Minister Donohoe acknowledges progress on Tracker Mortgage Examination and announces new measures to protect consumers

20th December, 2017


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today responded to the publication of the Central Bank of Ireland’s Progress Report on the Tracker Mortgage Examination and announced two additional measures to ensure that the consumer is better protected in Irish banking. 

The Minister stated: ‘Two months ago, the Government made clear that it viewed the banks’ behaviour in relation to tracker mortgages as disgraceful and the Government was determined to ensure that the matter was resolved’. 


“I, as Minister, conveyed the Government’s full support for the Central Bank’s actions to drive a resolution in the interests of consumers.I note the conclusion of the Central Bank’s progress report that the banks have made sufficient progress in meeting the targets they agreed to two months ago in terms of rectifying the position of customers who had been adversely affected by the tracker mortgage scandal. I also note that compensation payments have begun to be paid to many customers.” 


The Central Bank’s progress report clearly sets out that due to the Central Bank’s actions with the individual banks, affected bank customers can now make decisions from a position of strength on the basis that:

  • Banks are making compensation and redress payments in line with the Central Bank’s framework, which ensures fair treatment is assured for customers.
  • Customers can be assured that any payment that they receive, they will keep. An appeal does not put this payment at risk so customers should feel fully entitled to avail of the straightforward appeals process if they feel the payment does not compensate for the duress they have experienced.
  • In accordance with the Central Bank’s framework, the membership of appeals panels which deal with more serious cases must be entirely independent of the bank. Appeals panels for customers who have been impacted in a less serious manner must have an independent majority, including an independent chairperson.
  • Customers still unsatisfied after that appeals process have a further avenue of appeal to the Financial Services Ombudsman, who has a long established history of acting in customers’ best interests.


Minister Donohoe went on to state that: ‘I am keenly aware of the distress that has been caused to very many customers of the banks as a result of this scandal. It is for this reason that I have decided to implement two additional targeted measures to:

  1. help compensate those most impacted by the tracker scandal; and
  2. ensure that customer care remains at the heart of Central Bank policy making going forward’.


Each of these measures is set out in detail below.

(i) Doubling the level of compensation that the Financial Services Ombudsman may award

At present, the maximum level of compensation that the Financial Services Ombudsman may award is set at €250,000. This compensation is additional to rectification that the Ombudsman may order. I propose to increase this amount to €500,000 in order to ensure the Ombudsman can fully compensate those most severely impacted by the appalling behaviour of the banks.  Such a large increase in the compensation payments capability of the Financial Services Ombudsman will also serve as a clear indication to the banks that unacceptable behaviour towards customers will not be tolerated and that when it happens, they will have to compensate customers appropriately.


(ii) Appointment of Consumer Champions to the Central Bank Commission

In line with the Central Bank’s request to maximise fully the range and depth of experience on the Central Bank Commission, my Department and the Public Appointments Service are preparing to launch a call for applications from qualified individuals to fill the two vacancies on the Commission. This call is particularly seeking individuals with an established track record of representing the rights of consumers and who can shape how banks interact fairly with their customers. To aid the search process, the Public Appointments Service will be working with a specialist Executive Search firm. I would hope to finalise these two appointments as soon as possible in the New Year once the selection process has been completed.



Over the past decade, the culture within our Central Bank has radically changed to one that is more assertive and challenging.  This change in approach has made real improvements to the Irish banking system in reducing its risk to the State through better regulation which is in consumers’ and the wider economy’s interests.  

The measures announced today are focused on driving further improvements in banks’ treatment of their customers and also in changing the culture of the banking system for the benefit of all stakeholders. 


Note: The Central Bank Reform Act 2010 provides that the Minister for Finance can appoint between six and eight suitably qualified individuals to become members of the Central Bank Commission. Six such qualified individuals currently sit on the Commission, providing a range of specialist knowledge and experience.