Key Post Did you lose your tracker when fixing your mortgage or breaking out of a fixed rate?

Discussion in 'Issues with tracker mortgages' started by Brendan Burgess, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    This is a quick summary of the issues relating to switching from fixed rates to trackers and a list of threads on the topic.

    I will format it better later.

    You may be contractually entitled to a tracker at the end of your fixed rate period
    Check your mortgage agreement or the agreement when you changed to a fixed. You may be entitled to a tracker. Bank of Scotland contracts had a price promise, that the rate would not be in excess of 1.5% over the ECB rate. PTSB guaranteed a tracker but not the rate and are now charging such people ECB + 4%

    If you were not offered a tracker to which you were entitled, insist on getting one now
    was not told she was entitled to a tracker. She later fixed again for three years. The bank tried to insist that she was obliged to stay on her fixed rate for the three years. She argued her case and won.

    If the document changing to the fixed rate did not specifically say that you would lose the tracker, you have a good case.
    The Financial Services Ombudsman ruled in one case that the lender must give a tracker at the end of the fixed period, if the documentation did not specify otherwise.

    If the lender did not explain the implications of switching from a tracker to a fixed rate, you may have a case
    Most switches from a tracker to a fixed rate did not give a right to return to a tracker. However, if the bank proactively encouraged you to switch without telling you the implications, you may have a case. Complain to the lender and go to the Ombudsman if you don’t get satisfaction.

    If you were given a “free” break from an expensive fixed rate, you may have a case
    Some people were delighted to be allowed to get out of their fixed rates free of charge. They did not realise that, by doing so, they lost their right to revert to a tracker. Worth going to the Ombudsman over.

    If you were encouraged off your tracker as part of an arrears arrangement, you have a case
    If the lender switched you off your tracker as part of a deal on arrears, you have a case.

    Financial Regulator says Mortgage Lenders must act in best interests of consumers October 2008
    Financial Regulator says that customers should be informed of implications of switching - August 2010
    March 2013 Central Bank writes to lenders warning them about breaking tracker terms

    Ombudsman handling 40 complaints about entitlement to trackers

    Bank of Ireland
    Bank of Ireland/ICS puts 2,096 customers back on trackers after their fixed rate expired

    Success! I got my tracker back from ICS user: wednesday

    Bank mistake – I should have been offered a tracker (Bank of Ireland)

    Ulster Bank/First Active

    Case study of getting tracker back from Ulster Bank Karolina77

    • Didn't give her option of tracker on expiry of fixed
    • UB claimed she had forfeited option by fixing again
    • Offered her a tracker for one year to settle claim
    • Went to Ombudsman
    • UB settled directly without waiting for Ombudsman decision

    UB refused tracker after fixed rate period -Ombudsman gave it back to me (PeteB) Brilliant, detailed account of complaint and interaction with the Ombudsman.

    First Active tried to get me off my tracker with attractive fixed rates November 2008

    Success! Ulster reinstated our tracker mortgage after fixed period (Ladylouth)

    • Form to fix, said "you will revert to home loan rate"
    • UB claimed this was obviously the SVR
    • Lady Louth claimed this was too vague
    • Settled without going to Ombudsman

    Fixed rate expired in 2009, should have been offered tracker
    PTSB says 300 customers should have been offered trackers
    PTSB not offering tracker per contract – case study
    PTSB effects of breaking a fixed rate mortgage?
    PTSB allowed me free switch out of a fixed rate mortgage. I have lost my tracker.
    Ombudsman upholds complaint but PTSB appeals to the High Court successfully

    Will PTSB offer me a tracker coming off a fixed rate?

    PTSB Has anyone coming off a fixed rate with PTSB been offered a tracker?
    As of Feb 2011, being offered ECB + 4%


    Success! Ombudsman orders AIB to restore tracker after fixed period (Harvest Moon) AIB argued that it no longer offered trackers

    Success! Ombudsman orders AIB to restore my tracker (Jacky) Another example of AIB argued that it no longer offered trackers

    Success! Ombudsman told AIB to give me my tracker back after fixing.(Florida 23) A third example of this!

    Ombudsman rejects complaint - I fixed again, because I believed AIB that they no longer offered trackers

    Ombudsman rejected my complaint against KBC
    Lost my tracker when switching to fixed – not informed by KBC of implications
    KBC denies exploiting customers in arrears Irish Independent March 2009

    Options after fixed ends are confusing

    Agreed a tracker, but mortgage contract says SVR
    Agreed a tracker but mortgage contract says SVR – Example 2

    Any chance of banks wriggling out of trackers?

