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Nation prays for recovery

HERE'S the headline that Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher said he expected to see in the newspapers today after he coughed during a presentation in Dublin yesterday and admitted he had a touch of a cold: 'Banker Sick – Nation Prays for Speedy Recovery'.

It drew a good laugh and the Punt is happy to oblige to ensure the fullness of the historical record.

But what was impressive was the huge turnout generated by the event the bank organised and which was targeted at the business community.

Still, many of them are in a real financial bind, despite the protestations that money is available.

Even if they do have business, credit has become such a constrained commodity that future opportunities can be unreachable because cash flow and credit just aren't sufficient.

One attendee lamented the fact that he can no longer ring up his local bank manager and secure an increase in his overdraft if his business needed a temporary shot in the arm.

Boucher insisted the bank was there to help, telling those present that it has "heard all the horror stories" already and not to fear approaching it.

But hopefully those horror stories can come to an end at some stage – sooner rather than later. "Challenges create opportunities," Boucher told the room. They also create headaches, just like colds.

Irish Independent