The total number of people affected by the tracker mortgage scandal will not go far beyond 30,000, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Mr Donohoe is to update the Cabinet this morning as to the progress being made in delivering justice for those wrongfully targeted by the country’s main banks for moving off their low tracker mortgage rates.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Donohoe said he does not expect a report from the Central Bank this week to highlight any more cases beyond the 30,000.
“I expect that the figure relating to the numbers involved to be approximately 30,000,” he said.
“No, I am not expecting any significant jumps on that figure.”
Mr Donohoe is to meet with Central Bank governor Philip Lane tomorrow to discuss moves by the banks to offer restitution and compensation to those involved.
He warned that should they be found wanting, then they will face sanctions in the new year.
“The seriousness of this issue is now very well understood across all of the banks,” he said. “They are now all further engaged since my intervention and that of the central bank and that will be reflected in the report later this week.”
Mr Donohoe made clear his displeasure that the tracker mortgage scandal took place at all.
“All that being said, though, while I might recognise improved engagement from a number of banks, this issue should never have happened in the first place,” he added.
“This should never have happened. There are two behaviours which I believe were not acceptable.
“Number one is what happened and how it developed; although it happened many years ago, the effects of it have been felt for many years after that.
“Number two was the length of time involved in identifying cases and their resolution and I continue to say that the issue developed in the first place was unacceptable.”
Asked about his willingness to use the stick of sanctions to force their hand, Mr Donohoe said the option to punish the banks is still there.
“The stick still stands. Yes, it does. All of that is still there,” he said.
“What I want to see happen is that all those people who have been identified to see restitution coming to them, and to be clear as to how they will be compensated and the options open to them if they are not satisfied with the terms of compensation offered to them.
“This to identify as to whether there are any further cases of citizens who need to be recognised in terms of dealing with the tracker mortgage issue, to finally resolve what those numbers are going to be. And that is one of key things the report will do this week.”