Monday 5 December 2016

The questions Neary must be asked at Banking Inquiry

The former bank regulator has more questions than anyone to answer when he goes before the committee this week, says Dan O'Brien

Published 24/05/2015 | 02:30

The former regulator of the financial system, Patrick Neary, is scheduled to make a day-long appearance before the Banking Inquiry this Thursday. Picture: Arthur Carron
The former regulator of the financial system, Patrick Neary, is scheduled to make a day-long appearance before the Banking Inquiry this Thursday. Picture: Arthur Carron

The former regulator of the financial system, Patrick Neary, is scheduled to make a day-long appearance before the Banking Inquiry this Thursday. After the banks themselves, the regulator would appear to deserve most blame for one of the costliest banking crises in financial history. It will be a golden opportunity to get real insights into the calamity.

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Thus far, the Banking Inquiry has not added a great deal to what was already known about the banking collapse. Too often, too much time has been spent asking questions the answers to which are already well known. Not often enough have there been detailed follow-up questions, which suggests that the members of the inquiry are not doing enough to coordinate their questioning.

Another reason the inquiry could be accused of underperforming is its excessive focus on the guaranteeing of the banks' liabilities. 'The night of the guarantee' has attained mythic status because it fits a satisfyingly simple narrative: that a single decision on a single night sealed the country's fate. That is rubbish.

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