Board set up to improve banking culture 'rigged' in industry's favour: John McGuinnness

The new board set up to improve banking culture is "rigged" in favour of the lenders and not customers, one of the industry's biggest critics has claimed.

Fianna Fáil TD and chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, John McGuinness said he lacked faith in the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB), which appointed 14 board members earlier this week.

The IBCB as set up with the aim of restoring public trust in the banking system following the €1bn tracker mortgage scandal, and is chaired by former Court of Appeal judge John Hedigan.

The tracker mortgage scandal, which happened when almost 40,000 customers were wrongly put on more expensive loans by more than a dozen lenders, led to calls among political figures and consumer advocates for a change in how customers were treated

The new entity is being funded by the five main retail banks of AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, and KBC Ireland, leading to critics already questioning its credibility.

Mr McGuinness said: "I was disappointed with the makeup of the new board because one of the things we learned during the whole tracker issue is that the banks will rush to stack the house against the individual. So you are dealing with a rigged deck of cards here.

"This is paid for by the banks and when I look at the membership of the board, with all due respects to all of them, I see it weighs heavily towards the banks. I don't see the consumer represented in the significant way that I would have expected. If you are changing the culture within the bank, the first thing you'd like to see is banks giving up ownership of it and allow people who are critical and who have a role to play in bringing about the transparency that is needed."

The board includes senior figures of major banks including Ulster Bank chief Jane Howard, but also figures such as Padraic Kissane, the financial adviser credited as one of the main figures in exposing the tracker scandal.

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