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Bank of Ireland Group Chief Executive, Richie Boucher (file photo) Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland loses €2.1 billion in 2012

Looking to the year ahead, its chief executive, Richie Boucher, said that “taxpayers are very much in the money with regard to Bank of Ireland.”

BANK OF IRELAND had a loss before tax of €2.1 billion in 2012, end of year figures for the bank have revealed.

The losses show a huge increase on 2011, which had losses of €190 million.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, chief executive Richie Boucher said that €1.8 billion of this loss was due to the buying back of subordinated debt.

Breaking down the losses further, Boucher said that these had decreased in the second half of 2012, and that the bank saw its income up nine per cent and its costs down 5.5 per cent, with its deposits having grown by €4.7 billion.

Staff and redundancies

On the topic of redundancies, which have seen over 5,000 leave the bank over the last four years, the chief executive couldn’t confirm future numbers.

We don’t have a set number in mind. We took charge of €135 million in our account for 2012, of which €57 million is still to be utilised in the current redundancy programmes that are underway.

Boucher said that he could not discuss pension difficulties at the bank due to the fact that they were in the middle of an engagement process with trade unions, but did say that lower than expected bond yields and “certain regulatory changes” had been “disappointing”.

Mortgage arrears

The banking chief said that just under 10 per cent, or 17,000 owner-occupier mortgage accounts with the  bank, were in arrears, “of which 5,000 are early arrears and 12,000 are later arrears”.

He went on to say that the bank was “continuing to restructure a significant number of customer mortgages as they engage with us.”

We’ve made very good progress on that. We now have 95 per cent of our owner-occupiers who are either fully meeting all their payments or are in a revised arrangement and are working with us.

Of the remaining five per cent, Boucher revealed that one per cent of them were in the “legal process”, while the bank was working “very hard” to deal with the other four per cent.


Adamant that repossessions are not “a desired outcome for us,” Boucher said that they remained something that the bank would have to follow in “certain circumstances”, having ended 2012 with 96 owner-occupier properties in their possession.

“We have another 74 with repossession orders issued,” he said, adding: “We sold 88 repossessed properties during 2012.”

Ending of Bank Guarantee

In the same month as the state’s Bank Guarantee is to end, Boucher said that its end would “have a very positive impact on our income”.

Of the €4.8 billion that had been given to the bank by government, €3.8 billion has been repaid, with the State owning 1.8 billion in preference shares and a 15 per cent holding in the bank.

I’d say that taxpayers are very much in the money with regard to Bank of Ireland. It’s been very very important from a Bank of Ireland perspective that the state and the taxpayers see a significant return for the support they’ve given us.

Read: In last bondholder payment of 2012, BoI pays out nearly €40 million >

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