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‘NO COMMENT’ SPOKESMAN REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON EVERYONE’S LIPS


The Sunday Independent posed the following questions to Minister of State for Small Business John Perry but he refused to comment. A spokesman said: “As this matter currently remains before the courts, Minister Perry will be making no comment.”

In relation to the loan Mr Perry agreed with Bank of Ireland to help pay his outstanding tax bill of approximately €100,000, what security – if any – was provided to the Bank of Ireland?

• Why did Mr Perry tell Danske Bank officials that he was friends with Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher? What would this have to do with any decision the bank would make on extending credit to him? Did he expect it to make a difference?

• Why did Mr Perry meet Danske officials in his Dail office? Did he not consider this to be an inappropriate use of that office? Did he think a meeting held in a minister’s office would in any way influence Danske Bank officials in their treatment of him?

• Can Mr Perry explain his remark to Danske Bank officials on January 31 last, where he accused them of being engaged in a form of bullying? Why did he go on to ask the bank’s officials if they treated all their customers in the same way? Does he consider it appropriate to have referred to the bank’s relations with other customers given his position as a government minister?

via ‘NO COMMENT’ SPOKESMAN REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON EVERYONE’S LIPS – Independent.ie.

Beleaguered Perry owed more than €100,000 to taxman


Junior  minister John Perry’s position has become increasingly tenuous after it emerged he had tax arrears of €100,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday gave a less than ringing endorsement to the minister and speculation has already begun about his successor as Small Business Minister.

Court documents also reveal Mr Perry told Danske Bank, to whom he owes €2.5m, that he “knew Richie Boucher of Bank of Ireland” during negotiations on his loans.

The documents also show Mr Perry accusing the bank of “a form of bullying” and alluded to the personal consequences of actions by the bank “with his job”.

Mr Kenny said he has spoken with Mr Perry about his financial difficulties this week.

And the Taoiseach has also discussed the matter with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore as concern within the Coalition over Mr Perry’s position mounts.

However, it is not clear if the Taoiseach or Tanaiste were aware of Mr Perry’s tax arrears – as neither Government leader is commenting.

But Mr Perry told Danske Bank in January 2012 that Bank of Ireland had agreed to give him a 10-year loan to help him address tax arrears of about €100,000, according to Commercial Court documents.

But it is not clear if the minister has since cleared the arrears with Revenue.

Last night, opposition parties called on Mr Perry (pictured) to make a statement on his finances as the reference to tax arrears piled the pressure on the minister.

Mr Perry has six weeks to repay €2.5m after he and and his wife Marie consented to a judgment for that amount against them at the Commercial Court over unpaid loans on Monday.

Mr Kenny said Mr Perry’s case was “indicative” of a number of business people across the country who have got into financial difficulty. I don’t really want to say anymore about John Perry’s particular problem.

“I spoke to him on Sunday and obviously they are working on that for the future,” he said.

Speaking on Mid-West Radio in Mayo, Mr Kenny said Mr Perry was committed to continuing his work as Small Business Minister.

“Obviously he has worked exceptionally hard in terms of his ministry. He’s got a court judgment to deal with here now in respect of the next five or six weeks,” he said.

Mr Gilmore’s spokesman said the Tanaiste reiterated that Mr Perry and his wife should be given the “time and space” to deal with the issues.

He also confirmed the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste had a “brief conversation” on the matter.

Mr Kenny’s spokesman also would not comment on the tax arrears question.

“The Taoiseach is not going to comment on the details of the case as the court proceedings progress,” the spokesman said.

But Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath said it would not be acceptable for Mr Perry, as Minister of State for Small Business, to preside over businesses that were not meeting their taxation obligations to the State.

“In my view, on that issue alone, his position is very much called into question,” he said.

Mr Perry also told Danske Bank that AIB had agreed to give him an 11-year loan to pay €125,000 to other creditors and his other lenders had agreed to continue facilities on an interest only basis, minutes of meetings state.

The minutes relate to some of a number of meetings held between Danske and Mr Perry about delays in making repayments on a loan of €2.4m made to him and his wife in October 2011.

It also emerged that when the bank indicated last january that it would seek judgment or appoint a receiver if satisfactory proposals were not provided, Mr Perry expressed shock at the bank’s “aggressive approach”.

Irish Independent

via Beleaguered Perry owed more than €100,000 to taxman – Independent.ie.

