News Editorial

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Time to show bank bosses who is in charge

Published 09/11/2012 | 17:00

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THE refusal of Alan Dukes and the board of Irish Bank Resolution Corp (IBRC) to cut pay at the bank shows how quickly we are drifting back to the bad old days in banking. We all know where that got us.

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Pay packages of more than €500,000 for six staff at the state-owned former Anglo Irish Bank cannot be justified.

Under a capitalist system entrepreneurs can reap huge dividends, and big losses. The rewards that can accrue to such wealth creators are often absolutely justified.

That is not the case with the state-owned banks.

Executives at the former Anglo have a tough job.

They have taken to it with energy and with some notable successes.

Thanks to the work of Mike Aynsley and his team losses at the former Anglo will be less than first feared.

Dealing with the fall out from the collapse of Sean Quinn's business empire is a task few of us can envy.

Good work deserves good pay; but it must be proportionate.

Worse, the refusal of bank chairman Alan Dukes to accede to Finance Minister Michael Noonan's request is hard to see as anything but a snub to the wider public.

IBRC is state-owned and loss-making.

Mr Aynsley and his senior team are not entrepreneurs creating a new business. They are senior public officials.

The past week has shown that many bankers still fail to grasp that reality.

Irish banks have become bastions of a kind of warped Marxism.

The communists of old plotted to seize the commanding heights of the economy.

Senior banking executives appear to have seized control of their work places, and don't even have to share the fruits of control with the rest of us.

Ministers say they are unhappy with bankers' pay, but claim their hands are tied.

IBRC is out on a limb here. Top officials at Allied Irish Bank and the National Asset Management Agency have taken pay cuts.

If the political will exists, a way can be found to force IBRC bosses to do the same. It is ultimately a question of who is in charge.

Irish Independent

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