Trackers on Prime Time tonight

Sarenco

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I watched the recorded piece as it was broadcast - I had not seen it beforehand.

It was simply wrong to say he had a rate specified in his contract. Those who had a rate specified, got them. The 300 or so borrowers who were put on the higher rate had the wording "the tracker rate then prevailing" as discussed at length in this thread
PTSB - on expiry of fixed rate, tracker rate not specified

I tried to explain that and correct the error made in the report, so, of course I came across as "dressing it up" on behalf of ptsb. But I don't go on these programmes simply to ignore the facts and abuse banks.

Thanks for the clarification Brendan.

I've watched the programme again with the aid of a pause button.

The clear inference given was that Mr Ryan was entitled to revert to a tracker at a specified margin above the ECB base rate. However, the document presented on screen (as an example) doesn't actually say that (although the voice over strongly implied that it did).

So, you were absolutely correct - RTE misrepresented the factual position. Frankly, I think that's very shoddy journalism and really undermines my faith in the balance of the claims made in the programme - which I found very difficult to follow.

Was the programme suggesting that BOI deliberately changed their systems so that staff members would default onto standard variable rates after their fixed terms expired even though they were contractually entitled to default back to their trackers? That's shocking if true but I don't really know what to believe at this stage.
 

MAX01

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The last line is interesting,If there is evidence?..There seems to be an abundance of evidence on this programme and others that a lot of the banks are guilty of sharp practice at best.
Thanks for the clarification Brendan.

I've watched the programme again with the aid of a pause button.

The clear inference given was that Mr Ryan was entitled to revert to a tracker at a specified margin above the ECB base rate. However, the document presented on screen (as an example) doesn't actually say that (although the voice over strongly implied that it did).

So, you were absolutely correct - RTE misrepresented the factual position. Frankly, I think that's very shoddy journalism and really undermines my faith in the balance of the claims made in the programme - which I found very difficult to follow.

Was the programme suggesting that BOI deliberately changed their systems so that staff members would default onto standard variable rates after their fixed terms expired even though they were contractually entitled to default back to their trackers? That's shocking if true but I don't really know what to believe at this stage.
I am one of the 1800 staff affected and the system clearly showed my loans reverting to Trackers at end of my fixed rate in January 2009. When I pointed this out to the bank they claimed that their computer systems took time to adjust to the reality that Trackers were no longer offered!
As I have already mentioned, the Head of Legal Services in FSO found in my favour, ordered BOI to revert my loans to Trackers, then William Prasifka,Ombudsman rescinded the decision and found in favour of Bank of Ireland!! How could the Ombudsman rescind the decision of Tom Finn, Head of Legal Services with FSO? What is the point of bringing a case to FSO when they rule against themselves? My experience is that Joe Soap has no chance whatsoever against the banks. My rate is now 5.6% and the stress I have been put through, like so many other customers, is unbearable.
 

AAM_User

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If you have access to the system, I hope you took screenshots etc? I'd be speaking to a solicitor before the week is out.
 

SBarrett

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Well done Brendan in staying impartial under pressure from Miriam.

It makes you realise what a David v Goliath battle this is. The banks hold the cards, you owe the money to them, they have deep pockets and have no problem in dragging you all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Central Bank claim they are there to protect the consumers. Besides ensuring that regulated bodies tick the appropriate box on forms, they don't seem to be doing much protection.


Steven
www.bluewaterfp.ie
 

Brendan Burgess

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That's shocking if true but I don't really know what to believe at this stage.
Hi Sarenco

Let's take the ptsb issue.

The Central Bank is all over them. If a contract says something clearly, then ptsb will not be able to just change it as the report suggested. Borrowers can appeal to the internal Customer Appeals Panel, the Ombudsman and the High Court. So rest assured that where a contract is clear, ptsb is honouring it.

The argument is what does a contract mean when it says "You will be put onto the prevailing tracker rate when the fixed period expires". The Ombudsman has ruled on this. This was not a margin guarantee. The High Court has ruled that the ESIS has no legal standing. If a contract naturally expired in June 2010, the borrower was put on a tracker of 3.3%.

