AIB chief says his executives 'never looked for bonuses'
BANK executives never looked for bonuses from Michael Noonan and the Department of Finance, the head of AIB has insisted.
It comes after the Minister for Finance's outspoken rejection just last month of any move to free the bank to pay bonuses.
In January, the minister Mr Noonan issued a blunt challenge to top executives at the nationalised bank – to accept the ban on bankers' bonuses or leave the lender.
"If any executive wants to leave AIB, I'll shake his hand and wish him fair passage as he leaves," Mr Noonan said after reports that the bank was pushing for looser pay rules.
But AIB boss David Duffy said his team never looked for the extra pay deal in the first place. "There was no request for a bonus, to be blunt," Mr Duffy told reporters.
In an echo of the minister's own words at the time, he claimed AIB staff were not just there for the money.
"We are all people who are all here for principle and pride," the bank boss said.
AIB chairman David Hodgkinson did talk with officials at the Department of Finance about what kind of pay structure should be put in place in future when the bank returns to profit, Mr Duffy said.
"There was no demand for bonuses," he added.
The discussions that did take place on pay at the state-owned bank had now ended, Mr Duffy said. He was speaking after the bank announced an after-tax loss of €1.687bn last year, down 55pc from 2012. The bank says it will return to profit this year.
Mr Duffy said he was keen to stay on at the helm of the bank after his initial three-year contract is due to end this year.
He always saw it as a five- year job at least, he said.
Mr Duffy joined the bank in 2011 after it was nationalised and his pay is subject to a Government-imposed cap of €500,000 a year. He later took a pay cut along with other staff at the bank.
He was happy to renew his contract on same terms, Mr Duffy said.
Meanwhile, AIB said it planned to lend between €7bn and €10bn a year into the Irish economy over the next five years. Those targets are included in a restructuring plan that has been submitted to the European Commission.
Home loan arrears were expected to stop rising this year, and the bank was on course to meet Central Bank targets for debt restructuring, the bank said.