Tipperary farm leader seeks banking review after Ulster Bank confirms farmers overcharged

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Tipperary farm leader seeks banking review after Ulster Bank confirms farmers overcharged

ICMSA president Pat McCormack

Ulster Bank has confirmed to ICMSA that an “unspecified” number of farmers were overcharged on their loans.

The bank is paying €30m in compensation to customers for overcharging, and ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that the Central Bank should insist that banks carry out a review of charges.

“The news that farmer customers who took out loans since 2012 - excluding special low interest loans or overdrafts - are amongst the latest group identified by Ulster Bank as having been overcharged by .33 per cent highlights a failure in the regulatory regime,” he said.

The affected farmers will be entitled to an average of €2,000 in compensation, but Mr McCormack said that ICMSA had “absolutely no idea” where that figure came from and how it was calculated.

“We’d like to remind the parties to this that even if it is ‘only’ €2,000, that there are very many circumstances in which €2,000 is a great deal of money and the difference between keeping the farm and family going or not, said Mr McCormack.

He said ICMSA did not see this arbitrary figure can, in any sense, as the end of the matter.

Ulster Bank has confirmed to ICMSA that it will be writing to all impacted customers by the end of June.

Mr McCormack said that the cost of banking in Ireland was expensive and was placing Irish farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

He said that regulators must ensure that that the banking system provided loans at interest rates in line with other EU Member States.