In my view the best chance for Thomas and others is that they should get the prevailing rate when they terminated the fixed rate early as that rate was much lower than when the contract was due to expire.

As I had planned to say on the programme, and I hope I said it, if it is found that ptsb engaged in underhand behaviour, e.g. if they encouraged people to fix or to break a fixed rate to get them off their trackers, then those customers should be given a tracker of no more than 1% margin.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Hi Max

I have seen the papers in a similar case. It obviously wasn't yours as the facts are very different.


1) The FSO - Tom Finn - gave the Bank of Ireland staff member back his tracker
2) BoI appealed to the High Court
3) The Ombudsman's legal advisors looked at the decision and advised the FSO that their decision was bound to be struck down.
4) So they did not oppose the BoI's appeal to the High Court



I looked at the original FSO decision. It was the worst I have seen. It was completely illogical. Of course BoI were going to win. I had to read it a few times to see if I was missing anything, and I wasn't. It was very disappointing for the staff member involved, but it was the right thing for the FSO to do given how bad his initial decision was.

The decision was remitted back to Bill Prasifka who found against the staff member.

On balance, I agreed with his decision at the time. Having said that, the High Court might have found differently. From memory, I advised the borrower to get the union or the other 1,799 staff members to back a High Court challenge. I don't think that they did.

Since then Padraig Kissane has a BoI memo suggesting a deliberate campaign by BoI to get their staff off trackers. That changes things.
If the Central Bank agrees that the Bank tried to trick their staff members or any other tracker holder out of trackers, the defence that they signed an MFA (Mortgage Form of Authorisation) no longer stands.

Brendan
 

Gerard123

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Brendan. Well done last night. You really held it together despite provocation from presenter. Important to state factual situation, which you were doing and correct to do so by the way.

Agree with prior post by and large with one comment. If people had an entitlement to prevailing tracker it can't be a ludicrous rate made up with benefit of hindsight several years later. The rate that is taken as the prevailing rate needs to be a rate reflective of the time that the entitlement arose. Appreciate may be a bit of a challenge however should be possible by looking at trends in trackers, trends in variable rate at that time, etc. Definitely requires an independent input as don't trust banks.
 
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Brendan Burgess

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Brendan. Well done last night. You really held it together despite provocation from presenter. Important to state factual situation.
Thanks Gerard

I went out there last night to do things - to bat for those who had lost their trackers and to explain the situation.

Unfortunately, I had to spend most of my limited time correcting the report. I am very happy to criticise the lenders but I am only going to do it based on facts. Not on error. It was a difficult position to be in.
 

L John

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Brendan

If the high margin group succeed in getting the rate applied at the time of the actual break in contract rather than when it was due to expire, that also changes everything in terms of the redress programme.

My issue with the redress scheme is that it applies the rate refund from the date the fixed rate period was due to expire rather than the de facto ending of that contract with their agreement at an early stage.

If the high margin group succeeds then that sets the precedent for everyone to get increased refunds.

Would you agree?
 

Somar

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Well done last night to both Brendan and P Kissane. This issue is never going to go away until banks put all who are entitled to trackers back on them at the correct margin in conjunction with the time the mortgage was drawn down.

Does anyone know how the CB investigation of PTSB mortgage book is progressing and when it will be concluded?

Also PTSB have set up a Mortgage Product Review Group led by a Ger Mitchell. What is that going to accomplish??
 
H

HelpingHand

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Well done last night to both Brendan and P Kissane. This issue is never going to go away until banks put all who are entitled to trackers back on them at the correct margin in conjunction with the time the mortgage was drawn down.

Does anyone know how the CB investigation of PTSB mortgage book is progressing and when it will be concluded?

Also PTSB have set up a Mortgage Product Review Group led by a Ger Mitchell. What is that going to accomplish??
I thought Padraic Kissane has been very articulate on every programme, both tv and radio to date.
 

