Prime Time Investigates: The Bankers

Congratulations to Oonagh Smyth and the team at Prime Time Investigates for producing an excellent documentary on what went wrong with the Irish banks. The programme, which has insightful contributions from a number of people including Governor Honohan, is now available online here. The programme is likely to increase the pressure on the government to have an official inquiry.

15 thoughts on “Prime Time Investigates: The Bankers”

  1. An enormous head of steam seems to be building up on this blog in favour of some form of banking inquiry. What on earth do people think it will achieve? Without prejudging the finer details that, in any event, will emerge eventually, it is clear that this banking fiasco, at root, was caused by political and policy failures (I see these as a desire to exercise unchecked power and economic illiteracy). Is there an expectation that the Government will come out – or be forced to come out – eventually, put its hands up and say “Fair cop. There were things we, and preceding adminstrations, should have done (fill in a very limited list here) to prevent this mess unfolding. But hey, we’ve gotten a grip on things now and we still deserve to finish our full term in office”?

  2. It will bring the details to those who don’t self educate themselves on the matter that’s what it will do.. I’m repeatedly shocked at the amount of people that don’t realise how rooted our FF friends were in the whole disaster which has been the last 5 years!
    You have to realise that 70% of the country can’t get beyond reading the daily trash papers, we need this to be in the face of Joe soap 24/7 or our FF friends will inflate the whole bubble again with a few choice house purchasing schemes again.

  3. Unsurprising after CJH! He was a pioneer. No wonder they wanted the economy to go full blast they were busy gearing up on credit. Next we need to know the terms of these loans. Following the money is always the easy part.

    What was the quid pro quo? Guaranteed bailouts? Hardly.

    Stop Nama now!

  4. @Pat Donnelly
    Quid pro quo? A Nelsonian blind eye… Lady Hamiltons, the lot of them. Take down the spire and stick Nelson back up. He was more appropriate for the chummy relationship between government and its ‘friends’.

  5. Yes Well done Oonagh for a great documentary, we should not forget about all these white collar criminals who are currently batoning down the hatches and hoping that this will all blow over,

    I really enjoyed the interview with Seanie especially when he disappeared back into a black hole, congratulations on this and have a very happy Christmas and hope you do a documentary on Gerry Gannon, primarily because he hates the media, also likes to keep a low profile, perhaps he has a lot to hide

  6. @Ex president Daly
    “He had the Indo smear McCreevy for him this morning…” facts are smears are they? hmmm…

  7. Congratulations to the Prime Time team for an excellent program. Two things stood out. First, the dynamics of the bubble corresponded almost exactly to the original Minsky description of instability caused by stability and yet Minskyan theory does not appear to be particularly often-invoked in Ireland, unlike in the US and UK where George Magnus and PIMCO have been instrumental in publicizing what were little recognized ideas, building on decades of work by the Levy Institute. They certainly haven’t reached Charlie McCreevy, judging by his quote. “Interpret the behavior of Irish banks in the 2003-2008 period in light of Minsky’s theory of financial instability” should be an obligatory question on any finance / economics exam set in this country for the next decade. Please.

    Second, the program hints at the potential political consequences of reining in property lending and how that may have influenced regulator’s behavior. Surely an inquiry is unavoidable now.

    Third, can someone explain why the behavior of senior execs at Anglo and Irish Nationwide in bypassing credit committees etc does not represent a criminally prosecutable abdication of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders? We need some of these fellas to go to jail before we’ll get the kind of culture shift in Irish banking that is required.

  8. @Mick
    🙂 Them number yokes are tricky…

    Unfortunately, INBS doesn’t have shareholders in quite the same way as a PLC does. Share accounts don’t quite cut it and it has never been entirely clear who could sack Mr. Fingelton.

    Anglo, on the other hand, appears to have been owned largely by, eh, Anglo… so it is difficult to see a change of management there either!

  9. A great program and one that leaves no doubt about the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” nature of politics and banking in Ireland. Multi million loans being doled out like snuff at a wake. Where regulation was non existent, where credit committees were surplus to requirements, where paper work was completed after loans were agreed and cheques written. I hope someone sends Krugman a copy of this expose so he can see for his own eyes how crony capitalism Irish style operates.

    Olivia Green is one of the bravest people to emerge from the morass she is my idea of a patriot Mr Lenihan! A whistle blowers charter would already be in place except that it is the last thing the government want.

    I am totally against any investigation other than a full criminal investigation by the serious fraud squad. Any other “investigation” will only hinder and obstruct a criminal investigation.

    The people that need to be investigated are the most powerful politicians and bankers in the country. Lets see if our democracy stands idly by and or is afraid to take action against the golden circle of politicians and bankers. So far, very little has been done and the garda investigations are far too limited, in any event they are moving at a glacial pace and are being overtaken by events.

    I have learned from the tribunals that they protect people for ten years or more from criminal charges, they muddy the waters and at that stage those involved are either dead or people have forgotten what the hell they were supposed to be investigating in the first place.

    We need straight forward criminal investigation of politicians and bankers.

  10. @ Brian Lucey

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  11. Two chances of a meaningful/swift/low cost investigation – ‘slim and none’.
    – far too many of the financial and political establishment would be exposed.
    The usual tactics of lying low/spinning and wait for media attention to drift away will be used……

  12. The state of California has a handy law on the books. If 12% of votes cast during the previous election are collected in the form of signatures, a “recall” election is ordered. This law booted out the last governor, Gray Davis and replaced him with the “Governator”. Tis a pity such a law doesn’t exist back in Paddyland!

  13. If there is an investigation I hope it does not overlook the building of a mansion by Gannon homes for one of the Anglo senior Executives, is there such a thing as a free lunch and a free mansion?

    I hope he paid the gift tax,

    Was Gerry allowed to write this off in his profit and loss account

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