Since the economy collapsed in 2008, politicians, the Financial Regulator and various other government authorities have been telling the Irish people that the days when financial institutions could rob customers without fear of prosecution were over.
From now on, they said, the law will be enforced. Stringent new laws would ensure that such criminal activities would never again occur, that Irish citizens could rest easy in their beds in the knowledge that the state and its enforcement agencies were protecting them.
Of course, all the talk was nothing more than the usual tissue of lies we have come to expect from those who claim to work in the best interest of the citizens of Ireland.
The following scams were reported in the media last week (Irish Independent).
Banks had charged thousands of homeowners the wrong interest rates on their mortgages.
Banks had misled customers with money in deposit accounts by promoting term and interest rates that were later changed once people signed up for the accounts.
Banks had short-changed thousands of customers on (other) interest rates.
It’s at this point Irish citizens would expect to see the many promises come to fruition, that they would expect to see justice done, to see transparency and accountability.
Here’s what they got:
The Central Bank, the so called Financial Regulator, refused to name the financial institutions involved, refused to specify the number of customers involved and refused to disclose the level of funds involved.
This absolute refusal to disclose even the most basic information is of great benefit to the thieving banks and is, potentially, very destructive for Irish citizens.
A spokesman for the Central Bank arrogantly dismissed all queries by declaring: It is not the practice of the Central Bank to name and shame.
I rang the Central Bank and spoke to an official in the hilariously named Public Contacts Unit. I wanted to know why such basic information was being kept secret from the public.
Because it would not be in the public interest and it is a corporate or private matter between the Central Bank and the companies that they regulate.
Ultimately, what happened was that these people were refunded so, this might sound a bit stupid, but the fact that these people were compensated and corrections were made to their accounts the wrongdoing as such has been rectified and catered for and the acts themselves have stopped.
After picking myself up off the floor and gaining control of my hysterical laughter I asked the obvious question: How could the keeping secret of the names of the thieving bankers be in the public interest?
Well, I’d like to withdraw that, it may not be factually correct.
This official was unable/unwilling to provide me with any further answers and ‘helpfully’ gave me an email address (of his own unit as it turned out) where I could follow up on my queries.
To be continued…