Sarenco

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Hi Sarenco

Let's take the ptsb issue.

The Central Bank is all over them. If a contract says something clearly, then ptsb will not be able to just change it as the report suggested. Borrowers can appeal to the internal Customer Appeals Panel, the Ombudsman and the High Court. So rest assured that where a contract is clear, ptsb is honouring it.

The argument is what does a contract mean when it says "You will be put onto the prevailing tracker rate when the fixed period expires". The Ombudsman has ruled on this. This was not a margin guarantee. The High Court has ruled that the ESIS has no legal standing. If a contract naturally expired in June 2010, the borrower was put on a tracker of 3.3%.

In my view the best chance for Thomas and others is that they should get the prevailing rate when they terminated the fixed rate early as that rate was much lower than when the contract was due to expire.

As I had planned to say on the programme, and I hope I said it, if it is found that ptsb engaged in underhand behaviour, e.g. if they encouraged people to fix or to break a fixed rate to get them off their trackers, then those customers should be given a tracker of no more than 1% margin.
Thanks Brendan.

It's a real pity that RTE tried to "sex up" the story. There is definitely a real issue here but misrepresenting the factual position is in nobody's interest.

I suspect MO'C was pretty annoyed at the team that put together the package - she was made look pretty foolish in your subsequent discussion.

I absolutely agree that PTSB borrowers in these circumstances should be entitled to the prevailing tracker rate at the time that they broke out of their fixed term and not the prevailing tracker rate when the term would otherwise have expired. The fixed rate term expired when the borrower (quite legitimately) broke the term and I struggle to see how PTSB (or any other lender) could legitimately argue otherwise.

However, I suppose the difficulty arises where a fixed term was broken after Q3 2008, when there was no prevailing tracker rate. In those circumstances, I would have thought the prevailing tracker margin immediately prior to the withdrawal of the product in Q3 2008 would be appropriate.
 

Brendan Burgess

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However, I suppose the difficulty arises where a fixed term was broken after Q3 2008, when there was no prevailing tracker rate. In those circumstances, I would have thought the prevailing tracker margin immediately prior to the withdrawal of the product in Q3 2008 would be appropriate.
Hi Sarenco

PTSB did have a prevailing tracker rate. Many fixed rate periods expired on schedule and they were put onto rates at the time. ptsb made up those rates at the time. The people who are getting their trackers back three years later are getting the rate that those who expired naturally got.

Brendan
 

Sarenco

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PTSB did have a prevailing tracker rate. Many fixed rate periods expired on schedule and they were put onto rates at the time. ptsb made up those rates at the time. The people who are getting their trackers back three years later are getting the rate that those who expired naturally got.
Ah, I see - thanks.

Has PTSB given any explanation for adopting this position? I really don't see how they could validly argue that the fixed term didn't expire when the borrower broke the fixed term and it is the prevailing tracker rate at this point in time that's relevant.

As a matter of interest, did the "prevailing" tracker margin vary materially after Q3 2008? In other words, was the rate materially different in, say, Q4 2008 and Q4 2010?

Also, I would have thought that the Central Bank would have effectively signed-off on all this before the redress scheme was announced- no?
 

Brendan Burgess

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Hi Sarenco

They are set out here
PTSB - on expiry of fixed rate, tracker rate not specified



There is definitely a real issue here but misrepresenting the factual position is in nobody's interest.
I couldn't agree more. The annoying thing for me was that I wanted to discuss this issue last night. But instead I had to deal with the allegation that people had rates in their contracts and ptsb was not honouring them.
 

Onceagain

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I am also one of the 1800 Boi Staff, my complaint is still with the FSOB. So Brendan do myself an MAXO1 have to find the remaining 1788 staff in order for justice to prevail?
 
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Sarenco

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Hi Brendan

Thanks for that.

