heels in the investigation, by failing to comply with a statutory deadlines for providing information to the Central Bank.

“This is a multi-layered scandal and the fact that not a single senior decision maker has been held to account in any of the banks involved is a shameful indictment of our political system. That the Minister for Finance is dragging his heels for three years now on implementing a new system to hold senior bank officials to account, in the face of a Central Bank recommendation to do so, is completely unacceptable.

“The tracker mortgage affair and the Davy scandal brings into stark relief the fact that a culture of impunity is alive and well at the top of financial services in Ireland. Firms do not make decisions. People do. We have waited far too long for a robust legal regime to hold high-rollers to account for their destructive actions. Only through holding individuals fully accountable can we weed out this culture of impunity that still exists at the top of financial circles in Ireland.

“The Minister for Finance must stop being a commentator on these issues and fast-track the long promised Senior Executive Accountability Regime draft law and bring it before the Oireachtas as a matter of urgency.

“This is the only way in which the destructive culture at the top of banking can be tempered.” 

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