    Fixed my rate in 2007, now bank won’t allow me revert to tracker

    Bank says fixed rate will move to tracker. Mortgage agreement says otherwise
    Bank won’t honour tracker

    Switched from a fixed rate – lost my tracker

    PTSB told me I wasn't entitled to a tracker, so switched to another lender. Ombudsman upholds my complaint
  2. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Mortgage Lenders Must Act in Best Interest of Consumers

    Press Release 22 October 2008

    The Consumer Director of the Financial Regulator, Mary O’Dea today warned that mortgage lenders must act in the best interests of their customers when providing advice on switching tracker mortgages to fixed or variable rate mortgages.
    Reminding mortgage lenders of their obligations Mary O’Dea said “Mortgage lenders must make sure that they understand each consumer’s individual needs and circumstances before recommending that any consumer switches from his or her current mortgage. Lenders must be able to demonstrate compliance with the statutory Consumer Protection Code. In particular any recommendation must be in the consumer’s best interests and they must recommend a mortgage that is more suitable for the individual consumer than the tracker mortgage. Lenders should fully disclose the short, medium and long-term effects of switching to each consumer.”
    She stated that “lenders must be in a position to demonstrate how they have concluded that each individual consumer’s tracker mortgage is no longer suitable for that consumer. Their assessments and recommendations must be consumer-focussed and must be in the consumer’s best interests.”
    She also advised consumers thinking of switching from tracker mortgages at this time to make sure they are fully aware of the consequences of making such a switch. She said “Consumers with tracker mortgages automatically benefited from the recent interest rate decrease. If you switch to a fixed rate mortgage you will lose the potential benefit of a rate decrease. On the other hand you will not have to pay any increases so long as the rate is fixed. If you switch to a variable rate mortgage, that is not a tracker, you will not be automatically entitled to benefit from rate decreases. You should also be aware that tracker mortgages are no longer widely available to new customers. Consumers who may be offered an incentive to switch from their tracker mortgages should ask their lender or mortgage broker for a clear written explanation of why this is a more suitable option”.
    Information on different types of mortgages and also on how to manage your finances is available on the Financial Regulator’s web-site
  3. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Concerns following Examination of Tracker Mortgages

    Press Release 23 August 2010

    - Tracker customers should be informed of switching implications -
    Tá an preasráiteas seo ar fáil as gaeilge chomh maith
    The Central Bank and Financial Regulator today published the findings of an examination of switching practices related to tracker mortgages by mortgage lenders and relevant customer communications. A number of concerns were identified during the examination about the level of disclosure and transparency when consumers moved from tracker rate mortgages to other forms of mortgages.
    The Central Bank and Financial Regulator has written to all mortgage lenders detailing the findings from the examination and outlining a number of new measures to be introduced immediately to ensure consumers fully understand the implications of switching from a tracker mortgage. Issues identified are subject to separate supervisory engagement with individual firms.
    The examination found that in some cases communication on the financial implications and consequences of switching were not fully transparent to the customer and that it was not always clear that if a customer moved from a tracker rate mortgage to an alternative interest rate (fixed, variable or other rate), for any reason, that their agreed tracker rate or an alternative tracker rate might not be available again in the future.
    As a result of this finding mortgage lenders have been requested to fully disclose the impact of any switch from a tracker mortgage rate in all customer communications, with immediate effect. Customers must be notified that switching from a tracker rate may mean they will lose the ability to avail of a tracker rate mortgage in the future, where this is the case.
    Mortgage lenders have been advised to include new information in all customer communications regarding switches from tracker rate mortgages, for any reason, with immediate effect:

    • Indicative comparisons of the cost of monthly repayments of the customer’s current tracker rate mortgage and the rates being offered; and
    • Details of the advantages and disadvantages of both the tracker mortgage rate compared to the other rates being offered.
    The examination did not find any evidence that customers were being offered incentives to move off tracker rate mortgages but mortgage lenders have been instructed to give careful consideration before offering any incentives to customers to move from tracker rate mortgages and to notify us in advance of any such proposals.
    It was noted that one mortgage lender provides for a cooling off period for customers who have switched mortgages. The Central Bank and Financial Regulator is considering the use of a cooling off period as part of the review of the Consumer Protection Code. The Consumer Protection Code is currently under review and it is expected that a consultation paper will be issued on the Code later this year.
  4. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    2009 Ombudsman ruling Page 9

    Mortgage rate had to return to original tracker rate at the end of fixed rate period

    In June 2007 a couple took out a €1m thirty year mortgage from a Building Society based on a tracker rate of 0.75% over the ECB Repo rate.

