herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Hope for PTSB customers who lost homes as bank to consider giving them back

PTSB
PTSB

Permanent TSB is in possession of some of the homes lost by customers as a result of the bank's overcharging and could return the properties to their owners, the Herald has learned.

A total of 61 borrowers lost their properties after the bank wrongly forced them onto higher interest rate mortgages.

The bank is still in possession of a "small number" of the properties, a spokesman confirmed last night.

On Tuesday, PTSB, which is 75pc State-owned, announced a redress programme for 1,372 borrowers after a Central Bank probe revealed a series of failures that meant customers were wrongly blocked from availing of low-cost tracker mortgages.

The difference between a tracker rate and variable rate could be between €5,000 and €7,000-a-year. At least 22 people lost their houses as a direct result of the bank's failing.

A further 39 people also lost properties, although PTSB has not yet established whether its failures were a primary factor in this.

The bank is offering compensation of €50,000 to people who lost their homes, while buy-to-let investors are being offered €25,000. Of the 61 people who lost properties, 39 lost their residential properties while the rest were buy-to-let.

Where it is proved that people lost their properties as a direct result of PTSB's failures, the outstanding value of the property will be written off.

Settlements

Customers will be able to accept settlements from PTSB and still take a case either through an independent appeal panel or pursue legal action through the courts.

PTSB will shortlist the people who will make up the appeals panel for those who are unhappy with the settlements on offer, while the Central Bank will have the final say on who is appointed.

It has now emerged that some of those who lost their properties may be able to get them back.

A spokesman for PTSB said the bank is in possession of a "small number" of properties that were repossessed. He did not say whether the properties still in the bank's possession are rental or buy-to-let.

"Some [of the repossessed properties] are still in the possession of the bank. The bank would be willing to consider returning properties [but] it will fall on the basis of discussions with customers and we will explore all options," he said.

Financial results released to the markets yesterday show PTSB has set aside €119m to cover the costs of what it called "legacy legal and compliance issues".

The bulk is thought to relate to the costs of compensation, legal fees and potential fines.

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