Perry faces serious political consequences following €2.47m judgment –


image

Last April, Minister of State for Small Business John Perry wrote to the chief executives of Bank of Ireland and AIB asking them to meet a Government advisory group and set out their positions on funding small and medium-sized enterprises, and how they dealt with SMEs with distressed loans.

“It is imperative that we listen to the voice of small business,” said Perry. Indeed when Taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed him to the ministerial ranks it was because of Perry’s “understanding of small business”.

The extent of Perry’s understanding of distressed loans in the SME sector became clearer yesterday when the Sligo politician and his wife, Marie, consented in the Commercial Court to a judgment of €2.47 million against them in favour of Danske Bank

The debt related to a €2.42 million loan advanced to the couple in October 2011, which itself was a restructuring of existing loans. To use the phrase made infamous by the Anglo Irish recordings, Perry as the relevant Minister had skin in the game.

Security
The court proceedings disclosed that security and collateral on the loan included the Stone Park Restaurant, Perry’s Hardware shop in the politician’s home town ofBallymote, Co Sligo, as well as 50 acres of agricultural land.

The Fine Gael politician did not make himself available for comment yesterday and a spokeswoman said: “The matter remains before the court and he will not be making any comment until [proceedings are concluded].”

Registration of the judgment is scheduled for September 2nd. The Perrys had sought a three-month stay on the registration to allow them seek a resolution but counsel for Danske Bank objected on the grounds that they had had ample time to do so.

The judgment will create major political problems for Perry and might even cast a strong doubt on his future status as a TD. Officially the Government will make no comment about the case but privately officials have said it is a private matter for the Minister of State that does not impinge on his public duties in Government.

He will be the second Minister in the past year to have his financial affairs exposed to scrutiny, following the inclusion of Minister for Health James Reilly’s name in Stubbs’ Gazette. Politically, however, the judgment will have more ramifications for Perry.

He is, after all, the Minister for Small Business. And in his position, can he credibly call – as he did last April – for the chief executives of the country’s biggest banks to explain their position on distressed loans to an advisory group of which he is a member when he himself is in that category? The Dáil is in recess but will be returning within a fortnight of the judgment being registered.

via Perry faces serious political consequences following €2.47m judgment – Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times – Tue, Jul 23, 2013.

Where will we be without the bankers?


IT’S not all bad news. Sometimes, it’s like the country is on a downward spiral into permanent stagnation. But, occasionally there’s some really good news. For instance, have you heard that Goldman Sachs, the controversial cabal of international bankers, is pulling out of the International Financial Services Centre? Reliable sources say Goldman Sachs doesn’t want to do business in this country anymore. Whoopee!

Why are they leaving? Well, that’s something we should be shouting from the rooftops.

And they’re not the only bankers buggering off, I’m pleased to report. Several others are “handing back their licences”, according to Michael Somers, deputy chairman of AIB. And, he says, some of them have told him privately that it’s because of heavier regulation of their activities.

Not surprisingly, for a banker, Somers is dismayed. “I’m dismayed,” he told RTE’s business programme.

And this was reported sympathetically throughout the media, as though it’s a bad thing that various senior bankers, including the Goldman gobshites, are leaving. Sometimes, I wonder about this country.

The fighting Irish. The raging anger when the bankers crashed capitalism in 2008. The demands that bankers be fired, shamed, jailed – or worse. The anger at the light-touch regulation that allowed all sorts of cowboys to prosper, running their own banks into the ground. The insistence that there must be banking reform – this, we were told, Must Never Happen Again.

Well, folks, the notion that the banks should be kept on a tight rein is going out of fashion. Effective regulation is now dismissed as short-sighted. Support for regulation is caricatured as mere anti-banker rhetoric.

During the Celtic Bubble, bankers had a free hand. They acted with disregard for anything except their own interests. That’s not because they’re bad people – though some of them had the morals of jackals and the brains of peat briquettes. It’s because people who are paid massively, lauded as geniuses and given the run of the country will act accordingly.

Now, the pleas are mounting for lighter regulation and bigger salaries for bankers. And there’s no sign that this Government strongly disagrees.

An outsider was appointed Financial Regulator – Matthew Elderfield. Saviour of capitalism, a stickler for the rulebook, we were told. Best of all, he had no connection to the usual cronies.

And when Elderfield quit recently, after just three years on the job, to take a position with a UK bank, many were surprised.

Is his move just personal ambition or is there something more going on? Has Elderfield seen straws in the wind and did this make him decide to move to more solid ground?

