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The great German funding myth

Matt Cooper says during the property bubble “money poured into this country’s banks” from institutions in Germany and France (Opinion, Dec 27). In saying this, he is lazily rehashing a claim which is often made, but is also entirely false.

In their report last September, “Profiling the Cross-Border Funding of the Irish Banking System”, the Central Bank found that just 1% of foreign lending during the boom came from Germany. Institutions in France contributed even less, just a fraction of a percent of the total. Several other studies by the Central Bank and by independent economists have shown likewise.

So why is it constantly repeated, as a matter of established fact, that enormous levels of German and French lending to our banks took place during the boom? And more to the point, why do commentators like Matt Cooper persist in spreading this nonsense instead of challenging it?

Five years on from the collapse, a section of Irish society still seems to be trying to blame foreign bogeymen for a crash which was largely caused by foolish decisions made by Irish politicians, Irish regulators and Irish voters. Deep down I think we all know this, and perhaps this is why Mr Barosso’s comments seem to have struck a nerve with Matt Cooper and so many others.

Barry Walsh
Dublin 3


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