Wednesday 21 February 2018

Peace breaks out in Central Bank / CU war

The Central Bank upgraded its forecast for employment growth, which had a positive effect on the stock market
The Central Bank upgraded its forecast for employment growth, which had a positive effect on the stock market
The Jesuits
Sajid Javid, a treasury minister and former Deutsche Bank trader, has been promoted to the cabinet to replace Maria Miller, who has resigned as culture secretary

Has the Central Bank's Sharon Donnery gone soft on credit unions? The League of Credit Unions, a representative body for 90pc of the lenders, claims she is easing up on them. Not at all, says the Central Bank.

Ms Donnery is the registrar of credit unions and part of the Central Bank. She is set to become the Central Bank's new director of credit institutions, following the resignation of Fiona Muldoon, but will still have responsibility for credit unions in her new job.

The League of Credit Unions, along with Maynooth CU and four others, decided to drop a High Court legal action against the Central Bank this week. The case was withdrawn following a commitment from the Central Bank to do new asset reviews in relation to the five.

It is also on the basis of a "new understanding" with the Central Bank which will "explicitly involve" the league in the regulatory affairs of its affiliated credit unions.

On foot of this, a letter, signed by Ms Donnery, was sent to the league and rival body, the Credit Union Development Association, promising to consult the representative bodies on credit union issues and offering them regulator meetings with senior Central Bank executives to discuss matters of concern.

Ms Donnery's letter promises to inform the league in advance of regulatory actions it intends to take. This was being hailed by the league's chief executive Kieron Brennan as a breakthrough. He maintains it gives formal recognition to the league for the first time. But the Central Bank does not see it like that.

There is no substantial change in the relationships with the representative bodies. The letters reaffirm the current position and do not set out any new relationships, a Bank source said.

Maybe, just maybe, the league is right and there is finally a recognition in the Central Bank that it is better to work with the league and others in the sector rather than be constantly at odds.

Behold the wily business hand of the Jesuits

MICHAEL Noonan was in fine form at the launch of the 'Sunday Independent's revamped business section the other night. Pressed on the ECB's annual report, which expresses some disquiet about the promissory note deal, the Finance Minister noted that Mario Draghi was Jesuit educated. Mr Noonan added that while he did not have the benefit of a Jesuit education himself, he had been a Jesuit educator from his time at the Crescent School in Limerick and therefore understood what the wily central banker was up to.

All this talk set the Punt thinking about whether a Jesuit education can be discerned in the business and political worlds. Are, for instance, the Jesuit-educated IFSC czar and former Taoiseach John Bruton and his brother Richard somehow different to other ministers? Was Garret FitzGerald a better Taoiseach or economist? Did Peter Sutherland run Goldman Sachs International or BP differently because of the Jesuits?

The Punt doesn't know the answer to what could be called a Jesuitical question but Sutherland at least seems to think so, telling a Gonzaga College magazine not so long ago that "business activities have played a role in my life but the invisible hand of the Jesuits has always pointed in another direction".

It's a game of musical chairs in British cabinet

OUR own Michael D might be dominating headlines across the Irish Sea at the moment, but there's still the little issue of a cabinet reshuffle keeping the UK's top people busy. There's so much seat-changing taking place that it is becoming hard to keep track, but as far as we can gather: Sajid Javid, a treasury minister and former Deutsche Bank trader, has been promoted to the cabinet to replace Maria Miller, who has resigned as culture secretary amid a row over her expenses claims.

Oxford law grad Nicky Morgan is to replace Mr Javid as financial secretary to the treasury. Andrea Leadsom, also a former banker, has been appointed to replace Ms Morgan as economic secretary to the treasury. Got that? Phew.

Ms Leadsom joined the British parliament in May 2010 after a 25-year career in finance. She is rumoured to have once sworn at new boss Chancellor George Osborne when he tried to persuade her not to vote against the government over European integration in the early days of the UK's current coalition government. We like her already.

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