Thursday 25 May 2017

BoI boss upbeat after first half-year losses fall to €723m

The BoI boss repeatedly declined to confirm reports in the US that Wells Fargo had agreed to buy the bank's $1.4bn (€985m) US commercial property portfolio.

"It [the latest crisis] is more of an issue for consumer confidence," Mr Boucher said.

"The demand for credit is very muted. We're seeing a lot of customers not proceeding with loans . . . I don't really blame them."

Mr Boucher's own position has been the subject of much speculation after the Central Bank kicked off a review of all bank bosses who had been in senior roles before their banks succumbed to bailouts.

Asked if he was "concerned" about the outcome of the review, Mr Boucher replied: "What I must do is focus on my job . . . and see how that plays out."

BoI's latest results also show that it has not managed to equal AIB's feat of weaning itself off Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) channelled through the Central Bank of Ireland.

BoI still had €7bn of ELA on its books at the end of March, but Mr Boucher hinted this could be reduced imminently, as assets were sold and the bank raised funding in the market, by deals such as its recent €2.9bn secured fundraising.

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