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It's time the bankers grew up

NOW that the Personal Insolvency Bill has passed all stages in the houses of the Oireachtas, we will discover if the banks are teenagers or adults.

Fiona Muldoon, a director at the Central Bank, famously characterised the banks recently as acting like teenagers when it comes to their reluctance to deal with over-indebted mortgage holders.

The banks are like recalcitrant teenagers refusing to clean their rooms when it comes to dealing with the mortgage mess, Ms Muldoon told the attendees at the Irish Banking Federation conference earlier this year. Cue bowed heads and red faces all round.

The teenager bankers have now been given free rein with the new insolvency legislation having been approved.

Will they act like all 16-year-olds, and tell the world on Facebook that they have a free house for a party, the inevitable result of which will be a wrecked house?

Or will they be responsible and face up to the reality of a smashed mortgage market and come up with real solutions?

More split mortgages, debt write-offs and debt-for-equity swops are what are needed.

That is what is required, but the fear is that the likes of AIB and Permanent TSB will be responsible, while the rest of the banks will hold back and use their veto under the legislation to resist all calls to act responsibly.

Over to you, teenagers. . . we mean bankers.

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