FORMER Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton ran the financial institution for 37 years with no computer access in his office.
It has emerged that new management at the financial institution inspected his office after his resignation four years ago and found that he had no access to the building society's computer network.
The revelation is among a number of new claims about Mr Fingleton's decades-long tenure as chief executive of the bust building society.
A former director of Irish Nationwide said that Mr Fingleton admitted to him he ran it as a "sole proprietor".
And the defunct building society was found to have "highly unusual" management practices, according to a consultants' report. The report by accountancy firm Ernst & Young and law firm McCann Fitzgerald was commissioned by Mr Fingleton's successor Gerry McGinn after his resignation in 2009. Details of the report were revealed last night on RTE documentary 'Inside Irish Nationwide'.
Forensic accountant Michael Flynn, who examined the report for the programme, said: "The absence of documentation for this amount of money is absolutely staggering."
The report found that:
• Lending files were "brief" and loans were "poorly structured".
• There was no paperwork in relation to a €10m figure used to settle a legal dispute.
• A mysterious €6.6m consultancy fee payment to a Jersey-based trust company was undocumented.
• €435,000 was paid to a company that did not exist at the address stated when checked by Ernst & Young.
• Invoices to the value of €2m, which had been paid for twice, went un-investigated.
The report also found that Mr Fingleton had been granted special powers by the building society's board in the 1980s and 90s, allowing him to set interest rates and loan conditions without consulting other directors.
It found that the powers allowed for the circumvention of the institution's credit committee and that this was "highly unusual and contrary to normal practices".
One former Irish Nationwide employee, Olivia Greene, a home loans supervisor from 2000 to 2008, said that Mr Fingleton had a "cavalier attitude to paperwork".
And she said that this attitude "sort of percolated down to the staff".
She spoke of poorly managed computer records, saying: "One customer could have 20 mortgages or 10 mortgages but you'd actually have to work out with a pen and paper what this person's overall exposure was with the society because it wasn't connected on the computers."
According to the documentary's presenter, Richard Curran, "when the new management went into Michael Fingleton's office, they found that after 37 years with the society he'd had no computer access".
Meanwhile, the bank's former vice-chairman Con Power said that Mr Fingleton had admitted to him that he ran Irish Nationwide as a personal bank.
Mr Fingleton has previously refuted the suggestion, saying it was "totally untrue".
But according to Mr Power: "I did indeed on one occasion say to him, 'I think your self-perception is that of a sole proprietor', to which he answered with his two hands outstretched, 'Ah Conny, you've got it in one'."
Irish Nationwide was later merged with Anglo Irish Bank to become the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC). IBRC went into liquidation last week.
The new details of the inner workings of Irish Nationwide follow revelations about a €1m bonus paid to Mr Fingleton and €70,000 in perks.
He has refused to hand back the €1m bonus he was paid in 2008.
The Irish Independent yesterday revealed that IBRC's liquidators KPMG will pursue Mr Fingleton to recoup the bonus as well as the €70,000-plus in expenses.