Enforcement Action: Ulster Bank Ireland DACMay 2021
The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) fined Ulster Bank Ireland DAC €37,774,520 for regulatory breaches that affected tracker mortgage customers.
There were 49 separate regulatory breaches of the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995, Code of Practice for Credit Institutions 2001, the Consumer Protection Code 2006, and the Consumer Protection Code 2012.
The CBI highlighted specific failings as below:
- Failing to disclose to impacted tracker customers all the consequences of fixing their interest rates,
- Devising and implementing a deliberate strategy not to provide certain customers with their correct tracker mortgage entitlement unless they complained,
- Failing to adequately implement the TME’s Stop the Harm principles to protect all potentially impacted tracker customers from further detriment,
- Failing to ensure that its operational systems and controls were sufficient to ensure that its customers were provided with their correct tracker mortgage entitlements.
Seána Cunningham, Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering at the CBI stated “At the heart of this enforcement action is the avoidable harm caused by UBID to its tracker customers. Over an extensive period, UBID denied customers their tracker mortgage entitlements in relation to 5,940 mortgage accounts, resulting in significant and widespread overcharging.
At the most serious end of the detriment caused to UBID’s customers, 43 properties were lost, 29 of which were family homes, as a direct consequence of UBID’s actions.”
The Settlement Agreement notice is lengthy, and the CBI highlighted a number of aggravating factors in the case – very notable is Ulster Bank Ireland DAC has been subject to 4 previous Enforcement Actions.