Fianna Fáil has called for punitive action as it emerges that over 10,000 mortgage customers were wrongly denied tracker mortgages.
The party’s Finance spokesman Michael McGrath has accused Irish banks of “wilful abuse” of the law in their dealings with customers in the escalating tracker mortgage scandal.
Bank of Ireland has identified a further 602 mortgage customers wrongly denied a tracker rate and 3,916 tracker customers who were overcharged. Several other banks have already confirmed they wrongly denied thousands of customers a tracker mortgage.
McGrath said the figures of mortgage holders wrongly denied a track mortgage could be “well north of 10,000″.
Yesterday Bank of Ireland confirmed it overcharged almost 4,000 mortgage holders.
Reports suggest the final bill for the banks and other lenders could run to over €1 billion (£84 million).
“It has become increasingly clear that the practice of denying mortgage customers their contractual right to a tracker interest rate was systemic and widespread across the banking industry,” he said in a statement.
This practice has changed the lives of thousands of families for the worse and some families have lost their homes.
“While the full picture is still only emerging, it is now distinctly possible that well north of 10,000 mortgage holders were wrongly denied a tracker mortgage rate with thousands of others being overcharged on their tracker rate.
It is not credible to argue that this was anything other than a wilful abuse of the contractual rights of customers by the main lenders in Ireland.
He added that the Central Bank has to “lay down a firm marker” once and for all by implementing “punitive” sanctions.
Philip Lane, the governor of the Central Bank, appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee on Tuesday.
McGrath has also called on the Central Bank to find out who knew about the overcharging practices at board and senior executive level in the country’s banks.