Wasn't I lucky?

Discussion in 'Financial campaigns and consultations' started by Brendan Burgess, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    In 2003, Shane Hogan and I put down a motion of no confidence in Michael Fingleton as Chief Executive of the Irish Nationwide at the AGM.

    In 2004, and again in 2005, I stood for election to the board and was heavily defeated.

    Today, there is an enquiry by the Central Bank into the behaviour of three of the directors, Michael Fingleton, Michael Walsh and Stan Purcell. From Fingleton's evidence today it appears that the Financial Regulator was putting him under pressure to appoint "one of their nominees" to the board. I had heard that the Financial Regulator strongly suggested that they co-opt me to the board.

    Had I been elected or co-opted back in 2004, I don't think I would have questioned the property development lending. I was mainly focused on the way they treated home owners and wouldn't have had any insight into the big property development lending.

    I would probably have deferred to Michael Fingleton and Michael Walsh who had been a Professor of Banking in UCD.

    Even if I had questioned it, it would have been hard to argue with the huge profits they were reporting.

    Maybe I should drop Fingers a Xmas card to thank him for vetoing me. Otherwise, I might be in the dock today as well.

  2. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

    I wouldn't bother if I was you, think he said today he was going blind, or maybe it was deaf. Either way, he either wouldn't be able to write to thank you, or else he couldn't phone you and listen to the lovely words you'd say back to him.
  3. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    In this case, goes to show. Be careful what you wish for.
  4. MrEarl

    MrEarl Frequent Poster

    Hello Mr. Burgess,

    Had you been elected onto the Board, perhaps there would have been better corporate governance and risk management at the INBS ?

    As I understand it (from publicly available information), the Central Bank spent quite a lot of time in correspondence with the INBS regarding such things as: internal audit arrangements, lack of independent directors (with appropriate skills) on the Board, the need for a more independent credit process etc. and most of the time, the correspondence just went back and forth with little progress ever made - granted, the CB are partially to blame for that !

    By your own admission, you may not have had any substantial insight into big property lending, but I'm sure you would have voiced concerns that decisions were being taken primarily by the CEO and based on his personal view that repeat customers were extremely reliable (regardless of the actual risk level of the transaction INBS was being asked to fund), or by small credit committees that included lenders with obvious potential conflicts of interest etc.

    So, perhaps you were lucky ... but perhaps the state was also very unlucky, given the amount that the INBS as ultimately cost us all !
  5. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Hi MrEarl

    It would be like getting appointed Minister for Health. No matter how good a job you do, after two or three years the health service would still be inadequate.

    Fingers ruled it as his own fiefdom. He had no senior staff capable of making lending decisions. Here is a report from the Indo

    "Mr Fingleton and INBS's head of commercial lending, Tom McMenamin, were the "most senior and permanent members of the credit committee"....

    Mr McMenamin insisted ... that he was little more than an administrative assistant and characterised himself as a subordinate who answered directly to Mr Fingleton.

    He stressed he was given no formal training for his role when he was promoted in 2001 and was parachuted into the position to take over the department's reins following the exit of another executive."

    So the Head of Commercial Lending considered himself to be an Administrative Assistant? How would you go about fixing that?

    It would have taken years to fix, and the Society would have gone bust in the meantime.

  6. Dan Murray

    Dan Murray Guest

    Congrats Brendan,

    Rashly, and praised be rashness............
    There's a Divinity that shapes our ends!!
  7. mtk

    mtk Frequent Poster

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
    I have to say given the way things are going with 20-20 hindsight vision , litigation becoming ever more common , a "hands on" central bank, mandatory reporting of everything under the sun, money laundering /compliance gone mad, ...perhaps the clever thing to do in terms of self protection is to avoid any professions/roles where you sign off on anything !
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
    52andout and Dan Murray like this.
  8. DB74

    DB74 Frequent Poster

    Dodged a bullet there alright Brendan

    Also, please change the thread title to make it more meaningful :D:D:D;)
    Kerrigan, Purple, MugsGame and 5 others like this.
  9. MrEarl

    MrEarl Frequent Poster


    I hear what you are saying Mr. Burgess,

    But I also think that had the Central Bank been put under more pressure, perhaps by a a strong outspoken independent director, then they would have done more than just become long term pen pals with INBS. Sanctions and restrictions could quickly have been imposed on the INBS, when issues of concern were not being addressed by the society.

  10. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

    Maybe the thing to do is to only sign your name to things that you can stand over.
    MrEarl likes this.