Ulster Bank is to pay 'small bonuses'
GAA sponsor Ulster Bank will not make a profit in 2010, its chief executive Cormac McCarthy has warned. "The consensus is that we won't. In terms of recovering and growing our business, we'd be talking about 2011," he said.
The bank, which last week reported a full-year loss of €419m for 2009, is set to pay "some small bonuses" for "talent retention".
Ulster Bank's parent, RBS, has come in for major political flak in the UK for setting aside almost €1.5bn to pay bonuses to its 17,000 investment bankers.
Mr McCarthy, who is now possibly the highest paid bank chief in the country, indicated that "stability" could return to the Irish economy later this year but added that he could not forecast any increases in property prices.
Ulster Bank recently took a stake in Sean Dunne's Ballsbridge hotels, having bankrolled their purchase in 2005. It was one of the bank's largest ever transactions.
Mr McCarthy declined to discuss individual transactions but remained confident it could make money from its debt-for-equity swap.
"We take a long view. In a 10-year period, who knows? Ten years is a long time but we're prepared to sit on things for a long time. People over-estimate the short-term values and underestimate the long-term values," he said.