Anglo Republic: Inside the bank that broke Ireland
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As late as 2007, Anglo Irish Bank was a darling of the markets, internationally recognized as one of the fastest growing financial institutions in the world. By 2008, it was bust. The Irish government's hopeless attempts to save Anglo have led the state to ruin - culminating in a punitive IMF bailout in late 2010 and threatening the future of the euro.
Now, for the first time, the full story of the Anglo disaster is being told - by the journalist who has led the way in coverage of the bank and its many secrets. Drawing on his unmatched sources in and around Anglo, Simon Carswell of the Irish Times shows how the business model that brought Anglo twenty years of spectacular growth was also at the heart of its - and Ireland's - downfall. He paints a vivid and disturbing picture of life inside Anglo - the credit committee meetings, the lightning-quick negotiations with property developers, the culture of lavish entertainment for politicians and regulators - and of the men who presided over its dizzying rise and fall: Sean FitzPatrick, David Drumm, Willie McAteer and many others. This is not only the first full account of the Anglo disaster; it will also be the definitive one.
wouldn’t have any bad thoughts such as leaving. Sean was not a man for a pat on the back if he was doing a good job – the only thing that made him feel appreciated was cash.’ All told, FitzPatrick cleared €2.3 million that year, making him Ireland’s best-paid banker by some distance. Over four years of bumper lending growth preceding his move upstairs to the chairman’s office, FitzPatrick earned just shy of €9.3 million, of which bonuses accounted for €5.9 million. His senior executives were
company. Hanson Green, the London-based firm at which she worked, had been hired by Anglo the previous November to evaluate the bank’s board and make it more compliant with what was regarded as ‘best practice’ in the industry at the time. Hague had sat in on a board meeting on 19 November and had gathered information over the following two months by asking questions of the board members. She reported on her findings at the January meeting, telling the directors that they were a ‘good to great’
onto for a long time, was not to go forward as an alternative to AIB and Bank of Ireland, but as an addition to them. That was the breakthrough. We could offer customers a diversification of their lending. It allowed us to talk to people, to build a relationship.’ FitzPatrick had spotted a gap in the market. ‘The retail banking customers were well served,’ he said. ‘The finance houses looked after the cars and the JCBs, anything in the region of £10,000 to £12,000, and then the merchant banks
cover Quinn’s margin calls with ‘working capital facilities’, via nine draw-downs totalling €232.35 million during the month, bringing his debts to the bank to a staggering €1.9 billion. During one of the bank’s regular meetings with the regulator in June, Neary took Drumm aside. He was concerned that details of the Quinn Group’s May 2008 confidential report would leak out. It had after all been circulated to a wide group of bondholders and lenders, including other Irish banks. Neary also told
whose company Omega Air bought and refurbished commercial aeroplanes for the US military. Media tycoon Tony O’Reilly also had a number of loans at Irish Bank of Commerce at the time, secured primarily on his shares in Independent Newspapers, publisher of the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent titles. The acquisition was significant for another reason: it brought Bill Barrett, a former employee at AIB and Dutch bank ABN, into Anglo. Barrett had established long-standing relationships with