BOI Fined Record €100.5m for Tracker Mortgage FailuresOctober 2022
On 27th September 2022, the Central Bank of Ireland (“Central Bank”) reprimanded and fined The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland (“BOI”) €100,520,000 pursuant to its Administrative Sanctions Procedure for a series of significant and long-running failings in respect of almost 16,000 tracker mortgage customer accounts which were impacted between August 2004 and June 2022.
This is the largest fine imposed to date by the Central Bank and is in addition to the more than €186.4m BOI has already paid to impacted customers identified prior to and as part of the Central Bank’s Tracker Mortgage Examination.
BOI admitted in full to 81 separate regulatory breaches.
The Central Bank’s investigation found that BOI failed in its obligations towards its customers under the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations, 1995, the Code of Practice for Credit Institutions, 2001 and the Consumer Protection Codes 2006 and 2012.
BOI’s failures resulted in the loss of 50 properties, including 25 family homes, which the Central Bank believed would have been avoided if BOI had complied with the most basic and fundamental of its consumer protection obligations.
The main findings from the Central Bank’s investigation were that BOI:
- Provided unclear contractual documents to its tracker customers,
- Failed to interpret its unclear contractual documents in customers’ best interests,
- Failed to warn customers about the consequences of decisions relating to their mortgage,
- Implemented an unfair complaints-handling practice for customers, returning them to a tracker rate only when they queried or complained about their mortgage rate,
- Had deficient mortgage systems and controls which contributed to a significant number of operational errors,
- Wrongfully excluded customers from the protections of the Central Bank’s examination of tracker mortgages, including them only after significant challenge by the Central Bank.
BOI is the last of the main retail banks to receive a penalty and reprimand after they denied tracker rates to their customers who were entitled to them when the financial crisis began over a decade ago, or put them on the wrong rates, because the products were starting to cost the lenders money.
Each investigation was concluded by way of settlement, with historic levels of fines imposed on lenders on foot of the Central Bank’s findings, as follows:
- May 2019 PTSB €21m
- September 2020 KBC €18.3m
- March 2021 Ulster Bank €37.7m
- June 2022 AIB €83.3m
To read the Central Bank’s Enforcement Notice against BOI, please go to the following link: Public statement relating to Enforcement Action against the Governor and company of the Bank of Ireland