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Personal insolvency, the ECB, and the shallowness of much political debate

If you had tried to follow the debate on the bill reforming personal bankruptcy in Ireland, what would you have learned over the last few weeks? From the opposition you’d have learned that awful Alan Shatter wants to take away people’s wedding rings, and from Alan Shatter you’d have learned that we had a massive [...]

No, Finland did not say NAMA was a good idea

Bloomberg News story on Ireland’s lessons for Spain – Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said on June 11 that Spain should split up some lenders, with some loans dispatched to a bad bank, as Ireland did. Actual quote from Finnish PM via Bloomberg News 3 days earlier – “The unhealthy banks should be brought down [...]

If NAMA was a bank

Whether we vote Yes or No on the fiscal treaty referendum, we’ll still have a shambles of a property market when it’s over. With the Central Bank recently publishing new data about the weakness in residential mortgages, its useful to look at one of the key drivers of the property market i.e. valuations.

Iceland, again

The IMF has published a self-evaluation of its massive lending program to Iceland — a program which Iceland has now exited. Although a little technical, it’s an interesting read, but of course the people who should read it — the Irish Department of Finance types who mocked Iceland in 2009-2010 — won’t. There are two [...]

NAMA: Not just Ireland’s problem anymore

From Bank of England’s Financial Stability Report.  Illustrated here is that when it comes to deleveraging — banks dumping loans to shrink their balance sheets — NAMA is up there with the biggest of the European banks.  Indeed, for this purpose, NAMA is best seen as being like a massively overextended large European bank, banks [...]

Dept of Finance admits bamboozlement by Bank of Ireland on bonuses

At this pace of news dumps, we’re going to need a bigger Dumpster.  Today it’s the report into why Brian Lenihan misled Chris Andrews in response to his parliamentary question about the payment of bonuses at Bank of Ireland (the same question triggered the AIB bonus row).  First, a digression.   Let’s suppose you were considering [...]

Latest Anglo surgery completed

Rediscovering his “mandate” mojo on Election Eve, Brian Lenihan has moved virtually all of Anglo’s deposits and NAMA bonds to AIB.  An impolite question: where exactly is AIB getting the €3.5 billion in cash that it’s paying for the NAMA bonds?  Yes, it just sold the Polish operation to Banco Santander but that cash was [...]

Government celebrates further cash drain from Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland has done a Friday afternoon news dump of a provisional set of accounts for 2010 and an associated announcement that it will make a dividend payment on the National Pension Farewell Fund’s preference shares in the company — last year, the Bank was under a “dividend stopper” order from the European Commission [...]

The long summer of 2010

Brian Lenihan, 8 December 2010 – People should not be surprised that there’s a huge erosion of trust in the Irish banking system when we’ve an endless debate on whether we should be defaulting on the payment of our obligations,” he said.  “A small country like Ireland cannot default without the support of a central [...]

The Anglo cross-currents

It’s going to be a long weekend for Brian Cowen so this will have to be a frequently updated post.  Let’s start with the seemingly damaging Irish Times story that Anglo lobbied Central Bank director and Druid’s Glen diner Alan Gray the day before the guarantee – Anglo had sought a €1.5 billion short-term loan [...]

The central bank and the mortgage drug

What is an Irish Mortgage-Backed Promissory Note?  Below the fold, some thoughts — on what may be old news — about this question.

The Irish private sector that you didn’t know about

New statistics from Central Bank of Ireland – Credit institutions’ holdings of debt and equity securities issued by the Irish private sector rose by €5.3 billion in November 2010. Banks buying more securities issued by the private sector … what could possibly be the downside?

We’re the lab rats

It appears that another day of the slow motion crisis, featuring rumours that the European Financial Stability Fund will charge a 7 percent interest along with an apparently bleak panel on Vincent Browne, will lead to a few sleepless nights.  There were the occasional bits of entertainment along the way.  Brian Cowen’s repeated references in [...]

Wiggle Room

Brian Cowen as quoted by Irish Times – “So the sovereign, if you like, has that funding arrangement in place. We don’t have to borrow any money in respect of the sovereign issues that affect the Government . . .’’ From the FAQs for the European Financial Stability Facility – A16 – Will the EFSF [...]

You can’t lock up an entire bank, can you?

As a country heavily dependent on banking, Switzerland should have had a bad financial crisis.  And in various respects, including the necessity for government intervention in the banking sector, it did.  Nevertheless, its 2009 growth rate of -1.5 percent would have been gladly taken in Ireland.  Anyway, since Switzerland is also a country where there [...]

Shall we tell An Taoiseach?

Financial Times – Officials concede that the specialist property lender [Anglo Irish] was probably insolvent in September 2008 when the government guaranteed the balance sheets of all six domestic lenders.  But, as one senior official put it, “if we’d known then what we know now”, a different approach would have been taken. Brian Cowen, just [...]

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