Monday, January 17, 2011
ALLIED Irish Banks is conducting an internal investigation into how it used forged documents to claim it held a security over property owned by a couple who borrowed €120,000 from the bank.
The couple, who live in Munster and have asked not to be identified, have warned all borrowers to keep full copies of loan agreements and check that the bank has not falsely claimed to have a claim on their properties to secure outstanding loans.The pair originally sign- ed a loan agreement on September 8, 2008, for a €120,000 bridging loan to finish an investment property they were building. However, the couple were unable to sell the completed house in the depressed property market and ran into repayment difficulties. A new "altered" loan agreement dated September 23, 2008, was produced by the bank giving AIB security over their investment property and their family home. This document had the couple’s signatures and altered dates and conditions. "We were extremely distressed to be sent a contract — 13 months after the original agreement — that we’d neither seen, signed or agreed to, that documented our family home and our investment property was put down as security. "We could not believe that one of the largest banking institutions could blatantly alter documents and use our signatures from our original contract and transfer these to a revised contract without our knowledge. "Had we not kept our own original documentation, the bank appeared to have security against our family home without our permission," the couple said. On January 10, 2010, the bank wrote to the couple stating: "We do not have an explanation for the credit agreement dated 23rd September 2008, and it was not accepted by Mr & Mrs ——, we have not been relying on same and it has been removed from the file. We trust this is to your satisfaction." The couple have failed over the last 12 months to get an adequate response from AIB as to how it came to use forged documents. "We have been under exceptional stress and uncertainty, unable to obtain any answers other than if we are unhappy with the bank’s response, ie fraudulent behaviour; that we can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO).
"The bank has been completely impersonal and indifferent to our feelings..." AIB told the Irish Examiner the matter is under investigation. The FSO cannot name financial institutions found guilty of wrongdoing and the couple feared AIB was pushing them in this direction to cover up the issue.