15 lose their homes over bank's botch mortgage; Lender illegally axed tracker deal.
Byline: SAOIRSE McGARRIGLE
A TOTAL of 15 Ulster Bank customers lost their homes after the lender illegally took their tracker mortgages off them.
The holders were forced to hand back their keys as they couldn't keep up crippling repayments.
But it has now emerged they should never have been asked to cough up that much in the first place.
The scandal was uncovered last year and it was originally thought 2,000 customers were unlawfully taken off tracker mortgages and put on to higher interest rate options.
But a Central Bank report has now revealed the actual number is 3,500.
Ulster Bank boss Gary Mallon was grilled on the fiasco at yesterday's Oireachtas Finance Committee.
He said: "We have not concluded the process of establishing the number of customers for who the actions of the bank caused the loss of their homes."
An initial goodwill payment of [euro]50,000 has made to those who had properties repossessed.
Committee chairman John McGuinness told the Irish Mirror the crisis has pushed many hardpressed families over the edge.
The Fianna Fail TD said: "I know of one family who have three children and two of them have Asperger's syndrome and communication issues.
"She said they have often gone without food and without heating just to pay their mortgage. These children are genuinely suffering."
This family is owed [euro]30,000 by the bank after being forced to make overpayments for years.
The chief executive revealed a customer redress scheme is being put in place and [euro]206million has been put aside.
Fianna Fail Finance spokesman Michael McGrath slated the bank for dragging its heels.
He said: "They need to set out a clear deadline for the repayment to customers of overcharged interest and the payment of compensation."
Mr Mallon told the committee: "The process will take a number of months and will run well into 2018."
IRISH MIRROR COMMENT: PAGE 10
They need to set out a deadline for the repayments to customers MICHAEL MCGRATH FINANCE COMMITTEE [euro]50k Goodwill payment made to customers who lost their homes
UNDER FIRE Ulster Bank