Bank of Ireland fined €100.5m over handling of tracker mortgages

Bank of Ireland fined €100.5m over handling of tracker mortgages

BANK OF Ireland has been fined €100.5m (£89m) over its handling of tracker mortgages in Ireland - the largest fine ever issued by the Central Bank.

An investigation found the bank failed to provide clear contracts to customers or warn them about the consequences of decisions about their mortgages.

It found Bank of Ireland's actions resulted in the loss of 50 properties, half of which were family homes.

The regulator found 15,910 accounts belonging to tracker mortgage customers had been affected between August 2004 and June 2022.

Tracker mortgages became popular in Ireland during the economic boom years.

They saw the interest rate fixed at a certain level above the European Central Bank (ECB) base rate, often for the lifetime of the mortgage.

Many homeowners gambled that the ECB would keep rates low, but it resulted in many banks losing money as the interest charged was lower than their cost of funding.

Bank of Ireland has admitted to 81 separate regulatory breaches, RTÉ reported on Thursday.

Gavin Kelly, the bank's chief executive, said it apologised "to all customers harmed by the tracker mortgage issue".

"The impacts were significant and wide reaching, up to and including loss of homes in the most serious of cases," he continued.

"Banking is based on trust, but our failures damaged that trust."

Other main retail banks have also been fined, including AIB and its subsidiary EBC, which were fined €96.7m in June for consumer protection breaches.

In 2021, Ulster Bank was fined €37.8m, KBC Bank Ireland €18.3m and Permanent TSB €21m, the first to be fined in relation to the tracker issue in June 2019.