Monday 5 December 2016

Ex-bank regulator has demonstrated amazing ineptitude

Neary's appearance at the Banking Inquiry suggests he still understands little about banks and their fragility

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

Neary’s appearance at the Banking Inquiry suggests he still understands little about banks and their fragility, says Dan O’Brien
Neary’s appearance at the Banking Inquiry suggests he still understands little about banks and their fragility, says Dan O’Brien

'The public sector did not cause the crash". Whenever the issue of public sector pay comes up, in relation to past cuts or, now, when the case is made to increase it, this point is inevitably made. Nobody watching the extraordinary testimony of former public servant, Patrick Neary, to the Banking Inquiry last Thursday could deny that failings in the public sector were a significant cause of the crash.

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The performance of the man charged with regulating individual banks during the worst excesses of the bubble was quite shocking in its ineptitude. And to add insult to injury, the complacency he appears to have shown while at the helm of the regulator has changed little since he retired. Mr Neary clearly has not used his ample free time to deepen his understanding of banking or banking crises in the six-and-half years since he was "put on gardening leave" (as he himself described it) just as all the banks he regulated needed vast taxpayer resources to prevent them collapsing.

The main conclusion to be drawn from Mr Neary's testimony is that not only was there was no effective regulation, but, for all intents and purposes, there was no regulation at all. Despite the organisation he once led existing to regulate individual banks, he left banks entirely to their own devices.

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