Friday 13 December 2019

Bank burden easing but Anglo still casts a very long shadow

Anglo Irish Bank
Anglo Irish Bank
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE prospects of European aid arriving in the form of billions of euro for taxpayers here in return for taking over our battered banks have faded away.

An apparent promise back in 2012 that "Ireland was a special case" and therefore eligible for financial aid to help cover the €64bn cost of bank bailouts has not translated into hard cash. It looks like it is not going to.

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) isn't coming and without such an outside stabiliser Paddy has to peddle for himself.

The good news is that the gradient Paddy has to climb is getting that bit less steep.

Two years ago the idea that taxpayers would make any sizeable recoveries of cash pumped into the banks looked hopelessly optimistic.

Figures revealed today show that so far around €10bn has flowed back into State coffers from the three remaining bailed out banks.

Analysts now regard a sale of part of AIB as imminent, and valuations for that bank have more than doubled since the start of 2012. As AIB is privatised more money will flow back into the Exchequer.

So the good news is that, even without outside aid some of the cost of rescuing the banks is being recovered and more is on the way.

The bad news is that clawing back money from the banks will be slow - decades rather than years - and incomplete.

The elephants in the room are Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society, dead banks that cost taxpayers €34bn.

The Anglo Promissory Note deal last year made the burden easier to carry, financially at any rate. But that money is not coming back, so even after a recovery Anglo will remain as the ghost at the feast.

Irish Independent

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