November 14, 2019
KBC Chief displays pure arrogance & utter contempt towards mortgage holders he described as ‘nitty-gritty’ – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has criticised Johan Thijs, chief executive of KBC Bank, for displaying total contempt towards distressed families and mortgage holders after the CEO described mortgage-holders as “nitty gritty”. Deputy Doherty said that the banker’s comments confirmed what was already common knowledge; that the toxic culture of the banks hasn’t changed.

Speaking today, the Donegal TD said:

“Today’s comments by the CEO of KBC Bank display the worst instincts of the banking industry; pure arrogance, contempt for customers and a profit motive that trumped everything else.

“The KBC chief executive called on the Central Bank to ‘turn the page’ on the ‘whole tracker mortgage stuff’, which has damaged more than 40,500 customers. Some of that damage has been irreparable.

“In his remarks the CEO of KBC described these families, who have suffered so much at the hands of KBC and other banks, as ‘nitty-gritty’, and attempts to offer proper redress to these families as an ‘administrative hampering’.

“His comments are a disgrace.

“Some are saying these comments are proof the arrogant banker is back. In truth, the arrogant banker never left.

“Speaking at a Banking and Payments Federation conference on Tuesday, the deputy Central Bank governor, Ed Sibley, warned that Irish bankers were displaying echoes of ‘pre-crisis’ arrogance.

“The Deputy Governor said that banks are hitting mortgage holders with double the interest rate needed for them to enjoy profits.

“Knowing they can make a profit by lending at a rate of between 2 and 3 percent for new customers, they are charging existing customers rates of 4.5 percent. These are the same as the discriminatory practices as those used by the insurance industry.

“We have seen the banks taking the easy option by selling family homes off to vulture funds, and their recent performance in the tracker mortgage scandal.

“These banks are not looking to offer the best deal for their customers, or provide long-term sustainable solutions for their customers.

“At every turn, they have tried to take advantage of customers to eke out an extra profit. In doing this they have been given a free pass for too long by this Government and Fianna Fáil before them.

“Sinn Féin have a zero-tolerance policy towards banks that rip off customers, take advantage of families, and put profit before people.”

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