Aftermath of tracker scandal will follow Ulster Bank for years

We have no idea from the Central Bank whether it intends to pursue individuals

The Central Bank’s announcement of a €4.1 million fine for Davy earlier this month, highlighting how 16 of the firm’s staff were involved in a 2014 bond trade that breached market rules, led ultimately to the clearing-out of anyone remaining in the business who was involved in the deal.

No individuals were blamed in the regulator's statement on Ulster Bank on Thursday, where it found that the lender devised "deliberate strategies" to shift borrowers off cheap mortgages during the financial crisis and only put those who complained on the correct rate.

The bank's €37.8 million fine is 80 per cent larger than the previous record penalty levied by the Central Bank and reflects the egregiousness of the wrongdoing.

Ulster Bank has had to pay out €128 million in refunds and compensation to 5,940 overcharged mortgage customers – about 17 per cent of the total €735 million redress bill across all the banks to date.


But we’ve no idea from the Central Bank whether it intends to pursue any individuals behind the cynical attempt to move people off their tracker mortgages and continue to deny thousands their right to low-cost mortgages, even though they were caving in quietly to customers who had the financial nous to protest. The bank is staying mum on whether any individuals were sanctioned.

It has insisted that a decision by its UK parent, NatWest, last month to wind down Ulster Bank "is in no way linked" to the tracker mortgage investigation.

But as AIB and Permanent TSB prepare to take on much of Ulster Bank's €20 billion remaining loan book, it's unlikely anyone will want to go near one particular portfolio: its low-profit €6.8 million tracker book.

It may be years before Ulster Bank finally shifts this, allowing it to repatriate the last of its trapped capital in the Republic back to the UK.