Tuesday 21 November 2017

Regulator surprised by Anglo 'defensiveness'

Mary O'Dea
Mary O'Dea

Clodagh Sheehy

Anglo Irish Bank's "defensive response" to a Financial Regulator's investigation surprised the regulator so much that she requested a meeting of the entire board.

Mary O'Dea, who was acting regulator for a year after Patrick Neary retired, told the Banking Inquiry she was "very surprised at the attitude of Anglo".

For example, the bank had stenographers at every meeting between the two sides, which she had never seen before and which slowed the process. There were also "a lot of claims of legal privilege" which the bank was entitled to but "it seemed to us they were very frequent" and again this slowed the process.

She "asked the entire board" of Anglo to come to a meeting in the Financial Regulator's office to address the issue. "The situation improved after that."

Ms O'Dea added how the reporting of a suspicion to the gardaí on the so-called €7.45bn back-to-back loan from Irish Life and Permanent to Anglo also "meant that relations were tense with the institutions involved".

She outlined how during her period in office, a "more intrusive regulatory regime" had been put in place.

Former economist and assistant Director General at the Central Bank Thomas O'Connell said the bank was too deferential to Government and staff concerns were watered down and blocked by political and property interests.

Mr O'Connell pointed to a Governor appointed by the Minister and a Secretary General of the Department of Finance on the bank board which was "heavily weighted" with political supporters of government.

Current Central Bank Deputy Governor Cyril Roux said there was no close relationship between his offices and senior bankers.

Irish Independent

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