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Anglo's sign stays as European approval sought

THE long-awaited sight of Anglo Irish Bank's sign being yanked from its iconic St Stephen's Green base has been pushed beyond the end of January.

Anglo's sign was widely expected to come down at the end of this month after comments from Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan back in November.

In an interview with RTE, Prof Honohan said the Anglo nameplate would come down "within weeks" adding that it "might be the end of January".

The Irish Independent has learned, however, that there are no immediate plans to remove the bank's signage and that the event will certainly not take place by next Monday.

The legal entity of Anglo looks set to remain in place until the bank's business plan has been given the thumbs-up by the European Commission.

The plan is not due to go to Brussels until the end of the month, and could take several weeks to get approval.

Anglo's dissolution could be further delayed if the authorities decide to consider the bank's plan as part of the overall review of the Irish banking sector at the end of March.

A spokesman for the bank last night said "no timeline" had been set for the removal of the signage. A spokeswoman for the Central Bank referenced a statement issued in November on the back of the Governor's comments. In it, the Central Bank stressed that while a business plan for Anglo would be submitted by the end of January, the wind-down of the bank's loan book would be a multi-year process.

Anglo's plan is likely to involve transferring the bank's deposit base of about €14bn to the healthier Irish banks, while Anglo's loan book would be run down.

The loans could either be worked out through a joint restructuring vehicle for Anglo and embattled Irish Nationwide Building Society, or through a so-called 'Nama II' that would work out the assets of several Irish banks.

Irish Independent