Former Fine Gael MEP looking to help banks regain reputation

Former Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has defended financial services in Ireland from what he called "bank-bashing" and groupthink".

Former Fine Gael MEP looking to help banks regain reputation

Former Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has defended financial services in Ireland from what he called "bank-bashing" and "groupthink".

Mr Hayes, who was also a TD and Senator in a near 20-year political career is now the Chief Executive of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland and acknowledged the banking failures that led to the economic collapse as well as the more recent tracker mortgage scandal.

He stood by those criticisms he made of the industry five years ago and added during an interview on the Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 that he is working to improve the sector.

The RTÉ host put a 2014 quote to him:

Mortgage holders on variable rates are being fleeced by the banks to make up for losses on tracker mortgages.

Mr Hayes said he is now trying to help restore the reputational damage the banks have taken in the last decade.

"If I can be very frank, for the last number of years bank-bashing is kind of the new form of groupthink in this country."

"I understand given the scandal, and it is a scandal on trackers, given what happened in the country ten years ago it's kind of gone in such a direction now that even getting time to discuss why things have to happen across the banking industry is very very difficult."

However, Mr Hayes also acknowledged that Ireland is "a risky country to do banking in".

This means, according to the BPFI chief, that Ireland needs "exceptional people" leading the country's banks.

"The crucial issue is to make sure that the tax-payer gets all of its money back, we need really exceptional people leading our banks."

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