herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

We fork out a further €2.7bn to pay for the sins of Fingleton

Michael Fingleton's former bailiwick, Irish Nationwide, is, if it were possible, an even bigger basket case than Anglo.

This morning's announcement revealed that the State will have to pump a further €2.7bn of fresh capital into the Nationwide. Coming on top of the €2.7bn the State has already pumped into this black hole, this brings the total cost of fixing it to a scarcely credible €5.4bn.

All of this money is being poured into a pipsqueak lender that never had a loan book of more €12bn. It is now clear the taxpayer is paying a huge price for the previous Financial Regulator Paddy Neary's failure to rein in Fingleton's megalomania.

In his 37 years at the helm of the Nationwide, Fingleton ran the, allegedly, member-owned building society as a one-man band. The members, who theoretically owned the society were ignored and generally treated with contempt, while Fingleton (right) ruthlessly squashed any possible heirs apparent.

He paid himself lavishly, €2.3m in 2007 alone.

But that, of course, wasn't even the half of it. In the same year the Nationwide transferred a €27.6m pension pot to Fingleton.

If that doesn't count as corporate looting of the very worst sort, then what does?

In 2008, after the Government capped the pay of bank bosses, the Nationwide board agreed to hand over a €1m "performance" bonus to Fingleton. Some performance.

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