500 FINANCE JOBS TO BE CREATED AT NEW HUB ON OLD SMITHWICKS BREWERY SITE IN KILKENNY - A foreign financial services firm is set to create 500 jobs in Kilkenny. The city has failed to attract multinationals in recent years, other than US fund managing company State Street, says the Irish Independent. The latest promise of jobs comes as Kilkenny County Council told new councillors it has an ambitious €33m plan to transform the former Smithwick's site in the city centre, which was given to the city by Diageo in 2012 for a nominal sum of €2.1m. The council has also been in separate discussions with six other prospective firm which could create a further 500 jobs, the council said. Councillors are expected to vote on proposals in the coming weeks but say they would need €33m investment from the Government, state agencies, the council and private partnerships. Plans include a research centre for Waterford and Carlow IT, a new park and 180,000 sq ft of new office facilities, including the refurbishment of the former brew house for what is believed to be a financial services firm. "The proposal to establish on the Smithwick's site a major international services company with some 500 jobs is very advanced (though not finalised), with real prospects of a further 500 jobs," county manager Joe Crockett told councillors.
MIXED REACTION FOR CENTRAL BANK 90-DAY ARREARS BENCHMARKS - The new benchmarks set by the Central Bank as part of the mortgage arrears resolution targets mean that fewer than 30% of mortgage holders will have to have a sustainable solution in order for the banks to meet the targets, writes the Irish Examiner. The targets announced by the Central Bank are that of the 79,000 people in 90 days arrears, 85% must be offered sustainable solutions, the target for acceptance is then 45% of those. It is then hoped that 75% of those accepted offers will prove to be sustainable. Irish Mortgage Brokers’ Karl Deeter said that the Central Bank was allowing for a very high level of attrition between offer and acceptance for what are supposed to be sustainable solutions. “There will be a significant attrition between offer, acceptance and solution. “If they are supposed to be long-term sustainable solutions, why are only 755 supposed to be performing at the end of the year. They are either adopting a very laissez-faire attitude or they are expecting a high level of recidivism from borrowers,” he said. The most recent figures from the Department of Finance showed that mortgages in arrears of over 90 days were continuing to rise.
DRUMM SHOWED 'DISTAIN' FOR US BANKRUPTCY RULES, COURT HEARS - Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm showed “disdain, unquestionable recklessness and indifference” to US bankruptcy rules, the final day of his bankruptcy trial in Boston heard yesterday writes the Irish Times. A lawyer for the bank, now Irish Bank Resolution, also said Mr Drumm was trying to argue a “former CEO in bankruptcy defence” by blaming his advisers for his failure to disclose in sworn US bankruptcy statements €2 million in asset transfers to his wife. John Hutchinson, attorney for IBRC, told Judge Frank Bailey in closing statements on the sixth and last day of Mr Drumm’s bankruptcy trial in Boston that because the former banker had the means to hire advisers didn’t mean he could delegate responsibilities to them for making incorrect statements. Mr Drumm was a former chief executive of a global bank with 16 years’ experience in banking and “as knowledgeable and sophisticated” a bankruptcy debtor as you would ever see, Mr Hutchinson said. The lawyer told the court that this was an ordinary bankruptcy case and there were “no special rules” for Mr Drumm. The only thing that made this case different was “the level of disdain, unquestionable recklessness and indifference to the rules”, he said.
EUROPE-US TUSSLE OVER BNP ESCALATES - French President François Hollande said on Wednesday it was his duty to raise with US counterpart Barack Obama the possibility of a “disproportionate” penalty against BNP Paribas for allegedly violating US sanctions. At a press conference in Brussels after a meeting of leaders of the G7 countries, Mr Hollande raised the prospect of “economic and financial” consequences of a large fine on the French bank, and said the two leaders would discuss the issue at a private dinner in Paris on Thursday. The transatlantic tussle between France’s biggest bank and US regulators escalated on Wednesday after BNP Paribas’s credit rating came under threat amid alarm among French politicians about the prospect of the bank being fined as much as $10 billion - more than its annual profits, reports the Financial Times. “The justice system is independent in France and in the US, but we can make arguments regarding the disproportionate character,” Mr Hollande told reporters. Standard & Poor’s said it had put the bank’s A+ rating on “credit watch with negative implications”. The bank is being investigated for allegedly violating US sanctions and anti-money laundering rules between 2002 and 2009 by disguising transactions in US dollars with countries including Iran, Sudan and Cuba. As well as a large fine, it faces a potential guilty plea and suspension of its ability to clear US dollar transactions.