INBS inquiry: Location of Michael Fingleton’s diary may be known next week

Diary might contain evidence of Mr Fingleton’s involvement with the failed lender’s credit committee

Inquiry chairwoman Marian Shanley was informed on Friday that the inquiry will “have an answer” on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week as to whether the documents can be recovered. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Inquiry chairwoman Marian Shanley was informed on Friday that the inquiry will “have an answer” on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week as to whether the documents can be recovered. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

 

The inquiry into alleged breaches of lending practices at Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) will know next week whether a diary kept by the former personal assistant to ex-managing director Michael Fingleton can be recovered.

The legal team assisting the Central Bank inquiry has asked the regulator’s enforcement division to try to locate a diary and a message book maintained by Melody van der Berg.

It is believed they might contain evidence of Mr Fingleton’s involvement with the failed lender’s credit committee.

This module of the Central Bank’s inquiry is exploring whether the committee failed to adhere to internal policies by not reviewing cases of large commercial loan arrears, exposure to specific sectors or customers, or issues raised by internal audit, outside advisers or regulators.

Inquiry chairwoman Marian Shanley was informed on Friday that the inquiry will “have an answer” on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week as to whether the documents can be recovered.

The inquiry also heard that the full audited accounts from INBS for the relevant period have been received from Mr Fingleton.

Mr Fingleton has said he was not a member of the credit committee until the end of 2007, but this has been contradicted by others, including Ms van der Berg, who said she believed Mr Fingleton attended its meetings during her time as his PA.

When she was transferred to another department, which she recollects was in mid-2006, the diary and message book were left with her successor.

Friday’s hearing of the inquiry lasted just 30 minutes after one of the witnesses was unable to attend. It heard evidence from just one witness, Daniel Dempsey, who joined INBS in June 1999 after leaving school.

Mr Dempsey initially worked as a mortgage data processor, receiving mortgage applications and inputting data on to building society’s system for a year and a half.

He later became a member of the credit committee but didn’t attend meetings during the relevant period. The inquiry heard Mr Dempsey reviewed the minutes of credit committee meetings from 2004 on.

Mr Dempsey was not cross-examined.

The inquiry is seeking to establish if Mr Fingleton and three other former managers of the building society were involved in seven so-called contraventions at INBS between August 2004 and September 2008.

The others are former INBS finance director Stan Purcell, former commercial lending manager Tom McMenamin and Gary McCollum, who once led the society’s UK lending activities from Belfast. Mr Fingleton and Mr Purcell are both representing themselves at the inquiry.

The inquiry continues.