The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned Bank of Ireland UK that mistakes can have ‘far reaching consequences’ for consumers, reprimanding the bank for some recent failures.
Bank of Ireland UK sent incorrect outstanding balances on 3,284 customers’ loan accounts to credit reference agencies, which the ICO noted could have led to some customers being unfairly refused credit for mortgages, credit cards or loans.
Customers could also have been granted too much credit for items that they could potentially not afford. Although the complexity of credit scoring means ‘it would be impossible to determine the actual damage caused to each customer’, the ICO noted, but the authority added that it was still reasonable to assume a negative impact on consumers.
Natasha Longson, ICO Head of Investigations, remarked: “Mistakes made by financial institutions can have far-reaching consequences on people’s everyday lives. Some of the customers affected could have been refused mortgages, loans or credit cards, as well as being unable to get mobile phone contracts, insurance policies or sign up with utility companies.
“The mistake made by Bank of Ireland UK could have potentially caused misery for thousands of people. We do however recognise the steps the bank has taken to correct their error, supporting affected customers and reviewing its data-management processes.
“Therefore, we believe a reprimand is the best, fairest outcome, and that lessons have been learnt to avoid mistakes like these in the future.”
Bank of Ireland UK has been recommended to use and regularly review robust processes and share findings across its organisation, whilst remaining compliant with UK data protection requirements.