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Bailed out banks must lend money

WHY did the taxpayer bother bailing out the banks? Surely a major aim of the exercise, which has placed a financial straitjacket on citizens for years to come, was to ensure that the institutions continued to lend?

If so, they are failing to do so.

Figures released by the Finance Minister show that almost 40pc of mortgage applications received by three of the country's main banks last year were refused.

Despite two of the banks involved protesting, the anecdotal evidence is that they are not lending.

The figure of 40pc does not take into account the many more who regard applying for a mortgage as pointless, given the rates of refusal.

Banks must not hoard taxpayers cash. They need to lend more.