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Snippet Contents:

The Central Bank also told me it engaged with the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA, in its report on the Global Restructuring Group, GRG. Has the Central Bank seen a copy of the final version of the FCA report? I assume it has been shared with it, and this makes it all the more worrying that it has failed to act. Instead, it allowed Ulster Bank in Ireland to deal with the matter itself. It stood idly by as Ulster Bank commissioned a report by Mason, Hayes and Curran into its role in GRG, and the report cleared it of any wrongdoing; it was a whitewash. The law firm in question had a clear conflict of interest as it previously represented Cerberus, the infamous vulture fund, with its purchase of a loan portfolio called Project Aran, which contained assets from the Irish element of Ulster Bank and GRG loans. I have a copy of it but it has never been published officially, just selectively leaked to the media. The full FCA report, leaked on Monday, has shown the Mason, Hayes and Curran review as a farce.
The legislation is available to the Central Bank but it has failed to use it. Small and medium businesses are supposed to be protected under the code of conduct for business lending to small and medium enterprises for 2009 and the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013. Instead, the Central Bank tells us it is engaging and monitoring the issue. The Central Bank is supposed to be an oversight body and it states on its website that the protection of SME customers is a priority. This legislation will provide powers to the Central Bank but will it use them? Perhaps it is time for a complete change in the direction of the Central Bank's operations. It must be a proper oversight body that acts quickly and sanctions banks for wrongdoing, not one which allows banks to investigate matters themselves. Until this happens, we will continue to see a Central Bank that is a soft touch and almost afraid to upset the commercial banks in Ireland.