A television advertisement for Ulster Bank opens with a family visiting an animal re-homing centre.
FVO “What makes an Ulster Bank mortgage different?”
Mother: “When Ulster Bank say yes”
The daughter chooses a large dog and the Mum looks shocked.
Daughter: “This one”
Dad replies “Absolutely”
Mother: “You know it’s a yes you can live with"
Scene switches to woman in a hospital bed holding a new born baby.
Woman: “They’ve a wide range of fixed rates options so you can fix lower for longer” A nurse hands her a second baby. We then see her husband holding a third baby.
Man: “without any little surprises”
Woman: “financially speaking”
The scene switches again to a customer in an Ulster Bank meeting with an Ulster Bank mortgage advisor.
Man: “and when the fixed term ends”
Woman: “you’ll be offered the same rate as a new customer”
Man: “I can live with that”
FVO “For a mortgage you can live with talk to Ulster Bank today. Ulster Bank help for what matters “
The following appears on screen “Ulster Bank help for what matters”
YOUR HOME IS AT RISK IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP PAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER LOAN SECURED ON IT. YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY CHARGES IF YOU PAY OFF A FIXED RATE LOAN EARLY
At end superimposed on screen
“Terms and conditions apply. Over 18’s. Republic of Ireland residents and properties only. Security and insurance required, fees may apply. Excludes Buy to Let and Mortgages in Arrears. Information correct 22.04.2015”.
The complainant considered the advertising to be misleading because Ulster Bank may decide to sell a customer’s mortgage on to a third party, thereby the customer’s contract with the bank would become meaningless.
The advertiser stated that the dialogue used in the advertisement “when Ulster Bank says yes, you know it’s a yes you can rely on”, related specifically and solely to their approval procedure. They said that Ulster Bank gives the applicant the assurance that their mortgage approval is an approval they can rely upon. Therefore, when they say ‘yes’, it’s a yes you can rely on.
They said that the television commercial was extensively researched across consumer groups across Ireland and the messaging was consistently found to be clear and unambiguous. They said that the scenario that the complainant raised did not emerge in any of the research groups.
They also pointed out that if a bank were to sell on a customer’s mortgage, the same terms would bind the purchaser and therefore the contract would not become meaningless.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted the concerns raised by the complainant. They considered that, while the advertisement was primarily referring to the mortgage approval process, it also referred to the mortgage package generally. The Committee noted that even in the unlikely event of a mortgage being sold, the advertisers terms would apply. In the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the advertising was misleading.