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Central Bank bills financial institutions for €30m stress tests

THE Central Bank has written to all institutions covered by this year's stress tests to ask them to pay their portion of the exercise's €30m bill.

The news comes five months after the main stress test results were published on March 31, triggering a €24bn recapitalisation of AIB, Bank of Ireland, Irish Life & Permanent and EBS.

A later exercise, which also contributed to the €30m cost, concluded that Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank were already adequately capitalised.

The €30m price tag drew criticism from some quarters, but Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has insisted the bank got "good value" and a good deal on price, in light of the need to award the contracts quickly and press on with the work.

It has now emerged that the price will actually be borne by the individual banks themselves rather than the Central Bank of Ireland, and that letters seeking payment have recently been dispatched.

A spokesman for the Central Bank yesterday confirmed "all" costs associated with the tests were being recouped, with banks charged "relative to the amount of work" done on their institution.

This implies relatively high charges for an institution like Irish Nationwide, which hadn't had extensive work done on its loan book for some time and lower charges on banks whose books had already been probed extensively.

The €30m in fees were split between BlackRock, which led the stress tests, Boston Consulting, which reviewed the tests, and Barclays, as well as lawyers and sub-contractors.

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