The Central Bank of Ireland sought a net increase in full-time staff numbers of 300 for next year, but this was reduced to 170 following an assessment by governor Philip Lane about its capacity to absorb new hires.
This will result in its budget increasing by €60 million to €283 million for 2017, a rise of 27 per cent.
Staff costs are set to increase by €14.7 million, pension costs will go up €21 million due to likely adverse changes in the prevailing discount rates, and non-pay costs will go up €25.1 million, the main increases being in professional fees and IT costs. The budget for capital and projects for 2017 will total €28.9 million.
The regulator is expected to end this year with 1,620 full-time equivalent employees.
These details emerge in the minutes of the latest meeting of the Central Bank’s commission, which effectively operates as its board of directors and is responsible for ensuring that the regulator fulfils its statutory functions.
The increase in staff numbers was an aggregate sought by the various departments within the Central Bank, and was put to its budget and remuneration committee for consideration.
The committee decided on a range of 120 to 208, the upper end of which was based on the capacity of its human resources unit to recruit in the “appropriate manner” in the given period.
The matter then went to the commission for discussion. Mr Lane recommended a net increase of 170, with “due control in relation to grade mix, and including roles identified for key priorities, such as Brexit-related roles and risk management”.
He said this was a “challenging target”, and equated to a near 10 per cent increase.
Mr Lane also indicated that further increases would be necessary in 2018.
According to the minutes, one member of the commission noted the increasing demands on the organisation even before Brexit-related issues, and said the upper limit of the range being considered (120 to 208) should be the target.
Some other members noted that the bank needed to constantly examine its processes to ensure that efficiencies were being achieved.
The impact of the increased costs, which would be passed back to industry, was cited as a factor that should be considered, with one member expressing concern at what was a one-third increase in operating costs.
The governor took the view that a 10 per cent increase in headcount was justifiable, but to go beyond that would put other strains on the bank. He said the number did not include contingencies that may be necessary.
Central credit register
Separately, the commission meeting was told that the new central credit register (CCR) would be up and running next year.
Collection of data for consumer loans is scheduled to commence from June 30th, while inquiries by lenders may commence from December 31st, subject to data quality being assured. This follows an extension of nine months in the timeline of the project following a period of consultation with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
A head of function within the bank for CCR will be appointed in the “near future”.