I would still be firmly of the opinion that borrowers are contractually entitled to whatever the prevailing tracker margin was at the time that they broke out of their fixed term. However, the schedule in the first post of that thread would seem to suggest that the margin applied by PTSB post-October 2008 was fairly random so that may be easier said then done from an administrative perspective.

Not the borrowers' problem, obviously, but it might explain why PTSB are adopting a position on this issue that appears to be completely untenable on the face of it.

I can certainly see why you were annoyed at being put in a position of having to defend PTSB. You are certainly to be commended for insisting on sticking with the facts.

It's a shame because once upon a time Prime Time did some really excellent investigative journalism. These days I find myself constantly doubting what I'm being told - the tone and content of the programme has become too sensationalist. In my opinion, there have just been too many exaggerations, half-truths and misrepresentations in recent years for the programme to be entirely trustworthy.

I guess ratings are more important than accuracy.:(
 

Sarenco

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I am also one of the 1800 Boi Staff, my complaint is still with the FSOB. So Brendan do myself an MAXO1 have to find the remaining 1788 staff in order for justice to prevail?
I really don't want to antagonise anybody but I find the whole issue relating to the 1,800 BOI staff members very confusing.

Padraig Kissane stated very clearly on the programme that the 1,800 staff members fell into the same category as and should be treated in exactly the same way as the 2,096 borrowers that were compensated in December 2011. However, there was no explanation offered on the programme as to why this should be the case.

Did the BOI staff members have the same contractual right to revert to a tracker as the borrowers that were compensated in December 2011? If they did, then it's absolutely outrageous that BOI is not honouring its contractual commitments but this was not clear from the programme.

On the contrary, the internal BOI memo from October 2008 referenced on the programme suggested that the 1,800 staff members had no contractual entitlement to revert to a tracker because they signed an MFA that superseded the terms of their original loan offer and did not include a right to default back to the original tracker rate.

According to the memo, the fixed rate of 3.95% was offered to staff members in December 2006, which was obviously way before anybody could have possibly anticipated how valuable trackers would become. In fact, BOI continued to offer trackers as late as September 2008 so it seems completely fanciful to imagine that BOI were far-sighted enough in December 2006 to take steps to trick staff members out of trackers that they would otherwise be entitled to once their fixed terms expired.

I am conscious that Pádraig was very strong on this point so I assume I am missing something that was not explained on the programme.

I would be very grateful if somebody could set me straight.
 

Brendan Burgess

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I am also one of the 1800 Boi Staff, my complaint is still with the FSOB. So Brendan do myself an MAXO1 have to find the remaining 1788 staff in order for justice to prevail?
No. If your case is similar to the one I saw... you voluntarily signed an MFA which said that you were moving to a staff variable rate which could be varied at the discretion of the bank. Most people would agree with the Ombudsman that the description of an interest rate which varies at the discretion of the bank and does not mention the ECB is a variable rate. I would expect that most of the bank's staff would have understood that as well. I think it's unlikely that the Ombudsman will change his mind.

Padraig Kissane does not agree with me or with the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has changed and maybe the new guy will take a different view.

However, it's such a critical issue that I think the IBOA should be funding a High Court challenge to the issue. You don't need to find the other 1788 as quite a few of them have gone to Padraig already.

Let both sides argue their case in the High Court and that would decide the matter.

And as I have said before - if it can be shown that Bank of Ireland lured people off cheap trackers, then the Central Bank should direct BoI to put them all back on their original tracker rate.

Brendan
 

Onceagain

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Thanks Brendan, it would be nice to put it all to bed one way or the other, it'exhausting. But I won't go down without a fight.

Sarenco- the response by Bank of Ireland to my complaint contradicts itself, in one part it says as you say "had no contractual entitlement to revert to a tracker because I signed an MFA that superseded the terms of their original loan offer and did not include a right to default back to the original tracker rate". However in another part of the letter it says the terms of the original loan offer remain unchanged. So if the Bank can't give a coherent response to my complaint, it does make one even more doubtful, be it willful or not on bank's behalf.

I will just have to wait and see what the FSOB says.
 
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