CENTRAL BANK JOBS NOT FILLED DUE TO CUTS, SAYS ROUX - The head of financial regulation at the Central Bank of Ireland has said the public sector pay cuts introduced by the Government have hindered its ability to fill 67 vacant positions in his department. Cyril Roux, who became deputy governor and head of financial regulation on October 1st, said his department is approved for 677 staff but only 610 positions are filled. Turnover at the Central Bank last year, which employs 1,386 staff in total, was 6.05%, excluding retirements and contracts ending. "Yes, the reduction in pay has inhibited our ability to recruit and retain our staff," Mr Roux told the Irish Times in his first media interview since taking office. "It makes it difficult for us to attract and retain the lawyers, the actuaries, the accountants, the IT specialists that we need to be an effective supervisor. For financial regulation...we have less people than we need. We allocate resources according to impact and the number of firms we regulate. We calculate the number of people that we need. We need 677 but we have 610," Mr Roux added.
PADDY POWER DIRECTORS SEE TOTAL PAY FALL BY NEARLY 2% - Total director pay at leading gaming and betting services company Paddy Power fell by nearly 2% last year, despite the firm seeing continued strong operational and financial progress, writes the Irish Examiner. The Dublin company’s 13-strong board, including executive and non-executive members, shared a paypot of just over €5.54m in 2013; nearly 1.8% down on the €5.64m that was paid out in 2012. The overall figures also include the value of director shares, as part of the company’s long-term incentive plan. According to the firm’s annual report published yesterday ahead of its AGM next month, chief executive Patrick Kennedy saw his basic salary increase by 2.3% to €763,000, although a 9% drop in his annual bonus to €421,000 meant his overall remuneration package dipped slightly to under €1.44m. The big change in pay came in the case of chief financial officer, Cormac McCarthy, whose basic salary shot up by almost €400,000 to €500,000 and whose total package ballooned by nearly 230% to €779,000. As much as 74% of Mr Kennedy’s remuneration is performance-related, with 62% the case for Mr McCarthy.
BANK OF IRELAND CHIEF TELLS TDs OF TOUGH LINE ON MORTGAGE ARREARS - Bank of Ireland has claimed that rescue loans it has repaid to the State have helped to pay for public services and keep down taxes, says the Irish Independent.The claim by chief executive Richie Boucher was made as he said his bank would seek to veto any proposal from Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIP) featuring mortgage write-down for its customers. Bank of Ireland's policy is only to write off mortgage debt in cases of bankruptcy or personal insolvency, where the bank is forced to make the move, chief executive Richie Boucher told the Oireachtas Finance Committee. And the bank will seek to recoup the outstanding balance on a home loan even after the property has been sold to pay off the debt, he said. The bank's tough stance is in contrast to AIB, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB, whose bosses had all said earlier in the week that people voluntarily selling their home to repay a loan could be allowed to walk away from any residual debts. Labour's Kevin Humphreys TD said people would be better off bankrupt, rather than selling their home and remaining indebted to Bank of Ireland, given its hard line. But Mr Boucher said his bank's apparently tough stance partly explained why it was the only bailed-out lender to have returned cash to the taxpayer.
EUROPE'S TOP CENTRAL BANKS PUSH FOR HIGH-RISK LOAN RETURN - Europe’s two top central banks will on Friday make a joint push to revive an asset class that was vilified for its role in the financial crash in an attempt to kick-start lending to the region’s credit-starved companies. In a draft paper seen by the Financial Times, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank call for the easing of “unduly punitive” rules that make it less attractive to buy packages of loans known as asset backed securities. The paper, which is due to be published on Friday, is part of a campaign led by the ECB to distinguish high quality European debt that has been packaged up or securitised from US loans. Despite much lower default rates than in the US, the European market for securitisation has all but closed for business since the crisis, when the practice of slicing and dicing of loans was blamed for spreading problems in the market for US subprime housing loans to the global financial system. “Despite its long-term social value, securitisation today suffers from stigma, reflecting both its adverse reputation among investors and conservatism among regulators and standard-setters,” the central banks say in the draft paper. They add: “Revitalising publicly-distributed ABS issuance on any meaningful scale would require concerted policy action in various fields and involving a range of official entities.”