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SIPTU condemns culture of entitlement among senior bankers

Date Released: 01 July 2013

The allegations that senior executives at Anglo-Irish Bank may have misled the Central Bank and the Government in order to secure the disastrous banking guarantee in September 2008 has exposed the culture of entitlement among senior bankers, according to SIPTU Finance Sector Organiser, Adrian Kane.

“Listening to the tapes of their conversations we get an insight into the mentality of these people and their infantile behaviour and attitudes. These are the same people who brought the country to its knees and still claim they should be paid multiples of everyone else,” Kane said.

His comments follow the release of a tape which also records a conversation between former Anglo chief executive, David Drumm, and his senior colleague, John Bowe, during which they are heard laughing about ‘abusing’ the bank guarantee.

On the tape, Drumm is heard laughing about the concerns expressed by the Financial Regulator that Anglo could be seen internationally to be ‘abusing’ the bank guarantee in late 2008. At the time, German and British banking authorities were expressing concern that Irish finance houses were using the guarantee to attract billions from their banks into their ailing coffers.

In an earlier conversation with senior manager, Peter Fitzgerald, Bowe is heard bragging about his approach to the Central Bank in order to get an immediate €7 billion State injection for Anglo. He also claimed that Anglo deliberately minimised its losses in order to secure Central Bank funding.

Asked by Fitzgerald how he came up with the €7 billion figure, Bowe said; “Just as Drummer would say, ‘picked it out of my arse.’”

It is suggested in the tapes that the bank executives knew that the €7 billion was far short of what was required to keep Anglo afloat but they hoped that once the Central Bank was sucked into the bridging loan it would keep shoring up the bank in order to ‘support their money’.

On the tape the bankers joke that the money would never be repaid by Anglo. At one point on the tape Bowe and Fitzgerald look forward to becoming civil servants in the event of the bank’s nationalisation.

Both remained with the bank when it was subsequently nationalised at a cost to the taxpayer in excess of €30 billion.

“People will be very sceptical about any statements from senior banking managers if this is the gene pool they come from,” said Kane.

This article first appeared in the Liberty newspaper June 2013


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