Anglo Irish Bank was an Irishbank headquartered in Dublin from 1964 to 2011. It began to wind down after nationalisation in 2009. In July 2011 Anglo Irish merged with the Irish Nationwide Building Society, forming a new company named the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. Michael Noonan, the Minister for Finance stated that the name change was important in order to remove “the negative international references associated with the appalling failings of both institutions and their previous managements”.
Anglo Irish mainly dealt in business and commercial banking, and had only a limited retail presence in the major Irish cities. It also had wealth management and treasury divisions. Anglo Irish had operations in Austria, Switzerland, the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The bank’s heavy exposure to property lending, with most of its loan book being to builders and property developers, meant that it was badly affected by the downturn in the Irish property market in 2008. In December 2008, the Irish government announced plans to inject €1.5 billion of capital for a 75% stake in the bank, effectively nationalising it. The Dublin and London Stock Exchanges immediately suspended trading in Anglo Irish’s shares, with the final closing share price of €0.22 representing a fall of over 98% from its peak.
On 16 January 2009 the then TaoiseachBrian Cowen stated that it was “business as usual” at Anglo Irish Bank, and people should be reassured that the bank is solvent. Between June and September 2009, the Minister for Finance provided €4 billion in capital. In a statement on 30 March 2010, a day before Anglo Irish Bank reported its financial results, the Minister Of Finance Brian Lenihan announced an injection of €8.3 billion into the bank, noting that a further €10 billion may be required at a later stage to cover future losses and ensure an adequate capital base.
Since the nationalization of Anglo Irish Bank a number of controversies have arisen over certain business practices and loans, including loans to directors and loans to people associated with Brendan Murtagh, EMPG, and the QUINN group.
On 31 March 2010 Anglo Irish Bank reported results for the 15 months to December 2009. Losses for the period were €12.7 billion, with an operating profit before impairment of €2.4 billion and an impairment charges of €15.1 billion driving the overall result. It is the largest loss in Irish corporate history. Total assets declined to €85.2 billion at the end of 2009 from €101.3 billion in September 2008.
The European Commission allowed the Irish government on 10 August 2010 to temporarily grant €10 billion to Anglo Irish Bank – this included an additional €1.4 billion sought by Ireland to allow the nationalised bank meet its regulatory capital requirements in light of increased costs associated with transferring loans to the National Asset Management Agency.
On 15 January 2009, the Government announced that it would take steps that would enable the Bank to be taken into State ownership. The Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act, 2009 provided for the transfer of all the shares of the Bank to the Minister for Finance and was enacted under Irish law on 21 January 2009. On the same date, the Bank was re-registered as a private limited company.
In order to protect the capital position of the Bank the Minister for Finance provided €4 billion in capital between June and September 2009. A liability management exercise was also undertaken in August 2009 and €1.8 billion of equity was realised on the buyback, at a significant discount, of subordinated debt instruments. In December 2009, the Minister committed to safeguard the Bank’s regulatory capital position. As a result, the Minister issued of a promissory note for €8.3 billion on 31 March 2010, bringing the government’s investment in Anglo Irish bank to €12.3 billion. Since then the notes have risen in value to cover €30.6 billion of the €34.7 billion cost of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Bank (€25.3 billion of the €29.3 billion cost of Anglo and €5.3 billion of INBS’s €5.4 billion cost).
In his statement to the Irish Parliament on 30 March 2010, the Minister for Finance stated: “Finding a long-term solution for Anglo Irish Bank is by far the biggest challenge in resolving the banking crisis. The sheer size of the bank means there are no easy or low cost options. Winding-up the bank is not and was never a viable option.”
In September 2010, the government announced that it would separate the bank into two entities, an “asset recovery bank” to manage existing loans, and a separate “funding bank” holding deposits.