Sunday 28 May 2017

The really stressful issue for our banks is non-performing loans

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Colette Browne

Colette Browne

European stress tests that rated AIB and Bank of Ireland among the weakest financial institutions in the region have served at least one useful function - they've started a renewed debate about the huge levels of non-performing loans on the banks' balance sheets.

The tests found that AIB and Bank of Ireland achieved the distinction of being rated just above Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena in their inability to withstand an economic shock.

Using 2015 figures, the European Banking Authority (EBA) appraised 51 banks - and found that Irish ones would struggle to weather another recession. The test was not a forensic examination of the banks' balance sheets, but the results are alarming nonetheless.

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