    In August 2007, the Complainant decided to switch to the Society’s two year fixed rate of 4.79% and signed a Mortgage Form of Authorisation (MFA) in order to avail of this. The fixed rate term expired in August 2009.

    On its expiration the Society ruled that a tracker rate of 1.1% over the ECB Repo rate would be applied. The couple complained to the Ombudsman that the terms and conditions of the original mortgage offer ought to be applied and that the interest rate should revert to the tracker rate of plus 0.75%.

    The Society however disagreed and insisted that the MFA served to displace the tracker rate condition in the original loan offer. In fact, the Society submitted that it was not even obliged to offer the Complainant a tracker rate of 1.1% above the ECB Repo rate. The only reason this rate was being offered was because a letter was sent to the Complainants in error in December 2008, which indicated that the Complainant’s mortgage would roll onto a tracker rate of ECB Repo rate plus a margin of 1.1%. The Society had decided to offer this rate because this erroneous letter could have led the Complainants to expect that they were entitled to this rate.

    Having considered the evidence submitted by both parties, the Ombudsman was of the opinion that the original loan offer committed the Society to a tracker mortgage rate of 0.75% above the ECB Repo rate for the entire 30 year mortgage term. However, the Society had agreed to the Complainants’ request to fix the mortgage interest rate for two years. Indeed, the Society’s right to allow customers to avail of a fixed rate of interest was covered under the conditions of the original loan offer. The Society also argued that a condition of the Complainant’s original mortgage offer was superseded by the terms and conditions of the MFA.

    The Society referred to the section of the MFA, signed by the Complainant, which stated: “I acknowledge that following the acceptance by the lender of this application, the terms and conditions applicable to the loan shall be amended/ varied by the terms and conditions set out in this form of authorisation, and I accept the said conditions and agree to be bound by them”. However the Ombudsman noted that the MFA further stated that the customer acknowledged and agreed that “save as set out in this Form of Authorisation, all the terms and conditions applicable to the Loan remain unchanged.” There was no express condition on the face of the two page MFA form relating to either (a) which rate of interest would apply following expiration of the fixed rate period or (b) the procedure to be followed upon termination of the fixed interest rate term. Accordingly it could only follow that the terms of the original mortgage concerning these issues had to apply. The Ombudsman found that this was the only reasonable interpretation which could be gleaned from the wording of the MFA.

    In summary the Ombudsman found that the mortgage condition was not superseded by the MFA and so the Society must offer the Complainant a tracker rate as per the original loan offer. In those circumstances, he upheld the Complainants’ argument. The Ombudsman accordingly directed that the rate of 0.75% above the ECB Repo rate should be applied.

    On the issuing of the erroneous letter of 2008 the Ombudsman stated that it would be in the Society’s best interest to extend a very high level of service and customer care to customers with mortgages of this size.
    He also considered that the Society should review if cases similar to this one had arisen or may arise in future and if so, he considered that the same approach be applied. For that reason he copied his Finding to the Financial Regulator for any action it deemed appropriate to take including industry wide though he noted that other providers specified in detail what rate would apply at the end of a fixed rate period.
  5. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    So the real issue is does the signing of a MFA change the terms and conditions of your original loan.

    Can it do so other than a temporary change of the rate you are on originally.

    When you get a mortgage in the first place you get independant legal advice on what you are signing up for. In signing an MFA, which used to be just a form you signed to fix a rate and nothing more are you now changing the original contract and should you have independant advice if that is that case. If you only get advice from the bank then they have to be careful that the advice they give you is correct and the best advice for your particular circumstances. How is that to be recorded one wonders.

    It's hard to comphrend how a bank can act both in the customer's interest and their own.
  6. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Hi Bronte

    I think that there are two issues

    1) If the MFA does not specify that the terms of the original loan are changed, then the mortgage reverts to the tracker after the fixed rate is finished.

    2) If the MFA does specify that you have lost the tracker, there are two questions a) Does it specifiy it prominently and clearly enough? 2) Did the lender give you good advice?