Last week, Elderfield made a speech warning that the cost of lax supervision was many, many times the cost of proper regulation. Bizarrely, the media reported this as just another view – balanced against the view of the bankers, that regulation has gone too far.

I’ve had goldfish with better memories than some media folk.

Goldman Sachs, throughout this global crisis, epitomised the morals of the banking business. In Matt Taibbi’s memorable phrase, the bank is like “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.

The Greek government deceived the EU in 2001, borrowing billions in an off-the-books deal, while appearing to meet the EU’s deficit rules. They didn’t do it alone.

According to The New York Times, Goldman helped that government manoeuvre and the deal was “hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade, rather than a loan”.

Why would Goldman do that? Because the Greek politicians “paid the bank about $300m (€230m) in fees for arranging the 2001 transaction, according to several bankers familiar with the deal”.

When Greece imploded, Goldman had moved on to other things, its executives fattened on their notorious bonuses.

The fact that Goldman Sachs and others are leaving the IFSC – well, an active, concerned government would have ministers fanning out across the globe, gleefully welcoming this news. Yell it from the pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Take a bunch of Reuters and AP reporters to dinner, send Michael Noonan into the Bloomberg TV studios with a big grin on his face.

“We’re glad to see the back of those bastards,” he would say.

And it would ask the question: what are Goldman Sachs hiding? What are they up to that can’t stand the light of effective regulation?

An active, concerned government would use the flight of such people to advertise a financial-services system that won’t be allowed do the kind of things that destroyed economies.

The departure of such types would be a platform from which to promise a financial-services set-up that you can trust.

But the wind seems to be blowing in the opposite direction. The Government’s defence of regulation is luke-warm. It refused to oppose the €843,000 salary of Richie Boucher of Bank of Ireland.

The framework of regulation – including Elderfield’s position – remains in place. The bankers find this restrictive – so, the pressure is on.

Yesterday, John Bruton, a former Taoiseach, now a hired mouthpiece for the banking business, rebuked President Higgins’s call for an end to the policy of austerity (pushed by banker-friendly types, such as Mario Draghi, a Goldman Sachs old boy). Attack unemployment, Higgins suggested.

Stay the course, Bruton says. He’s on a Dail and ministerial pension of €140,000, on top of his reported six-figure salary for bigging-up the bankers. And he says: “Austerity is always painful.”

The lesson of the banking crisis seemed for a while to be obvious to all. We need banks that serve the economy – not the bankers.

We need boring banks, banks that assess risk, support customers and serve the wider economy – not banks that are fixated on spectacular deals that feed the egos and the wallets of elite layers of hustlers.

Two distinct models of banking. An old one, that kept capitalism relatively stable for decades. And a casino model that emerged from Thatcherism, tied to bloated rewards for the few.

That cut-throat model, which placed the welfare of banks above that of the people, led to the crash. And to the ruinous bank guarantee.

And to the subsequent policies of forcing the debts of bankers and bondholders on to the people. And the costly, disastrous attempts to balance the books through austerity.

Remarkably, the cut-throat model has survived. We needed a clear-out of senior bankers, not as a punishment or as revenge, but to evict a type of specialist we don’t need, who subscribes to a model of banking, and a model of society, that has massively damaged us.

Many of the those who ran the banks into the ground have gone, but their values remain – and are lauded in the highest circles of government, business and the media.

Who replaces Elderfield, and the ground rules under which he or she works, will matter. There will be no sweeping disposal of regulation – we on the outside won’t even see the screws loosened.

Should those bankers now leaving in a huff return in a year or two, we’ll know then that we’re in even bigger trouble.

via Where will we be without the bankers? – Independent.ie.

via Where will we be without the bankers? – Independent.ie.

US fund manager who gambled on Bank of Ireland bonds in 2012 earned USD $2.2bn (personally, that is, himself)


You will be glad to have confirmed the identity of at least one bondholder to whom we have paid tens of billions. David Tepper has been named by Forbes as the highest earning fund manager in 2012. He, himself personally, was paid USD 2.2bn (€1.68bn) in 2012; yes, he actually earned 2,671 times Pat Kenny’s 2012 RTE fees. Forbes reports “his flagship hedge fund successfully bet on stocks and other securities at key moments in 2012, posting a net return of nearly 30%. His $15 billion Appaloosa Management has been knocking out annual net returns of about 30% since 1993”

And how is David earning 30% annual returns? We don’t have a detailed breakdown but we’ll remember David here in Ireland after his January 2013 performance on Bloomberg TV, when he told the US audience.

