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MORE BANKING BAILOUTS

Analysis of the bank stress tests and details of the restructuring dominated the headlines this weekend. The estimated bill for rescuing the Irish banking sector increased by €24 billion last week and now stands at €70bn with only two main banks remaining as financial “pillars” – Bank of Ireland and an AIB/ESB hybrid. Irish Life & Permanent will sell off its life assurance arm and permanenttsb will be hived off as a niche mortgage bank or wound down.  

The Sunday Business says more than 6,000 jobs in the banks are likely to go over the next three years under the government’s restructuring of the sector. The paper says sources estimate almost one-third of the estimated job losses (2,000) may be at AIB;  1,000 from permanenttsb; EBS may be as high as 600 job losses and Anglo Irish Bank and Nationwide 500.

Nationalised Anglo Irish Bank expects to dispose of €4bn in assets this year as its wind-down continues. Foreign-owned banks Ulster Bank and National Irish Bank have committed to the Irish market and the Sunday Business Post says Ulster Bank is planning to compete for the long-haul.

Former minister Willie O’Dea claims the cabinet got no say on the controversial €440bn bank guarantee that culminated in the November bailout and the near collapse of the banking system. The Sunday Independent quotes the former Defence Minister as saying it was presented as a “fait accompli” by then Taoiseach Brian Cowen and finance minister Brian Lenihan at 1am on the day in question. The blanket guarantee – which included bondholder as well as depositors – was described by former EU parliamentary president Pat Cox as the “most reckless single decision in the history of the state whose legacy we will have to live with for a very long time”.

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