Emmet Oliver: AIB, BoI stranglehold is bad news for captive customers
For a managing director unveiling a record loss of €2.3bn, AIB chief Colm Doherty was struggling to find even a shard of light in a dark and cheerless set of financial numbers yesterday. "Beyond all of the noise, we continue to grow our market share,'' he said in mitigation.
Growing your share in a market where key competitors are fleeing and where nobody is posting bottom-line profits may not be much of a boast, but it is at least factually true.
Ireland is going back to 1980s banking, where a duopoly of AIB and Bank of Ireland control retail banking. Their stranglehold is already so established that a recent government report on credit for SMEs didn't even bother to probe lending by others banks, concentrating all its fire on the so-called "big two''.