Thursday 14 December 2017

AIB chairman tells bankers not to 'waste a good crisis'

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

ALLIED Irish Banks "must be radical" in how it reduces costs and increases its use of technology and outsourcing, according to its chairman.

David Hodgkinson told a banking conference in Denmark that his firm, and the finance industry as a whole, should not "waste a good crisis" as it looks to reduce its cost base.

Addressing a conference of the Institute of International Finance in Copenhagen, Mr Hodgkinson said AIB was working hard on its balance sheet and cost base.

He told his audience: "We are deleveraging, but when you do that your income reduces as well and you have to tackle the cost issues that come with that.

"Don't waste a good crisis -- it is easier to do these things when times are tough than in the good times."

Mr Hodgkinson added: "We are trying to be much more radical in our use of technology, how much we outsource.

"Due to our size and regulatory issues, we are doing this in bite-size chunks, but we need be even more radical."

The former HSBC executive told the assembled bankers he had been shocked when he looked over AIB's balance sheet for the first time in 2010.

"I couldn't believe the risk concentration in AIB and in the Irish banks in general. Property was the only game in town.

"The banks had property and related exposure taking up about 70pc of risk profile.

"When you have the type of property crash that happened you get the banking problems that followed."

However, Mr Hodgkinson warned that deleveraging by itself would not be a "panacea" to the banking sector as a whole.

Irish Independent

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