Monday 23 April 2018

New leaders needed in banks or 'trust won't be restored' -- Aynsley


Emmet Oliver

Pressure on Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher to give up his CEO role appeared to increase yesterday when his fellow bank boss Mike Aynsley said there needed to be new bank leadership in Ireland or "trust" couldn't be restored to Irish banking.

While not mentioning any individuals, he said that Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield needed to be "strict" and insist that anyone in place in senior positions before the crisis should no longer be at the top of Irish banking.

"The Regulator has to be very strict on it,'' said Mr Aynsley, who was speaking after addressing a meeting of the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants. At that meeting he said Ireland needed more than just two pillar banks if the "broken" banking system was to be repaired.

He also reiterated that his bank, Anglo Irish Bank, would keep pursuing ex-CEO David Drumm, regardless of the legal costs involved.

New people were needed at the top of the banks, said Mr Aynsley, and a "renewal" of boards was a "pre-requisite" for rebuilding trust in Irish banking.

Those close to Aynsley denied that he was pursuing any senior management roles in AIB or Bank of Ireland himself, and he was careful to tell reporters yesterday he was not in any way talking about specific individuals.

However, Mr Boucher, who headed up Bank of Ireland's Irish retail division before the crash, is facing a fitness and probity test later this year from Mr Elderfield and the bank is already preparing its senior management for this exercise.

Mr Boucher in private is said to be fiercely determined to remain in his post and he was recently bolstered by the bank's ability to attract capital from a group of private sector investors.

Mr Aynsley said the Irish banking system remained broken and still had huge property concentrations. "We are going to need more players in the market,'' he told the audience.

Mr Aynsley said of Mr Drumm: "I think (there is a) very important point to be made in pursuing people who have done fraudulent things."

This is a reference to a recent bankruptcy complaint by Anglo which includes claims that Mr Drumm attempted to defraud his creditors by not admitting to all the assets he owned and transferred to his wife Lorraine.

Mr Drumm has yet to respond in the US to these allegations.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business