“We invested in the Bank of Ireland… and we bought their bonds, subordinated bonds…They [BoI] wanted to ‘cram us down’ … So we took them to court.. We were gonna go into the English and Irish courts to fight the Bank of Ireland, and fight the Irish Government for that matter…We finally won at the beginning of this year… The debt was trading at 40/50 cents…..So the Bank of Ireland this year, goes and issues a new issue, of the same debt…. a month and a half ago….the debt is now trading at 115..The only reason it is worth buying, is because we fought it, and we won”

Bank of Ireland, the bank into which we have shoveled €4.7bn gross, about €3bn net.

We have no real idea of the bondholders in Anglo, Irish Nationwide, Permanent TSB, EBS and AIB into which we have shoveled €60bn. Yes, there was a partial listing of INBS junior bondholders from Guido Fawkes which Senator Norris tried to read into the Seanad record, and was stopped, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Challenge the government on this and the key defence is “think of the credit unions”, but we know they are suffering circa €15m losses on deposits at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. The government also claim that because the banks don’t maintain lists and the banks merely pay clearing companies which then make payments to the actual bondholders, that there is no way of knowing the ultimate identity of the bondholders. Well, at least, we know David.

Here’s the video

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

 

Criminal Investigation of Allied Irish Bank plc


Yesterday evening, 01/03/2013 a Criminal Complaint was lodged and a statement taken by An Garda Siochana at the Bridewell Station in Dublin. The criminal acts complained and alleged in the statement pertain to Allied Irish Bank plc and include reckless lending, operating a Bank without a valid Bank License and breach of Liquidity Laws among others, this only the second such complaint made in the history of the State, the first having been made on February 14th 2013 at Malahide Garda Station, to date no “Pulse” incident number has been provided by An Garda Siochana for the first complaint, that in itself is the basis of a subsequent complaint to the Garda Ombudsman, the Dept of Justice and the Minister himself. The complaint lodged last night has been assigned a Pulse incident number, we will await the outcome of the Garda investigation of this Criminal Complaint.

via Criminal Investigation of Allied Irish Bank plc….. «Awaken Longford Awaken Longford.

via Criminal Investigation of Allied Irish Bank plc….. «Awaken Longford Awaken Longford.

Irish Golden Circle still shining despite massive recession — Still running the show despite bankrupting the country


Brian Goggin, formerly of the Bank of Ireland

 

They were called the golden circle, the people in the inside loop who made lots of money during the boom years here.

I’m not just talking about the property speculators and developers playing with their borrowed billions who were in an inner platinum circle all of their own. The golden circle was far wider than that.

It included bankers, lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, brokers, management consultants, IT experts, the top layer of professionals of all kinds — and it also included the senior levels in the civil service and state agencies, the guys and gals who actually run the country for the politicians.

So having comprehensively screwed up the country and plunged us into a financial catastrophe so bad that we had to be rescued by the IMF and the EU, all these guys and gals are now out of a job, right?

Not at all. This is Ireland, after all. The unbelievable, extraordinary truth is that almost all these experts and advisers have held on to their top jobs and are still doing very well, thank you very much.

While the ordinary folk here struggle in the darkness of lay-offs, welfare cutbacks and tax hikes, the sun is still shining brightly on our golden circle.

Of course there has been some token changes. At the very top of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank, the Financial Regulator‘s office and, of course the banks, a few people were shifted. A couple went to cozy positions in Europe with big salaries attached, and the others were put out to grass with pension pots worth millions and huge golden handshakes so they can continue to enjoy the privileged lifestyles they expect.

Only a very small number of people were moved from the leadership roles they had. In fact you could count on two hands the number of top dogs who were moved.

The majority of the top layer of people, who all played a part directly or indirectly in destroying our economy, are still there. The senior civil servants, the financial experts, the consultants, the lawyers, the accountants and auditors are all there and still being paid boom time salaries and fees.

The game has changed, of course. Instead of advising the government and businesses on the boom, they are now advising them on the bust.

The bankers and accountants and auditors and consultants who failed to see the developing bubble are now the ones making fortunes dealing with all the businesses that are going bust. Dozens of them have even been hired to play key roles in NAMA, the national bad bank where all the toxic property loans have been dumped.

