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Monday 19 March 2018

Bank boss to 'roll with punches' and remain at the helm

Laura Noonan

ANGLO Irish Bank chief executive Mike Aynsley last night said he would "roll with the punches" and remain with the embattled institution despite the collapse of his plan for the bank's future.

The bank boss also revealed that the 'new' plan for Anglo would allow the bank to more vigorously chase borrowers who aren't paying their loans.

But jobs may be hit by the plan, with Mr Aynsley confirming the Government's preferred option for Anglo will "absolutely" need fewer people than the proposal management had backed.

The Anglo boss was speaking hours after Finance Minister Brian Lenihan pulled the plug on his plan to split Anglo into a 'good' bank and a 'bad' bank.

Under Mr Aynsley's proposals, the 'good' bank would have taken over Anglo's performing loans and deposits and continued to lend to businesses; while the 'bad' bank would have wound down troubled loans.

The Government instead decided to wind down all of Anglo's loan book and carve the bank's deposits into a separate institution that will have a banking licence but won't be able to lend.

Mr Aynsley had teed himself up to run the jettisoned 'good' bank, but the Australian last night insisted he would "absolutely" be staying on even though the 'good' bank would not be created.

"Myself and all the management team sat down and went through everything," he said. "I haven't heard anything about anyone thinking of leaving."

Mr Aynsley stressed that yesterday's announcement left the bank "in a much better position" than it had been. He said that uncertainty around Anglo's future had been removed and the bank could "move forward".


"With the uncertainty we didn't have as pointed resources as you'd like (for chasing borrowers)," he said. "In the future, our resources can be more focused."

Asked about the prospect of job cuts, he said Anglo would "have to look at that" over the coming weeks.

Anglo had warned that going for a full wind-down instead of a 'good/bad' bank solution could cost the taxpayer an extra €3.5bn to €5bn. Mr Aynsley said the extra cost of yesterday's plan was not likely to be that high.

"We have to sit down and hammer out the numbers, but it's fair to say the financial equation will be different," he said.

But he added the savings bank will face a "challenge" in maintaining its deposit base, since customers like to have deposit with banks that also lend.

Anglo had €56bn of deposits on its books at the end of June. Mr Aynsley said there had been a "reasonable reduction" in the book since then.

Irish Independent

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