The Irish Independent said Thursday that Anglo Irish Bank confirmed it had losses of an additional 17.5 billion euros ($24.9 billion) in advance of the release of stress tests on the nation’s banks. The losses, said the paper, were the worst on record and had so far cost Irish taxpayers nearly 30 billion euros.
The Irish central bank is due to release the results of stress tests later in the day, and those tests will reveal additional losses at other banks, said the report, including Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Bank of Ireland, Irish Life & Permanent and the EBS building society. It was expected that the banks would need about another 30 billion euros to stay open. The paper also reported that the Irish Stock Exchange had suspended trading in shares of Bank of Ireland and AIB, fearing market disorder once the results are announced. Irish Life & Permanent suspended trading in its own shares on Wednesday in the wake of a fall of a 45% drop in share price.
The paper also reported that the banking sector would be radically restructured, beginning with the Educational Building Society being forced into Allied Irish Banks by Finance Minister Michael Noonan and expected to end with the country having only two banks remaining: Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland.
The report also said that Irish Life & Permanent’s pension and insurance arm would be sold off, and that special vehicles would be created by the government to absorb 80 billion euros off the four main banks’ balance sheets. While the government is advocating a seven-year loan facility of 60 billion euros from the European Central Bank (ECB) so that the banks can continue trading, that was not decided yet due to legal issues; the ECB governors discussed the issues in a conference call on Wednesday night and some key issues, according to the report, were still being discussed with the European Union (EU), the ECB, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).