    If a the lender proactively contacted the borrower and encouraged them to switch without explaining the implications, then I would think that a complaint to the Ombudsman would succeed.
  7. twofor1

    twofor1 Frequent Poster

    Page 54 Annual Report 2010,

    Switching mortgage interest rates – Tracker Mortgages

    The Complainant drew down a mortgage in January 2005 with the interest rate
    being the European Central Bank’s rate plus 1% (i.e. a ‘tracker’ mortgage). In late
    2005 the Complainant decided to fix the interest rate for a 4 year term. A dispute
    arose as to the interest rate that would apply to the mortgage at the end of the
    4 year term; the Bank no longer offered tracker rate mortgages and therefore
    advised that the Complainant could only avail of its standard variable interest or
    a fixed interest rate mortgage.

    The Complainant referred the dispute to the FSO. She argued that the
    consequences of availing of a fixed rate term were not made clear, through the
    documentation or advice received from the Bank. She stated that she believed
    she could revert to a ‘tracker’ rate at the end of the fixed rate term and that the
    Bank was in effect ignoring the terms of the mortgage. The Bank rejected this and
    stated inter alia that allowing a fixed interest rate period was incompatible with the
    original ‘tracker’ mortgage agreement.

    The FSO examined all the documentation involved, including the mortgage
    agreement and the Mortgage Form of Authorisation concerning the rate to which
    the Complainant’s fixed rate would revert to upon expiry. The FSO considered
    whether sufficient information was made available to the Complainant when
    deciding to move from a ‘tracker’ to a fixed interest rate and whether or not the
    Bank provided sufficient, clear information to allow her make an informed decision.

    The FSO acknowledged the Bank’s commercial discretion to remove ‘tracker’
    products from the market. However, having considered the documentation
    available at the time of the Complainant opting to move to a fixed interest rate, the
    FSO found that she could have reasonably expected to revert to the ‘tracker’ rate
    upon expiry of the fixed rate period. The FSO stated that the documentation was
    not clear and the consequences (good or bad) of moving from the tracker to the
    fixed interest rate for a set term were not sufficiently set out in the documentation.

    The complaint was substantiated and the FSO directed the Bank to place the
    mortgage on a ‘tracker’ rate backdated to the point at which the fixed interest rate
    period expired.

  8. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    This is great news for borrowers and will hopefully help with my own case.
  9. raglan

    raglan Frequent Poster

    Had feedback regarding my case with ombudsman.....had tracker mortgage, fixed after receiving unsolicited letters from bank offering their FANTASTIC fixed rates (naivelywas not aware of implications!!!) and lost tracker.

    I included in my case the press releases found here about the Central Bank rules regarding fixing and implications for tracker mortgages , that banks had to explain clearly the implications of fixingto customer etc... None of this seemed to matter, seemed to be all one sided in my opinion. Not happy but nothing we can do unless I have funds for high least I tried!
  10. thedaras

    thedaras Frequent Poster

    To the posters who had an option of SVR ,tracker etc and who ticked SVR,I cannot see how you could possibly be entitled to a tracker,you had the option and made a choice.

    If you had been entitled to a tracker,but were not offered it,that would be a totally different scenario..
  11. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Please don't tag your question onto this Key Post. Start a new thread.

    Reply to this only if you have the result of an Ombudsman's case to post or a link to some new thread which covers a different aspect not already covered.
  12. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Volunteer needed

    It's around two years since this thread was started.

    It would be very helpful if someone updated it by way of reply to this thread or in a separate Word document which you could email me.

    Search for all threads.
    Sort them by lender i.e. AIB , KBC etc.
    Do smart links with a more accurate title - e.g. KBC - Ombudsman rejected my complaint

    It might also be worth breaking them down into two categories

    1) Lost my tracker through fixing
    2) Lost my tracker through breaking out of a fixed rate early
  13. AMS

    AMS New Member

    You may be contractually entitled to a tracker at the end of your fixed rate period Check your mortgage agreement or the agreement when you changed to a fixed. You may be entitled to a tracker. Bank of Scotland contracts had a price promise, that the rate would not be in excess of 1.5% over the ECB rate. PTSB guaranteed a tracker but not the rate and are now charging such people ECB + 4%

    Brendan - do you know if this covered all Bank of Scotland mortgages?
  14. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    Financial ombudsman to look at 500 tracker mortgage cases that his office rejected to see if they were wrongly dismissed

    Article from Charlie Weston in the Irish Independant. It was also mentioned on the radio this weekend as RTE had an interview the ombudsman. Weston has been brillant on this issue with many article over the years.