So the very people who made the mess are now the ones making a very lucrative living out of trying to sort it out.  Two or three of the biggest legal firms and accountancy firms here which were up to their necks in the boom are now “advising” on the bust.

This is enough to give you indigestion.  But what is really sickening is that the members of this very large golden circle are still charging eye-watering fees for their services.

We’re talking hundreds of euros an hour here.  And

they are getting away with this even though the country is broke — and it’s broke thanks to their incompetence.

It starts right at the top, of course, with our politicians, who are paid far more than their European counterparts.  We all know the taoiseach (our prime minister) earns more than the U.S. President.  But he also is paid more than the British prime minister and more than the heads of most European countries, which may be a less dramatic comparison but is more relevant.

The same applies to the civil servants who head up government departments here, and to many other areas of Irish government and professional life.  Consultant doctors and top lawyers in Ireland earn far more than their counterparts in Europe.

Further down the ladder, senior teachers here earn at least 20 percent more than teachers in Britain, for example.  And it goes on and on, increasingly dividing Irish society into those who are comfortable and those who are struggling to make ends meet.

The common factor among those who are doing okay — in case you haven’t spotted it already — is that they all work for the state or for semi-state organizations (except for the bank bosses, although you could say they also work for the state since the state now owns the banks).

This influences fees that are charged by others who provide professional services to the state (like lawyers and accountants) and so they keep their fees and charges high.  Why should they bring them down when they see all the others in the golden circle hanging on to their high pay and status?

What all this means is that we are developing two Irelands.  There are those who are paid by the state, directly or indirectly, and who see no reason to moderate their pay or pensions as long as the state can borrow enough to keep going; since it’s all paid for by borrowing, there’s no real limit.

Then there is everyone in the private sector, where pay and pensions depend directly on the ability of a company to make a profit and stay in business –and for more and more of them, the cost of keeping a job or continuing to get a pension means taking huge cuts in what they are getting.

The pension divide between the two Irelands is even more nauseating than the pay situation.  Let’s start with two of the most infuriating examples from the top of the golden circle.

You may remember the name Brian Goggin, the boss of Bank of Ireland during the boom.  You also may remember the name Eugene Sheehy, who was the boss of AIB during the boom and property bubble, which of course only happened because the two banks (the biggest in Ireland) made it possible through reckless lending.

Sheehy has a bit of extra notoriety because he was one of the senior bankers who had the late night meeting with the taoiseach and the minister for finance in September 2008 and pleaded for help to help them get through their “temporary liquidity problem.”

The result was the government guaranteed all bank debt, a decision that has bankrupted the country because the real level of the bank debts was many times greater than Sheehy and his buddies revealed to the government that night.

The banks did not just have a liquidity problem. They were insolvent.  They were completely bust,  owing tens of billions of euro with not a hope of ever being able to pay it back.

So Goggin and Sheehy were major players in destroying the Irish economy and losing us our economic sovereignty.  Not only that, but we taxpayers have had to meet the cost of pouring billions into AIB and Bank of Ireland to keep them open.

Did the two boyos go to jail?  Or even have to do some community service to atone for what they had done?  Not at all.  This is Ireland, after all.

They were both moved, given early retirement.  And this is the best bit.  Goggin is on a pension of €650,000 a year for the rest of his life. Sheehy’s pension is €450,000 a year for life.

Both are still relatively young.  Sheehy has gone

back to college.   Goggin is back at work, playing a leading role in a multi-billion U.S. investment group that is targeting distressed property loans in Ireland and buying baskets of insurance policies from finance institutions here that are under pressure.

These are extreme examples of the way golden circle members here get looked after.  But the same stuff goes on all the way down the state food chain, with state employees getting very generous guaranteed pensions for life, typically between half and two thirds their final salary.

And it’s all funded by state borrowing, so there is no limit on what it costs.  Contrast this with the private sector, where almost 80 percent of company pension funds are bust, thanks to the financial collapse.

Let’s take an example to illustrate what’s going on.   The pension fund in Independent Newspapers, the biggest newspaper group in Ireland where this writer has worked, now has a black hole in it of some €160 million and is probably going to be closed down, leaving a lot of people with little or nothing.

Meanwhile out at Dublin Airport, the umbrella pension fund that looks after staff in Aer Lingus, the DAA company that runs Irish airports and a linked aircraft maintenance company, has a black hole in it of €750 million.  Because Aer Lingus and the DAA are semi-state companies, the unions are trying to force the government to pump money into this pension fund so staff can get their full pensions.

