View from Dublin: what’s changed after 10 years?

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RICHARD CUR­RAN

TEN years ago on Septem­ber 30, we all woke up po­ten­tially on the hook for €440bn of bank li­a­bil­i­ties. Not all of it was called upon, just €64bn, of which we will end up los­ing about €30bn.

It was in­deed a fate­ful night when the blan­ket bank guar­an­tee was in­tro­duced. A decade on, it is still de­bated as to whether it was one of the big­gest fi­nan­cial blun­ders ever made by an Ir­ish govern­ment.

Yet, with hind­sight and cooler anal­y­sis many would go along with the find­ings of Donal Dono­van and An­toin Mur­phy in The Fall of the Celtic Tiger, that the bank guar­an­tee, “de­spite all of its costly con­se­quences, ap­pears to have been the least-worse al­ter­na­tive fac­ing the govern­ment”.

Much has been learned. We won’t be do­ing that again in a hurry, for a start. Cen­tral Bank reg­u­la­tion has im­proved. Politi­cians and the me­dia have a much more pro­ba­tive ap­proach.

But the tracker mort­gage de­ba­cle which fol­lowed wasn’t about man­ag­ing risk but fail­ing to act in the best long-term in­ter­ests of both the cus­tomers and the bank­ing in­sti­tu­tions them­selves.

It sug­gests that very lit­tle has re­ally been learned.

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