Thursday 21 November 2019

'Little paperwork provided for Nationwide board meetings'

Michael Fingleton
Michael Fingleton

Peter Flanagan and Colm Kelpie

Irish Nationwide board meetings were carried out with virtually no paperwork and little preparation, according to a former board member.

Con Power, who served as a non-executive director of Irish Nationwide from 2000 to 2006, told the Banking Inquiry that he did not receive relevant paperwork ahead of his first board meeting.

When the directors met though, chairman Don O'Connor opened the meeting and asked chief executive Michael Fingleton: "Well, Michael, what do you have for us today?"

When Power questioned Mr Fingleton on how the meeting was conducted, the CEO responded with a jocular "Ah Connie, we're all friends here".

After that event, Mr Power said appropriate documentation was provided to directors ahead of board meetings.

Mr Power quit the board in 2006 after Irish Nationwide mounted a legal challenge against a decision by the Financial Ombudsman. Mr Power said the board was not consulted on the move and the appeal went much further than had been expected.

Eamon Daly, who ran internal audit at the firm from 2000 to 2004, said his department was "significantly under resourced" but his team were never prevented from auditing parts of the business by senior management.

Meanwhile former secretary general of the Department of Finance, Kevin Cardiff, said executives at AIB and Bank of Ireland did not like to meet with Anglo and regarded the now defunct lender with "distaste." He was referring to the period around the time of the bank guarantee in 2008.

Mr Cardiff recalled that on a later occasion, when he arranged a meeting involving Anglo, AIB and Bank of Ireland, senior executives from the latter two refused, until pressed, to attend because Anglo was involved.

Irish Independent

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