Patrick Neary: profile

 

Originally from Kilkenny, Patrick Neary joined the Central Bank in 1971 after spending a year studying Latin and Greek at UCD. He started at the bottom and rose to the position of head of securities and exchanges supervision before he left in 2003 to join the newly established office of the financial regulator as prudential director.

Two scandals at AIB – overcharging and tax evasion involving former senior executives – fell during his watch as the prudential director, the post he held before taking over as financial regulator in 2006.

Mr Neary also knows all about excessive lending to the property sector, having worked on two of only three Irish bank collapses, both due in no small part to overexuberant property investment. They were the 1976 collapse of Irish Trust Bank, the Dublin bank set up by London businessman Ken Bates, and Merchant Banking, owned by the late developer Patrick Gallagher, which went bust in 1982.

He worked on the salvage job that was First New Hampshire Bank, the US bank purchased by Bank of Ireland in 1988, which suffered a heavy exposure to a declining property market. It cost the Irish bank hundreds of millions.

In recent months, he had come under heavy fire for not stress-testing the banking sector hard enough, downplaying the risk of rising bad debts on substantial property loans and, most recently, his handling of the directors’ loans controversy at Anglo Irish Bank.