independent

Monday 21 April 2014

No change on 'stress tests' dates planned, says Noonan

The Government has denied reports that it has caved into pressure from overseas to hold bank "stress tests" before similar tests elsewhere in Europe.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Michael Noonan (pictured) insisted no such decision has been taken, and cannot be until June.

Banking authorities are due to carry out deep "stress tests" aimed at providing a detailed insight into the financial situation of all of the country's main banks late this year or in early 2014.

The probe will include looking at the level of losses and future losses linked to defaulted home loans and property lending.

Tandem

Mr Noonan wants bank tests here to be carried out in tandem with Europe-wide stress tests supervised by the European Banking Authority.

He says aligning the Irish tests with assessments carried out elsewhere would be part of a normalisation of the Irish bank system.

"If that is in the autumn, we'll do it in the autumn, if that's not until next year, we'll do it next year," he said at an event in Switzerland.

"We don't want to be seen any longer as a special case."

However, officials from the troika of EU, ECB and IMF overseeing the bailout programme are thought to be keen for the banks to be assessed before the bailout ends in December.

Troika mission

A decision on the timing of the tests must be made in June and agreed by the minister and officials from the troika. The officials ended their latest "mission" to Ireland yesterday.

Yesterday, the Reuters news agency – citing a number of unnamed sources – said the Government here has appeased the troika and agreed to stress tests here taking place ahead of the Europe-wide exercise.

"The situation has been diffused," one source with knowledge of the situation told the newswire.

Irish Independent

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