Thursday 14 December 2017

Probe into private wealth unit 'not impacting' on clients – BoI

BANK of Ireland said yesterday that rich clients at the lender's private banking unit have not been "impacted" by an internal probe into the unit looking for possible irregularities.

The country's largest and oldest bank has been carrying out the probe for the past six weeks. Gardai have not been involved in the investigation although a report in yesterday's 'Sunday Independent' said they may become involved at a later date.

"Whilst it is bank policy not to comment on internal matters, the bank confirms that no clients are impacted," spokesman Pat Farrell said in a brief statement. "All our customers can be assured that there is no cause for concern." The bank declined to comment further.

The internal investigation into the private wealth unit follows a series of problems at the high-profile division which looks after the financial affairs of some of the wealthiest families and charities in the State.

The bank's confirmation of the probe comes at a tricky time for the lender, whose chief executive, Richie Boucher, boasted just four weeks ago that "every financial metric in Bank of Ireland is moving in the right direction". That boast was made despite the probe and the fall-out from the investigation within the bank.

The loss-making bank, which is 15pc-owned by the State, has seen its share price plummet in recent days as a series of foreign investment houses warned that Bank of Ireland still faces formidable challenges. Shares fell 11.7pc last week – the third consecutive week of declines.

Mr Boucher insists his bank will not need further cash injections from the Government, following new stress tests of Irish banks to be completed next year, while some outside organisations say both Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks are likely to require yet more cash.

Irish Independent

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