Thursday 22 February 2018

CEO Masding dragged PTSB back from the brink – but now faces calls for his head

Jeremy Masding, chief executive of Permanent TSB at the bank’s headquarters in Dublin
Jeremy Masding, chief executive of Permanent TSB at the bank’s headquarters in Dublin Newsdesk Newsdesk

If it wasn't for the current mortgage redress controversy, Jeremy Masding would be in the news this week for dragging Permanent TSB back into the black for the first time since it was bailed out to the tune of €4bn.

Instead, the bank chief executive is facing calls for his head after it emerged that at least 22 people lost their homes.

The Central Bank uncovered "serious failures" in the handling of almost 1,400 mortgage accounts.

And although the series of failures that occurred pre-dated his tenure at the bank, the decision to appeal the Ombudsman's ruling to the Supreme Court was carried out on his watch.

But despite the controversy breaking yesterday, PTSB's share price rose by 2.7pc, and the reason why is clear.

The bank announced an underlying profit of €1m for the first six months of the year, the first time PTSB has been in profit since its bailout.

Whatever about its public image, financially PTSB is in far better shape than when Masding - who joined Barclays Bank at 17 straight out of school - took over, roughly three years ago.

When the then self-employed consultant, who was brought up in a Welsh family living in England, was tapped to take the reins at Permanent TSB, his first task was to help assess whether the bank would survive at all.

Ultimately, the rush of foreign lenders out of the market convinced Michael Noonan and the Troika that Permanent TSB should survive, if only to counter the risk of an AIB-Bank of Ireland duopoly.

Once that decision was taken, Masding moved to invest in infrastructure to better collect and cure the mortgage area.

Re-branding PTSB as a simple, even old-fashioned, savings and loans firm helped boost deposits and reduce reliance on emergency loans.

The bank is now back lending, but even with renewed investor confidence, its new image is somewhat tarnished among home owners.

Irish Independent

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