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ECB sets out its inspection plan

The ECB has published further details of how it will examine the balance sheets of the Eurozone's 128 largest banks, signalling an aggressive stance in its review of the bloc's lenders.

Between now and August, teams of national supervisors and auditors will check on average 1,250 credit files per bank – significantly more for larger banks – against the common guidelines published yesterday.

A test to see how banks would hold up under certain shock scenarios will follow over the summer and all results will be released in October. AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB will be stress-tested as well as the Irish-based operations of global bank Merrill Lynch. But Finance Minister Michael Noonan (inset) has repeatedly said there is no evidence that Irish banks will need further capital.