independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Banking body chief has bigger worries than branch closures

HEAD of the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) Pat Farrell had his blushes spared yesterday when his home county of Leitrim escaped lightly in the cull of Ulster Bank branches.

Just one of the 22 branches that are closing across the island are in Leitrim. Contrast that with Cavan, where there have been four closures. Indeed, some would argue that Cavan is losing five branches as large parts of Carrigallen are in Co Cavan, even though officially it is in Co Leitrim.

Mr Farrell will be only too aware that areas like Cavan and Leitrim are poorly served when it comes to banking.

The former general secretary of Fianna Fail is the great survivor of Irish banking. He has been head of the IBF since 2004 – through the largest banking collapse in the western world, relative to the size of the economy.

The IBF has a membership of over 60 banks which includes all of the retail banks and mortgage lenders and the leading international banks based in the IFSC.

So you can take it that Mr Farrell has bigger issues to consider – like the bombed-out reputation of his association's member banks – than the closure of a few bank branches in border counties where he happens to have grown up.

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