The Central Bank's hard line

 

Sir, – The tracker rate scandal in the banks, and the hugely animated public, political and media reaction to it, led very senior Central Bank figures to state publicly that they would not be found wanting in terms of a “hard line”, in particular regarding the accountability obligations of senior figures in the banking sector.

We haven’t had to wait long for clear evidence of the Central Bank’s intention to immediately adopt this hard line, and I think the public will rest as easy as they did circa 2004-2008 when they read the immensely comforting message that their own bank was under the diligent scrutiny of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank’s finding and settlement in relation to the Irish Nationwide case surely means a huge collective sigh of relief by the citizenry because now bankers know the merciless but entirely justified punishment which it is ready to mete out (“Former Irish Nationwide chairman censured by Central Bank”, News, February 12th).

Okay, Nationwide cost the taxpayer just a little in excess of €5 billion, but the person who acted as chairman during the period under investigation was obliged to pay a €20,000 fine. It might interest people to know that that figure represents 10 per cent of the total in fees paid to him during just his last two years in that post, a much, much smaller percentage of the total amount he was paid during his time as chairman.

The Central Bank’s ruthlessness didn’t end there; the former chairman was disqualified for all of three years from acting as a director of a regulated financial institution, meaning he is entirely free to act as a director of any other form of company.

So, in summary, let us rest easy knowing that our Central Bank is inclined towards making harsh and unforgiving “settlements” with those in charge of our beloved banking sector.

Mind you, our film-making sector may see all this in a more positive light.

There must be huge potential for a marvellous, if slightly surreal, farce, something that may help to preserve national sanity. – Yours, etc,

DICK O’RAFFERTY,

Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.