The Governor of the Central Bank has indicated that upwards of 15,000 banking customers may have been overcharged because they were denied tracker mortgages. 

Philip Lane was answering questions at the Finance Committee in Leinster House where the Central Bank was described as being too afraid to take on the banks by committee chair John McGuinness.

Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty pressed the Governor about the tracker mortgage scandal where over 8,000 mortgage accounts were overcharged because they were wrongly denied low interest tracker rates by lenders.

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Mr Doherty asked the Governor to clarify whether the figure of 8,200 mortgage accounts affected by this issue included customers whose accounts were with Permanent TSB and had been part of a redress scheme at that bank, Bank of Ireland customers who were identified as far back as 2011 and a number of updates recently provided by other lenders.

"We are probably looking at 15,000 in total including the Bank of Ireland's 2011," Mr Doherty said. 

Mr Lane replied: "That might be a reasonable estimate".

He also said that "in the order of 100, high double digits" lost their homes as a result the tracker mortgage scandal.

"This is a tremendous problem and we are expecting significant redress and compensation which of course has to be case, especially  the case for those who have lost their homes," he said.

In his introductory remarks to the committee, Philip Lane had said the domestically focused banks had made considerable progress in selling loan books, reducing their size and risk profile and in working through non-performing loans.

But the outstanding volume of non-performing loans, of which mortgages account for more than half, "remain high both in absolute and relative terms," he said.

Professor Lane told the committee the main lenders had the ability to "absorb losses or unexpected shocks" and all exceeded the minimum capital requirements under EU banking regulations.

"All have relatively concentrated business models, focused primarily on Ireland and to some extent the UK," he said "This makes them especially vulnerable to any shocks affecting the Irish economy," he stated.

Overall banks here are still seeing relatively muted demand for credit. Businesses and consumers are paying down debt meaning lending volumes in aggregate are still contracting as redemptions exceed the value of new loans being extended.

"Legacy issues also remain material," Mr Lane said, referring to the issue of mortgage arrears and other bad debts but also to under-investment in technology and data infrastructure.