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Bank bosses who survived crisis to make cases for remaining in jobs

THREE bank bosses who survived the crisis are set to tell the Central Bank that the work they have done since 2008 should count towards an imminent assessment of whether they're "fit and proper" to remain in their jobs.

Bank of Ireland's (BoI) chief Richie Boucher, Irish Life & Permanent boss Kevin Murphy and EBS chief executive Fergus Murphy must all deliver their initial submissions to the Central Bank's 'fitness and probity' review by next week.

The trio are being assessed as they are the only directors of bailed-out banks who were on board before the 2008 guarantee and who remain in place.

Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield has described the review as covering directors' "competence and track record in the period leading up to the financial crisis".

However, the Irish Independent has learned that the directors are likely to argue that their performance after the government guarantee was brought in should also be taken into account.


BoI's Mr Boucher is likely to point out that his institution has managed to raise substantial private cash since the crisis hit, greatly lessening the need for taxpayer funds.

The North American strategic investors who pumped €1.1bn into BoI last summer have publicly praised Mr Boucher's leadership of the bank and said he was instrumental in securing their investment.

EBS chief Fergus Murphy is likely to point out that he was in place for only a very short time before the bank guarantee, since he only joined the then-building society in January 2008.

He is also likely to argue that the building society weathered the crisis well under his stewardship and was well-run.

At Irish Life, Kevin Murphy is expected to point out that his institution did not need any state cash in the immediate aftermath of the guarantee and only had to be rescued as a result of the stricter capital rules imposed by the 2011 stress tests.

Mr Murphy is likely to also point to the strong performance of the Irish Life unit, which traded well through the crisis and came within a whisker of being sold to Canada Life for more than a €1bn.

Mr Murphy spent most of his career at the Irish Life unit and is likely to argue that the value built up by that business substantially reduced the scale of Permanent TSB's bailout.

While all three will file their lengthy submissions to the Central Bank within days, it could be several months before the authorities decide whether there are grounds to open a full investigation into any of the cases.

Some sources have suggested the final outcome won't be known until the summer.

Irish Independent