Inquiring minds note Ireland’s finance minister is shocked to discover Irish Banks Need $43 Billion in New Capital on account of ‘Appalling’ Lending.
Ireland’s banks need $43 billion in new capital after “appalling” lending decisions left the country’s financial system on the brink of collapse.
“Our worst fears have been surpassed,” Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in the parliament in Dublin yesterday. “Irish banking made appalling lending decisions that will cost the taxpayer dearly for years to come.”
The agency aims to cleanse banks of toxic loans, the legacy of plunging real-estate prices and the country’s deepest ever recession. In all, it will buy loans with a book value of 80 billion euros ($107 billion), about half the size of the economy.
“The information that has emerged from the banks in the course of the NAMA process is truly shocking,” Lenihan said.
Dublin-based Allied Irish needs to raise 7.4 billion euros to meet the capital targets, while cross-town rival Bank of Ireland will need 2.66 billion euros. Anglo Irish Bank Corp., nationalized last year, may need as much 18.3 billion euros. Customer-owned lenders Irish Nationwide and EBS will need 2.6 billion euros and 875 million euros, respectively.
“The regulator is taking the bank system by the scruff of the neck,” said James Forbes, senior equity strategist at Irish Life Investment Managers in Dublin. “Allied Irish has a lot of work to do to avoid majority state ownership, Bank of Ireland less so.”
Ireland may not be able to afford to pump more money into the banks. The budget deficit widened to 11.7 percent of gross domestic product last year, almost four times the European Union limit, and the government spent the past year trying to convince investors the state is in control of its finances.
“The bank losses, awful as they are, represent a one-off hit. It’s water under the bridge,” said Ciaran O’Hagan, a Paris-based fixed-income strategist at Societe Generale SA. “What’s of more concern for investors in government bonds is the budget deficit. Slashing the chronic overspending and raising taxation by the Irish state is vital.”
Economic Hit Parade
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Is any major country in good shape?