The Bankers

PDF EBook by Shane Ross

EBook Description

I have the greatest respect for Shane Ross, a colourful but upright character who has been a business editor of the Sunday Independent, a Senator and TD, but that doesn't affect my review of this book. The Bankers PDF EBook

To a degree the reader needs to have lived in Ireland during some of these times, or paid close attention to newspapers, because so many well- PDFknown figures are introduced who do not make it to lifestyle pages. However there is a brief tag for each new player so even if you had never heard of the O'Reilly Hylands you understand that they ran an Irish oil firm, Burmah, for instance, and there is an index at the back of the book.

Now we see why Bob Geldof was calling Ireland a banana republic so many years before the Celtic Tiger arrived. One rich family was feeding off another and every crony inviting school mates to join him on a board. Politicians feted builders and builders paid politicians. Banks were run by people who used deposits as personal piggy banks for their millions and billions of pounds of speculations. In which developed country is it not considered a conflict of interest for directors to sit on multiple boards such as a cement firm and a bank which makes loans to builders, shopping centre developers and house mortgage buyers?

The real tragedy is that during the early part of this story, the people able to make money were those who already had it, such as hotelier PV Doyle, buying and building, while 99% of the people had to take out 20 year mortgages for a 7,000 pound house because they could not earn enough to pay it off faster and raise a family. As prices began to soar two working incomes were suddenly required. When the Gallagher Brothers (only one of whom is mentioned in the book) bank and building firm collapsed, so did Ireland's economy and we entered the 1980s in deep recession. Not like today, when everyone has a TV and computer. The kind of recession where you passed down clothes, books and prams to family and neighbours. You didn't go on holiday and farmers put secondhand tyres on vehicles.

Arising from this were the phoenix-like bankers, the wealthy with land banks, hotels and not forgetting all those well-remunerated bank board positions. They had little or no regulation because they were the ones who controlled the country's money.
"The politicians looked after the mandarins. The mandarins looked after the central bankers and the regulators. (The governor of the Central Bank was paid more in 2008 than the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, as was the chief executive of the Financial Regulator.) The Central Bankers looked after the bankers. The bankers looked after IBEC. And IBEC looked after the government. The circle of oligarchs was watertight."

The lesser known banks to the public only dealt with developers and refused to hear that Ireland's property boom was clearly unsustainable.These banks such as Anglo Irish are now notorious as personally enriching the few at the helm while ruining the nation which tried to rescue them. But what of the two major banks?Bank of Ireland, with its leader Brian Goggin, for example. This lent to homeowners and small business as well as major industries.
"Eric Daniels, the boss at Lloyds TSB for example, was paid less than Goggin in 2007 despite delivering three and a half times B of I's profits that year. Goggins' total package was 50 percent more than that of Andy Hornby of HBOS, who collected €2.6 million in 2007. The Scottish giant made €6.988 billion that year compared to B of I's €1.584 billion."
Bank of Ireland was another bank which had to be rescued by the taxpayer, while pensioners who had invested in bank shares were left with almost worthless certificates.

The only female involved apart from bankers' glamorous ex-model wives, is Gillian Bowler who sold her Budget Travel firm and since she'd agreed not to re-enter the travel field for three years, not explained in the book, took a bank directorship. She managed to survive the board upheaval of that firm although all the men were tossed. Her personal role in supervising the bank loans is not described. We could however say that women might have taken fewer risks and fewer glad-handers. But during the early part of this story, women generally were educated in French and music and sewing. Economics was not on the curriculum at convent schools, which means most girls' schools. At the time of crisis we meet Labour politician Joan Burton as a voice of sanity speaking far too late.

People did shout stop. George Lee, referenced here, even stood for election leaving his broadcaster's job, but found it impossible to achieve anything against the crony machine of party politics. The author Shane Ross stood asking awkward questions at bank AGMs accompanied by Eamon Dunphy, another individualist broadcaster. This leads one to believe that the only people in Ireland to be trusted by the ordinary folks, are our journalists.

I could see that the boom was stupid and wrong and bound to bust. September twelfth 2001 was considered a good day to bury bad news by many major American firms. I noticed, although economics was not my job. These firms were already in serious trouble. I knew nothing of the sub-prime mortgages packaged as gold bars and sold to the gullible and greedy bankers, but I could see that house prices here were stupid and unsustainable and I knew booms always bust. I understood that this was a bad time to take on debt, so I worked at shrinking my mortgage and I changed my mortgage to track the European Central Bank interest rate. That rate briefly rose, then collapsed and has never done anything but sink since. Banks have been losing money on every tracker mortgage they hold.

How did professional bankers not know a bust was coming and that it would hit hard and fast? This book by Shane Ross suggests that they did not want to know because they were having so much fun giving away tickets to big matches to politicians and buying dinners for the regulators. Read it and, yes, weep. "Cry, get mad and get even," to quote Joan Burton. Like this book? Read online this: Scenery of the major bank of a moat in Chiyoda ku Tokyo Japan, I racconti di Pietroburgo.

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