And you are all going to know about this very soon because the unions are threatening a wave of strikes in the run up to Christmas that could disrupt trans-Atlantic flights.

The fact that the pension fund is bust — there’s no way back from a €750 million deficit — and the state is bust, makes no impression on these semi-state workers.  As far as they are concerned the state must borrow to back fill their pension fund. It’s that simple.

In the real world of the private sector, such nonsense is not an option for workers because their companies cannot borrow like this and could go under if they tried.  Independent Newspapers is already struggling for survival, quite apart from its pensions problem.

It’s a two Ireland scenario.  Unfortunately the politicians and the civil servants who run the country are all part of the Ireland that is okay.

They talk a lot, but there is no action to reduce the problem for the private sector workers who are part of the other Ireland.  Instead we get lectures from union leaders about avoiding a race to the bottom in wages and pensions.

Like I said, the golden circle is still shining, but the glow is making the rest of us feel like throwing up.

via Irish Golden Circle still shining despite massive recession — Still running the show despite bankrupting the country | Ireland Calling | IrishCentral.

Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company –


A FORMER Barclays banker who is among the new shareholders in the National Asset Management Agency’s ownership company was involved in a scheme to remove toxic assets from Barclay’s books that a top UK regulator described as “pushing the envelope too far”.

Nama yesterday said Irish Life had sold its 17 per cent stake in the special purpose vehicle that owns the loans agency to London company Walbrook Capital. One of the firms’s three founders is Australian lawyer Michael Keeley, who worked for the structured credit division of UK bank Barclays.

Mr Keeley, as a member of a 45-strong structured credit team at Barclays, was involved in a scheme designed by the bank to move $12.3 billion (€9.4 billion) of toxic credit market assets off the balance sheet of the bank in 2009.

The executives were asked to manage the run-down of the assets through a New York hedge fund called C12 Capital Management in a scheme the bank called Protium.

The scheme was later reversed by Barclays after UK regulators raised concerns with the bank.

Andrew Bailey, the highest-ranking UK bank supervisor, attended a board meeting of Barclays in February and queried the buccaneering culture at the bank.

The Protium scheme was described by the regulator as “pushing the envelope too far”. Details of the intervention emerged in the controversy over Barclays’ role in the rate-rigging Libor scandal which led to the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond.

A spokesman for Walbrook and Mr Keeley declined to comment on Protium, while a Nama spokesman also had no comment.

A source close to Walbrook said Mr Keeley was part of the Barclays team asked to manage the Protium assets but this was led by the bank rather than the team itself.

Walbrook was set up in 2011 by Geoff Broomhead and Simon Haworth who worked with Mr Keeley at Barclays Capital. They left Barclays in 2009 to manage Protium but ties with C12 and Walbrook have since been severed.

The sale of Irish Life’s 17 per cent stake in National Asset Management Agency Investment Limited keeps loans of €74 billion at the country’s “bad bank” off the balance sheet of the Government.

The vehicle was structured to give private investors a 51 per cent stake in Nama’s ownership to satisfy EU accounting rules that the agency’s liabilities were sitting off the State’s books.

Irish Life was an original 17 per cent shareholder in the Nama vehicle with the fund management units of Bank of Ireland and AIB.

The Government’s takeover of Irish Life as part of the bailout of Permanent TSB threatened to bring ownership of Nama’s SPV into majority State control given that the Government had 49 per cent of the Nama vehicle.

Walbrook’s acquisition of the stake for an undisclosed sum, understood to be less than the €17 million Irish Life originally paid, puts Nama’s SPV back into majority private hands.

Mr Keeley, a senior partner in Walbrook, said the decision to invest in Nama “followed a careful assessment of the outlook for the Irish economy and in particular its property sector, which we believe is now close to stabilisation.”

Walbrook said that it invests in long-term credit, property and renewable energy assets.

via Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

via Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

Banks not contributing to society – Elderfield – Irish, Business – Independent.ie


BANKS had been given a life-saving blood transfusion by taxpayers but returned the favour by charging customers more, the financial regulator has said.

The country’s top regulator, Matthew Elderfield, also accused the banks of not properly contributing to society.

His comments came on the day it emerged that Bank of Ireland is to push up the interest on credit cards by as much as 4 percentage points, in a move that will hit thousands of householders. Many struggling consumers are so short of cash they are using credit cards to juggle their finances.

