Claim on bad loans must be investigated

DESPITE the earnest but constrained Banking Inquiry, doubts linger about the role played by senior bankers up to, during, and after the economic implosion of 2008 — the one that will cost this small country the bones of €100bn before all associated debts are discharged.

The value of the information offered to the then besieged government and the Central Bank remains questionable. Unburdened by anything other than light-touch regulation, the banks worked in a culture where precise reporting of a bank’s health meant many things.

Those issues have resurfaced with the report that two investigations will be opened in response to claims from within AIB that the bank misled regulators on the progress made in resolving issues around impaired loans. An inaccurate picture of this situation would have consequences for the bank’s credibility and value. The whistleblower worked within a division of the bank that handles bad loans.

AIB responded by saying it was “not aware” of the allegations made to the Central Bank and the European Central Bank. Allegations of this nature are made through a confidential email and are dealt with in a confidential manner.

On the face of it this seems a pretty straightforward situation. A claim has been made and it will either stand up or fall. If it is confirmed then the Government, as the owner of the bank, is in the perfect position to take decisive action.


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