What is the Tracker Mortgage Examination?

Tracker-Mortgage-Examination

A tracker mortgage is a type of home loan where the interest charged on the loan tracks that of another publicly available interest rate, typically the rate set by the European Central Bank.

In 2015 the Central Bank of Ireland decided to carry out an industry-wide review of tracker mortgage accounts. Since 2010 we have been identifying and pursuing some lenders in relation to tracker related issues. These include borrowers who switched from their tracker rate and/or lost their right to revert to a tracker rate when they came to the end of a fixed-rate period on their mortgage.  As such, in December 2015 we wrote to all lenders setting out the framework for the Tracker Mortgage Examination.

Scope of the Examination

The Examination requires all lenders to examine the extent to which they have been meeting their contractual obligations to customers. It also includes the transparency of their communications with customers in relation to tracker-related issues. The Examination covers all lenders who may have sold tracker mortgages in the past, including those no longer selling mortgages. It also covers mortgages that have been redeemed or switched to another lender.

Impacted customers

When a lender identifies an impacted customer it must firstly:

  • Stop charging the incorrect rate of interest on the customer’s account
  • Ensure that any further customer detriment is stopped as early as possible
  • Communicate this to the customer.

Lenders must then carry out a full review of the impacted customer’s mortgage account. Once this is complete lenders must issue a detailed letter to the customer explaining:

  • The exact nature of the error
  • The correct rate to apply to the customer’s account
  • Information on the next steps of the Examination, including the redress and compensation process where applicable.

Timelines

The Examination is being conducted in phases and we have set specific timelines for lenders to complete certain phases.  Lenders have largely completed Phase 2, the review phase, by end September 2017 with two lenders submitting addendum reports in respect of further work they are undertaking. By end September 2017 lenders had contacted the majority of impacted customers. Some lenders have commenced contacting impacted customers regarding redress and compensation and we expect all lenders to have commenced contacting customers identified as impacted, by the end of 2017.

Further information

The Central Bank publishes regular updates on the Examination. Our most recent update was published on 17 October 2017. We have also published a list of FAQs on our website for customers who have been, or believe they may have been, impacted by this issue.

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