24 September 2020
By Elaine Murphy
“KBC’s unconscionable conduct highlights a need for accountability in banking” – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, TD for Cork South-Central, today reacting to news that KBC Bank has been handed down a €18.3 million fine by the Central Bank, for grave breaches which damaged over 3,700 tracker mortgage customers.
“During the recession, mortgage holders in Cork, and elsewhere, were badly let down by banks. Many underwent huge sacrifices to keep homes, many suffered severe hardship, and others lost their homes.
“KBC’s actions have damaged the lives of thousands of its customers. They took tracker mortgage customers off their tracker rates, and failed to comply with the Central Bank’s Tracker Mortgage Examination, among other grave regulatory breaches.
“Even during the Tracker Mortgage Examination, KBC failed to comply with the Central Bank’s ‘Stop the Harm Principles’. They failed to stop charging higher, incorrect rates of interest, and failed to stop repossessions as a result of their malpractice.
“The breaches have affected over 3,700 borrowers, leading to the loss of 66 properties and 11 family homes. KBC have two branches in Cork, and Cork people have undoubtedly been affected.
“And it is not just KBC. Clearly, these despicable acts show that the rot at the heart of the Irish banking sector generally has not gone away. Whilst KBC have been forced to pay €153 million that it wrongfully took from these customers, this is only a fraction of a total of €1 billion that Irish banks have been forced to pay back, that they wrongfully took from their customers.
“These fines are welcomed, as a chance to right the wrongs done to innocent people across the country. But fines are not enough. What we need now is accountability.
“For years, Sinn Féin have been calling for legislation that would ensure individual accountability at senior levels in our banks. The Central Bank have also echoed these calls.
“The government are yet to bring this legislation forward. They must do so now as a matter of urgency – too much is at stake for there to be any further delay.”