INBS inquiry hearings delayed by Fingleton ill health

The three-person panel had planned to restart hearings after the summer

Michael Fingleton, one of four former INBS executives subject to the inquiry into seven alleged contraventions at the lender between August 2004 and September 2008.  File photograph: Alan Betson

Michael Fingleton, one of four former INBS executives subject to the inquiry into seven alleged contraventions at the lender between August 2004 and September 2008. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

An inquiry into alleged regulatory breaches at now-defunct Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) has been unable to resume hearings since the summer due to the ill health of the lender’s former managing director, Michael Fingleton.

Mr Fingleton is one of four former INBS executives subject to the inquiry into seven alleged contraventions at the lender between August 2004 and September 2008.

Public hearings began last December, with 26 witnesses having given evidence by the end of June under the first phase of the inquiry – into the workings of INBS’s credit committee. The three-person panel, led by chairwoman Marian Shanley, had planned to restart hearings after the summer.

‘Constant review’

“Due to the illness of one of the persons concerned, the inquiry is not currently in a position to resume hearings,” said a spokeswoman for the Central Bank, which decided to establish the inquiry in 2015. “However the matter is being kept under constant review, and the work of the inquiry is continuing.”

The spokeswoman declined to identify the individual, whom sources have named as Mr Fingleton. Mr Fingleton did not respond to efforts from The Irish Times to secure comment from him.

Hearings had been delayed earlier this year for a number of weeks as Mr Fingleton, who turned 80 in January, went through a period of ill health.

The other three men subject to the investigation are INBS’s former finance director John Stanley Purcell, one-time commercial lending manager Tom McMenamin, and Gary McCollum, who once led the society’s UK lending activities from a base in Belfast.

Settlement

A fifth man, former INBS chairman Michael Walsh, reached a settlement with the regulator in February, in which he was fined €20,000 and banned from managing a regulated financial services firm for three years.

Mr Walsh admitted his ultimate responsibility for certain breaches, even though he was never involved in the day-to-day management of INBS, which cost taxpayers €5.4 billion to rescue during the financial crisis.