Wednesday 22 November 2017

PUNT: Beyonce a truly bankable star

WHO would have known it? Bankers boogying with Beyonce.

The rather sultry R&B singer is getting a plug for her upcoming Dublin concert in the least likely of places – the website of the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA).

The IBOA represents the interests of bank staff across the country, and in the current environment, most notices posted on their website are understandably rather bleak.

But the Punt was puzzled this week to see Beyonce and Rod Stewart listed under the Upcoming Events section, complete with a link to download an application form. Payments were to be made out to the IBOA.

Bad news for fans of Rod the Mod as his June gig is sold out, but those IBOA members lucky enough to nab a ticket would have got a €16 discount for the RDS concert.

No banking events or conferences on tax or accounts here – it's all about the music for the State's banking class.

Finally, common sense at bank

THE Punt knows all too well that while failure is famously an orphan, success has many parents.

There were no fewer than four such parents sharing the limelight at AIB's bank centre yesterday to announce the Irish lender's latest successful collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The top table for the press event to announce the new €200m lending fund for small business featured not only AIB's David Duffy but the president and vice president of the EIB and our own Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.

Clearly a deal that will ultimately put relatively cheap loans in the hands of Irish business owners is something worth celebrating.

Still, being no fools, the press team at AIB were taking no chances on the happy event being taken off course by the more downbeat concerns of the media scrum.

Correctly anticipating the mejia's plans to hijack the good news announcement, the AIB team sensibly opted to hold not one but three separate media huddles.

So instead of bombarding the EIB with questions on abortion those queries were kept for Richard Bruton. David Duffy stepped up to handle queries on his and other bankers' pay.

It all meant the event took a little longer, but allowing time and space for a plethora of unrelated queries to be taken separately was a rare case of common sense breaking out.

Charleton earns the big bucks

Receivers, examiners and liquidators don't come cheap. In the past few weeks, this newspaper has highlighted a couple of instances of failed companies where liquidators have racked up sizeable fees during the course of their work.

Looking from the outside in, it's impossible to know in many instances just what the volume of work was that justified the fee. But, undoubtedly, it's a time-consuming business – one that demands expertise and that comes at a price. So just how much will the receivership of Xtra-vision cost, The Punt wonders? Who knows?

But joint receiver Luke Charleton of Ernst & Young has only recently emerged from a scape with directors of Newbridge Credit Union. He was appointed by the High Court in 2012 as a special manager for the credit union on foot of concerns expressed by the Central Bank about the union's financial position.

Mr Charleton and Ernst & Young are expected to rack up fees of about €2m for their work at the credit union.

In February, when the High Court was asked to approve a fee payment of €563,000 for Mr Charleton and Ernst & Young to cover from June 2012 to January 2013, the credit union's directors said they hadn't received enough information about what Mr Charleton and his team were actually doing. Mr Charleton said he was happy to answer any questions the court had.

Last week, Mr Charleton agreed to reduce the €563,000 being sought for the six-month period by €55,000.

Irish Independent

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