London (AFP) – British regulators Thursday said they had fined Australian-owned Clydesdale Bank almost ??9.0 million for failing to inform customers of their rights after making errors on thousands of home loan repayments.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog said the penalty came to ??8.9 million ($14.3 million, 10.6 million euros), the latest in a line of fines incurred by Britain's financial sector.
Clydesdale, owned by National Australia Bank (NAB), had in 2009 discovered mis-calculations of mortgage repayments that resulted in errors on more than 42,500 accounts, the FCA said in a statement.
Clydesdale has agreed to compensate all affected customers, costing it about ??42 million including the fine.
"For most people mortgage payments are their biggest monthly outgoing and we all budget on the assumption that the information our mortgage lender gives us about what we need to pay is correct," said Tracey McDermott, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime.
"Here Clydesdale failed in that basic duty and, when it discovered the problem, sought to pass all of the consequences on to its customers -- expecting them to find the money to remedy mistakes which were entirely of Clydesdale's making."
David Thorburn, Clydesdale chief executive, apologised for the affair in a separate statement.
???I am very sorry that this wasn't handled as it should have been," he said.
"We should have made it clear at the time that this was entirely our fault and that some customers may be entitled to compensation."
Melbourne-based NAB is Australia's fourth biggest bank.
News of the penalty comes a day after British and US regulators fined London-listed broker Icap $87 million (64 million euros) for its role in the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
British lenders are being forced also to compensate customers for mis-sold insurance products, costing the sector billions of pounds.