Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (153)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

153. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the resources being deployed by the Central Bank in the ongoing enforcement investigations associated with the tracker mortgage examination; the number of staff involved; if outside expertise is being used; the number of site visits held; the number of documents inspected; the number of meetings held; the maximum financial and other penalties that can be imposed on the institutions concerned and on persons found to be responsible within those institutions; when he expects the enforcement investigations to be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7866/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Central Bank has previously confirmed in a series of public updates and during appearances before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach that it is actively investigating, in an enforcement context, matters relating to the issues identified at certain lenders in respect of failures relating to tracker mortgages.

In this context, the Bank is considering all possible angles, including potential individual culpability, and is thoroughly investigating and analysing these matters in the context of its legal framework. These enforcement investigations are detailed and forensic in nature, and are seeking to establish the exact circumstances of how and why people lost, or were denied, their entitlement to a tracker mortgage or were placed on the incorrect interest rate. The enforcement investigations are also examining whether the documentation, which customers received from lenders, was clear and what key decisions were taken by lenders, or not taken, which resulted in customers losing their tracker rate or right to a tracker rate. In addition, the Central Bank is examining instances where lenders may have failed to have the requisite safeguards in place to ensure that they implemented the “Stop the Harm” principles set out within the Central Bank’s Framework for conducting the Tracker Mortgage Examination. These principles were developed to prevent further detriment to customers from occurring after the Examination commenced.

Given the live and on-going nature of these investigations, the Central Bank has indicated that it cannot comment on the specifics of these investigations. The Central Bank’s investigations are at different stages thus it is not possible to be definitive as to when they will all conclude. However, the Bank currently anticipates that at least one of these investigations will conclude in 2019.

The Central Bank's sanctioning powers are set out within Part IIIC of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended by the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act, 2013. Under the "old" sanctioning regime the Central Bank may impose a monetary penalty on firms not exceeding €5,000,000 - €500,000 in respect of individuals - in respect of prescribed contraventions. Where the sanctions regime post-August 2013 applies, the Central Bank may impose a monetary penalty not exceeding the greater of €10,000,000 or 10% of turnover on firms - €1,000,000 in the case of an individual - in respect of prescribed contraventions.