The new rates, which will be between 0.7pc and 4pc higher, take effect from December 18 next. They apply to purchases on cards. The bank, which got €4.7bn from the taxpayer, said it had not raised rates since August 2011.

Mr Elderfield, who is also the deputy governor of the Central Bank, said banks faced the uncomfortable task of “telling the neighbours who donated blood to them that they need to charge them more as customers”.

The State has nationalised five of the six domestic banks — AIB, EBS, Permanent TSB, Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank — at an overall cost of €64bn.

Mr Elderfield said returning to profitability was one of the key challenges the banks faced.

“Progress on profitability will only be possible in the interim due to gradual repricing of assets to reflect the cost of funds,” he said.

That implied further interest rate hikes, he said.

Critical

AIB has announced two hikes in its variable rates in quick succession. Bank of Ireland has hiked its variable rate by 0.5pc, while Permanent TSB has signalled a rise in fixed rates.

Speaking at an event in UCC, Mr Elderfield said the banks were out of the “critical ward following radical surgery and an extensive transfusion of blood from the Irish taxpayer”.

But, he said, they were still not contributing properly to society as they should and remained weak.

However, the central bank deputy governor confirmed that Ireland may be close to removing the banking guarantee that makes the State responsible for deposits kept in the bailed-out banks, confirming earlier reports in the Irish Independent.

“My view, we are getting close to the position where the changing circumstances arising from successful implementation of the IMF/EU programme and the introduction of the banking union should permit the full removal of the government guarantee,” he said.

In a clear reference to speeches earlier this week calling on the banks to face up to their mortgage problems, Mr Elderfield said the banks should be able to cope with losses even if they fully faced up to the problem.

Lenders had set aside “prudent provisions” for bad loans and retained a “healthy buffer” of additional capital, he said.

Banks wouldn’t know whether they had enough capital to withstand ”extreme loss developments” until they worked out what they could recover or needed to restructure among troubled loans, he said.

Lenders may be encouraged to hoard reserves and restrict lending until a “case-by-case re-underwriting” of soured loans was complete, he said.

via Banks not contributing to society – Elderfield – Irish, Business – Independent.ie.

via Banks not contributing to society – Elderfield – Irish, Business – Independent.ie.

€75m of Irish bank-controlled property comes onto market in one job lot


€75m of Irish bank-controlled property comes onto market in one job lot

October 1, 2012 by namawinelake

There is now a steady stream of bank-owned Irish property coming onto the market in spite of the uncertain economic outlook and the certain scarcity of finance. On Saturday last, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Bank of Scotland/Certus was bringing a GBP 7m (€9m) portfolio to the market, a portfolio which comprises 14 pubs, an hotel and commercial space. Osborne King are the selling agents – though the portfolio doesn’t yet appear to be online. The BelTel reported that the property was owned by pub landlord Harry Diamond.

And last week, it was Neil Callanan, the former business editor at the Sunday Tribune, now at Bloomberg who reported that on this side of the Border, the Royal Bank of Scotland/Ulster Bank is bringing a mixed portfolio, dubbed “Project Gemini”, to the market with a price tag of €75m according to Bloomberg. The selling agents are Savills and the listing is here and the brochure is here. The portfolio comprises 640 apartments, most in Dublin-some in Cork, an hotel and 200,000 sq ft of commercial space. With an annual rent roll of €5.5m, the reported asking price represents a notional yield of 7.3%. Who would buy such a mixed bag? Difficult to say, the Irish generally don’t have the finance but the portfolio looks as if it needs local management.

We should shortly get a trading update from NAMA as the Q2, 2012 accounts were due to be delivered to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan last week, but according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on NAMA published over the summer, NAMA is generally hoarding its Irish assets as it focuses on disposing of the overseas globally dispersed assets. Outside NAMA, AIB has been flogging loan portfolios. Bank of Ireland appears to be reining in its disposals and IBRC seems to be mirroring NAMA (again!) with not very much coming onto the market. It may be the two British banks that lead the way with imminent disposals as they run for the hills.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

I wonder who the buyers are? Maybe the friends of the friends

Banks working on new plan to solve crisis


Top management in both AIB and Bank of Ireland are reading the Old Testament to get them out of the current economic crisis.

Apparently, they have heard it’s where prophets are to be found

If you are looking for a loan please do not walk into the bank with a copy of the New Testament as it is viewed with suspicion

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