Anglo must be saved, says director Dukes
ANGLO Irish Bank must be kept alive to help the National Asset Management Agency and other banks sort through the mess left behind since the property bubble burst, one of its directors, former finance minister Alan Dukes, said yesterday.
The bank, which is seeking around €6bn from the State, should be merged with other medium-sized banks to create the so-called third force in Irish banking, he said.
This could then lend to business and provide expert knowledge, according to Mr Dukes, who is the public-interest representative on Anglo's board.
"As we get out of the property bind that we're in, we are going to need financial operators who can handle the sort of restructuring and repackaging of all that property debt that's going to be out there," Mr Dukes told RTE presenter Pat Kenny yesterday.
Anglo has asked the European Commission for permission to become a specialist business bank after dividing the bank into a "good bank" and a "bad bank".
That plan is expected to be approved or rejected over the summer.
Mr Dukes, who supports the Government's NAMA plan, has said it has been slow to get off the ground.
He acknowledged: "It is slow and that has been a big problem. That has been for some good reasons and some not-so-good reasons."
Mr Dukes added that Anglo had bought back subordinated debt at less than 50pc of its face value. He declined to be more detailed, saying that it was "rather confidential".
All the major banks have bought back so-called subordinated debt over the past 12 months.
Investors holding subordinated debt to not have the same rights to a bank's capital as senior bond holders or depositors.