Article by Richard Curran
There is a somewhat bizarre process in train in relation to putting all of this right. It is bizarre because it is led by the banks themselves with the oversight of the Central Bank. For example, when a bank decides by the end of this month that certain people are not going to be included, the Central Bank will hire accountants, probably from the big auditing firms, to go in and conduct spot checks of why some accounts were included and others were not.
If you are in that position and one of these hired bean counters misses your case, then it isn't at all clear what you can do about it. In many cases the statute of limitations will have run out and court will not be an option, unless you have been selected as a qualifying case.
Who exactly is the consumer advocate in the process? The Central Bank will argue that it represents the customer but it oversees this whole process on a macro level, not on a case-by-case level.
The Central Bank documentation on the investigations says Phase II requires "lenders to conduct the review of their mortgage loan books in line with our framework ... Lenders must review the underlying loan documentation and customer files for the in-scope accounts to determine their specific contractual obligations ..." So the banks decide who is in and who is out, with a follow-up audit afterwards. What are the penalties for a particular bank if it is found afterwards that a very large number of cases should have been included? Is it a fine or a rap on the knuckles?
The process is also a little bizarre because the perpetrators of this travesty are the ones checking through their own accounts to see who should be included. Thousands of people who have been put through the ringer by the greed of their financial institution have no idea whether they are being included or not and will have to wait until the end of this month to find out for definite