Pay-back time for ICI bale-out

IS it naive to think AIB, which has just returned the biggest profits ever

Sensationally at the time, massive losses in ICI, the insurance arm of AIB, threatened the whole banking industry.

The government of the day, a Fine Gael-Labour coalition under Dr Garret Fitzgerald, used taxpayers’ money to buy ICI lock, stock and barrel, including liabilities of £267m.

Amazingly, despite making healthy profits throughout the ICI saga, AIB’s only up-front commitment to a rescue package ( apart from an annual levy) was a £70 million loan which has since been repaid to the bank by the State.

AIB has a habit of falling on its feet. For instance, after the bogus offshore accounts scam, a tax fraud involving hundreds of millions, it negotiated a relatively favourable deal with the Revenue Commissioners.

Despite taking its eye off the ball in an astonishing show of incompetence in America which enabled rogue trader John Rusnak to notch up losses of $691m, it has bounced back to record profits of €1,375 million, a whopping €4 million a day.

Surely, the time is now ripe for AIB to thank taxpayers for baling it out in 1985 by giving beleaguered customers an equally generous deal. But don’t hold your breath!

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