    The Financial Services Ombudsman’s office is now reviewing all of the decisions it made in the past five years, when homeowners took complaints to it after losing tracker mortgages, the Irish Independent has learned.

    The Central Bank is already investigating all the lenders in the market over taking trackers from people, and the review by the ombudsman will feed into this.

    and AAM poster Padraic Kissane who has done trojan work in this area is also mentioned:

    Financial adviser Padraic Kissane, who specialises in helping customers get trackers back, said banks that refused to put people back on trackers

    after they fixed were in breach of Central Bank rules.

    “The floodgates will open with thousands of people having trackers restored and getting compensation,” he predicted.
  15. PadKiss

    PadKiss Frequent Poster

    Hi all Press release today from The Central Bank in regard to the Tracker Investigation by means of update any queries contact me by private message
    Happy Christmas to all Padraic

    Statement: Update on Examination of tracker mortgage issues
    22 December 2015
    Following on from the Central Bank’s statement published on 2 October, and our engagement with a number of consumer groups and the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Central Bank has now developed the methodology for the broader examination of tracker mortgage-related issues.

    The Central Bank has written to all relevant lenders requiring them to put in place a robust plan and framework to carry out the review, including having the appropriate governance and controls in place.

    Lenders must also appoint independent third parties to provide assurance to the Central Bank on the adequacy and appropriateness of their reviews. These plans and frameworks are to be in place by the end of March at the latest.

    The Examination covers all lenders which offered tracker mortgages to customers, including both for the family home and investment properties from when the lenders started to offer such mortgages, up to the end of 2015.

    The purpose of this latest tracker mortgage Examination is to identify any cases where:

    • customers’ contractual rights under the terms of their mortgage agreements were not fully honoured; and/or
    • lenders did not fully comply with the various requirements and standards regarding disclosure and transparency for the customer.
    The Examination requires lenders to carry out a review in order to identify customers who have been negatively impacted and, where there has been any detriment, to provide redress in line with redress principles determined by the Central Bank.

    We have also prescribed the information, which lenders will be required to submit to the Central Bank, to enable us to oversee the reviews being conducted.

    It is important that each lender carries out a comprehensive and robust review, which achieves a fair outcome for all customers. In setting out the terms of reference for the examination, while the Central Bank wants to have the Examination completed as soon as possible, we also recognise that this is potentially a significant undertaking for lenders and it is important that they are given the necessary time to complete it.

    The Central Bank expects significant progress to be made by all lenders before the end of 2016 and will provide a further update in April
  16. PTSBCase

    PTSBCase Frequent Poster

    Thanks Padraic. I assume applies to all lenders. Does it also mean that the current investigation wrt PTSB won't be closed until the end of 2016?
  17. PadKiss

    PadKiss Frequent Poster

    No the Redress issue with PTSB while connected will be ongoing through the process of appeal established to resolve these cases.
  18. robe

    robe Frequent Poster

    Hi Padkiss . Is there any special mention of ptsb with the magic 3.35% above ecb.
    Thanks Rob
  19. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    The Ombudsman Bill P was on Newstalk this morning, around the time it starts, so early. I was very stressed this morning so I didn't hear it properly, but it mentioned that existing cases previously decided should be looked at by the banks, which is strange, like an admission that something was wrong with the previous decisons by the previous ombudsman, (who was anti customer and pro bank/institution in my view). So it might be of interest to the many posters we've had on here down the years with problems with their banks taking their trackers on the sly.
    diver likes this.
  20. notabene

    notabene Frequent Poster

    The ombudsman is now Ger Deering, since last Apri & yes he agrees that all cases should be considered as part of a full review.

    For example in my own case, it was substantiated by the previous Ombudsman but the amount of compensation does not bare likeness to what it has & will cost me financially particularly as the bank said they could not reinstate a tracker as their underwriters wouldn't let them. I feel I should be give the full economic cost of this mistake, particularly as I have been in a financial limbo for 8 years, so were this to be reviewed I could get proper, appropriate compensation. This has to happen both out of fairness and as a disincentive to the banks for such practices occurring in future.

    In other cases where the case was thrown out this could mean a reverse of that verdict